- User Rating: Very Good
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Our creators the Engineers are fascinating; characters you care about
Cons:Heavily derivative of "Alien"
The Bottom Line: **SPOILER ALERT** I don't exactly reveal the ending here, but I tell you where to go to see the ending without seeing this film.
"Prometheus" opens on Earth millions of years ago. An immense alien ship is casting a cloud-like shadow over landscapes. It leaves behind a very human-looking alien who stands at a waterfall and drinks a concoction that dissolves his DNA. What's left of him falls into the water and is carried throughout the Earth's ecosystem, spawning the human race.
It isn't until the year 2089 that scientist lovers Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charles Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have the evidence they need to prove that aliens visited Earth in prehistoric times. It's enough evidence anyway to convince Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), probably the son of the Weyland who was killed in the original Alien vs. Predator, who spends a trillion dollars of his corporation's money to send a seventeen-person voyage of exploration to the extrasolar planet identified by a pictogram found at various archaelogical sites around Earth. Nominally under the command of Captain Janek (Idris Elba) of the Prometheus, the expedition is actually supervised by Weyland's daughter Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). The wild card on the expedition is the unpredictable and amoral android named David (Michael Fassbender), who loves the movie Lawrence of Arabia so much that he wants to be Peter O'Toole. This is about his only redeeming characteristic, however.
Most of "Prometheus" takes place on an alien planet with lethal levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, below the surface of which is an alien ship with breathable air (fitting, as the Engineers who created humans are biologically human themselves). Figuring out the Engineers' motivations should have been the major plot point of the movie, but that would have made it kind of dry, so the writers left one compartment in the alien ship full of nasty microscopic beasties who soon become macroscopic and attack the crew. Meanwhile, an experiment run by David has results that are lethal for Holloway and almost so for Shaw.
In this respect, many viewers will probably feel that they've seen the movie before. The ending is virtually the same as in Alien except that the amoral robot is trying to redeem himself, the motivation of Weyland Industries for wanting to meet the aliens has been revealed to be slightly different, and there is no cat. There is even a creature born in the very last scene who is virtually indistinguishable from the alien in "Alien," leaving the impression that the Engineers also created that species. In fact, the Engineers' revealed motivation provides another clue as to why their ship in "Alien" (identical to the ship beneath the surface of the planet here) was chock full of Alien eggs.
I fully intend to show my kids all the Predator movies and all the Alien movies by year in which they were set, which I guess means I will have to show them this one too, right between "Predators" and the original "Alien." Perhaps on that occasion I will be able to put aside the fact that all Ridley Scott has done is execute a tried-and-true formula very well. I should not have expected a movie that could stand with Alien 3, the best in either franchise. I wonder what we would have gotten had David Fincher, who steered that installment, written and directed this one. It's still worth seeing once, but you should probably wait till it comes out on video. Three stars with an overall positive recommendation.
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Movie Mood: Scary Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Script