As an act of cinema, “Prometheus” is stunningly designed, shot with great purpose in a serious fashion.
When it finally shifts gears from “Building Dread” to “Action,” director Ridley Scott is in his sweet spot: cannily designed, well-crafted suspense in the familiar pattern of tension and release, tension and release.
As a movie, however, it never quite fulfills and I left “Prometheus” feeling unsatisfied, ultimately.
To my mind, the questions left hanging after Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic, “Alien,” eventually were answered in the subsequent three sequels. But Scott teams with writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof (of “Lost” fame) to create an origin story that raises all kinds of new lines of inquiry, among them mankind’s beginnings on Earth, as well as the beginning of what became the Alien in Scott’s original film and its subsequent continuations. As it turns out, this film also comes with a built-in “to be continued” ending.
The film begins in 2093, about 30 years earlier than the original film. But the same company (or its forebear), the Weyland Corporation, is paying to send a manned ship filled with scientists to a distant corner of the galaxy, where the seeds of Earth’s beginning may reside. The crew includes a pair of scientists (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) who made the discovery that sparked the expedition, Charlize Theron as the corporate black hat along to supervise, Idris Elba as the ship’s no-nonsense captain and Michael Fassbender as an android who has his own objectives for the journey.
Once they reach the planet, they find evidence that extremely intelligent life engaged in what soon becomes clear is something ungodly. It’s no coincidence that the ship they’re on is called Prometheus. But who are the ones tampering with the fate of mankind and subsequently getting burned? It isn’t necessarily the Earthlings.
This review continues on my website.