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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Prometheus | Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba | Review

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Prometheus

By Judy Thorburn

Director Ridley Scott takes the helm of his first sci fi fantasy in three decades since Blade Runner. Sadly, the film he delivers in his return to the genre is a letdown.  Although technically and visually stunning (exquisite art direction, set designs, dazzling special effects), in the end the muddled, flawed script by Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) and co-writer Damon Lindel (co-creator of Lost) leaves us with more questions than answers.

The plot revolves around mankind's search for the answers to the ultimate question about our origin, which has drawn debate from big bang theorists and creationists, aka religious zealots. Yet, no one can deny that beliefs, especially when it comes to religion, does not equal fact.  So, I was excited and more than curious to see how the search for our “creator” would be tackled.

For the first half hour or so, I was completely engrossed in the interesting premise and the mesmerizing visuals, starting off with the opening sequence.  Supposedly set during Earth's beginnings, we are introduced to a huge, bald, white skinned, humanlike creature as he ingests a strange, black liquid. Shortly after, he begins to dissolve into pieces as he hurls himself off a cliff and into the waters, where his DNA is absorbed.

Fast forward, to the year 2089. A pair of archeologists/scientists, the strong willed, cross wearing, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), and her professional and romantic partner Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) come across some 85,000 year old cave paintings that suggests an extraterrestrial race was the creator of mankind and she is convinced that it is sending a message/invitation for earthlings to come meet their makers.

Jump ahead four years later and the duo are leading a crew on a scientific expedition to a distant planet aboard the titular spaceship, The Prometheus, funded by a very old man, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce, unrecognizable beneath some heavy facial prosthetics), the head of Weyland Corporation to find the “engineers” of mankind.  Other members of the crew include corporate representative/commander of the mission, a bitchy ice queen, Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the ship's captain, street smart Jadek (Idris Elba), two geologists (Sean Harris, Rafe Spall), and the most fascinating character, David  (a blonde, Michael Fassbender), an android void of emotions who models his looks and behavior after a young Peter O' Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.

With such a promising initial idea to expound on, I was disappointed watching the story evolve into yet another alien monster movie where one by one characters meet their demise as the result of stupid, ridiculous actions and their encounter with deadly alien creatures. It isn't as if they weren't warned by Vickers not to interact with any life form they encounter.  It is more like a warning for audiences to soon expect some blood and gore, which come in several doses.  We know when they are coming, so there is no real suspense or tension.

Who is left standing for the next installment is not for me to divulge.  Asked by the studio not to give away surprises, I will just say eventually there are some secrets, hidden agendas, and ulterior motives that are revealed.

As for the cast, I think after Monster, Young Adult, and Snow White and the Huntsmen, Charlize Theron would be sick of playing cold bitches and would want to sink her teeth into something entirely different and rewarding.

Noomi Rapace is no Sigourney Weaver, but she gives this role her all, grabbing your attention as a sci fi heroine. The standout, undoubtably, is Michael Fassbender, delivering a brilliant, subtle, and controlled performance as David, a cross between Spielberg's A.I. and 2001's H.A.L.

Yet, I couldn't help but wonder why the filmmakers passed on a great opportunity to cast Peter O' Toole as the old man. He wouldn't have needed make up to age him and his casting would have been seen as a clever, in joke from the actor who portrayed Lawrence of Arabia.

I can only hope the lack of explanations and questions not answered in this Alien prequel will be  further explored or resolved in the sequel. Based on the closing scene, it doesn't take faith nor having to be a rocket scientist, to realize there will be one.

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