Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall
There are enough loose ends in life; who needs more via cinema? While few enjoy being jerked around by a convoluted plot there are also the films that don’t merely let you sit back, relax and enjoy the show; you’ve got to work for your entertainment. However, in Prometheus’ case, director Ridley Scott offers up the best of both worlds. You could put yourself on cruise control and enjoy an alien action movie, but it’s highly recommended to watch this one with a keen eye as the details are a stimulant, heightening that action and making Prometheus a notably enthralling experience regardless of some loose ends.
The year is 2089. Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) have added yet another finding to their collection of symbols drawn repeatedly by entirely separate ancient civilizations. They deduce that these symbols are a star map and Weyland Corporation founder, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), opts to fund their expedition to a location pinpointed on this map.
Fast-forward to the year 2093. The crew of the Prometheus, including Elizabeth and Charlie, are waking up from an extended sleep during which, an android named David (Michael Fassbender), monitored the ship’s trip to a moon on that very map. Shortly after arriving, they spot structures and the ship’s captain, Janek (Idris Elba), sets Prometheus down nearby. With Elizabeth and Charlie at the helm, a group of crewmembers venture inside one construction to find what Elizabeth dubs “engineers” and believes preceded humanity.
Prometheus isn’t just any old alien movie. It’s a movie that strives to answer one of the biggest seemingly unanswerable questions; where did we come from? Not an easy task for a film that clocks in at just over two hours. However, as said by David in the film, “big things have small beginnings,” and writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof take a similar approach to the plot.
While the grand scheme of things is never undermined, Elizabeth’s story is at the core of this movie, grounding it considerably. She’s an admirable character and benefits further from Rapace’s magnetism on screen. Elizabeth is incredibly enthusiastic about the mission and as the story is told from her perspective, the same is true of her audience. Her introduction and the scenes that kick off the material in 2093 catch us up to speed, but from that point on, we’re discovering right along with her and, just as she’s desperate to reach one more chamber or bring back one more specimen, so are we and that intrigue propels a viewer through more than half of the film.
With many more crewmembers of the Prometheus beyond Elizabeth and Charlie, it should come as no surprise that everyone has their own agenda and those agendas spawn additional, but well-connected sub-situations. We’ve got the ship’s all-business mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) who, much to Elizabeth and Charlie’s chagrin, puts a firm foot down to show she’s in charge, a skeptical and antagonistic geologist named Fifield (Sean Harris) and the goal’s an ailing Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) set out before the team even embarked on their mission. Rather than go through the plot from one person’s perspective, we get a taste of the stakes bearing down on a number of players, providing a multidimensional view of the mission.
While this does help make Prometheus particularly well rounded, the format does send a ton of information your way at a very swift pace, particularly towards the tail end of the film. While all of the characters’ sub-stories are coming to a head, Prometheus kicks into high gear, upping the action to a near manic state. Questions crop up during this time period that sadly go answered, but the film takes on such a tense and terrifying tone, that you’re far too enthralled by the action to even want the chance to breathe and take it all in.
And that’s a power Prometheus as a whole has over each and every production aspect of the film. I generally try to keep a keen eye on all of the steps of the filmmaking process, but there’s no viewing Prometheus as the product of filmmakers; Scott is notably successful at pulling a viewer into this world. This isn’t a movie for time-checking or bathroom breaks. The moment it starts you’re right in the midst of it alongside Elizabeth, not a single thing capable of averting your attention from the mission. Perhaps that does speak to other elements like production design, camerawork and music; they all feel incredibly natural and, in turn, make Prometheus feel real.
There are quite a few inexplicable plot points and a number of questions that go unanswered, but it’s somewhat appropriate. Scott and co. striking a captivating balance between detail and action-packed entertainment. Prometheus is a movie that forces you to be intellectually invested, but not to the point of exhaustion and, in turn, delivers a remarkably enthralling experience.