Saturday, June 9, 2012
My Thoughts on Prometheus
SPOILER ALERTS: I am trying not to reveal anything about this movie, but I am not sure what other people have not been able to glean from the trailers. If you have not seen it yet, you may want to skip this post for now.
The Alien movies have been my favorite series of all time. The first two in particular are masterpieces. But for much different reasons. The following movies and the crossover movies with the Predator franchise are not nearly as entertaining, but are still decent enough that I have watched them all multiple times. The xenomorph, the creature from these movies, is one of the greatest movie monsters of all time. The xenomorph is a creature that gestates inside a human host and eats its way out and then becomes a nearly unstoppable killing machine with acid for blood. What an incredible idea. There have been several imitators over the years, but nothing nearly as impressive.
So of course I was excited when I found out that Ridley Scott would be returning to the Alien franchise to direct a prequel to the classic. Prometheus was originally planned to be a direct prequel to Alien. And then word started going around that the story line had changed quite a bit and that there would be few, if any links, to the Alien movies. To be honest, I always viewed this as a way to temper expectations. Misinformation is common these days when the internet has allowed leaks of scripts and spoilers and there are some movies you simply should not know that much about prior to seeing it. Prometheus is absolutely one of those movies.
Prometheus seeks to answer some of the big questions in life such as where we come from. It turns out that a race of space-traveling beings have created life on Earth. The skeleton of one such being was seen in the beginning of the original Alien. So right away there is a clear link with the movies. Drs. Shaw and Holloway are our main protagonists here as scientists seeking the answer to the big question. They find that societies isolated from each other in time and space have all created art with the same lineup of stars. And they seek out that lineup eventually finding a moon with the capacity to sustain life.
Faced with the excitement of finally discovering where mankind came from, they convince Peter Weyland of Weyland Corporation (another link to the Alien franchise as Weyland Yutani is the faceless "Company" Ripley railed against throughout the first three movies) to fund a mission to the moon to uncover life's secrets. Unfortunately things go very wrong from there.
I will not reveal more about the plot. The movie is remarkably intelligent as it deals with issues of faith and humanity and dealing with the aftermath of finding answers that are not what was expected or desired. This is not an anti-religious movie as it still does not answer where the other race came from, but nevertheless there will be some people upset with the general plot.
The questions of humanity are dealt with extremely well with the android character David. Androids have been very important in the Alien movies with Ash, Bishop, and Call being intriguing characters with shady motivations for the most part. David is played by the amazing Michael Fassbender, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. Fassbender portrays David as a somewhat naive yet oddly sinister individual whose true motivations are never quite clear. He questions the reasons that Shaw and Holloway are so interested in finding their true origins.
The performances here are quite impressive. And with a cast including Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Fassbender, and Idris Elba, the performances should be impressive.
Prometheus has revitalized the Alien franchise. There are other links to the franchise. Some creatures do appear throughout as the movie wears on that, while not actually xenomorphs, are clearly related. It becomes quite clear that the xenomorph is not the insect-like being we came to know from the second movie on, but something much more interesting. This is a refreshing movie that may lead to a new franchise. I am intrigued.