by Christian Becker
Many have hailed director Ridley Scott as the master of Sci-Fi. Two of his films, Alien and Blade Runner, have become such cult hits and are loved by many that when he announced he would be making a brand new sci-fi film that would be a tie-in to Alien, people went nuts. I, for one, was only mildly excited. As much as a respect Ridley Scott as a filmmaker, very few films of his have really impressed me. I like Alien and Blade Runner, but not as much as your average film buff. His recent films haven’t really won me over either. Yes, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down are great, but he also made A Good Year, Body of Lies, and Robin Hood, all of which were really underwhelming. So, in the end, with the spectacular looking effects and talented cast, I was undeniably looking forward to Prometheus, but not as much as others.
The film has a lot of smart and profound questions being for the audience. Where did we come from? What is our purpose? Who are our creators and who made them? All of these questions and more are addressed by science today in the real world and often cook up debates between religious groups. Because of these questions, the movie only ends up being marginally intelligent because it ultimately comes to “the easy way out” by saying we just simply do not know. Even if it’s not the groundbreaking adventure audiences were hoping for, there is still plenty of fun to be had. The visuals are nothing short of stunning. From the opening credit sequence going through a barren landscape to the final frame, I was hooked by the look and style of the film alone. It’s actually really cool to think about what in the movie is real and what is not, effects-wise. Scott is a big believer in creating an authentic atmosphere in his films and a lot of the ships scenes and explorations where actually sets and locations as opposed to lazy green screen.
Another positive is the performances. There was not a weak link in the cast to be found. Everyone from Noomi Rapace (the film’s lead) to Michael Fassbender gives it their all and really brings life to the story. I want to take a minute to go over Fassbender’s character, David, and why I love him so much. A whole essay could really be written on his character alone, but I’ll keep this short. The idea of the film is all about the origin story of human kind. David is not a human. He is in fact an android created by the man funding the expedition to space. Sorry if that’s a spoiler to some of you, but it was made clear many times even before the release of the film. David’s introduction reminded me very much of the Pixar film, Wall-E. While all the other crew members aboard the ship are sedated in their pods, David mans the ship and tries to learn all he can about what it means to be human. Emotion is something he can never have, but he tries to understand it anyway. His motives are much different then anyone else in the movie and the world through his eyes is a really intriguing one. Other noteworthy performances come from Charlize Theron as the ship supervisor. It’s clear she doesn’t care about the mission or the people on it, all we know is that she’s in charge and will kill if she has to. The characters really made the movie for me and kept it grounded for most of the time. Some of the characters however, are should not be scientists. If you are stupid enough to poke and taunt an little alien baby from the ground, maybe you shouldn’t be in space.
If you talk to someone who didn’t like it, you’ll probably hear them talk how to many questions were left unanswered and there were just to many plot holes in the script for it to be a smart sci-fi. Well, I can’t argue that the script has issues, some things take place and different alien species are introduced that I feel weren’t really necessary to the story and just ended up complicating things. The unanswered questions part didn’t really bother me as much. Some would call it lazy screenwriting and others would call it artistic intentions. I don’t think it is either one, I just think we have to 1). Wait for a sequel to help tie things together, or 2). Accept that we don’t need answers for everything presented to us. I love when a movie has some mystery to it and doesn’t spoon feed it’s audience what they want to hear all the time. Answers are nice, but think about the crew in the actual film. They didn’t get the answers they were searching for (or at least wanted to hear) either. The ideas and questions this movie presents may not always have a clear cut answer, because people view life in different ways.
Is it the masterpiece many had been hoping for? No. But I for one enjoyed it. With the visuals, characters, performances, and daring questions, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would a few months ago. People will be split on it no doubt. Some will hate it, some will love it, and some will be mixed. I’d say I’m somewhere between love it and mixed. With a summer that has been somewhat underwhelming so far, this is one movie that got my heart pumping when others failed to.