June 15, 2012 by Matthew T.
Director: Ridley Scott
Media Reviewed: 3D – In Theatre
It’s shaping up to be one hell of a successful summer for the Hollywood film industry. First THE AVENGERS assembled their way to a record-breaking $200.3 million opening weekend, and now, before the dust could even settle, Ridley Scott’s PROMETHEUS hit theatres. It’s a film so highly anticipated, hopeful rumours of its existence have been buzzing around the internet for years; a prequel to the movie that made it abundantly clear: in space, no one can hear you scream. With so much hype surrounding it, and with so many early (and mixed) reviews pouring in, I’ll admit I was nervous as the film began. Though I can’t really consider myself a top-calibre ALIEN fan like some people I’ve met, I do love the diversity and consistent quality of the films (alright, alright, RESURRECTION was the exception, I’ll admit). However, I’m pleased to report back: PROMETHEUS was absolutely brilliant.
Reader beware, this review is unfortunately not spoiler free.
PROMETHEUS is without a doubt the most visually stunning movie I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Beautifully animated CGI elements flowed flawlessly from one scene to the next, and interacted seamlessly with the real-life actors and elements onscreen. And while I wish I could say that the true stars of the film were the incredibly talented team behind the animation, in this film they were equally matched by the compelling story, the stunning ensemble cast, and the masterful direction of Ridley Scott. Perhaps the one thought above all others that continually lept to the forefront of my mind was simply the awe at how Mr. Scott has evolved into a director of such control and skill. He is a storyteller through-and-through, with the vision to bring his tales to life in a way that few directors can do. PROMETHEUS is an undeniably engrossing film: it is difficult to not be drawn into its fantastic world of alien terrain and terrifying creatures.
Be advised, this is more than a summer popcorn flick. Though it has all the visual action and excitement to satisfy the average filmgoer, there is an underlying substance to the movie that begs the viewer to consider deep and fundamental questions pertaining to our existence. It is these very questions which form the core plot. Two scientists, Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green), discover a commonality in the artwork of primitive cultures. Though isolated from each other by time and location, their art reveals similar drawings of unknown tall humanoids and a set of stars which they identify to be halfway across the Universe. Funded by the Weyland Corporation, they travel for years through space, frozen in cryostasis and awaiting the arrival of their far-off destination. When they finally land, they begin their search for the most primal and important question human civilization has, and will ever face: where did we come from, who created us, and, perhaps most important: why?
The events that follow read like pages torn from the “Worst Case Survival Guide: Intergalactic Edition”. It’s just one crushing catastrophe after another as the crew is separated and eliminated, but without the hardships, we would never have the opportunity to see Noomi Rapace channel the spirit and strong femininity that we came to expect from Sigourney Weaver (though Ripley never had quite the same opportunity to be so clear on the topic of pro-choice.) Even bearing a striking physical resemblance from certain angles, her performance as Elizabeth Shaw was an all-around joy to watch.
Yes, PROMETHEUS has impressive scenes of ships exploding, people dying (in surprisingly) gruesome ways, aliens bursting from internal cavities and other visceral treats (who wants to play in the surgery machine?) But that’s not the only reason why it was so great. It was a movie about faith, determination, differing perceptions, and the definition of humanity. It fearlessly painted a picture of an imperfect future — and yet, despite the violence and the horror, it is a future I believe we would all want to be a part of. It raised unanswerable questions and, appropriately, left them unanswered. We can only speculate as to what purpose we all serve on this earth, during this lifetime, but the quest itself is what keeps us alive. Much like Elizabeth Shaw, we carry on, always reaching for an answer that lies just behind the horizon.