Prometheus (2012)

“Big things have small beginnings.”“Big things have small beginnings.”

“Big things have small beginnings.”

At any moment during the writing of this review I fully expect an alien head to burst through my chest cavity thus unleashing the Xenomorph on the planet Earth causing the end of the human race as we know it. So, bear with me and if you happen to read the next review I publish, then I survived, and the apocalypse never happened. Alien is a one of those franchises that have shaped a genre into what it is today. There are several sci-fi films and franchises that have the staying power and recognizability as Alien has. Star Wars, Blade Runner, The Lord of the Rings & 2001: A Space Odyssey are but a few of those examples.

Just like the Star Wars Saga did with the prequel trilogy, Alien is following in its footsteps with Prometheus – an origin story that some have no need for. If the story is bad, we still have the originals to rewatch over and over again but if the origin story is good, even better – we all win in the end. Prometheus is the name of the spacecraft that is funded by billionaire Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce). Peter has also created a humanoid android named David (Michael Fassbender) to be the crafts devil’s advocate if the crew encounters alien life.

Prometheus is an interesting concept for an origin that has big shoes to fill for director Ridley Scott since he directed the first Alien film. It’s a safe choice for him to direct but it’s also a good idea since he knows the property well enough to do a prequel of this caliber justice. The mission is to seek out the origin of humanity but instead discover a deadly threat that could end humankind. Among the crew are Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), Janek (Idris Elba) & Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). 

“Final report of the vessel Prometheus. The ship and her entire crew are gone. If you’re receiving this transmission, make no attempt to come to its point of origin. There is only death here now, and I’m leaving it behind. It is New Year’s Day, the year of our Lord, 2094. My name is Elizabeth Shaw, the last survivor of the Prometheus. And I am still searching.”

Prometheus is also the titan god of fire in Greek mythology. In the tale, Prometheus defies the gods and gifts humanity with fire, but the Gods wished to limit their creations (humanity) in case any attempt to usurp was planned. This is one of the major themes that is prominent in this origin film. An expedition is sent out to the stars to gain knowledge of their creator but instead find a superior being while the crew of the space craft suffer from the discovery. 

Scott’s uses of artificial intelligence are noted throughout his career as a director. David is a prime example of that use because as much as David is a creation of humans, he doesn’t want to be like them, and the crew constantly reminds David that he is an android. Fassbender’s performance as the android is particularly intriguing as he is able to tap into that robotic nature with his body language and cadence in his dialogue. 

Prometheus is a slow burn – majority of the film is used as a set up for future events to come. The action is there that we all expect with a film in this franchise to have giving a satisfactory payoff. The Alien franchise is known to be scary and even truly terrifying – that’s where it gets its good name in the genre, but Prometheus isn’t that frightening. I should know since I’m not a fan of horror movies myself. There aren’t any jump scares that the horror genre is known for and sometimes the deaths that come are somewhat predictable. 

“These are images of archaeological digs all over the Earth: ancient civilizations that shared no contact. And yet, the same pictogram on every last one of them.”

This film’s true strength is in its stunning visual work and CGI. The scenery is out of this world (see what I did there) to behold and the effects are blended so ridiculously well that it’s difficult to spot where practical and computer images start and finish. In a world full of technological advances with CGI some films benefit with the strict use of it where some can ultimately suffer. The Alien in Prometheus looks incredibly polished with its shiny skin and large amounts of saliva.

As much as Prometheus looks pretty, the humans that travel searching for answers are pretty dumb for scientists and doctors. Even if the air is favorable for humans to breathe in under no circumstance should you take your helmet off. You don’t know what dangers lurk in the shadows that could cause more damage and that’s exactly what happens. Fifield (Sean Harris) and Millburn (Rafe Spall) getting “Lost” according to Charlie, Elizabeth and David is a pretty substantial plot hole since the technology is so advanced. How could these two not be able to find their way back to the Prometheus when the entire cave is 3D scanned and communication to the craft is completely intact? Maybe Janek and Vickers were too busy having sex to worry about anything horrible happening.

Where the action does pick up when Shaw basically performs surgery on herself. There is a little disappointment that an alien head didn’t burst through her but the visuals are still gross enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen as the scene unfolds. How she recovered so quickly after a cesarean is beyond logic and science, maybe the technology is that advanced? Given that her character is deeply religious it is an interesting choice to go through a quasi-abortion as her religious views are what spurred her interest in joining the mission. 

The acting aside from Fassbender is average at best. Charlize is more robotic and she’s 100% human. Vickers is ruthless in her quest as the person in command, but she lacks any sort of development or personality. Janek is underutilized as a character as the ships pilot and his only task is to pilot. Vickers as a character has zero purpose to the story as a whole and just like most of the crew she’s just there to die.

Also, if you see an alien lifeform that is basically a cobra – you run like hell to escape it’s clutches not let it kill both of you in a span of 2 minutes. Just saying.

Overall, Prometheus is a visual powerhouse paired with jaw dropping effects, cinematography and landscapes. Michael Fassbender steals just about every scene he’s in acting more human than the actual humans that trekked on this expedition. The slower pace helps with the story as a whole but the whole point is to see the carnage that the alien creatures can unleash. If you haven’t seen any film in the Alien franchise, this is a good start if the wish is to view in chronological order. It’s a decent origin story that sets up the franchise despite all the inconsistencies. If I were to rate Prometheus, I’d rate it a 3 out of 5. 

So, tell me, have you seen Prometheus and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think. 

Prometheus is directed by Ridley Scott is Rated R and has an 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. Prometheus was released on August 16, 2012 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. Prometheus can be purchased on Retailers such as iTunes, Google, & Vudu.

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*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*

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