Prometheus is a visual feast
Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and Charlize Theron. Rated 14A. Opens Friday, June 8, at the Ridge Theatre
One might wish that after 33 Earth years, Alien director Ridley Scott had been enticed back to where no one can hear you scream by something wittier than the rather flat script of newcomer Jon Spaihts and Lost writer Damon Lindelof. But there can be no faulting the visual imagination that went into Prometheus.
Named after the Greek Titan banished for sharing fire with mere mortals, both the spectacular semiprequel and the ship that provides its main location are questing for the origins of humanness itself. Spanish-Swedish actor Noomi Rapace (the original Dragon Tattoo girl) makes a very strong impression as the amazingly resilient Elizabeth Shaw, a scientist who, along with her partner (the less memorable Logan Marshall-Green), has discovered links between long-ago pre-civilizations and protohumans from another, less scream-prone, part of the universe.
Having convinced a big corporation to fund their journey, the researchers arrive, cryogenically frozen, in 2093 (three decades before Ripley’s first Alien encounter) at the faraway planet, which Scott places in “Location: Undisclosed”—probably so we won’t bother them after seeing the movie.
In a mostly U.K.–based cast, the standouts are Snow White’s Charlize Theron, still in ice-queen mode as the mission’s sleek corporate boss, and German-born Michael Fassbender, superb as the resident android whose increasingly dubious actions are driven by curiosity, not compassion. It’s surely no coincidence that he is called David, same as the astronaut paired with devious HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Fassbender even looks like Keir Dullea, and, speaking of bad aging makeup, the two-hour movie’s biggest misstep is putting Guy Pearce under tons of latex to play the funding outfit’s ancient leader. Far better to offer the job to, perhaps, Peter O’Toole, with whom David is obsessed after watching Lawrence of Arabia countless times in transit.
The smartest thing about Prometheus, after the delicious, H. R. Giger–inspired 3-D design (all those fallopian tunnels lined with evil-filled jelly jars), is the DNA it shares with classic movies in multiple genres. Of course, it also shares with dumb flicks of the 1950s the propensity for introducing two-dimensional characters born to be blood sausage for monsters, here seen as tentacled slimeoids that—well, you’ll want to see for yourselves, yes?
Watch the trailer for Prometheus.