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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 11, 2012

Prometheus Movie Review: A Stunning Prequel To 'Alien'

RIDLEY SCOTT has made films we really enjoyed: “Alien” (1979), “Blade Runner” (1982), “Thelma and Louise” (1991 – Brad Pitt’s breakthrough film), “Gladiator” (2000), “Black Hawk Down” (2001), “Hannibal” (2001) and the underrated “American Gangster” (2007) and “Body of Lies” (2008). He now comes up with another sci-fi movie, “Prometheus”, which could very well be considered as a prequel to “Alien”.

It starts with awe-inspiring panoramic shots of a beautiful landscape with majestic waterfalls, then shows a muscled white figure, not really human, eating something from a container that makes its veins bulge and causes it to fall down a waterfall, showing DNA strands that obviously stand for something. This is never fully explained, which makes you immediately aware that Scott is really aiming for a sequel.

We then see two scientists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace, the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall Green, more of a TV actor who appeared in “The O.C.”, “24”), finding in 2089 a pre-historic cave painting in Scotland’s Isle of Skye about a constellation also shown in other drawings of various ancient civilizations. Dr. Shaw believes it’s an invitation for man to discover its creators.

Weyland Industries then finances a two-year space journey that will take her and her crew to that distant universe on board the ship called Prometheus (culled from the Greek god who stole fire from heaven). They’re put to sleep in hibernation while travelling and is awakened by their robot butler, David (Michael Fassbender), as they near their destination. David has the power to look into the past memories of people, knows how to speak various languages and is a fan of Peter O’Toole in “Lawrence of Arabia”.

The crew is head by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), daughter of the owner of Weyland Industries, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce). The other members are Capt. Janek (Idris Elba), biologists Millburn (Rafe Spall) and Fifield (Sean Harris) who set out to explore a series of caves using gadgets that not only light up the caves interiors but maps out its tunnels.

In a hologram transmission, they saw figures running through the tunnel and helping them find the decapitated head of an alien that they take back to Prometheus. David also gets one of the containers inside the cave and secretly feeds a drop of its contents to Charlie, leading eventually to Charlie’s death while harbouring an alien inside his body. Why David does this is never made clear. Millburn and Fifield who are stranded inside the caves also become victims of an alien that looks like a woman’s sex organ. All of them will be astounded by more shocking revelations as the movie unfolds.

We don’t know why Noomi Rapace is chosen to play the lead role. We honestly think Charlize Theron could have done better in approximating Sigourney Weaver’s iconic role as Ripley in “Alien”. Just like Sigourney, Noomi is shown running around the ship in her undies, after she performs caesarean operation on herself to rip out an alien baby inside her tummy (this highlight is very well staged and is already worth half the price of admission.) The movie ends with Noomi, a believer who wears a crucifix, still searching about man’s creation and the perennial question about God as against science or evolution. This is another hint about a possible sequel.

Unfortunately for Noomi, she’s upstaged by Fassbender as the android, similar to Lance Henriksen’s Bishop in the “Alien” series and a nod to Hal in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” that obviously inspired Scott. Fassbender nails the role perfectly and elevates the movie with his wit and elan as the double-dealing factotum who seems to have his own hidden agenda.

Scott got a much bigger budget for this than “Alien” so he really goes to town and let’s his imagination take flight to create a grandiose ethereal look for his new environment on an epic scale. We saw this on IMAX 3D and it’s truly visually stunning, giving the film the sense and feel of a real sci-fi epic.