Prometheus: In space, no one can hear you thinkJune 8, 2012 @ 12:50 pm (Updated: 2:46 pm - 6/8/12 )
Director Ridley Scott has finally delivered a follow-up to his 1979 sci-fi blockbuster "Alien." It's not a sequel though (there have already been four or five) but a prequel set a few decades before the original.
The first thing that everyone who ever saw the original Alien movie remembers is the alien bursting out of the chest of the poor unfortunate spaceship crew member (John Hurt.) And the question is ... can Ridley Scott top that in "Prometheus." The quick answer is no, but he comes close.
This new traumatic scene involves an onboard unwanted pregnancy that lacks the element of surprise that the original had, but it more than makes up for it in graphic and gross detail.
Okay, now on to less important things, like how's the overall movie? "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." That best sums up "Prometheus" for me. The film looks great, and the production values are top-notch, but try as Ridley Scott might, and believe me he tries mightily, he can not make "Prometheus" anything more significant than a suspenseful action flick in space.
Now that may sound pretty dismissive but I must stress that the "sound and fury" components of "Prometheus" deserve lots of praise.
Scott's 3-D creation of a faraway planet is spectacular, a landscape so believable it looks like something out of National Geographic. The Prometheus spaceship which whisks a crew of scientists to this distant planet is a souped-up, top-of the line version of every spaceship interior you've ever seen on film, with glistening sleeping pods, living quarters with walls that look like the outdoors, and the highest of high-tech medical facilities which allow for do-it-yourself surgery.
If what you want in a sci-fi film is a sense of what it must feel like to travel in space and to explore for the first time a distant planet, then this movie delivers the goods.
But Ridley Scott is not content with just creating a rollicking sci-fi adventure. He wants "Prometheus" to be important, to be philosophical, to be profound. The movie wants to raise questions about man's origins. Do we have a creator and if so who or what is he? And why would he/she create us? What is our purpose in life?
Those are the provocative questions that drive the planetary exploration of our heroine played by The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo actress Noomi Rapace. (It's no accident she's a Christian archeologist who's fascinated with issues of faith and science.) The problem is the movie not only doesn't answer any of these questions, it never even seriously grapples with any of the challenging ideas it floats so cavalierly. As a result, the movie feels undercooked, or half-baked intellectually.
In the end, I'm left with the sense that Ridley Scott wants the reap the benefits of sounding profound without having to earn it. The slogan for "Alien" was "In space, no one can hear you scream." For "Prometheus," I propose "In space, no one can hear you think."
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