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June 11, 2012

3

Prometheus

by Franz Patrick


Prometheus (2012)
★★★★ / ★★★★

Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) find yet another cave full of paintings, this time in Scotland’s Isle of Skye, of early people worshipping a tall, human-like figure that points to the sky, which strengthens their theory that the answer in terms of who created us can be found somewhere in outer space. The handful of paintings, when digitally put together, create a map that points to a solar system with a planet and multiple moons surrounding the sun. Four years later, Drs. Shaw and Holloway, along with Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the woman assigned to represent the interests of Weyland Corporation, the sponsor of the project, and her crew of engineers and scientists, land on one of the moons, LV-226, with hopes of encountering our Creator.

Despite the inevitable plot holes in “Prometheus,” collateral damage when the script is daring enough to ask the big questions about our existence, the film provides entertainment for those who prefer to engage their senses on the level of popcorn entertainment as well as for the ones who enjoy to think beyond what is shown on screen. Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Linderlof, the film has many encompassing themes, from religion versus Darwinism, self-interest versus self-sacrifice, finding answers to questions that perhaps are not meant to be discovered, among others, but what I was most fascinated with is the sense of powerlessness imposed upon the human characters because it allows us to relate to them on a subconscious level.

Given its ambitious scope, there is not enough time to get to know all of their stories–Shaw’s is touched upon once in a while but never delved into–and why they agree to participate in the mission–although it is quite obvious from the tension among them that each has his and her own motivations. It cannot be any simpler that we want to see the explorers survive and go home in one piece because they are human. From the moment we see David (Michael Fassbender), a cyborg created and treated by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) as his own son, taking care of the ship’s crew while they remain in stasis, a period of inactivity because the trip from Earth requires two years, there is a portentous feeling in the air. Perhaps David has too much time on his hands and is becoming too smart for his own good. The lives of the men and women are in the hands of a robot capable of very human qualities like forming its own thoughts and changing its agendas.

Furthermore, not one alien, unless it takes control of a vessel, is ever killed as if what we are watching is a splatter-fest picture. Instead, the majority of the focus is on the exploration within a gargantuan domed structure and the eventual repercussions of not stopping to think whether an action should be done just because it can be done. For instance, just because a character can touch the black liquid substance oozing from a vase-shaped metal, does not meant he should. The picture is clear in relaying the message that an unmanageable human curiosity can sometimes lead to powerlessness. And powerlessness can lead to horror.

“Prometheus,” directed by Ridley Scott with joy and elegance, also preys on our curiosity as an audience. One of the best scenes in the film involves “tricking” a dead thing that it is still “alive.” There should have been a camera recording my face as it changed from excited, gleeful curiosity to contorted horror in a span of ten seconds. It would have been comedy gold. Packed with beautiful cinematography, especially when the camera pulls back and forces us to pay attention to the landscape, the film’s every corner feels vibrant with possibilities. And I think that’s the point. The more questions we come up with, out of frustration, disappointment, or to further immerse ourselves in its mythology, the stronger it ties in to the idea that wanting answers defines us as a species.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jun 12 2012

    I have been thinking about this almost non-stop since I saw it on Sunday morning. I left the theater unsure of how I felt, but knew I liked the movie. Now that I’ve been thinking about it (and reading more about it) I have a much deeper appreciation of the finer details that were glossed over on screen but critical to the development of the film (and the Alien series).
    I need to see it again after I rewatch the Alien series.

    Reply
    • Jun 14 2012

      I revisited “Alien” and “Aliens” (ignoring the rest) the same day after I watched “Prometheus” and I have to say that it’s a very welcome change. After my marathon, I loved the movie even more because Scott steered away from the typical formula that made the series so popular. To my surprise (and I know I’m in the minority), I prefer “Prometheus” over “Aliens” while the first one remains king.

      Reply
      • Jun 15 2012

        I plan on watching Alien and Aliens (and maybe even Alien 3 if I have time) while Prometheus is still fresh. I’ve always had a soft spot for Aliens since I saw it first…But it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen them.

        Reply

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