Saturday, June 09, 2012


The hype surrounding Prometheus has long been that it is a prequel to the Alien franchise. Director/Producer Ridley Scott admitted that the movie would be set in the same universe as the Alien series, but Prometheus would have it's own themes and mythology.

At first, Prometheus seems to stay true to the idea that Alien and Prometheus truly are separate entities. The opening sequence is wholly terrestrial with stunningly beautiful scenery. It shows a UFO that is more in line with pop-sych sightings than anything from the original Alien trilogy, and it introduces the first alien creature - one that does not resemble the creepy xenomorph we were introduced to in 1979's Alien.

The first few minutes of film prescribes to the extraterrestrial seeding origin of life theory - drawing heavy inspiration from the ancient astronauts pseudoscience. Scientists Elizabeth (Rapace) and Charlie (Marshall-Green) discover evidence in an ancient Scottish cave that points to a species of aliens that came to our planet and visited every pre-civilized culture on Earth. They interpret this evidence as a road map and embark on a quest to meet their makers.

Enter the Weyland Corporation. These two scientists convince the insanely wealthy Peter Weyland (Pearce), founder and CEO of Weyland Corporation, to fund an expedition to a distant Earth-like planet to seek our creators, beings they call Engineers.

From the first moment you see the craft Prometheus floating through space, the look and feel of the movie begins to seem reminiscent of earlier films in the franchise. The exploration of the domed structures is similar to the reconnaissance in the underground Antarctic pyramid from Alien vs. Predator. The phallic symbolism is as apparent in Prometheus as it was in the first Alien movie. The Engineer ship is the same as the aliens ship. The snakes in the oily goo look like the chest bursters. There are face huggers and ugly baddies. And an android with ulterior motives.

In fact, motives play a huge role in Prometheus. Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts (screenwriters) and Ridley Scott gave each of the characters a reason to be on that voyage. Everyone serves a purpose even if that purpose is to be the first to die.

I don't want to spoil too much of the plot or ruin any of the surprises because there are a few decent plot twists that breathe new life into the Alien franchise that was missing in the utterly bizarre Alien Resurection and the hokey pair of AvP films. While Scott would have you believe this movie was intended to be a prequel in only the vaguest sense of the word, the final scene makes it abundantly clear; we are watching something that belongs in the Alien mythos.

Prometheus is a must see for SciFi fans and those that enjoy scary movies. Some of the biggest moments of terror were rehashed from earlier Alien movies so those moments that were intended to be the most frightening have lost a bit of its bite. But there are some genuine shocks and scenes that are still tense and horrifying.

While the movie has superb cinematic sequences and a captivating story, it won't find broad appeal beyond genre fans. It's not the kind of movie that my wife would enjoy and it is definitely not for the squeamish.

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