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Prometheus (Frank's take)

01/07/2012. Contributed by Frank Ochieng

Buy Prometheus in the USA - or Buy Prometheus in the UK

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Although Prometheus deserves its autonomy as a gorgeous and glossy piece of science fiction filmmaking steeped in imaginative imagery and exquisite escapism the reality remains that it is a promising prequel to the legendary moviemaking masterpiece in 1979’s sci-fi horror show Alien.

Look, one certainly cannot go wrong with that kind of cinematic connection and identification. Robust, thought provoking, sensationalistic and inventive in scope, Prometheus is an eye-popping spectacle worthy of its treasured affiliation with filmmaker Ridley Scott’s 33-year old classic creep caper from yesteryear.

It is only fitting that Scott is at the creative controls that steers Prometheus as an analytical epic grounded in visionary wonderment. As the mastermind behind such chilling and fast-paced popcorn pleasers such as the aforementioned Alien and 1982’s Blade Runner, Scott has not lost his tantalising touch in delivering a grand and gripping narrative that dares to explore its adventurous core. Prometheus is a space journey that packs a wallop in its mythical excitement. For ardent enthusiasts of the Alien film franchise, Scott’s current day space odyssey certainly fills a needed void.

Screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof deliver an intriguing narrative that possesses depth and cryptic curiosities that aptly compliment Scott’s diligent direction. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski’s actively stark photography is luscious and compelling. Prometheus is a welcomed throwback to the familiar territory Scott instinctively knows how to capture with absorbing, menacing mystique. The rousing and riveting psychological effects fall short of the incomparable Alien-esque expectations in originality. Nevertheless Prometheus still maintains its durable foundation as a spellbinding fantasy in Scott’s haunting universe.

The travellers aboard the ship Prometheus have a specific mission in mind: to visit a questionable distant planet that poses the pending forethought regarding humankind’s origins. Among the space-bound crew in search of key answers to our beginnings as human species is Dr. Elizabeth Snow (Noomi Rapace), a scientist whose exploration mission is funded by the Weyland Corporation. Joining her is fellow researcher (and romantic interest) Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). Weyland Corporation hard-nose consultant Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron, “Snow White and the Huntsman”) is along for the ride to oversee the space travelling operation for her investors.

The other personalities that make up the ship’s passengers include Captain Janek (Idris Elba, “Obsession”) and peculiar android David (Michael Fassbender) whose fascination with T.E. Lawrence of Lawrence of Arabia fame is a surrealistic hoot to say the least. Meredith’s holograph superior in the late Weyland (Guy Pearce) makes an occasional appearance that is supportive of both Snow’s and Holloway’s planetary causes.

The sheer brilliance behind Prometheus may be its ambivalence to themes that are stubbornly abstract in the categories of faith, religion, creation, and of course the self-discovery of human characterization. The film is titillating in its majestic murkiness and atmospheric seediness. Scott is quite clever in assuring that the probing questions raised are never addressed in total absolution. The speculation is immense and involving. Also, Scott strikes a nice balance between the gory action sequences (although not as inspired or intense in Alien) and the conception of intrinsic belief systems.

The performances are solidly realized. Rapace is effectively vibrant as the idealistic scientist whose virtue, strength and courage is every bit as convincing as her Alien counterpart Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley. Theron’s cutthroat corporate cupcake Meredith Vickers is an absolute joy to watch. The breakout turn by Fassbender as the robotic David is completely memorable and may be as iconic and cultish along the lines of what Leonard Nimoy did for the pop cultural Mr. Spock in that world-wide phenomenon known as Star Trek.

Visually arresting and laced with intelligence and reflective insight, Prometheus is a sci-fi saga that replenishes the mind and soul with spiritual reinforcement. Prequels to established and revered cinema blueprints have not always emerged victorious as the stakes are high to preserve the integrity and interest of the cherished predecessor. It is refreshing to witness that Prometheus is contrary to this particular sentiment. Increasingly entertaining from start to finish, this gallant vessel certainly contains no ship of fools.

Prometheus (20th Century Fox)
2 hrs. 4 mins.
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green
Directed by: Ridley Scott
MPAA Rating: R
Genre: Science Fiction/Action Adventure Fantasy

Critic’s Rating: *** stars (out of 4 stars)

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