I honestly had no idea what to write about this week, so I figured I'd review the most recent film I saw: Prometheus. I will try not to spoil the film for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but I'll give hints about the plot and the themes it relies on.
So, here we go...
- You can go in viewing it as the first (hopefully) of a series of prequels to the 1979 film Alien.
- You can go in viewing it as a stand-alone film.
To be honest, I don't recommend the second option, and I'll explain why throughout the review. In the end, while a set of sequels to Prometheus might not occur, it cannot be viewed as a stand-alone film due to the way the story progresses.
The film begins with a montage of beautiful scenery on a planet (whether it be Earth or some distant planet, it doesn't matter; form your own opinion on that) that seems untouched by living creatures. Then we see something happen. A sacrifice? A form of creation? A catalyst for evolution? Who knows, but you see it and you're instantly intrigued, thinking: What the hell just happened? Well, that question isn't answered right away, so you just keep it in your mind.
The film then changes location to the giant ship Prometheus where a robot named David (brilliantly played by Michael Fassbender) is keeping the ship in working order and learning all he can while its crew is in cryogenic sleep. When they all awaken soon after, it is revealed to the crew what their mission really is (two years after agreeing to join the mission). They are attempting to make contact with humanoid aliens that have left their mark throughout the ancient world. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are the ones hoping to make contact, while Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) so obviously believes she's in charge of the mission. To be fair, she has reason to believe this since her father was the founder of the tech company (Weyland Corp.) funding the whole thing.
Not long after this, they arrive on the planet to find monuments built in a long valley and choose to go out and explore one of them. This is where they find the room shown in the picture (right).
The motives of all the characters are one of the most intriguing aspects of this film, but that's not the only thing keeping you in your seat and munching on popcorn. The implications of the discovery of possible alien life are greater. Throughout this film, the meaning of life and its origins motivate decisions and drive the plot to its open conclusion.
As a prequel, it ties in well with Alien by examining questions that many fans might've been asking for the past thirty-three years. This promotional image (below, left) hints at the answer to one of the most puzzling parts of the 70s film: The Space Jockey.
Do we get answers? I can say that we don't get answers as to the Space Jockey found in the 70s film, but you do learn what the creature is.
In the end, die hard Alien fans might be disappointed by the revelations about the franchise's universe scattered throughout this film. But, there's still much more to learn. All we can hope for is a sequel that answers more of our burning questions, and the questions that have been plaguing Alien fans for decades.
As a prequel, this film astonishes fans and newcomers alike with interesting questions (which rarely get answered) and complex themes that leave audiences pondering and guessing long after they've left the theater. It is visually stunning and has just the right amount of suspense to show a change from the 1979 film that "started it all," while also giving a great balance of horror/suspense and sci-fi. All in all, it deserves an 8 out of 10.
As a stand-alone, there's no real sense of understanding, which leaves audiences confused. But, it's visually stunning and raises interesting philosophical questions about the meaning of life and its origin. It tests beliefs and challenges the viewer to think outside the box. All in all, it deserves a 6 out of 10.