Thursday, June 07, 2012


by Reymundo Salao

First let me tell you right off from this point that this review will contain few minor spoilers at the end part of this article, so it would make sense to tell you now my verdict for PROMETHEUS, which really was a great movie; two thumbs up, I recommend it for those who love smart intellectual sci-fi movies AND lovers of sci-fi horror at the same time. There have only been a very few horror/suspense movies out there that have that capacity to really make their audiences scream in thrill. This movie had made me scream and shout at the movie's intense horror moments; it's something that not many movies can do anymore. I recommend this movie as a great watch with a crowd of friends that can scream with you inside the theaters in the horror moments, but can also shut up during the intellectual dialogues.

This movie was originally conceived to be just a prequel to ALIEN; the 1979 sci-fi horror classic directed also by Ridley Scott that spawned sequels and created a phenomenon which spread through comics, video games, and crossovers (its more popular one is the Alien vs Predator franchise). PROMETHEUS was originally meant to explore the origins of the Alien xenomorph. But Ridley Scott wanted to explore a much bigger storyline. He wanted to tell a grander story. Oh, you still have the alien xenomorph in a very very small role, but the movie's focus is not just on that thing. It's going to be like that upcoming Bourne Legacy movie that tells you that you will not see Jason Bourne in that movie, but it takes place in the same universe of the Bourne movies. In fact, just forget about the idea that this movie has anything to do with the Alien franchise, because it can stand well on its own feet.

The story of Prometheus begins with scientists discovering a pattern in ancient carvings that suggest that the beginnings of human civilization, or human existence itself, originated with alien beings from a distant solar system. Our scientists venture to that place in sheer scientific curiosity, to get some answers. But unbeknownst to them, the corporation that funds their expedition also would like to get their hands on whatever truth that might be discovered. They will soon find out that this expedition may lead them to inevitable doom. 

In the case of typically other movies, the concept of making a science fiction movie that intends to tell a deep, thought-provoking theme always runs the risk of being too boring for mainstream audiences. Movies like “Gattaca” and “Contact” are both movies that had told very deep intellectual stories, but they always get to be dismissed by mainstream audiences as dragging and too talky. Ridley Scott dodges this flaw with how he approaches Prometheus. He attempts to tell a really thought-provoking story, one that digs deep into where we as humans come from, while he also keeps the audience engaged in such an emotional mix of interest, curiosity, suspense, and thriller.

The first half gets you invested in the sheer amount of scientific curiosity as to what kind of beings our protagonists might meet. While the dialogues that elaborate on where we as humans come from were kept at a minimum, and there was really not enough oral discussion that plays with philosophies. On the other hand, the film seems to address that issue in a subtle and indirect manner via the character of David who is a robot, specifically on how the humans nonchalantly assume his robotic insensitivity and how David compares himself with humans; little scenes that many of you may pick-up as little bits of meaningful dialogue.

Once the movie takes its turn that leads you to horror, that curiosity is quickly mutated into thrill and paranoia. The movie reveals some few scary new creatures that will leave your face grimacing throughout many parts of the movie. Oh don’t worry that the alien xenomorph will be playing a tiny role; because the movie will introduce you to a nastier creature; one that will surely give you nightmares.

Michael Fassbender is spotlight-stealing amazing, and pretty much carries such a strong impact compared to the other characters. Charlize Theron is effectively cold and unsympathetic; I could not help but joke that she's the descendant of the Evil Queen in “Snow White & the Huntsman” which I just saw a few days before this. Guy Pearce is transformed into a really old man in this movie effectively. Idris Elba made me applaud him for such a clever booty call pick-up line in the movie. And then there's Noomi Rapace who does a great job as the movie's main protagonist. (Minor Spoilers coming up...)

If there was one tiny thing that I was kind of disappointed about; it was the fact that, yes, the movie does set out to answer some questions. But when we reach that climax point, the questions are not given much of a satisfying answer. It feels as if it answers it partially, but opens bigger questions to be answered. The movie ends with two reactions; one is that we will get to those answers in the sequel. My other reaction is: the journey to find out the truth is long and difficult. The characters set out to find out the truth, but many of them died before getting there. One character set out to find the truth so he could live forever. What he got was a quote from his daughter that a king retires; death is in the natural order of things.

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