Prometheus

prometheusMy impressions of Prometheus are that the story-line in all Aliens sub-sets of movies must follow a checklist of prescribed events. The crew must be unaware of the evil lurking amongst them, and then suddenly be overcome by a strange and hideously grotesque alien life form. The theme of destruction from within is always coursing through the action sequences. We are always waiting for that horrible “thing” to come out of someone’s body. And knowing this, the good story-teller builds on the suspense. The horror is found in the evil that is like a plague surrounding the crew.

We know from the “get-go” that this crew is doomed. We are along for the ride to find out the “how” and the “why” and the “when”. The what and the where are all givens.

So…this movie is pretty good. Notice that I refrain from using the word “Great”. There could have been, as is the case with the cowbell, “more Charlize Theron”. She is one of the most interesting characters and is under-utilized. Guy Pearce is all but unknowable under the surprisingly fake looking old man makeup.

The captain, of the Prometheus ship, played by Idris Elba,plays his role perfectly and is also under-utilized.  Michael Fassbender is wonderful as David, the Robot. He dominates the first scenes, which are a clever little homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The cinematography in the opening shots is truly beautiful. The movie slides from here.

One of the strongest characters in the Alien trilogy of films is always the woman who must battle the Alien. This was masterfully played by Sigourney Weaver in two of the three Alien films. In Prometheus, the scientist/astronaut Elizabeth Shaw, played by the unknown actress Noomi Rapace, is the least memorable or interesting of all of the major characters. Rapace is the one that is tapped to carry the weight of much of the latter part of the film.  Apparently this role was the one Charlize Theron had intended to play originally. It was a big mistake, in my opinion, to switch the parts.

There are some interesting sequences, but the choice could have been better if Charlize Theron’s rather vapid character was given more heft. The Robot is an interesting character study, and that promising psychological fission is left largely unfulfilled as the action progresses predictably onward.

This is a good idea for a movie. The BladeRunner sequel that Director Ridley Scott is reportedly working on also sounds like a fantastic idea for a movie. But sometimes a great notion sounds better on paper. In this case, there is an okay movie about some forgettable characters that could have been something other.

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MLJ

Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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