What would today’s cinema be like without “Alien”? The 1979 film certainly reinvented the science fiction genre, paving the way for suspenseful yet intriguing movies such as “Jurassic Park” and “Avatar.” It also jump-started the career of director Ridley Scott, who went on to make classics like “Blade Runner” and “Gladiator.” Yes, “Alien” certainly is an important film, which is why a prequel helmed by Scott himself should be a must-see. “Prometheus” easily could have flopped, but it instead proved to be a splendid mix of mystery, fright, and action very much on par with the director’s original film.
After finding the same star map within a number of ancient civilizations, archeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway lead a space expedition aboard the ship “Prometheus” to hopefully find the extraterrestrial creators of the human race. While Shaw and Holloway had noble intentions for their mission, it is evident that the corporation funding the trip (represented by devious Meredith Vickers and android David) has ulterior motives, and the entire crew cannot seem to get along. Yet those problems pale in comparison to the ones they encounter upon landing on the destined planet. The aliens they meet there are nothing like they imagined, and the once-scientific exploration soon becomes a fight for survival.
Though it has been three decades since Scott entered the science fiction world, the iconic director demonstrates with “Prometheus” that he has not lost his skillful touch for the genre. The film is very compelling – from the first scene onward audiences will be engaged in figuring out the mysteries surrounding both the crew of the “Prometheus” and the aliens, never knowing what exactly will happen next. It is also refreshing to see a movie that does not rely on shocks, instead generating fear through the horror of the situation that the crew is in. Of course, for fans of the “Alien” franchise, “Prometheus” is especially significant as it answers many questions from the previous films, most notably revealing the origin of those deadly creatures.
The cast of the film was all-around spectacular. Noomi Rapace, best known as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from the original Swedish films, very well could launch a successful Hollywood career after playing Shaw. Rapace embodies the character’s true faith in her work and religion, even while struggling to cope with the tragedies surrounding her. Charlize Theron shows why she is one of the most in-demand actresses working today with her portrayal of Vickers, giving her layers beneath the cold and calculating surface and thus adding to the character’s mystique. Especially outstanding is Michael Fassbender as David, an emotionless android whom Fassbender plays as a charming sociopath. The performances of Rapace, Theron, Fassbender, and the rest of the actors made an excellent film into a truly great one.
While best appreciated after viewing “Alien,” “Prometheus” works effectively as a stand-alone film and can satisfy even casual science fiction fans. It very well could reshape the genre just as the original did over three decades ago.
The Setonian gives this movie 5 out of 5 stars!
Sean Quinn can be reached at email@example.com.