This movie is an Alien prequel. Everyone knows that, right? Because I went to Prometheus with a friend who was under the impression that it was a modern adaptation of the Greek myth. She was unaware that there would be face hugging and stomach exploding, which is the reason we all go to Alien movies in the first place. So just to clarify, this is an Alien film and the name of their ship is Prometheus and the story is only slightly reminiscent of the myth:
A team of scientists travel to a distant world searching for the aliens they believe jumpstarted humanity and end up fighting to prevent humanity’s extermination.
Prometheus looked amazing in the trailers, but after my failure to like some of Ridley Scott’s other movies (Robin Hood, American Gangser, Blader Runner, etc.) I was cautious. But it was an Alien movie so of course I went, and it was totally awesome! Maybe even my favorite of the series.
Prometheus starts off the way most of the Alien movies do – with a group of scientists going somewhere to do science. This time it’s Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) leading the way.
Okay, so we’re going to land, get stuck, then be eaten one by one. Any questions?
They’re archaeologists who found some cave paintings in Scotland which match other cave paintings in other ancient cultures that all show the same thing: a giant person pointing at the star system they’re heading for, which they take to be an invitation.
Dear humans, we invite you to have your faces hugged and your stomachs exploded. Love – aliens.
Their team consists of a robot named David (Michael Fassbender), Janek (Idris Alba) a ship’s captain with too much common sense to be on a mission like this, and Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), a bitchy Weyland Corporation executive there to supervise the investment her boss Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) is making. And let me tell you – it is intensely satisfying when the bitchy woman dies.
VICKERS: Captain, what is that approaching??
CAPTAIN: I think it might be… karma?
Oh, and of course there are a cluster of expendable scientists (Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Kate Dickie), pilots (Emun Elliot, Benedict Wong), mechanics, and mercenaries who are a little too eager to touch things and essentially exist to be fodder for whatever weirdness is trying to kill them this time.
Aughhhh! My face! Why do I touch things??!
On the surface their mission is a straightforward first contact/archaeological dig, but it quickly becomes obvious that David’s either got an agenda of his own or they programmed him to be WAY too curious.
David? Should you be touching that?
I love Michael Fassbender, and he’s great here because throughout the movie I go from liking David (when Charlie the douchebag is making fun of him) to not liking him (when he starts touching too many weird alien things) to liking him again (in the end, when he makes a friend). Even though David supposedly doesn’t have emotions, he’s probably the most complex character in the film.
Also, he kind has a crush on the good doctor.
With all the poking of things that should be left alone, their mission quickly turns into a disaster and people start getting infected and/or hunted by mysterious alien entities. It’s always horrifying when aliens start working their alien magic in these movies but this one contains the most horrifying scene I’ve ever watched in this series: a character having to give themselves emergency unanaesthetized surgery. In fact, I was so riveted by this movie that I couldn’t tear my eyes away to write notes on it.
Also it’s hard to write when you’re unconsciously chewing your own hand off.
So it’s horrifying – check. But what set Prometheus apart for me was that it was so beautiful, even when horrible things were happening. The land, the skies, the sets, the special effects, they were all amazing. Like – I want to wallpaper my house with these photos amazing. And there was a really great musical theme to compliment it – sort of eerie but also hopeful.
Even the ship was totally cool, though it does look quite a bit like Serenity.
Prometheus also managed to end in such a way as to set up a sequel while at the same time bringing things around to where Alien can pick them up. And I’m glad. I want more. Now. So go see this movie and give Ridley Scott enough of your money to keep running with it. It’s frigging awesome.