Ridley Scott, now in his mid 70s, is responsible for some iconic films — Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise — and other truly wonderful movies, like Gladiator.
Prometheus might fall just short of Scott’s very best work, but it remains a very watchable and worthwhile film.
It reaches for the bleachers, but manages a deep in the corner triple, if I may use a baseball analogy.
This sci-fi prequel to the Alien franchise rates a very respectable three and a half saw blades.
We have Charlize Theron as a no-nonsense businesswoman in her best costume since Aeon Flux. This is her second role in as many weeks.
She is a hard case in Prometheus, hard enough on which to roller skate. But the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Noomi Rapace, takes the lead for sheer toughness. She has an automated Caesarian section, gets stapled together and can still leap chasms with ease.
Idris Elba, as the ship’s captain has perhaps the best developed character, mostly done with good acting and excellent direction.
The runaway plumb role is given to Michael Fassbender, who portrays the humanoid android with an appreciation for Lawrence of Arabia. The acting is well above average all around, I thought.
And the space-scapes created by Ridley Scott are nothing short of spectacular. There is a segment where the earth people accidentally touch off a galaxy scale planetarium that is wonderful — that is full of wonder. Scott has done some really beautiful, eye-pleasing filmmaking. All of the sets have the traditional Ridley Scott solidity and practicality built into them. The stuff looks like it would really work, from the cool ATVs to the deep-space sleep chambers.
What keeps this ambitious film from reaching the levels of Scott’s very best work is the writing. Two guys wrote the script. Jon Spaihts has penned only one other Hollywood script, and it was of a little known film. Likewise, his partner Damon Lindelof counts only one other (produced) script on his resumé, but his is the much better known Cowboys and Aliens. While Cowboys was an entertaining yarn, the writing was noticeably choppy. The same can be said for Prometheus. Some of the concepts are rushed, perhaps to make room in the two-hour-four-minute film for more people to be smashed, eaten or otherwise killed in innovative ways. We all savor innovation in killing space travelers, but please leave room for the story to develop.
There is enough in this film for people to like that I am sure it will be a big success. It pulled in $141 in three days worldwide. This includes the premium pay 3-D theaters. The budget is an estimated $125 million, although some claim a similar amount in prints and advertising. Either way, Ridley Scott in his producer role should make plenty of money.
This is an “R” rated film for near nudity, gross human devouring and sex. They did miss a chance to have the uptight businesswoman make love to the ship captain, an event alluded to but not shown.
Put Prometheus down in the second tier of the Alien films, not quite as good as the original, but much better than some of the lesser films in the series. We will see more of them, I hope. May Ridley Scott live to be a hundred.