Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
The mythical Greek god Prometheus, according to fable, created humans beings out of clay. This act of supernatural inception pleased the other gods, but his act of endowing such lowly creatures with a potentially destructive technology– fire– resulted in pure anger and Prometheus’ immortal demise.
While the myth has implausible bearings, its themes of human origin and a sacrifice for their well-being run deep in the history of mankind, which is well-portrayed in director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller, “Prometheus.”
The film aims to invite an interesting dialogue about creation and even extraterrestrial life, and does so with visually stunning clarity, believable futuristic technology and a handful of well-trained actors. The major crux in such an artistic film, however, is the lack of a substantial story development to better suit those ideas.
“Prometheus” will most likely puzzle audiences wanting a firm grasp on the film’s intriguing backstory on human origins, especially since the plot plays out in the universe of “Alien,” the 1979 cult science fiction-horror classic that supposedly follow the events of “Prometheus.”
Both films even have a roughly parallel plotline. In the new film, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her partner, Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), are archaeologists who discovered the exact same celestial cave drawings in different temporally and physically distant civilizations. With this ancient tie to alien progenitors, dubbed as “Engineers,” an astronomically expensive research expedition was set in place by the Weyland Corporation to “dig up” the big questions of human existence on a moon billions of miles away.
As the scientist couple lead the exploration to the supposed seat of human creation, Janek (Idris Elba) flies the vessel under his gruff stead while Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the Weyman representative with a heart of dark matter, truly calls the shots.
The ship’s entire crew undergoes a two-year hibernation aboard the space vessel, with only an android, David (Michael Fassbender), left to tend to the ship’s functions and possibly conjure a way to interact with these technologically superior beings. When the team lands on the moon, an early trek into a desolate cave yields promising results, but inside tampering and the crew’s emotional vulnerability cause complications that lead to inevitable consequences.
Other issues also muddle the the amount of satisfaction and investment in the story that audiences expect, a major one being the themes. The concept of humans searching for a definitive origin story has its merits, but the film’s way of baiting the crew with a sliver of truth into another wall of unanswered inquiries feels cheap.
And Shaw’s Christian faith, although never explicitly defined as “Christian” and only implied by her cross necklace, does not caution her feelings about the film’s conclusions of life. Her flimsy persona lessens her de facto position as the main character and causes a greater interest in David, the sneaky servant who, as an android, has the least significance to the core plot.
Though some positives are present in the first minutes of the film. The beginning sets a great pace with its vast shots of uninhabited land, roaring waterfalls and an ominous shadow from a disc-like craft looming over a primitive planet.
A great buzz for the film’s trappings came during initial scenes where David sauntered about the ship in the throes of limitless space, and a wonderful wide shot of the ship moving from one side of the screen to the other as a small dot allowed the plausible yet truly risky ideals of the crew’s mission to truly sink in.
Yet when their boiling curiosity comes back to haunt them, it hits with the impact of a pebble rather than an asteroid. As a film making a case for the overzealous ambition of few humans deciding the fate of billions of people, a more uncomfortable and gravely immediate sense of tension should exist, something that Scott did not manage to fully provide.
At least Scott’s design creates a sumptuous experience. From beginning to end, “Prometheus” builds an overly expansive universe, filled with clean, crisp imagery and warm tones that pulls viewers in much more than the 3-D hopes to offer. The ship itself is an achievement of this world-building feat, implying an elaborate advancement in technology that seems hopeful, but not outrageous.
It may suffice to say that the alien life forms and obscure technology would seem outrageous, yet the murky ramifications of the creator species and its society’s achievements does sit relatively well in this world, if not for a good dose of imagination. Sadly though, the film’s obsession with writing checks it cannot cash gives the alien side of the conflict much less understanding.
“Prometheus,” as a movie hammering for understanding in a visually lavish setting, stubbornly leaves too many questions unanswered. Scott offers up an intellectually stimulating environment full of concepts about the human condition and the possibility of life beyond Earth, but would rather treat his audience with a smattering of suspense and great visuals, leaving the questions hanging in the balance, possibly for the next installment of the series.