Movie Reviews

‘Prometheus’: A muddled space epic

By Travis WongMovies - 07 June 2012 10:12 AM | Updated 2:01 PM

‘Prometheus’: A muddled space epic

Logan Marshall-Green, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender travel to the outer reaches of space after finding some ancient wall paintings

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Despite astounding visuals, Ridley Scott’s prequel to the Alien series is a muddled, uneven affair that lacks the strength and direction of his two other previous science-fiction offerings, the first ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner’.

The film gives some answers to the first ‘Alien’ movie, in particular the mysterious ship that the Nostromo comes upon, but throws up new questions.

In the year 2093, scientist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) stumbles upon a drawing in a Scottish cave that appears to point the way to a planet in a star system far away that might hold the key to creation.

Also read: From ‘Prometheus’ to ‘Alien’

After wrecking havoc in fairy-tale land, Charlize Theron plays Queen Space Bi%^& in 'Prometheus'

On the ship Prometheus, supplied by the mega-corporation Weyland Industries, she joins a crew of scientists and technicians, along with the android David (Michael Fassbender) and villain of the month Charlize Theron, who portrays company representative Meredith Vickers, to find out who might be behind the carvings. They discover a pyramid-like structure on a distant planet, and once they start to probe what’s inside, they discover some things that they wish they had not.

Scott summons up many of the elements in the ‘Alien’ movie, including icky monsters, scummy corporation and extra-terrestrial technology, with designs that are reminiscent of H.R. Giger’s work in the alien series. There’s even a body horror scene, with a gory self inflicted C-section, that should please academics, considering how much mileage they got out of the Aliens series with Ripley’s battle against the Alien Queen. However, the film feels far too beholden to Scott’s previous creation to have its own life.

Rapace, better known for her lead role in the original version of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, is nowhere as spunky or determined as Sigourney Weaver, but does manage to do the job.

Michael Fassbender is 'Prometheus' C3PO but more handsome and with a hidden agenda

She is thoroughly overshadowed by Fassbender’s David, a robot that admires Peter O’Toole in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, the most interesting character on the whole ship.

The rest of the cast mostly end up as fodder for the dangers on the planet where Prometheus ventures, including ship captain Idris Elba. Elizabeth’s boyfriend Charlie, played by Logan Marshall-Green, main purpose appears to be a tool and there’s really very little chemistry in the few scenes that he shares with Rapace.

Visually, Prometheus is stunning, and Scott come ups with some thought-provoking ideas in terms of technology. The design of the interior of the alien civilization has the odd hybrid of art deco and bug-like construction found in Giger’s work.

There are some glorious set pieces that capture the wonder of older SF works such as ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. But the underlining message that we should beware of what’s out there is what propels the film.

Still, while the film is an exploration of faith, particularly in the case of Shaw, it does fall short in terms of expectations, mostly due to the fuzzy plot details. With all the hype surrounding it, ‘Prometheus’ promises the stars, but never quite reaches them.

 ‘Prometheus’ is showing in theatres everywhere

Travis Wong is a film loving geek who got his start from frequenting video shops in JB. He frequented movie theaters more often than school, and received his cinematic epiphany when he watched 'Taxi Driver'. While not driving a cab, he haunts DVD shops, and he currently has the largest remaining collection of VHS tapes and Laserdiscs in the country.