CAST: Noomi Rapace
WRITTEN BY: Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
DIRECTED BY: Ridley Scott
* * 1/2 TWO AND A HALF STARS
Ridley Scott’s much anticipated Prometheus is a serious sci-fi film with a capital S.
It’s filled with big ideas and thought provoking metaphysical concepts, despite the fact that most of them have been recycled from numerous other sci-fi films from the last 50 years, giving the film a “been there done that” sense of déjà-vu.
It’s undoubtedly ambitious and being a Ridley Scott film, it is naturally impeccably mounted, gleamingly photographed with jaw dropping art direction. Also, Scott’s use of the 3D photographic format is constantly inventive and assured.
The film never “flattens” out, as most 3D films tend to do. Scott’s superb visual sense of framing and composition is constantly challenging the viewer’s eye.
The main problem, though, is that the film never fully fleshes out any of its grand concepts and ideas. Either they’re not fully developed or left not fully realized … just dangling, waiting for some sort of completion or resolution that never comes.
Add to that the film is basically underdeveloped with one-dimensional characters and what one is left with is a gorgeous looking curate’s egg — something, which is not all good or bad, but frustratingly stuck in the middle, yet very pretty to look at.
In the film, a team of scientists and geologists’ travel to a distant planet to explore whether now gone human-like inhabitants at one time visited earth thousands of years earlier. This is as the result of evidence found in ancient artifacts and cave drawings by primitive civilizations are discovered in various places around the world by geologists and archeologists such as Shaw played by Noomi Rapace (the original film Lisbeth Salander).
Also on board are an android, Michael Fassbender; the ship’s captain, Idris Elba – with the least convincing Texas drawl you’ve ever heard; and Charlize Theron as the head of the space mission representing the company who owns the ship among other members of the team.
Once they arrive and explore the planets, they find the ruins and evidence of an advanced, human-like civilization. However things quickly begin to go awry as secrets and hidden agendas are revealed to the crew with natural death and destruction following in its wake.
Nonetheless, the film can’t hold the various concepts and ideas together by the second half of the film resulting in the plot getting very muddled and haphazard. Gruesome deaths, including a bizarrely gory and fascinating surgery sequence, chases and monsters pop up everywhere making for a confusing, unsatisfying mess.
What is left is basically an unofficial remake of the first Alien film also directed by Scott but without its iconic monster which doesn’t figure into the film at all except as an awkward, last minute desperate appearance aimed more to satisfy the Alien fans.
As the heroine of the film, Rapace is woefully underwhelming. Unlike creating a compelling and intriguing character such as Lisbeth Salander to work with, her character Shaw is more ordinary and unimpressive and almost tends to fade into the background.
Surprisingly, illogically, without any previous evidence in the film, during the last 20 minutes, she unexpectedly turns into another Ripley, memorably played in the Aliens films by Sigourney Weaver.
Unfortunately, Rapace’s tiny frame and her lackluster presence pales significantly against Weaver’s almost Amazonian, more aggressive Ripley.
What one is left with in Prometheus is a good-looking film of missed opportunities that will no doubt disappoint and frustrate a lot of people.
Though it’s not even remotely as bad or the disaster as some might claim it is and has some good moments in it, it could have been a whole lot better.