Perfect science fiction: A film review of ‘Prometheus’

Prometheus poster by Midnight Maurader

Earlier tonight Kyle and I decided to see Prometheus because we couldn’t wait to see it till we got back to Los Angeles. Directed by Ridley Scott, this is an indirect prequel to the Alien films from yesteryear. From everything I’ve read they take place in the same universe, but they’re not directly related, which in my mind is far more interesting. This isn’t a movie about cashing in on previous films, it’s a film with it’s own ideas and it’s own deep meanings. If you haven’t seen the film yet, don’t read on and immediately go see it. If you have, keep reading on.

To say I was excited by this film is an understatement. I’m such a nerd for good sci-fi, it’s ridiculous. There are few directors who can really do the genre right, and of course Ridley Scott is one of the best. A good sci-fi director, in my mind, is someone who’s able to tell a story in a futuristic world, but it’s the story that’s important. The sci-fi aspect is simply the setting and the overall aesthetics, it’s not the whole point. When you watch Prometheus, you feel like you’re watching a thriller that just happens to be set in the space future.

The film does such an incredible job of keeping you asking questions the whole time. What did that alien drink? What were those pots? Is this related to Alien? What the hell are they doing on that planet? Some of these questions are answered and some are left vague, which is way more true to life. Oftentimes we don’t understand why people do the things they do, and this film takes that same stance.

One of my favorite aspects of the film is the technology and futuristic vision they had for the film. The “pups”, aka the hovering mapping spheres, are so obvious and yet genius. The full 360º glass helmets are another beautiful touch. Why would explorers have helmets with blind spots? The ship and land vehicles felt real, not too far off from what we already have. Though I did have a couple of qualms, such as the exo-skeleton that Weyland wore. If they could build an android like David, why wouldn’t Weyland’s exo-skeleton have been more advanced? He didn’t need to run like a cheetah, but he should have been more mobile than he was. Definitely nit-picking here, but these are the things that pop into my head.

Past that I start to wonder about the DNA aspect of the film. Roger Ebert had a good theory that the alien at the beginning of the film was actually brought to Earth to create life. That when his body merged with the water, he essentially made his DNA available to kickstart the planet. It’s an interesting theory that makes me want to see the film again. It’s also great how the writers, Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, were able to bring such depth to the idea of creators and the created. You have the humanoid, white aliens that created the humans, and the humans created David. But then you also have the character of David who infects Holloway with the alien DNA who then manages to impregnate Elizabeth Shaw who then spawns the large, squid-like alien who “eats” the humanoid, white alien who becomes the host for what we know as the xenomporph alien. You see what I mean? There’s so much depth there that goes far behind what I think most people would expect from a sci-fi film.

I think it would also be a mistake to not mention the work of Dariusz Wolski, who did such an incredible job on the cinematography of the film. It’s obvious from the beginning of the film just how brilliant Dariusz is. His sweeping, haunting, elegant shots of the Icelandic landscape is stunning. The scenery feels both alien and familiar at the same time, which makes you really question what’s going on. Overall I think the film would not have been the same without him.

Suffice to say I need to see it again soon to try and understand it better. I think this just might be my favorite movie of the year, even surpassing The Avengers. Avengers was fun, but Prometheus is a film of the finest caliber.

P.S. The poster above isn’t the actual poster, it was created by Midnight Marauder who I thought did a really awesome job. You can see more of his Criterion-esque work by clicking his name.

June 11, 2012 / By