REVIEW: Prometheus

Two scientific explores decipher a series of cave hieroglyphics which leads to an expedition across space to an uncharted planet where they hope to discover the origins of mankind.

Prometheus...finally a movie that makes you actually think for a moment, rather than in one ear and out the other. As always I'll try not spoil anything but there are a few points that need mentioning so keep that in mind as I tip toe around the plot. To get fully "in the zone" I watched the director's cut of ALIEN last night before I went to bed (sweet dreams are made of these), and let the old brain pan soak in those midnight oils for the pre-show. Now about that, I don't care what sweet nothings that pesky internet's been whispering in your ears about how this flick isn't an ALIEN prequel...because this flick is TOTALLY an ALIEN prequel, there's no room for debate there whatsoever. That's a good thing though, and not just because of the source material, but because of the mesmerising display of machinery, mechanics and technology. I love space epics, always have, so naturally I'm all over anything alien related. ALIEN, PREDATOR, STAR TREK, hell even INDEPENDENCE DAY (as laughable as that plot was), I was still stoked and on the edge of my seat. On that level, that of dizzying sights to behold, this movie delivers in spades and I'm sure no one will argue that point. As for the rest of the package, I can see where's room for debate.

On the surface PROMETHEUS is bold, stunningly beautiful, ambitious to the bone, but a little too witty for it's own good. The tension level here is bound to be give and take because we know what's up from the second this spark ignites. I mean seriously folks, this movie's like watching a group of people creep through a mine field.  Now what really makes it interesting is that a couple of them even know it's a mine field, but still don't seem to be bothered by the prospect of possibly painting the field red. I found this amusing. However, character behavior is the one thing I had a problem with here. There's loads of poor decisions made here (almost every other one it seems), and the nonchalant attitude circulation amongst the ranks (even in the presence of danger) is nerve wracking beyond belief. Remember in THE ROCK when Cage and Connery are dismantling the rockets and Cage takes out the long string of green balls, hands it to Connery and says, "the second you don't respect this it kills you." That's how I felt about this whole mission...but apparently I was the only one. Here's a couple scenarios: They're mapping out the creepy cave via these cool floating orbs and on the ship an actual 3D map is forming for them to see (very badass btw), the captain says to the two dudes still in the cave, "We're picking up a life form about one kilometer west of you guys...oh, it disappeared. Must be a glitch." Okay. The planet itself doesn't have breathable air, but inside the cave there's what appears to be breathable they all remove their helmets. Yeah...sounds logical to me. And that's just the beginning.

Some people are attacking the story because they feel it's too similar to ALIEN, but I disagree. The question at the heart of PROMETHEUS is "where did we come from?", something we're striving to find out here in a huge way. This is about sitting down for a game of chess with our maker and discussing the secrets of the universe over cocktails. ALIEN was about responding to a distress call. Now these creators, or engineers as they're referred to, are not the guys you want to sit down and discuss anything with. This film clearly doesn't mind challenging the Christian faith, nor does it give us the answers we hope it will on that front either. It gives us more than I thought it would, but at the end of the day you'll still feel like you did after the season finale of LOST. Some of this makes sense, while some of it most definitely doesn't. I'd like to assume it's because there's plans for sequels down the road, after all, Ridley Scott was trying to pawn this off as a "stand alone" film, so maybe he's got an AVATAR trilogy in mind. Doubtful, but I want to think that because there's a pile of unanswered questions here. All in all though, the story was pretty tight and extremely engrossing.

The cast is what really makes this thing stand on two legs though, even Noomi Rapace, who I was starting to think was a one hit wonder from her DRAGON TATTOO fame. Michael Fassbender steals the show as David the android, I mean DAMN, what a performance, and that's coming from a guy who's totally team Bishop when it comes to androids! Where Fassbender's Michael rises up over Bishop and Ash is in his clever combination of the two characters. I never trusted Ash, not for a second, but Bishop I knew wouldn't leave anyone behind and would die trying to save your asses if need be. Michael is cunning, sharp and hauntingly unreadable. You know he's smarter than you, and you know that he knows he's smarter than you, but you still try to outwit him, understand him and trust him, even when your gut tells you not to. Now that's building character layers 101 folks (Dear Hollywood, write that down). I also liked Guy Peirce (especially after that viral speech) but his lack of screen time is downright criminal. Charlize Theron, on the other hand, is such a wasted opportunity in my opinion. The rest serve their purposes (mostly) with guys like Edris Elba making the best of what he's got to work with. Nothing wrong with the casting, just a little sore at how some of them were played.

PROMETHEUS has the fire of a summer blockbuster and the heart of a modern Sci-Fi classic. It was a devilish good time and works a number or two on the brain as it spins its way through two hours. Now as I mentioned, the pacing's off and on due to the fact that we know this whole thing's got "ticking time bomb" written all over it, but for me that was half the fun. The other half was piecing together the puzzle that is ALIEN and tracing back the origins of mankind, face-huggers, engineers and everything in between. Now I'd love to tell you I'm a smarter man because of it..but I'd be lying. There are some answers, but most of them end up leading to more questions. There's also a few plot holes if you're gonna play Sherlock Holmes and expect to connect the dots perfectly, because trust me, two plus two doesn't always equal four here. Still, I love a good mystery and when it looks and feels this good there's not much more you can ask for. And something else that makes not just this film great, but any film, is the fact that a second viewing will no doubt be just as awesome (if not more so) than the first. That right there folks is well worth the price of admission in my book.

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