Way back in 1979, one of the most iconic movies came out that was directed by a relative newcomer to Hollywood, Ridley Scott. Since making that film, he has directed numerous other films, many of them being critically acclaimed and well received by fans. Then, in the late 2000’s, rumors began circulating that Ridley Scott was returning to his outer space roots. However, this was not going to be a new film in the Alien franchise per se, but rather a prequel that had some elements of the franchise in it. Regardless there was a lot of excitement regarding today’s movie, Prometheus, so let’s see if it was well founded.
The plot: In 2089, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and Dr. Charlie Holloway, on an archaeological dig in Scotland, have discovered a map, similar to one found in other cultures, which points to a location in space with a possible habitable planet. The Weyland Corporation funds an expedition to the planet in the hopes of making contact with these “Engineers”. Arriving on the planet, they land near an artificial structure and proceed to begin exploring it. They make several incredible discoveries including numerous stone cylinders, a statue of a humanoid head, and the decapitated corpse of a large alien. Further explorations reveals several more bodies, leading the team to think that the Engineers are now extinct. When a storm is about to hit, Elizabeth grabs the head of the alien and the exploration crew prepare to head back. However, unknown to anyone, David, a robotic humanoid, has secretly taken one of the stone cylinders with him, while two other crew members, Fifield and Millburn, are lost inside the structure and left there until the storm passes. Back on the ship, Elizabeth, David, and Ford examine the head but it winds up exploding. They still managed to confirm that it’s DNA matches that of humans. Meanwhile, David secretly analyzes the cylinder and discovers it contains a strange organic fluid, which David secretly uses to taint Charlie’s drink. Back at the alien structure, Fifield and Millburn spot two strange creatures but when one of them attaches itself to Millburn’s arm, Fifield tries cutting it off but winds up having his helmet smashed and collapses in a pool of the black liquid while the creature gets into Millburn’s suit and crawls into his mouth, killing Millburn. The expedition returns to the structure and discover Millburn’s corpse while David, exploring on his own, discovers a control room with a star chart highlighting Earth and a surviving Engineer. Charlie begins to rapidly sicken and so the expedition heads back but the expedition leader, Meredith Vickers, refuses to let Charlie on the ship and, at his request, winds up burning him with a flamethrower. Onboard the Prometheus, David does a medical scan on Elizabeth to see if she was infected and discovers that she is pregnant, in spite of the fact that she is sterile. Fearing the worst, Elizabeth performs an emergency surgery and removes a squid-like creature from her stomach. She then learns that Peter Weyland, the owner of Weyland Corporation, is onboard the ship and had funded the trip to get the Engineers to prevent his death from old age. While this is going on, Fifield shows up outside the ship but he has become deranged and proceeds to kill several crew members before he is eventually killed. Janek, the Prometheus’ captain, theorizes that the structure was really a military base and that they lost control of some sort of biological weapon. Elizabeth, David, Peter, and a small team head back to the structures control room, where David wakes up the Engineer. However, the Engineer proceeds to rip David’s head off before Peter and the rest of the team while Elizabeth manages to escape. The Engineer then proceeds to power up the control room, revealing it to be a space ship. Elizabeth warns Janek that the ship is heading towards Earth and if he doesn’t stop it, no one on Earth will be left alive. Janek releases the lifeboat and then crashes the Prometheus into the alien ship, causing the alien ship to crash back to Earth, killing Vickers in the process. Elizabeth heads inside the lifeboat but a warning from David lets her know that the Engineer survived and is heading for her. The Engineer attacks her but she opens the medlab to unleash the squid monster, now grown to giant size, which overpowers the Engineer and inserts an ovipositor down it’s throat. Elizabeth grabs David’s head and body and heads to another alien ship planning on heading to the Engineer’s home planet while back in the lifeboat, an Alien hatches from the stomach of the Engineer.
Prometheus was generally well received by the critics, earning a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus was that while the “quasi-prequel” did not answer all of the big questions, it was “redeemed by the visual grandeur and the compelling performances”. The performance of Michael Fassbender as David received almost universal acclaim from all of the critics. The audiences and fans were somewhat mixed but they still enjoyed the movie as it would make over $403 million at the box office.
This was good…really good…possibly great even, but not quite up to par with the original Alien. Still, Ridley Scott did make a remarkable film and I enjoyed it immensely. The actors did a really good job, especially the performances of Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth) and Michael Fassbender (David). The plot was really good, incorporating several aspects of the Alien franchise while putting a new spin on how the story progresses. This movie had some of the most stunning visual effects from a science fiction movie that I have seen in quite a while. The beginning scenes with the alien planet were absolutely incredible, especially since there was very little use of CGI throughout the movie. A great movie to watch, even if you aren’t a fan of the series.
Rating: 4 out of 5