Sometimes to Create, One Must First Destroy

8 Jun

In space, no one can hear you scream.

But in a crowded movie theater, they can hear you say, “Wow.”

And if you go to see Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s unofficial prequel to his Alien series, you will no doubt say that quite a few times.

It’ll start with the gorgeous opening credits sequence, shot in Iceland, which is just amazing. See this film in 3D and you’ll instantly know you’re in the hands of a master filmmaker, one who not only understands the value of another dimension, but who knows how to use the technology effectively. (In that respect, it’s reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.)

We’re plopped down pretty quickly in Scotland, in the year 2089, where two archeologists, Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway (played by the Swedish Lisbeth Salander, Noomi Rapace, and Logan Marshall-Grant, previously best known for playing Trey Atwood on The O.C.), have stumbled upon a star map that they think will lead them to the secret of life. They interpret this as an invitation to go find the so-called Engineers, who “created” the human race.

And so, we’re whisked up, four years later, onto the scientific space vessel Prometheus, where Shaw and Holloway have joined with mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and her crew to travel to a distant moon to find the Engineers. “It’s a scientific mission,” they say. “No weapons necessary.”

Suffice it to say, things go wrong.

Horribly, horribly wrong.

Weapons are most definitely needed, and not every crew member makes it to the end credits.

Uh oh.

Now is probably as good a time as any to admit that I’ve never seen any of the prior Alien movies, so while others in the audience chuckled at various references made throughout the film, I saw Prometheus on its own terms. And that’s not a problem if you’re in a similar boat as I am.

After all, it’s easy to appreciate lines of dialogue like “I didn’t think you had it in you” even if you have the bare minimum of knowledge about what happened in the other films.

Anyway, Prometheus is pretty damned cool movie.

There are some impressive special effects, as noted some great use of 3D, and the film, despite its cold settings, is just gorgeous to look at.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Prometheus has an attractive cast. For example, there’s Theron, who here actually seems a bit wooden; that’s unintentional.

Michael Fassbender, on the other hand, gives an intentionally stiff performance, but that’s because he’s playing a robot. And despite that, he’s one of the best and coolest things about Prometheus.

As David, he’s smarter than the average bear, and a bit more devious too, despite his taking grooming, diction, and behavioral cues from, of all things, the film Lawrence of Arabia.

What are his motivations? Does he even understand what his purpose is? Who knows. But you can’t take your eyes off him whenever Fassbender’s on the screen.

Scott keeps the action moving, throwing one thrilling set piece after another at us. Not everything works, but when it does — the scene where Shaw has to perform emergency surgery on herself, for example — it’s awesome.

This is a big, slick, impressively made film that surely and confidently entertains.

Ultimately, Prometheus doesn’t resolve a lot of the questions it asks about where we come from as much as it excites and exhausts the audience.

But considering the original 1979 Alien film was set about 100 years after this one, something tells me there’ll be another film sometime soon that will get us closer to the answers.

I’m giving Prometheus a B+.

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3 Responses to “Sometimes to Create, One Must First Destroy”

  1. Beth Ann June 8, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Up until this point I wasn’t planning on seeing this. Thanks for the review.

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  1. What Were My Top 12 Blog Posts of 2012? « Martin's Musings - December 27, 2012

    […] Sometimes to Create, One Must First Destroy My review of the movie […]

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