There are many Directors that have added the Alien brand to their list of credentials, James Cameron (Avatar), David Fincher (Fight Club), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie), but it is only Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) that can dawn the name of creator. Since the inception of the Xenomorph, fans have waited for Scott to return to the series and today that wait is over. Not only does Prometheus mark the return of Alien, but it’s also Scott’s return to sci-fi and most are left wondering if he has what it takes to revive the series.
For those that don’t know Prometheus is the definitive prequel to Alien, and while it is a new beginning I think a knowledge of the franchise is required. Without that insight into the film, the viewer will be left with questions at every turn. Prometheus is the story of a crew of scientists that set out from Earth to find their creators. Lead by Charlie Holloway and Elizabeth Shaw through clues found in ancient hieroglyphics found across the planet, they will choose to believe in gods or surcome to an evolutionary demise. The crew arrives at moon LV-223 (not the moon depicted in Alien) in hopes of finding the meaning to their existence, only to find an empty shell of a ship and a sickness that could destroy them all.
Written by Damon Lindelof (Lost ) it doesn’t surprise that the root of Prometheus‘ story is grounded in faith vs science. While the issue is never crammed down your throat the message is clear. Lindelof uses this as a guide to create a universe the likes of which Alien has never seen. Long gone are the winding corridors and attackers in the night, and a tale of intrigue and suspense has been re-created. Like the first Alien, you are left on the edge of your seat wondering what these creatures are and how our characters can survive them. Scott and Lindelof knew that the alien attacker, as we know it, had become more of a brand than a frightening experience, they took this knowledge and aimed it at the heart of the Alien universe, the space Jockey. The universe Lindelof created in Prometheus is vast and intriguing, the only time he loses stride is when connecting the film with Ridley Scott’s original. With out that burden Lindelof could have been well on his way to a sci-fi masterpiece.
Since the first film viewers have been less interested in the universe and more interested in the first appearance of the alien beings. Cameron came into the sequel to Alien with this very knowledge, giving the people more than they were looking for. With Prometheus, Scott takes the film back to its roots, but this time he has a budget to make it beautiful. With the camera Scott brings the intrigue of the first back, yes we know little about what we are in for, but it’s so beautiful that you never want the film to leave the screen. Most of this intrigue is added brilliantly through the use of 3D. Not since Avatar have I seen a film that completely sells the medium. I’m not sure what brought Scott back to the Alien universe, but little nods to Cave of Forgotten Dreams seem to be what brought him into 3D. Whether you end up liking the story of Prometheus or not, one thing is for sure, Scott knows the look of Science fiction. Not only does the film look remarkable, it is also beautifully acted.
What more can we say about Michael Fassbender (Shame), the guy shows time after time that he is the real thing. As David the android that is searching for his own humanity and following the orders of his heartless creator, Fassbender delivers a performance that could be created into its own film. When an actor has created an entity that you never want to leave the screen then they have exceeded the expectations of the performance. That is exactly what Fassbender did with David. Our time alone with the android at the beginning of the film may just be the movie’s highlight accomplishment and without Fassbender the new world is less likely to be intriguing.
Along with Fassbender, Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) adds more depth to her already impressive career. Scott placed the functionality of the entire film on the back of Rapace and she handled the task beautifully. The coldness of the Lisbeth is gone and she is given even more room to shine as Elizabeth Shaw, our new alien female super fighter. Rapace fills the Alien bad-ass shoes well and leaves you even more excited about where her career will take her next.
As a long time fan of the Alien series I was through the roof excited to see Prometheus. With Ridley Scott back at the helm what fan wouldn’t be? Some will be disappointed with the series turn and an examination of the prequel’s connecting elements may leave you questioning its whole concept. If you can let go of a forgone idea of what an Alien film should be Prometheus will be a fun ride. I know that I enjoyed the film and am ready for a repeat performance. The movie shines in the creation of a new universe and lacks when trying to connect that universe to its predecessors, but either way it’s one hell of an experience.
By Ryan Davis