Director Ridley Scott insists Prometheus is not a prequel to 1979’s Alien.
That’s official line. OK, we’ll go with that but prequel or no, there is a connection.
Up front. Like most lovers of film and fans of the original Alien, I looked forward to Prometheus. I wanted to like it. And did in some spots. But I didn’t like it enough to recommend.
Noomi Rapace is Elizabeth Shaw. Stop.
As an aside, I find it ironic she was Lisbeth in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, her only other well-known role. The name has to be good luck. Prometheus is the role of a lifetime. It’ll be interesting to see if Rapace can capitalize on it like Sigourney Weaver did with Ripley in the series of Alien movies.
Weaver went on to become a multi-dimensional actress. Rapace has yet to really show us if she has the chops to become a major star.
Sorry. Back to the story. Elizabeth and her boyfriend/partner are archeologists who discover references to a distant star in caves all over the Earth. Their theory is that “engineers” from that star visited our planet eons ago and planted the DNA that created us.
The pair convince the Weyland Corporation to fund a trip to that star. On a planet in that solar system, Elizabeth, the boyfriend, an android, David 8 and the crew not only encounter the human-like engineers, but also a species that threatens the very existence of humankind.
Even though it’s not all that original, the story is OK. Its biggest flaw is a lack of tension. There is little — if any — suspense in Prometheus. Nothing to get you chewing your nails. Going in, you know few of the characters are coming out. You already know about the creature, what it can do, how it attaches itself to us and once incubated, kills us. And does so with extreme malice.
Scott doesn’t connect you with the characters, you don’t worry about their fate or sympathize with them at all.
Things happen without explanation. You have an idea but aren’t really sure. In some movies, guessing motives or actions is part of the fun. Not here.
The unexplained character actions lead one to believe Scott may be planning a sequel. If that happens — and until then — the only tension you’ll get out of Prometheus is wondering when part two will come out.
As mentioned at the opening of this review, I wanted to like Prometheus. Great horror films are difficult to find. Its granddaddy Alien is the arguably the best horror movie of all time and also finds itself on the list of the best of the best sci-fi films.
Sitting in a theater in 1979, I literally spent two hours on the edge of my seat. You could cut the tension in the auditorium with a knife. When the creature exploded out of John Hurt’s chest, horror crowned a new and now all-time champ.
Wanting to like a movie and reality rarely mix. Visually Prometheus is tasty, but it’s not close to as impressive as the premise from which it springs. The sets and effects are otherworldly. Catch it in 3D and Scott’s vision of how humanity’s fate became entwined with the nastiest space creatures of all-time — except for maybe Star Trek’s the Borg — is flawless.
It’s just 33 years too late.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce
Rated R for violence, mature themes, language. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.