Every sci-fi enthusiast must be familiar with the Alien tetralogy (Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), Alien Resurrection (2004)), and even if I only watched the first two, I was one of those people who have been anticipating the release of Prometheus last June. Prometheus is created by Ridley Scott, which will serve as a prequel of the original Alien. He and James Cameron (director of Aliens) discussed the potential of the sequel, after a lot of debacle with Fox, in 2009 a project Fox called as a reboot of Alien was underway its development, the awaited prequel to Alien Prometheus.
The movie started with blue grey rocky slopes, showing a single white human-like creature drinking some curious dark liquid from a pod, the body then starts to disintegrate and fall into a waterfall, and as it decay, the DNA had a biogenesis reaction. Fast forward to 2089 (not too distant from where we are now, eh?) two archaeologist, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), discover a star map that match those in several ancient cultures. Shaw believe that this is a message or an invitation by what she believe is the creators of human race, “The Engineers”. By a project funded by Peter Weyland, (Guy Pearce) the owner of Weyland Corporation, the couple along with several other scientist, a mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), an android David (Michael Fassbender), and ship’s captain Janek (Idris Elba) and his crew, went on a vessel called Prometheus to a distant moon, based on the ancient star map and take them to a distant planet with mountainous landscapes and several domes in a straight line. Within one of the domes they discover caverns and passages, and a decapitated head of an alienesque being whose DNA is an exact match to human. Little that they know, they found more questions than answer, and there were a curious hidden agenda within their mission.
With an interesting premise of questioning the origin of human, giving us so many questions to ponder about. When you look passed the possible pseudo-scientific error, or in my case the shock of icky aliens appearing on screen, the movie has this philosophical (and in some cases can be religious) depth that I really did not expect. Well to be fair, it is possible that all movie must have a philosophical content, but the magnitude of it in Prometheus was kind of mind blowing. I remember to still have banters and debates about it with my friend who went with me, and the more I watch it, the more question raises in my head. I think, Prometheus has this material that might not easy to digest, but very much appealing. Even as it ends, Prometheus left us with more to desire, and more questions to be asked and left unanswered. Ridley Scott admit that there were influence of Erich von Däniken and many perceived it to be influenced by the infamous H.P. Lovecraft (decoding prometheus).
Filmed in 3D with special effects and a lot of designs involved I was quite surprised by the amount of budget they used, a mere US$130 million. I watched this in IMAX 3D and cant helped but marvel at the details, it manage to deliver a sharp images with effective 3D use, without being overwhelming or obvious, they manage to capture important details, without loosing the signature darkness from Alien movies. Throughout the movie i was blown away by its visual grandeur, the landscape used are all exist on earth (Iceland), but had this alien-esque feel about them. Scott did not use a lot of green screen technology, instead taking reference from various NASA archive and help of CGI. Designs used for the sets and creature have a more developed look but still relatable to the previous designs created by H.R. Giger forAlien, drawing more inspirations various sources such as fine arts, sea creatures, and even bishop hats.
With such strong premise and plot, it is only natural the movie gonna need a strong set of actors. Noomi Rapace (The Girl with Dragon Tattoo trilogy) as Elizabeth Shaw, strong-willed and smart, a women of science yet still believes in the divine powers, Rapace manage to continue Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley (lead of Alien tetralogy) legacy of a strong female lead. Another strong women in the movie was Charlize Theron (Monster, Young Adult) as Meredith Vicks, the ice cold mission director who appears at first as a ruthless bitch, but shows her vulnerability towards the end. Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Shame), as David 8 the android created by Weyland Corporation, is of course the obvious stand out in this movie, delivering a subtle yet fascinating performance of emotionless android with graceful and efficient gestures and a different voice timbre that i have never heard him use before. Guy Pearce as aa 100+ year old Peter Weyland didn’t leave much impression for me, though his gestures and body language was very believable indeed! I feel the need to point out that i absolutely enjoyed Idris Elba (American Gangster, Thor) as Janek, the ship captain, he’s the one character that has no agenda, and the most humane of all, with his quips and sarcasm against Vickars to the very end of his sacrifice for the greater good, Janek really was the understated hero of this movie.
Intriguing since the pre-release, Prometheus utilizes social media such as twitter (claims to be answered by David8) and release several viral marketing from their youtube chanel (including Shaw’s video call called Quiet Eye, David8’s Happy Birthday, and Peter Weyland’s TED 2023 talk). They have official website accompanied by several additional website like Weyland Industries. They also did several advertisement, and also create a ‘prometheus’ corner in one of the metro station in paris. Quite elaborate efforts that was, my ultimate favorite was actually the TED talk it was such a fitting medium for the younger Peter Weyland to be talking about Weyland industries breakthrough in forum devoted for design and inventions. One thing that i missed when i watched Prometheus (all three times) the credit title, which apparently provides a hint (that eventually leads to another question) on Weyland Industries website and, yet another puzzle, 101112/(firstshowing).
Prometheus getting loads of mixed reviews, i perceived this movie to be quite polarizing, you can be mesmerized by it (like i do) or being utterly baffled by its flaws. The main theme of human questioning its origin might not be something brand new in hollywood cinema, and by tying it up with science fiction, i found it to be quite stimulating. Despite it all, Fox seems interested to add a sequel to this movie and they confirmed that Rapace and Fassbender is on board (thehollywoodreporter), and me, for one, can not wait for more of Prometheus. And while waiting for the sequel, Prometheus is scheduled for release on Blu-ray disc and DVD on October 9, 2012.
credits for pictures: prometheus-movie