The premise behind Ridley Scott’s movie Prometheus, is that extraterrestrial super-beings created humans. The film (and the predicted sequel) is more of a Frankenstein story than a search for religious or scientific answers.
This connection to the origin of the human race is discovered when scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) & Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall Green) identify symbols common to ancient cave paintings all over the earth. The cave paintings are also an intergalactic map and invitation to find our extraterrestrial creators on a planet in another galaxy.
It is 2093. The mission, organized by the Weyland Corporation, is nearing its destination: the location indicated by the cave paintings. Although Dr. Shaw and Dr. Holloway are a part of the mission, it seems to be led by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), a representative of Weyland Corporation. A crew of disparate scientists is assembled to… um… well, no one really seems to know just what is supposed to happen if an alien settlement is actually found. Scientists – so typical.
This kooky idea of creation is the major theme of the film, but our extraterrestrial creators aren’t the focus (that is a job for the predicted sequel). The focal point is the android operations guru and butler Phillip (Michael Fassbender). Instead of going on a Frankenstein-style orgy of destruction, Phillip goes rogue with sarcasm and irony. Fassbender is excellent; he delivers just enough ambiguity to make you suspect, then question, the suspect, whether he has gone off the map.
Without spoiling it, Prometheus covers a lot of old territory from Alien including some of the unpleasant sexual overtones. There is a stale planetarium soundtrack. As science fiction, Prometheus isn’t very sciency.
The movie does cover some new ground. 3D is used to enhance the cinematography, not to test your bladder by having loads of things pop off the screen. The intersection of archaeology and science fiction is interesting.
All of the holding back for the sequel and the movie’s ambition is its undoing. Prometheus touches on so many themes that it doesn’t really pull any of them off. But, this isn’t Ridley Scott’s first rodeo as they say. Despite its flaws, it is really well done and it is entertaining. Prometheus is a lot like chewing gum: it is nice enough while you’re enjoying it, but when it’s over you dispose of it without another thought.