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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » July 30, 2012
Film review
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July 30, 2012   
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With his latest movie, Ridley Scott is apparently trying to prove that the Greek philosopher was wrong and you can, in fact, step into the same river twice. Thirty-three years after he made Alien, the now classic sci-fi horror which spawned three sequels and catapulted Sigourney Weaver to stardom, Scott is revisiting similar territory in Prometheus. The new movie was originally intended as a straightforward prequel to Alien and even though this idea was eventually abandoned, the two films are clearly related. Prometheus has a spaceship whose crew are on a mission to study an alien life form, an onboard android, a tough female lead and an omnipotent corporation which does not hesitate in putting people into harm’s way for what can’t be always described as a higher cause.

The year is 2093. After several years in outer space, the Prometheus research vessel reaches its destination, the asteroid LV-223. The crew spent the long voyage in hibernation while their ship was run by an android called David (Michael Fassbender—Inglourious Basterds, A Dangerous Method, Shame). The Prometheus mission is financed by the Weyland Corporation, an enterprise controlled with an iron fist by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce—L.A. Confidential, Memento, The Time Machine). The ship’s commander is Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron—Monster, The Devil’s Advocate, The Italian Job), whose qualities as boss are uncannily similar to Weyland’s. The key character among the rest of the crew is Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace—Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Millennium series), an archaeologist whose research inspired the Prometheus project.

The aim of the mission is to find the remnants of a civilization that apparently vanished tens of millions of years ago. The ancient aliens may have created life on Earth and perhaps even designed the human race in some way. For that reason, they are referred to as the “Engineers.” But then the scientists discover that the real nature of the aliens is totally different to what they expected. The attempt to uncover the source of life on Earth soon changes into a struggle to save mankind. To make matters worse, it turns out that Weyland has a hidden agenda.

The biggest problem with Prometheus is that the novelty factor of the Alien series is almost completely gone. One critic has suggested that Scott has probably not seen a single science-fiction movie or read a sci-fi book since he made Alien. While the new movie makes a far better use of special effects, the visual style of Prometheus is distinctly 1979 vintage.

That is not to say that the film is not worth seeing, not least because movie audiences enjoy tried and tested conventions. Throughout his career, Scott has been regarded as a talented visual artist and Prometheus proves the point. The cinematography by Dariusz Wolski (Crimson Tide, A Perfect Murder, Pirates of the Caribbean series) makes viewers feel they are right in the middle of the action. The special effects evoke a sense of terror and at times, like in Alien, of utter disgust. The score, appropriately dark, is by Marc Streitenfeld, a German composer who has worked with Scott four times before (A Good Year, American Gangster, Robin Hood, Body of Lies).

Prometheus has proved a box-office hit. It cost around $130 million to make and in just a month after its release it raked in almost $290 million around the world. Rumor has it that Scott is now getting ready to revisit his other sci-fi masterpiece, Blade Runner from 1982.

Witold Żygulski
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