Once in a long while you will see a film where you can not look away. Where you are transfixed. No matter how hard it is to see, your eyes are open and you see everything and maybe on some level it will change you.
I saw Prometheus at 12:01 am on opening Friday. Throughout the day I was alternately dreading and excited. What if it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be? What if it was another popcorn chomping, shallow-souled, action flick? I shall never doubt Ridley Scott again. Prometheus was everything and nothing that I expected.
There has been banter for a long time on whether or not Prometheus is a prequel to the Aliens franchise. Well, it is and it isn’t. Does that clear things up? If you have to label it as anything to fit it into your structured existence it is an Origin Story. I will not say the origin of what, or of whom. Actually, it’s rather hard to discuss the story without setting up a spoiler.
So in the hopes of leaving it as open-ended as possible… The story is good. Really good. It dovetails neatly into the series without rebooting any of our prior notions, and still brings something new, horrifying, and in the end intellectual to the table. Who are we and where do we come from are at the heart of this film. It is the thinking science fiction fan’s movie. For every question Prometheus answers, three more pop up in its place. But take heart those who like violence and horror. Prometheus delivers this in spades, with beautifully orchestrated scenes that make you want to run screaming from the room. It’s not about the action, though there is plenty of it. And it’s not about jump scares. It’s about the context. If you actually think about what is happening. What it means. What the implications are… on several occasions I could only let out a breathy “fucking shit.”
Prometheus is a flawlessly executed film, cinematically speaking. I know many will disagree, but frankly darling, I don’t give a damn. The visuals are stunning, the sound a wonderful complement. The attention to detail is thorough. With every futuristic piece of technology still thoroughly believable. As always close to my heart, Scott relies heavily on practical affects and much of the CGI is seamlessly integrated for a smooth as glass experience. I highly recommend seeing this in 3D and IMAX if you can. It is films like this that are slowly bringing me around the medium of 3D. There are no gimmicky, in your face, cheesetacular 3D scares. It is only used to enhance the film and the environment.
The cast also deserve accolades. Not a poor performance among them. Particularly effective was Michael Fassbender as David 8. Disconcerting doesn’t begin to describe him. He is amazing in his innocent, yet extremely perceptive view of the world. His lack of reaction to any given incident makes it that much more terrifying. Idris Elba was also a happy surprise. He stole every scene he was in, however brief. I truly loved his character and lines which added just enough devil-may-care.
The characters of Shaw (Rapace) and Vickers (Theron) were perfectly balanced against each other. Idealism vs. realism. Charlize Theron has this beautiful ability to have ice for blood and god, I love her for it. Noomi Rapace’s Shaw is a survivor to do Ripley proud. I hope that one day she will be to women what Ripley is to me. Ridley Scott has continued with the prevalent female theme of the whole series. Every single one of these films is about strong women, about the female, and about the strength that we contain and the horrors that we can survive.
After leaving the theater I felt… nothing. I literally felt a void in my being. Like someone had taken a giant metal spoon and scraped the inside of my head clean. I was emotionally used up. It was two and half hours of serious intensity. I couldn’t even begin to process the things I saw or felt. After a day or so when thoughts, memories, and images started pouring back into me I was able to analyze the meaning. Maybe I’m being a bit existential about this, but it takes so little for me to imagine in a 100 years we may very well be in this position. Looking for the meaning of our existence beyond our Earth, beyond our solar system, and in our arrogance we may not be prepared for what we find.
For those who have seen the film I highly recommend you supplement your experience with these two essays by Livejournal user Cavalorn: Prometheus Unbound and In Response. I would not call his interpretation the definitive, but they’re insightful nonetheless.
For those going to see Prometheus, I highly recommend you improve your experience with the viral videos found here. Pay particular attention to David 8, TED Talks. and Quiet Eye.