This post is going to be extremely biased because I am a HUGE fan of the “Alien” franchise/Ridley Scott. In case you’re a huge fan too and think that I don’t know what I’m talking about, “Alien³” is my favorite out of the quadrilogy (now quintology? maybe?), and that’s saying a lot. Just like when I first heard about a new “Indiana Jones” 14 years ago, I’ve been following every bit of fan news, viral campaigning, and trailer watching one could possibly do. Only this time I didn’t wind up extremely depressed with the outcome.
Ridley Scott has always seemed like the kind of guy who could say, “Sure, I guess I’ll make that movie” and it would turn out to be gold. Even “Matchstick Men” was entertaining and it “starred” Nicolas Cage. So when the news came about that he wanted to return to his space-terror roots and preboot his own franchise, I think you can say I was a tad excited. “Alien” first came out in 1979 as what was supposed to be a B-movie starring a few somewhat known actors, and then shuffled under the rug of lesser known films. They say that “Jaws” did for the ocean what “Psycho” did for showers, and if space wasn’t already creepy enough “Alien” definitely made it worse. Without giving away the premise of the “Alien” franchise for those who have been missing out, I will try to give the best rundown of “Prometheus” that I can without spoiling the awesome.
During the year 2089 a group of archeologists have compiled a handful of cave drawings around the world dating from different centuries, all to contain roughly the same thing: a star map. These archeologists believe that the star maps were put here by “engineers”, or rather our creators (take that, religion). Within a few years the extremely generous and extremely old Peter Weyland has funded the mission to find this moon that all of the star maps are pointing to in order to ask the engineers why they created us, and maybe why male pattern balding is a thing. A crew of 17 heads out on the ship “Prometheus”, aptly named for its purpose. Among this crew are the two archeologist types who found the “invitation”, an android named David (wonderfully played by Michael Fassbender), some other scientists, Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) who is running the show, and then the captain and his captain squad. Almost immediately it is made present through both David and Meredith that there is an ulterior motive to this journey, which is a nice homage to the other “Alien” films. Upon landing on the moon LV-223 they disembark and head straight to a weird, dome-like cave system. This is where things get weird. Using technology that would have been great to have in the future world of “Alien” they are able to watch playback of the engineers clearly running from something that eventually killed them.
It’s at this point that normal people would just say, “Well that was cool, if we leave now we can make it to Friday’s for $2 sliders.” But instead the archeologists get excited about their find and David sneaks something back on board. Right around now I became worried that Ridley Scott was just reheating his plot for “Alien” with a different cast and different space suits, but thankfully he proved me very, very wrong. The movie changes gears and suddenly my palms just got sweaty. There are a few solid “Ridley” scenes as I’ve seen them referred to online, and one in particular that made me and the two guys on either side of me cringe as if we just bit into a batch of lemons. It honestly just gets better and better until the end, where we are given an amazing climax/lead-in to “Alien”. I mean, I even applauded.
For those who have seen the other movies in the universe, or at the very least “Alien”, “Prometheus” is filled with bits and pieces from the rest of the series. It’s a real treat to sit there and smile because you realize that the line that character just delivered ends up playing a huge role later on in a completely different film. Ridley really does a great job creating the world he only visited in “Alien”, while also offering this great question of where we actually came from. Also, you’ll learn two very important rules regarding space exploration.
1. Don’t touch anything. Ever. No matter how shiny or cute it is.
2. Don’t go to space.
DIRECTOR’S CUT: Absolutely excellent. A lot of people will be afraid of having nightmares (and you will) for a few weeks following, but it’s totally worth it. Rarely are sequels/prequels worthy of their predecessors, but “Prometheus” is everything I could have hoped for. Oh, and the score is mesmerizing.
FLICKCHART RATING: 40/1907