Half of philosophical describe, half of pure horror show, Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" ends up with less to say than it thinks. Though this one more involving than much of summer blockbuster this year, however, by the standards set by its wizardly director it's something of a disappointment.
You needn’t worried if you doesn’t know much about alien — "Prometheus" stands on its own way. But those with vivid memories of what happened to Ellen Ripley aboard the Nostromo 33 years ago will find several points of reference in common with this latest iteration.
Aside from Scott's expert first-time use of 3D, the main differences between "Prometheus" and those earlier films are that the new one is more thrilled than it is scary, and it's considerably more self-conscious about the ideas that lie beneath the action.
Although the director remains a master creator of alternate worlds, "Prometheus," unlike its predecessors, does not wear its themes lightly. It pushes too hard, which is dicey in and of itself for genre material and contrasts badly with the standard nature of some of the story's plotting.
Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway, a pair of romantically involved archaeologists, have made a startling discovery: a 35,000-year-old pictogram that shows humans worshiping an enormous figure who points to the stars.
This same image has also been discovered in a number of far-flung sites all over the world, leading Shaw and Holloway to conclude (as an unacknowledged Erich von Daniken claimed in his 1968 book "Chariots of the Gods") that beings from outer space had a big hand in creating life on Earth.
Messianically determined to find these aliens and answer once and for all big questions like "Where do we come from? What is our purpose?," the pair persuades the world's richest human, Peter Weyland of Weyland Industries, to spend a trillion dollars, give or take, to fund a trip to outer space with the purpose of tracking those "engineers" down.
"Prometheus" proper begins on a spaceship ominously named after the character in Greek mythology who suffered greatly for challenging the gods. Though Jane k is the nominal captain, the ship is really run by Meredith Vickers, a Wey land Industries bigwig who is not shy about saying things like "my job is to make sure you do yours."
Theron, who has clearly found her comfort zone with ice-cold roles, is strong here, but from the acting point of view "Prometheus" belongs to the protean Fassbender, who excels as David, the spaceship's resident android.
Considered by Peter Weyland to be the closest thing to a son he has, albeit with the drawback of not having a soul, David who watches "Lawrence of Arabia" for tips on being human is smarter and more capable than anyone on the ship and very much knows it. Fassbender gets David's almost-but-not-quite human character exactly right and is especially good at conveying the can-he-be-trusted aspect that always comes with android territory.
More hit and miss is Rapace of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", who never quite connects with the tree-hugger aspects of Shaw's character but really comes into her own once things start to go south in a major way.
For it will not come as a surprise to anyone that everything is not exactly sweetness and light on the planet where the Prometheans land in search of those creative aliens. All kinds of awful, increasingly grotesque and horrific stuff starts to happen, and having someone with Shaw's indomitability around turns out to be a major plus for mankind.
In an odd coincidence, both "Prometheus" and the "Battleship" share a press material reference to scientist Stephen Hawking' swarming that intelligent life from other planets "might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet." A heavy film which push us to unmerited significance.