|Michael Fassbender as David the robot|
In 2093 an exploratory ship called Prometheus carries scientists and others toward a world in which they hope to find life, based on some cave paintings they discovered in Ireland. Unfortunately, the world they land on turns out to be the same one as in Alien -- yes, this is a prequel -- and they discover more than one especially nasty life form. There's friction among the men and women on the ship, as well as a slightly sinister robot named David (Michael Fassbender), and a bitchy gal named Meredith (Charlize Theron) who thinks she's running the show and is full of attitude. With Prometheus Scott is clearly attempting to recreate the success of one of his most famous movies, and although there are stupid and illogical moments [and the ending of this film doesn't quite match up with the beginning of Alien, which it easily could have], some spectacular action sequences and truly horrific tableau smooth over the rough spots. A scary and suspenseful operating room sequence is meant to out-do the chest-burster scene in the original movie, and it comes pretty close to doing so. But for a futuristic movie, the screenplay has its old-fashioned moments. It's great that the captain (Idris Elba) is African-American, but does he have to be a dumb [if ultimately heroic] Black Dude Stereotype who tells two guys left temporarily isolated on the planet not to "bugger each other?" The business with the elderly man [an unrecognizable Guy Pearce] who financed the expedition is obscure and rather nonsensical, like something out of a bad comic book. The performances are good, however, especially Noomi Rapace as Dr. Shaw, Fassbender as David, and big-lipped Logan Marshall-Green as Dr. Holloway and Shaw's lover. Prometheus attempts to answer some of the unanswered questions posed by Alien -- especially regarding those giant humanoid aliens who were forgotten by the sequels -- but it leaves some lingering questions of its own. Still it's a fun ride.
Verdict: Imperfect but exhilarating for action-horror Alien fans. ***1/2.