Prometheus has landed. And it’s pretty fucking good.
The film is stunning to look at, and not only because Ridley Scott has the directorial know-how to not overuse computer generated effects. H.R. Geiger, the conceptual artist who designed the now iconic “facehuggers” and “chestbursters” of the first Alien film has returned returned to reverse engineer some of his creations. The monsters, many of which look vaguely phallic or reminiscent of the human vagina, are immediately unsettling to look at. Geiger’s mind must be a petri dish of nightmares. I don’t envy that man for having to live inside his own head, but I do imagine that if H.P. Lovecraft were alive, their collaborations would be modern myth.
This film didn’t end up being quite what it was marketed to be. The philosophical notes, the ones that really make us question the true nature of our existence, don’t really rear their heads until the end of the film. Prometheus is, at its roots, a horror movie, not a metaphysical quest for the purpose of humanity. I can’t really bash an ALien prequel for not being The Tree of Life since it makes for such a good horror film, but I was still a little disappointed by the ending.
To finish on a high note, I’ll say that it’s good to see miss Noomi Rapace again and fantastic to know that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo left some sort of impression on American audiences, even though the David Fincher reboot bit the dust at the box office. (I imagine every director working on the studio dime cringes just to think of the words “moderate losses.” Sorry John Carter, too soon?) Rapace attacks the lead role with the artful urgency that she brought to Dragon Tattoo, but she doesn’t try to be Salander again. That’s wise. Elizabeth Shaw, her character in Prometheus, is clever, cunning, and keen to learn. But she also has scar tissue, some of it still a bit raw from the loss of her father. Perhaps she searches for the origins of life to answer questions regarding the inevitability of death.
I could give Prometheus a higher score than 3.5, but then again Prometheus could have been a better movie. I really did enjoy this film. Still, watching it, one can’t quite help but feel that its creators accomplished less than they intended to. That’s a shame, although It does leave room for a sequel. May I suggest a title? Pandora.