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Friday, June 8, 2012
For sci-fi violence including intense images, and brief language
Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron
Damon Lindelof, Jon Spaihts, Ridley Scott
A team of scientists and explorers go on a distant world journey to discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life's ultimate mystery.
Prometheus (2012) | Review
Back to the Beginning
Even if you can, should you? What if you don't find what you're looking for?
These questions and more lie at the heart of Prometheus, a sci-fi horror (?) film that has divided audiences everywhere due to its heavy mythology and open-ended narrative.
Still, these questions become even more important when one considers that Prometheus is also Ridley Scott's much anticipated return to the Alien series, a franchise that he pioneered with the first entry back in 1979. Since word broke that Scott would come "back to the future" if you will, the internet has been abuzz with rumors and conjecture as to the nature of his film. Is it really an Alien prequel? If so, how prevalent will H. R. Giger's now-famous beast be?
Prometheus begins with the discovery of numerous "star maps" around the globe. Believing these to be a message from an alien race that may be responsible for the origin of the human species, a research team is sent to attempt to connect with their perceived creators, even naming them the "Engineers." Led by Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), their ship—the Prometheus—lands on the distant moon LV-223 and the team begins their research. As they explore their surroundings in search of answers to life's biggest questions, the crew quickly realizes that they are in over their heads when they unleash biological terrors that threaten their lives and, potentially, the very existence of the human race.
By now, much has been written about the difficulties of the film, be they the numerous unanswered questions or the "lack of action." Still, I found myself drawn into this film in a way that few other sci-fi adventures (?) have done in many years. By broadening the scope of the mission, Scott adds an entirely new existential element to a franchise that had almost become a parody of itself. (I'm looking at you, Alien vs. Predator&ellips;)
This philosophical context is especially played out in Scott's examination of human existence. By suggesting that the reality of the human experience lies within the tension between creation and evolution, it would have been extremely easy for him to simply offer a sense of bleak emptiness as his conclusion. In other words, by arguing for a sense of randomness to humanity's existence, Scott could have focused his attention on the pointlessness of the battle itself. In fact, it's even likely that his fans would have applauded him for it. (After all, that theme, in many ways, is more in keeping with the previous Alien films.) Instead, however, he opts to challenge society's commonly held assumptions by framing the conversation around issues of faith and creation. This is easily best emphasized in the character of Elisabeth Shaw. As one of the key leaders of the expedition, Shaw's goal is simply to get answers. When their ship reaches its destination, she eagerly seeks the truth about the origins of humanity. Understandably, Shaw's convictions are quickly dismissed by other crew members that claim that she is "ignoring 300 years of evolutionary theory." When pressed as to why she maintains her beliefs, her response is simply, "Because I choose to." These types of characters are often dismissed in contemporary films, portraying them as irrelevant religious zealots. However, rather than judge Shaw for her conviction that there must be a reason for humanity's existence, the film applauds her for it. Even with her faith, Shaw's character is portrayed as one of both intelligence and deep conviction.
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