When you are the prequel to one of the most horrific alien sci-fi series of all-time, you better come out with both guns blazing. As it stands, “Prometheus,” the long awaited Ridley Scott return to the “Alien” franchise, gets the bullets loaded but never really fires at the target. I’m not sure if it’s because the target keeps moving (is it about religion? Is it about aliens? Is it about life?), but this movie is big on effects, low on important dialogue and a little fuzzy all over the place.
Much like “AlienS” (that’s the 2nd of the Alien films), a group of doctors & scientists head into the vast void of space when archaeologists find sketching inside caves around the world. The artwork seems to identify a series of planets that may include the home world from which the human race was spawned. So the scientists set out, with the aid of funding from a dying tycoon, to find out the meaning of life. Pretty heady stuff for an alien science fiction movie, right? And that’s all fine and good except that there are a lot of questions but not a lot of answers that are found and that is where “Prometheus” staggers.
Leading the charge in this movie is Michael Fassbender as the robot, David. Fassbender blends Pinocchio with Bishop (the robot role played by Lance Henrikson in “Aliens”). He is the heart of the movie and as with any robot, there’s not a lot of heart. He is a cold & calculating unit that takes offense whenever someone makes mention of the fact that he isn’t human. This, in itself, my be the problem with this film. With the previous “Alien” films, there was Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) to care about. In this movie, a feisty yet ineffective Noomi Rapace takes the reigns and doesn’t quite rope me in. Even though she works hard in this movie, she never comes close to taking over where Weaver’s Ripley left off so many years ago.
Nevertheless, as the movie goes on, I kept waiting for that one exciting action scene where something new would happen. Unfortunately it never did. There are still aliens attacking the scientists and there are still scientists doing stupid things in the name of science. There is a lot of chatter about life and how we came into being and there’s a new humanoid race that is given some time to muddle the story even further. It’s all a little heavy-handed and under Ridley Scott’s direction, it all looks amazing but falls under the weight of scientific & religious mumbo jumbo.
I would also like to add that Charlize Theron manages to make no impression at all in this movie. As an actress, I love just about everything she’s in (except “Young Adult,” where SHE was excellent but I hated her character!) but in this movie, she adds nothing. She is simply rehashing the role of Burke (played by Paul Reiser) in “Aliens” and she fails to pull it off, taking her character to the role of a snarling and unsympathetic villain when it really could have used a dose of humanity to make me even care one way or another about her character.
“Prometheus” had a lot of promise and is not a complete waste of time. However I would wait for when it comes out on DVD and then rent it at Redbox. Maybe if I hadn’t paid full price for the ticket I might have enjoyed it more. But as it stands, this film isn’t even close to being as good as its predecessors and was somewhat of a disappointment for me this summer.
Overall Rating: C