Why oh why was director Ridley Scott leery of calling Prometheus a prequel to his Alien? The 1979 film, which is essentially a haunted house movie in space, spawned an industry and the female warrior prototype in Sgt. Ellen Ripley (played by the statuesque Sigourney Weaver).

Having watched Alien (for the gazillionth time) immediately after stepping out from Prometheus, the cues are all there — the spaceship, the chair, the doors, hyper-sleep, the face huggers, the eggs, the design, the alien queen and even the name Weyland — which Alien junkies know to be the name of the evil corporation doing dark dire deeds to feed its greed.

The beginning of Prometheus, with stunning visuals and a rather ponderous tone, brought to mind The Phantom Menace. That prequel to George Lucas' space opera, Star Wars, was tiresome and took itself too seriously for its own good. Prometheus, on the other hand, shakes off its self-consciousness, remembers its primary duty is to entertain and sets about doing so briskly.

Some time in the future, a spaceship lands on a little planetoid (is it LV-426?) to find the “engineers,” giants who created life on earth. Aboard the spaceship are an archaeologist couple who found the map to the planet, an android and the mysterious Ms. Wickers who represents the financier of the project, Weyland. On the planet, instead of finding answers to life, the universe and everything, the explorers find violent death.

Noomi Rapace, who was Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish film versions of Steig Larssen's Millennium Trilogy, successfully reinvents Ripley — she is at once tough and vulnerable, a creator and destroyer and, above all, a believer.

Michael Fassbender as the android David is outstanding. Very different from C3PO from Star Wars, Ash and Bishop from the Alien films, Fassbender creates a fastidious thing that is pretty okay with not having a soul and not being able to think like a human. Charlize Theron completes the trinity as the ice queen, Meredith Wickers.

The creatures were delightfully gory, the action heart-stopping, and the sets suitably eye-popping. Aided by brilliant acting, the film is an all-round treat. The philosophical questions of the meaning of life and the quasi-religious undertones are smooth bonuses to the blood, guts and gore. And there will be a sequel which apparently will be closer to the Alien timeline. What joy!

Prometheus (English)

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron

Director: Ridley Scott

Keywords: PrometheusHollywood

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English Cinema ReviewsOctober 17, 2011