There’s something to be said about our beginning. The most important question ever asked by man, “where do we come from?” As a Christian, it’s pretty self-explanatory my beliefs and where I personally believe mankind started. For others, it could be the idea of evolution, the big bang theory, aliens, etc. Whatever we believe, we believe it for a specific reason. And whatever reason it may be, from peace and acceptance to full on faith, we believe in something, especially our creation and where we come from, because it provides us with purpose. Where we come from dignifies our motivation to live, to work and to accept our destiny/fate or to accept life as it comes. Prometheus explores these ideas, these simple but abstract and largely debated ideas. The line David says, “Big things come from small beginnings” is a continuous theme throughout the film, and strongly rings its presence continuously.
If there’s one thing we are fascinated with as viewers/audiences, it is the presence of mythology. A story that belongs in not just one episode or film, but borders along lifelong realities, the possibility of something greater than one’s self. Shows like Lost or films that include Harry Potter, Star Trek, and The Avengers (and all the other superhero films that its under) allows many individuals (mostly geeks) to submerge oneself into a world that seems so distant and farfetched, but yet, so believable. This is the exact reason why Harry Potter is loved and adored by so many ranging from the young to the old. It is a world that is impossible, but yet fully capable of being true. The Alien mythology that everyone has been craving unfortunately is not necessarily fully provided in Prometheus (though it has an amazing reference to it). But the mythology is present. Though it’s not really a prequel, it is under the same universe where these “creatures” co-exist and have some sort of purpose. This all connects as the mythology of Prometheus is the origin of mankind. Where do we come from? Why were we created? Who created us? All of this is the sole reason the adventure takes place.
Prometheus, the name of the ship, is led by a crew of 17 passengers that include scientists, geologists, medics, pilots, security, and of course, a drone. Played by the ultra-talented Michael Fassbender, his performance as David is acting at its best. Though it may seem to be that Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) or Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) may demand the most screen time, David’s presence is what commands the ship and truly is irreplaceable. Their destination, an undisclosed planet that took over two years to arrive, is believed to be the origin of our existence, as evidence provides this in pictographs simulating similar patterns provided by different civilizations spread across time. As they reach this planet, their excitement and fascination with this origin is ultimately their doom, as they are slowly revealed, that this is not merely about answers to questions that have existed over the period of Earth, but a closer introduction to their end.
It’s so hard to try and stay spoiler-free in this review, just because there’s so many twists and turns that is constantly presented to the audience. The premise seems simple, but as the plot is being played out in front of our eyes, the mythology of this world, the presence of these questions, grows imminently and to proportions that are much greater than the original question we asked before. This is a film that doesn’t provide answers to these questions, it doesn’t supply us with an end, only a continuation of our curiosity. If you’re looking for the final chapter to a story, a mythology, a purpose to this world, than Prometheus will frustrate you to new heights. But as this may grow as an agitating characteristic, this for me personally, is one of the reasons why I call Prometheus one of the most fascinating films I’ve ever seen.
A film that can make you think is something any director, producer or writer should reach as their number one priority. A seed to the mind is what extends a film’s legacy. The bigger the seed, the better the film. And as a filmmaker, you provide just enough to let this idea grow, but you never let the audience see its end-product. The goal is not to provide the viewers with answers, but to allow them to search for one. Prometheus excels in this euphoric but often frustrating experience. The entire film, from beginning to end, is a wondrous and often time, escalating journey that pushes your anxieties, tensions and overall discomfort. If Ridley Scott truly wanted to make the most intriguing and unmatchable experience, he succeeded immensely (and I personally believe he did). If Scott, one of the greatest science fiction filmmakers of our time, wanted to create a film that belongs in the conversation with Alien, Blade Runner and 2001, he needs to provide a truly defying film. And this film uses all these different elements in succeeding to this contagious ride.
Everything in this film is done so well. From the special effects, the set pieces, the acting, music, every single part of this film is done with such precision and detail that it allows us to fully engage in the film. I hate 3D. I think 3D has done for film what pollution has done to our environment. But, in very few cases, it is appropriate. It is exactly what it should’ve been made for. Avatar is an example of this. And so is Prometheus. THIS FILM MUST BE EXPERIENCED IN 3D IMAX. I cannot overstate this anymore. You literally are part of the film. The way the technology is lighted, the maps and screens that are not just seen, but felt. You experience the depth, the texture, the overall environment. Everything that is done in this film is so good, it made me feel like a child again. The experiences I had when I watched Jurassic Park in theaters. The memories of watching American soldiers landing on the beaches of Omaha in Saving Private Ryan. Though it’s not the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and it has its flaws, this kind of film experience is rare, especially as we get older and the industry puts less into this, and more into that (that being crap). Especially in science fiction today, where everything now is handy-cam, crazy and chaotic cinematography and overblown special effects, we are treated to something grand. Epic. Finally.
Besides just the visual aspect of this film, we are provided with quite a journey. If you’re expecting this film to be an all out scare, alien gore, crazy creatures flying everywhere, then you will be somewhat disappointed. I say somewhat because there are a few scenes in here where you’re literally going to yell, “What the fallopian tube?!” (watch the film and you’ll catch the reference… 😉 ). Though I might’ve liked a little more nasty-disgustingness from these creatures, I was definitely satisfied with what transpired on screen. What I love about Prometheus though is that it creates this angst, this strong animosity between the characters, the creatures, the overall world their in. We have this truly despairing emotion of doom, and we feel it right as they get off the ship. The success to suspense is not providing the scare, it is providing the possibility of something scary happening. Everything works so well here, it’ll make you sweat (as I did).
But the most successful thing I felt that was in Prometheus was the mythology. I can’t get over how it answered or didn’t answered the film’s most important question. Most may feel it was a cop-out, but I tend to look at this as a stroke of genius. One of the constant themes that are played over and over is how far are we willing to go to find these answers? The motivation that is revealed to us from these characters is where we measure their willingness and determination on this voyage. For some, it was money. For others, it was their job. But for few, it was to discover agelessness. To discover purpose. To discover connection. Whatever reasoning it may be, the drive that each character showed or didn’t show is what truly marks this film as an accomplishment. And I personally believe this type of mentality lies within all of us. This is the sole purpose of religion, faith, beliefs. Some of us are willing to go as far as we can go to fulfill these purposes, and some absolutely do not care. That is what separates us from each other. How far are each of us willing to go to seek knowledge? To find truth? To discover everything that we may or may not want to discover?
Some people may find this film to be anti-religion or anti-God. I can see where they gain that perspective. But I personally think that it’s not a negative assessment towards God or the complete annihilation of God and His presence, but more along the lines of our infatuation with God. I believe God created us. I believe in the Bible. But there’s so much to discover about our world, our universe, that we do not know. We are given the knowledge that we can handle, and we are not given certain information because we cannot handle it. So the little that we know, how much do you think there is on what we don’t know?
Just the fact that I’m thinking this much is a reflection of how successful Prometheus is. The film itself is fun and exhilarating. But it goes much further than just being an entertaining movie. It’s a story that expands past the 2 hour running time. It’s a debate waiting to explode. It’s a conversation that any film enthusiast will conspire and attempt to explain for hours and hours. In its purest definition, Prometheus is what a masterpiece resembles.
Prometheus gets 4 stars (out of 5).