Combustible Celluloid
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With: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie, Patrick Wilson, Lucy Hutchinson
Written by: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Directed by: Ridley Scott
MPAA Rating: R for sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language
Running Time: 124
Date: 05/30/2012

Prometheus (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Crossed in Space

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Returning, at long last, to the sci-fi genre, Ridley Scott's Prometheus is part classic Ridley and part recent Ridley.

Scott, once upon a time, made great movies like Alien, Blade Runner, and Thelma and Louise. Back in those days, the movies took time to explore characters and their relationships to the spaces around them. Then, it seemed that Scott grew more concerned about what his audience might like to see, rather than what he might like to say.

As for Prometheus, Scott has stated that it's somewhat related to Alien, but is not a sequel, prequel, remake, or reboot. He was wrong. But happily, only the last chunk of the new movie concentrates on satisfying the audience. The bulk of it concentrates instead on some mind-boggling ideas: How did we get here? Is there a God? When we create something like babies, robots, or music, are we emulating God? What if we destroy the thing we create? What if it destroys us?

In the new movie, two scientists (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) discover a similar celestial pattern in cave drawings all over the world and then pinpoint its deep space source. A few years later, in 2093, a discovery mission is launched, piloted by the laid-back Janek (Idris Elba), run by the icy, nasty Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), and with a passenger list of assorted co-pilots and science types. As in the other Alien movies, there's also an android, David (Michael Fassbender), who watches Lawrence of Arabia and wears his hair like Peter O'Toole's.

Scott keeps up an air of mystery and discovery, using creepy spaces, odd spatial arrangements, and moody lighting, to go with the expected moments of terror and gross-out stuff. The brilliantly simple "chestburster" scene in the original Alien became a water-cooler staple. In Prometheus, a sequence less brilliant, but quite a bit more harrowing, involves Ms. Rapace and an unwanted intruder.

Perhaps the key scene, however, comes in which David discovers a recording of alien music. Likewise, the movie also references the music of Stephen Stills. Both forms of music seem to have lasted through the years, and are very much "alive." It's a special kind of creation that can't be taken away as easily as a life.

Yet all these ideas are dropped toward the end as Scott shifts focus, forgetting about his great themes and thinking instead about definitions and fan response. The old Scott would have cooked up an ending worthy of his material. The new Scott has at least delivered three-fourths of a great movie.
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