By STEVE OUELLETTE, Movie Review
---- — With the once proud “Alien” franchise having devolved into parody (hello, “Alien vs. Predator”), original director Ridley
Scott has elected to go back to basics with the prequel, “Prometheus.”
An origin story — possibly for humankind as well as giant, toothy, acid-oozing monster kind — “Prometheus” is a grand, visually impressive movie with aspirations of mixing some deep “2001: A Space Odyssey” philosophy in with creature-chomping thrills.
Those grand aspirations are largely unrealized, but there’s enough cool stuff (and the aforementioned chomping) to make the film worthwhile, if not great.
Early on, “Prometheus” takes us from some foreign world to our own, where a team of archaeologists discovers a series of primitive draw
ings that seem to p
oint to a distant planet.
A corporate-sponsored space expedition is put together to find and explore this world, which could have answers about life, the universe and everything.
To no one’s surprise, however, things do not go as planned.
“Prometheus” has some familiar archetypes from previous Alien incarnations. Michael Fassbender is David, an efficient android with questionable motives. Charlize Theron is Meredith Vickers, the icy corporate overlord with an agenda of her own.
Noomi Rapace — who starred in the Swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — is the strong female lead, Elizabeth Shaw, an idealistic archaeologist with great expectations that are unlikely to be satisfied. She’s not Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, and we never connect to her in the same way, but she does have at least one scene that will rate as one of the most memorable in the entire series.
Idris Elba is on hand as the free-spirited ship captain, while Guy Pearce slathers on some ridi
culous old-guy makeup (last seen on the original “Star Trek”) as the money man behind the expedition.
Most of the high-minded talk in “Prometheus” falls flat, and there are several pieces that don’t make much sense. It has a number of visual thrills, though, and it’s viscerally satisfying once it starts to kill off a variety of not-very-bright crew members.
“Prometheus” aims high but barely hits the outer circle of the target. Be warned that the ending allows for a possible sequel to the prequel. “Prometheus vs. Predator?”
“Aliens” is the rare sequel that was as good as the original. Grade: A.
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