Cast: Charlize Theron,Michael Fassbender,Noomi Rapache,Guy Pearce
Director: Ridley Scott
Indian Express Ratings:***
PROMETHEUS of Greek mythology,the titan who is considered the champion of mankind and a symbol of human striving,is the inspiration for this film. And the questions that plague creation of life,from the hows to the whys,lie at the centre of it. Prometheus explores the concept of “creator” from all angles — from a father who shapes her daughter’s faith and world view,and man who has made androids possible,to a woman who can’t get pregnant and aliens who may have “engineered” life on earth. It asks the questions,plays with religion,gives tantalising glimpses of what it may be willing to say,and then disappointingly,thudderingly and in largescale 3D-esque destruction,falls back on the unknown.
At one level,it is good to know Prometheus doesn’t portend to have the answers. However,the way it ends makes you wonder: Did it ever want to,particularly when it leaves the door open for a sequel?
The film itself arose from Scott’s attempts for a prequel to his pathbreaking Alien. However,a lot has changed since 1979,and it must be difficult now to work up a fever over “beings that we haven’t seen” if we see them on screen at least once every year.
But Scott does try,with the spaceship ‘Prometheus’ that flies into a planet thousands of light years from earth,in the year 2093,slowly gliding through its atmosphere of clouds into a runway that looks too smooth to have risen from god’s mysterious ways. Inside the spaceship are 17 crew members who have just been woken up from a “hypersleep” of two years — the time it has taken to reach the planet. The ship has been kept running by an android who is an exact replica of humans. In the movie,he is played by Fassbender,the actor with the immaculate touch. Not a hair strand out of place,’David’ has been learning all ancient languages of the world even as he laps up his mannerisms and quotable quotes from Peter O’ Toole,rides a cycle through the empty corridors of the spaceship and spins a basketball atop it.
The android’s name isn’t the only religious overtone in Prometheus,where they land on the planet on Christmas Day and the cross worn by the main scientist,Elizabeth (Rapache),is raised as a constant reminder of her beliefs. David is also the conscience keeper as well as the curious child of the ship,asking the questions the others won’t voice. Fassbender is an inspired choice,able to play both coldly detached and intimately involved. It’s Elizabeth and her scientist boyfriend who believe that the planet they are visiting hosts a life form that may have once brought life to Earth,deduced by them from cave engravings.
Of course the aliens don’t turn out to be friendly sorts and soon death in all forms comes visiting the Prometheus,including a particularly horrific sequence involving Elizabeth and a self-contained auto-surgery machine (you are horrified but the technical wizardry on display makes you unable to look away).
Sadly most of the action takes place in confined cave-like corridors,even though lit up by probes that promise a science thriller that never comes. But for a dangerous storm that ushers in silica at high speed,we don’t get to see the beautiful planet promised by the first few scenes. And even though one sequence involves a galaxy magically springing up at the sound of a flute,music or wonder — let there be no doubt — is not what Scott is aiming for here.