For your eyes only
Direction: Ridley Scott
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender
He restored science-fiction epics to vigour with Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982). Three decades after those futuristic thrillers, which still loom large in the public imagination, Ridley Scott returns to the genre that established his reputation.
The 74-year-old British director’s latest blockbuster has nothing to do with the Greek myth of the titan who gave humans the gift of fire. Instead, Prometheus tells the story of a corporate-funded space mission to uncover the origins of mankind.
Two young scientists/lovers (Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green) lead the expedition to a mysterious planet on the edge of the cosmos. They hope to encounter superior beings who may or may not have “created” our species.
Substantive questions about spiritual beliefs are raised but no answers are forthcoming. One thing is certain, though. The band of interstellar explorers isn’t prepared for the terrors that await them.
Scott’s storytelling style is visceral as ever. We can see every dollar of the mega-millions spent, particularly on the production design of the alien universe (on which renowned Swiss artist HR Giger collaborated).
However, some of that money might have been put to better use on the script, which suffers from delusions of profundity. The crew, comprising the usual mélange, including an African-American captain and his Asian subordinate, indulge in yackety-yak.
One of the film’s deeply disturbing sequences involves the termination of an unwanted pregnancy. Viewers are likely to experience physical discomfort during the medical procedure; the flawless 3D effects contribute to the overall impact.
The cast is well-chosen, with Michael Fassbender the real standout as the spaceship’s resident android. An ardent admirer of Peter O Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia, he shares a few resonant moments with his ‘maker’ (Guy Pearce, barely recognisable under tonnes of old-age make-up) as well as the inscrutable on-board corporate representative (Charlize Theron).
Prometheus is recommended viewing, especially for the obsessive sci-fi aficionado.