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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Prometheus | Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce | Review

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  4_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Prometheus | Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce | Review

During the last decade of the 21st century, ancient billionaire Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce, looking as if he’s indeed lived that long) bankrolls an expensive space exploration effort, complete with disapproving Exec-in-Charge and know-it-all android, to search for what may be the source of all humankind.

The expedition is led by archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and includes a crew of lesser-informed scientists and engineers.  Shaw and Holloway have evidence of extraterrestrial visitors visiting ancient Earth cultures via cave drawings in which the same constellation of stars appears several times.

One trillion dollars later, the Prometheus (named after the Greek Titan who created man, gave him fire, and angered Zeus) lands on a planet where the crew encounters holographic emanations of giant Roman-nosed beings (Creators?) and steel vases full of black, oozing life forms.  They find the decapitated corpse of one of the giants and then its head, which Shaw collects for further study.

A huge sand storm (silica, really) threatens the operation so the crew has to rush to the safety of the ship.

Not everyone makes it back, and the two crew members left behind start a countdown to the inevitable that happens each and every time an audience is introduced to a large crew and then some of the lesser-known among them are isolated.

A happy space crew is also a boring one, so the conflict here is provided by icy exec Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) who scoffs at the mission, and Aryan-looking android David (Michael Fassbender) who knows lots of backstory and seems to have an agenda, along with Vickers, that strays from the mission’s purpose.

Captain Janek (Idris Elba) is a street-smart, straight-shooter with no time for petty squabbles or rank-based formalities.  He’s the only one that can operate the ship and he knows it.  Shaw and Holloway are romantically involved, which provides opportunities for further conflict.

Things suddenly heat up as secret alliances and mysteries are revealed, leading to a thunderous climax that screams sequel – if you can hear that scream above the ones that the crew provides.  It’s only in space that no one can hear you scream – on this planet, hold your ears.

To elaborate on anything else would be to spoil the revelations, and the Creators are never in favor of that kind of thing.  The black slime is another matter, and the two together are a recipe for disaster and epiphany.

Fassbender, Rapace and Elba are worth watching.  Theron could well have played the android for all of the emotion she puts forth.  Pearce’s performance is buried somewhere under folds of latex.

Director (Sir) Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) provides dazzling visuals as the film’s main course, fueled by an intelligent script braided with invention and original mythology.  Screenwriters David Lindelof (Star Trek) and Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) let the banter get a little weak at points (a Stephen Stills gag is wildly out of place) but for the most part provide just enough exposition to keep the discussion going after the final credits have stopped rolling.

Production Designer Arthur Max (Gladiator, American Gangster) creates an eerie environment out of chrome, steel and bone matter, a kind of stylized techno-swamp.

Prometheus works as both a standalone film and a universal connector to what’s come before it.  Its own DNA intersects and detours into and out of creation, procreation, and evolution, portraying a universe expanding at the cellular level, one double helix at a time.

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