Posts Tagged ‘Fassbender’

In this much anticipated prequel, director Ridley Scott returns to the well one more time for a look inside the Aliens Universe. Replete with all the trappings of the best sci-fi films, ”Prometheus” attempts to show us how the Aliens began their interactions with Man.

Tough, spunky scientist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” 2009 ) leads an expedition that uncovers ancient paintings on a cave wall. Early Man is depicted looking upward at a strange configuration of planets. The scientists come to realize that human life may have originated on an alien world.

An exploration crew is assembled to travel to the far away world to investigate. Onboard the spaceship Prometheus, the crew is greeted by a holographic version of the aging scientist who’s funding the expedition. (We’d wished it was the John Hammond character from “Jurassic Park,” but instead it’s Guy Pearce badly made-up as a curmudgeon with a cane.)

Keeping the crew in line is martinet Meredith Vickers (Charleze Theron), a representative of the corporation financing the expedition. Dour and statuesque, she seems to relish her position of power. There’s the stereotypical cigar chomping ship’s captain, Janek (Idris Elba), who cares little about the mission and is just anxious to get home and collect his pay.

And in any Alien film, you have to have an android onboard. To this end Michael Fassbender turns in a durable performance as the duplicitous android David. However, we couldn’t help drawing comparisons to Lance Henriksen’s superior (and pluckier) Bishop in ”Aliens” (1986).

Dark, somber and with outstanding special effects, ”Prometheus” creates the feeling of a great mystery waiting to unfold. There’s dark, subterranean alien tunnels, doors with mysterious hieroglyphics, lots of puzzles waiting to be answered….all of these ingredients should create a great sci-film. However, it’s not long before clichés and mediocrity foul the mix.

Unruly crew members don’t follow orders, wandering away aimlessly. The scientists throw caution to the wind, taking their helmets off when the air seems “good”, and cavalierly poking and prodding at anything that drips alien goo.

Then there’s a flamethrower “incident” that’s both startling and spectacular. (Flamethrowers, we have to assume, are standard issue on missions like this, despite the fact that they’ll be used on planets where the lack of oxygen would impair combustion.) We’d guess that many other weapons could serve up quicker and more accurate results.

As the action and tension increase, all logic is thrown aside. Elizabeth, under extreme duress, injured and bleeding, must perform several elaborate computer programming functions in the medical bay (a tricky procedure even on one’s best day) yet she does all this with the skill and aplomb of a veteran medical technician.

Like the 1940′s matinee serials where kids knew their hero was making the wrong choice, “Prometheus” makes you want to yell out loud at the screen, “Watch out! … Don’t do that!”

Director Ridley Scott (“Bladerunner” and “Alien”) has tried to give us a palatable Aliens prequel but it all falls short because of a threadbare script and poor character development. The finale sets us up for a sequel, but one has to ask “what’s the point?”