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Prometheus: movie review (+video)

Most of the best effects in 'Prometheus' are lifted from director Ridley Scott's 'Alien,' and the film's meditations on life and the universe don't amount to much.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / June 7, 2012

'Prometheus' actress Noomi Rapace (center) is game, but isn't given much to do.

Kerry Brown/20th Century Fox/AP


Ridley Scott has made two iconic sci-fi films, “Alien” (1979) and “Blade Runner” (1982). Trying for a hat trick with “Prometheus,” he comes up short.

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Chris Vognar and Robert Wilonsky discuss director Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus.'

I’ll say this much for it – it’s not boring. How could it be when it features sequences like the one in which the heroine gives herself a self- administered Caesarean and out pops an alien?

That heroine, circa 2093, is scientist Elizabeth Shaw, played by Noomi Rapace in a frisky manner about as far removed as can be from her somnolent girl with a dragon tattoo.

Elizabeth and her scientist boyfriend, Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green), have hit on the theory that aliens created earthlings. Heading up the spaceship Prometheus, she hopes to make contact with the creators on the desolate planet she believes beckons us. Of course, once the spaceship has landed, the alien malevolence kicks in and you can forget about all that we-come-in-peace stuff.

Scott makes functional use of 3-D here, and most of his best shock effects, like that alien birth, are lifted from “Alien.” (The film at one time was engineered as a prequel to “Alien,” but that notion seems to have evaporated.) Charlize Theron, in the same witchy mode as in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” plays the on-board corporate honcho. The film’s most creepily amusing character is Michael Fassbender’s David, the spaceship’s supersmart android who patterns his movements and diction on Peter O’Toole in “Lawrence of Arabia,” his favorite film.

Rapace is game as Elizabeth but doesn’t get much to do except look alternately blissed-out, terrified, and poleaxed. The film’s meditations on The Meaning of It All don’t amount to much. Elizabeth conspicuously wears a cross around her neck and declares that she is “willing to discount three centuries of Darwinism.” As for the “creators,” and why they want to obliterate their creation, if you stick out the end credits you’ll notice a sequel is in the offing. As if you hadn’t already guessed that. Grade: B- (Rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language.)


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