Fans of the science fiction film, Alien will either love or hate its prequel, Prometheus. Purists will no doubt cry "foul" since the latter film tampers a bit with what they know of the former. New fans, however, may find themselves inspired to check out some of the older films after seeing the new one.
The movie begins with a human-like alien watching a shape ship hovering overhead an icy setting. It appears the visitors, which the alien views as a god, has left a potion for ingestion. He drinks it, perhaps expecting to meet his maker. Instead, something more sinister takes place.
The next scene cuts back to Earth's future where an exploration team of archaeologists, led by Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), discover cave drawings that date back further than any others found before them. The drawings seem to say that an alien race extended an invitation to visit them in the stars.
Of course, the explorers want to do just that. To meet that goal, they make a bargain with the devil -- Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce). The Weyland Corporation finances the exploration, which happens bout 10 years later.
The group makes it to LV-223 just fine and discovers a structure that holds a promise for the answers to their questions. But things begin going wrong almost from the outset of their landing. Before long, they're on a roller coaster ride of thrills that's both enthralling and deadly.
Noomi Rapace makes a good substitute for Alien's plucky heroine, Ellen Ripley. She's tiny but tough and certainly determined. She's also motivated by a strong faith that she's meant to find the answers to how people began on Earth. She undergoes more than few horrors on LV-223 and ultimately gives new meaning to the word "survivor".
Logan Marshall-Green is likeable enough as her partner and lover. The actors had the proper chemistry to make their love story believable. That was important given that he doesn't last very long in the film. His connection required quick forging with both Elizabeth and the movie audience.
Michael Fassbender is appropriately creepy as the android that oversees the expedition for Peter Weyland, his surrogate father. He seems innocent enough on the surface but he's anything but. He harbors a dastardly plan.
Charlize Theron turns in her second icy performance of the summer, this time as Meredith Vickers, another Weyland representative. She has an agenda of her own for being on the planet. However, the audience waits a long time to find out just what that is.
Idris Elba plays the captain -- Janek -- and he manages to make the most of an otherwise insignificant role. He's the kind of actor an audience really can't ignore.
Guy Pearce is all but hidden in the body of the ancient Weyland founder. It's hard to connect to him in any real way.
As one might expect, the CGI graphics are stunning. The film maintains the same dark, sinister feel of the Alien films while also building its own kind of horror. The human-like aliens are believable as possible human ancestors, but brutish and without pity or any clear sense of morality. They seem driven by nothing more than pagan superstition.
There are plenty of tie-ins between Prometheus and the Alien films. One of them is sure to boggle the minds of those who saw the earlier movies. If nothing else, it will send a chill down the spine from which no one will soon recover.
Ridley Scott manages to do justice to a franchise lauded highly by science fiction fans. Still, some probably aren't happy with his new revelations. Sci-Fi is Scott's genre. He wears that mantle with ease and grace. Of course his efforts get aided by the deft co-writing of Damian Lindelof. Had the story not been good, the rest of the movie wouldn't have mattered. It is and it does.
Prometheus is a triumph. It is worthy of a view, or maybe even more for those who don't want to miss a single nuance. There are plenty of them to ponder in this film.