2.5-3 out of 5 stars
Visually stunning, yet pathetically deficient in plot and character development. I’ve experienced better thrills from old school Hitchcock films. I found myself completely unconcerned if any of the characters survived, except perhaps Shaw. For the crew of a scientific expedition, I cringed at their crudeness and lack of anything resembling common sense or the scientific method. I also found it hard to swallow that we could achieve near FTL speeds in just eighty years (the time of launch the Prometheus being in the early 2090s).
The question I most want answered, dealt with the first scene in the movie. Here’s a brief description of that scene from the Wikipedia article referenced by the link above and the photo at right:
A humanoid alien stands above a waterfall as a hovering spacecraft departs. The alien drinks a dark liquid, then starts to disintegrate. As its bodily remains cascade into the waterfall, the alien’s DNA triggers a biogenetic reaction.
If we take the Prometheus analogy literally, then this alien created man on Earth in our distant past. This jives with the myth of the Titan Prometheus, who “is credited with the creation of man from clay and the theft of fire for human use, an act that enabled progress and civilization. He is known for his intelligence, and as a champion of mankind.”
But did he destroy himself voluntarily? Was he our champion, bringing not only fire, but life to our planet?
Or, as most of the movie implied, did he create us only because he could?
If this lone alien was a rebel among his kind, this would explain the behavior of the alien we meet towards the end of the film. His quest appeared to be the extermination of mankind, but his motivations remain unclear. Were we a failed experiment? an embarrassment? Or a possible threat in the eons to come?
Such rich clay to work with, yet the director muddied the plot with cliched ineffective unoriginal thrills, leaving the larger questions ineptly explored.
Mesmerizing cinematography fades quickly through the mind-sucking black holes in the plot. I should have waited for the DVD. Don’t repeat my mistake.