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2012 film Directed by Ridley Scott.

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Mankind's Search for Truth and Meaning

  • Jun 9, 2012
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Fundamentally, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is about the search for truth and meaning. Under the guise of a 3D science fiction thriller, it begs most of humanity’s most basic spiritual and/or philosophical questions. Why are we here? Were we created, and if so, by who or what? Is there a purpose to our very being? The film does not presume to answer all of the above, although it does leave us with the strong possibility that such truths are not only out there but can be found. It’s no coincidence that the film’s title is also the name of the immortal Greek titan that sculpted mankind into existence from clay. He also enabled mankind’s progress by giving them the fire he stole from the gods; he championed us to such an extent that he would ultimately be punished for it, condemned by Zeus to endure an eternity of having his liver pecked out by an eagle.
Most potential audiences cannot be expected to see this film from a more introspective angle. It will be regarded primarily as the semi-prequel to Scott’s own 1979 film Alien, a great horror film in its own right but obviously devoid of any spiritual subtexts. Keen observers should be able to spot all of the references, from the overt inclusions of the “space jockey” and the crescent-shaped alien spacecraft to the subtler throwbacks in characterization, production design, and tone. I personally pride myself on having caught an instance in which a section of music from Jerry Goldsmith’s Alien score was mixed into the soundtrack. Those seeking any obvious inclusion of the now well-known alien creatures are likely to be disappointed, not because the film lacks close encounters with extraterrestrials but because they introduce themselves through a deliberate and somewhat confusing process of evolution.

The story proper begins in the year 2089 when, on an archeological expedition on an isle off the coast of Scotland, scientist couple Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a cave with a painting of a star map. This is but one of many star maps found around the world, which is unusual given the fact that the sites on which they were found belonged to ancient cultures separated by time and distance. Shaw, without a doubt a believer in a higher power, interprets these findings as an invitation from humanity’s outer space forerunners, dubbed the Engineers. Quite simply, it’s a chance to learn who we are and where we came from. Four years later, a privately funded interstellar expedition aboard the starship Prometheus arrives at the only logical location outlined in the star maps: A moon in a very distant part of the galaxy.
The crew consists of your usual grab-bag of mechanical and scientific experts, including Shaw and Holloway. Of particular interest are two characters. One is David (Michael Fassbender), an android; while initially no more than a machine, unclouded by emotions or morality, his mechanically superior ability to process and learn gradually gives him something of a superiority complex towards the human passengers. The other is Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). She has been sent by the company funding the expedition, the Weyland Corporation, to monitor the crew. Level-headed yet elusive and controlling, we spend most of the film trying to determine what her hidden agenda is. Perhaps it has something to do with a holographic projection of the company’s long-gone founder, the deeply wizened Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce).

After landing on the moon, Shaw and her team soon uncover a sprawling network of underground caves and corridors, which inexplicably produce an atmosphere capable of sustaining human life. Their expedition reveals the remains of an Engineer’s head, along with a vast subterranean cavern well-stocked with cylinder-like urns. Upon their discovery, the urns begin to leak a strange black goo. David is the first to discover this. As he secretly stashes an urn on the ship and conducts an experiment, Shaw is thrilled to learn that the Engineers’ DNA is identical to a human’s. But then begins a biological epidemic begins to infect the crew; it reaches such a degree that Shaw is forced to conclude that she was wrong about the Engineers’ intentions.
The original Alien achieved a shocking visceral thrill with the infamous chestburster sequence, a turn of events that audiences at that time could not have foreseen. Prometheus attempts to outdo its predecessor with its own disturbing birth scene, one that kick starts an unstoppable evolutionary process. As to whether or not it’s successful, that’s entirely a matter of personal opinion. I admittedly had a difficult time navigating the story’s biological path of destruction, as I found the link between organism and host convoluted. My response to the less tangible spiritual aspects was much better. Prometheus is at its best when it speculates on the unknown. Like Shaw, many of us have chosen to believe in something greater than ourselves. Unlike Shaw, we tend to leave it at that. She’s not content with mere blind faith. She will always be searching.


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June 12, 2012
Another great review, can't wait to see this.
June 10, 2012
I liked this one but I sure wished that the script was stronger. It was clearly a cautionary tale for men and their scientific discoveries; and how man in its arrogance wants to believe that they can have all the answers. I just hope Scott is still around if they ever decide to make its sequel.
June 10, 2012
I think the script was intended to raise certain questions without actually answering them, which in all likelihood factors into the idea for a sequel. It's funny; I didn't think of it as a cautionary tale of men and their scientific discoveries. As I say in my review, I saw it as a commentary about spirituality, about mankind's search for meaning and his origins. But now that you mention it, your take on it seems correct.
More Prometheus reviews
review by . June 09, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Origins of Humankind....Evolution or Devolution?
1979’s horror-sci-fi hit “Alien” made such an impact and up to this day, the film stands as one of the best horror movies ever made. Its sequel “Aliens” made its focus more on the action and suspense that stemmed from being overrun by the murderous creatures. The second and third sequels while not terrible movies, failed in expanding on the “Alien” mythos and there were times that I thought they were only made to capitalize on the franchise’s popularity. …
review by . June 09, 2012
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So many have wondered this question and Ridley Scott has decided to try and take the characters in his latest movie on that quest to find where we come from and for good measure brings along his old friend the Alien for good measure.      Scott was the director of the original 1977 Alien film and few films are as awesome looking or as intense as that one.  While other directors took over for other films with different levels of success (or more accurately a sliding scale …
review by . June 11, 2012
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Its a good movie, but I expected more.
      Like a lot of things, I heard about Prometheus in passing. Back in April I was talking to a friend about movies we wanted to see this year.  I said the usual, The Amazing Spiderman, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Avengers. He said that he wanted to see Prometheus. Not knowing what that was he showed me a trailer. As soon as I saw that curvy Alien ship in the previews, I was HYPED!!!!       In 2089 Drs Charlie Galloway and Elizabeth Shaw have …
review by . June 03, 2012
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In the run up to its release, there has been much speculation about the exact connections between Prometheus and the Alien movies. The genesis of the project was in 2002, with Alien (1979) director Ridley Scott and Aliens (1986) director James Cameron both involved in the development of what was intended to be a fifth installment of the Alien franchise for 20th Century Fox, but after Cameron bowed out due to studio disagreements and commitments to Avatar, the project stalled. Fox revived the project …
review by . June 04, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'Prometheus' 'Two Jews On Film' Are On 2 Different Planets When It Comes To The Prequel To 'Alien'
By Joan Alperin Schwartz      What if you had the chance to meet the people who created you...And by you...I mean the human race. Could you resist such an opportunity?      Two brilliant scientists, the intense, religious Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the very unspiritual Dr. Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) certainly can't.      Not after they discover a series of cave paintings, that turn out to be a star map, left by several ancient …
review by . June 09, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
True to form, Prometheus overreaches
PROMETHEUS Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof Directed by Ridley Scott Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron   David: Sometimes to create, one must first destroy.   The ship which Ridley Scott’s latest foray into outer space is named for, PROMETHEUS, is itself named after a Greek god. In case you’re unfamiliar, this particular God is not only credited with the creation of man, from clay no less, but also with providing mankind with fire …
review by . June 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Exiting a screening of Ridley Scott's ludicrous, inexplicably acclaimed sword-and-sandal epic twelve years ago, I vowed never again to pay for the trial of enduring one of his movies. Both then and now, most entries of Scott's filmography following his first three miraculous features are at best underwhelming. Though he's never demeaned himself by defecating Baysian action tripe as his sibling Tony does so often, Scott has turned out an appalling abundance of fatuous genre pictures: …
review by . June 08, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   "The Forethinker"      "The Forethinker" says that if you'll visit this film waiting for Ripley to come out with a flamethrower then your whole experience will get flamed. Prometheus is that one of a kind journey people will love to hate because it won't resemble their Alien fantasies. This wasn't supposed to be Alien in the first place so expecting an acid shell shrouding this godlike body will give you as many rewards as a nutshell …
review by . June 08, 2012
         It is tough to tell what, if anything anyone has heard about Prometheus going into it.  The biggest talking point of the movie though is that Prometheus is a prequel to Alien.  But I suggest you get that idea out from your head.  Any fan of the original will remember how beautiful and spine chilling that movie was.  Alien deserves to go down as one of the best science fiction movies of all time. …
Quick Tip by . June 09, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Space mission to a far off planet in search of the history of mankind's development is met with malevolence. RIdley Scott's long awaited prequel to Alien is chock full of the kind of impressive visuals he is known for. Those expecting a shock out like the original Alien will be left cold, even colder for those wanting an adrenaline blast that was Aliens but for the rest it's an adventure in more ways then one.
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #2
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie



Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi
Release Date: June 8, 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 124 minutes
Studio: Scott Free, Brandywine Productions, Dune Entertainment
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