For a while there, people were saying Ridley Scott had lost his mojo; The Councillor being Exhibit A. Prometheus is a film which has its fans and its detractors, and each side has valid arguments. It may not be the Alien film we wanted, but it is the one we got.
Mankind has a fascination with the past. We want to know where we came from, and for some the answer is the creation story. For others, it’s evolution. The former comes with the belief that we are here for some purpose, while the latter forms the notion that humans are a logical progression from single-celled organism, to the form we are today. Both are depressing thoughts.
There are those who maintain everything has a reason for being, and nothing ever just is. Be it simple or complex, everything has an explanation. Some believe that whatever occurs is God’s divine will. Many fall into the “crap happens” camp. An ever growing third group consists of those who espouse a simple theory: aliens. Aliens have been used to explain everything from the pyramids and Stonehenge, to life itself.
In Prometheus, gazillionaire Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) is betting heavily on the alien theory. Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) leads an expedition into deep space to see if Weyland is correct, but mostly to protect the corporate interest. Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway (Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green) are archeologists who discovered a cave painting in Scotland that is similar to those in other parts of the world, which leads them to buy into the alien theory. Other scientists played by Kate Dickie, Sean Harris, and Rafe Spall are along for the adventure, while Capt. Janek (Idris Elba) and his crew (Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong) are there for the paycheck.
Ridley Scott once said that after seeing Star Wars, he had to rethink the types of films he was going to make. Soon thereafter, he read the script for Alien, and the rest is history. Alien has next to nothing in common with Star Wars–it’s more of a horror film set in space. Prometheus owes quite a debt to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both films (in my opinion) require multiple viewings to grasp the full scope of what is happening. That’s okay. Those are the types of movies that tend to age well.