Monday, June 04, 2012

Mythic rebirth

Moody, existential, suspenseful—the untold story of a doomed space-faring crew, hinted at in 1979’s “Alien,” is finally revealed, with original director Ridley Scott and designer HR Giger in tow. Scott is in his element, skillfully recapturing the dark, genuinely agitating tone of the seminal scifi-horror film.
Revisiting the familiar required rebooting and retooling; the richer, flashy palette and 3D effects makes certain parts of “Prometheus” more visually expressive than its predecessors (or successors, since this is supposed to be a prequel of sorts). But like the first four “Alien” movies, it manages to establish a strong man-versus-monster scenario while deeply developing its protagonist.

And the mission starts uneventfully enough. Piecing together clues from different cultures, archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) concludes that an advanced alien civilization is responsible for the creation of humans. Together with the crew of the Prometheus, which include their less-enthusiastic boss Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and the inquisitive android David (Michael Fassbender), Elizabeth eventually discovers that contact with extraterrestrial life is far from what she imagined.

The crew members of the Prometheus, like the ship’s mythical namesake, hope to take what they can from vastly superior intellects. And like the Greek character, they pay dearly for their presumption, not surprisingly. The punishment for audacity comes in the shape of an altogether unexpected life form.

Characters go through the wringer in bombastic fashion. Written by “Lost’s” Damon Lindelof and “The Darkest Hour’s” John Spaihts, “Prometheus” clearly makes sense of some mysteries in the Alien universe, while presenting new ones that further expand its unique mythology. Yes, there are reasons to scream in space anew.

“Prometheus” opens June 6 in the Philippines.

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