According to Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who created humankind from clay. It is fitting, therefore, that a spaceship leading a group of scientists into the unknown, to explore the possibility of discovering the creators of human DNA, is named after this errant God.
The movie begins with a strange alien giant watching his ship leave Earth, after which he swallows a semi-liquid substance that causes his body to explode and fall into the huge river below. The particles of his body disperse and form chromosomes that will eventually define the structure of a human body.
In the year 2093, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), an archaeologist, discovers a cave in Scotland that has strange paintings on the walls - that of a human pointing at a cluster of five stars. Along with her boyfriend Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), also an archaeologist, she manages to convince a multibillionaire CEO to fund a mission to the distant moon LV-223.
The customised ship, Prometheus, takes more than 2 years to reach its destination. The crew, led by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), are in statis, or asleep, till they reach LV-223. The ship is managed in the meantime by the android/robot, David (Michael Fassbender), the maintenance person, who also doubles up as a butler.
The excitement of discovery, however, is short-lived, as humans realise that they are no match for the aliens, even if they are extinct. The search for their beginnings might just become their end.
Ridley Scott is a master of science fiction, and the man who gave us the Aliens franchise. The story keeps you glued to the screen, till about the last half hour, when it becomes predictable, and more horrific than intriguing.
Despite the scientific jargon used, the plot is simple and easy to follow. The director does not spend too much time setting up the other characters, though, so you may miss out on the importance of the presence of certain crew members, unless you pay close attention to the dialogues.
The story mixes legend and speculations, including a strong dose of Erich Von Daniken's theory of alien visits, and leaves the audience with an open ending that may or may not lead to a sequel. Given the compelling nature of the last shot, one hopes Ridley Scott has plans to finish what he started.
The only way to watch Prometheus is in 3D. The visuals are spectacular, and that is an understatement. In fact, you will be so taken in by the cinematography and effects that you will overlook the rather staid and conventional production design and costumes.
Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are the protagonists. While the former is still hung over from her The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish) role, and therefore, does not deserve the lead role, it is Fassbender who portrays the non-human David with such conviction that you cannot tear your eyes away from him. David is fascinating, what with his T E Lawrence-inspired hairstyle, and his consistent but well-hidden contempt for human beings.
Charlize Theron looks good, but does not have much to do. Her character is rather confusing. Logan Marshall-Green is irritating. Guy Pearce is almost unrecognizable, and hams a bit. Idris Elba portrays the all-American patriotic military man with elan, and is nearly the star of the movie.
None of the actors, with the exception of Fassbender, delivers much. Most of them seem flabbergasted at being chosen to be a part of the movie. The cast and the climax are the biggest disappointments of the movie. Despite that, Prometheus is a great watch, and the last sequence will make it clear to you, if you are a fan of science fiction films, where the makers intend to head, if there is a sequel.