Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DNA Donor

Prometheus       WWW Score: 91%

Let's set something straight right off the bat, 'Prometheus' doesn't just share DNA with 'Alien', it's an exact match - a 3D, double-helix duplicate. If this were 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon', the name in play would be "Kevin Bacon" - zero connections necessary. Ridley Scott hasn't just returned to the world of 'Alien', he's served up the film's prequel's prequel and it's amongst the most vividly imaged movies you'll ever be immersed in.

Set in 2089 - 33 years before the Nostromo's gut-busting adventure - the archaeologist duo of Elizabeth Shaw (the original 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (a miscast Logan Marshall-Green) discover some cave drawings in Scotland that suggest we humans have a moral imperative to meet our makers - AKA the "Engineers" - roughly half a billion miles from home base.

After a two year hyper-drive in the corporate-piloted spaceship Prometheus, the team of 17 - featuring an Oscar-caliber Michael Fassbender as David, a more human than human android - touch down on a moon in outer, outer, outer space.

In nearly identical fashion to how events transpired in 'Aliens', the motley crew set off to explore the joint only to have the plan go predictably haywire. Venturing into a super-sized pyramid-like structure riddled with a labyrinthine tunnel system, the pack come across a stash of chemical weapons that make the Ebola virus look like a mere case of the common cold.

And so comes to a close any additional plot details for fear of unnecessary overexposure.

While things get a tad too talky and explanatory at multiple points, what lies just around the next dissertation more than makes up for the drag. The all-hell-breaks-loose finale is a flourish of primal fury - even if Marc Streitenfeld's score encroaches overblown.

Performances range from the fantastic Fassbender to a one-dimensional Charlize Theron as the dictatorial commander of the ship - she too could pass for a robot. Rapace's character is a Ripley replication - a ferocious, all-resourceful female who finds a way to survive anything, including a seriously slithery implantation.

Shot entirely with Red Epic 3D cameras - the very pinnacle of state of the art - Scott has lensed a film that possesses the look of a video View-Master; it's jaw-droppingly striking. From sweeping, IMAX-styled shots of a doubling-as-an-alien-world Iceland to the panoramically-pictured Wadi Rum valley in Jordan, this is a non-CGI, organic-as-organic-gets universe. Every bit of what you experience feels wholly tangible rather than the digitized artificiality found in 'Avatar'.

Scott has lived up to the massive expectations, delivering a film that builds on the legacy that had its origin some 33 years ago. 'Prometheus' is escapist entertainment of the highest order; an ambitiously envisioned sci-fi spectacle.