Ridley Scott Is a world class director of science fiction film. “Alien” broke ground in 1979. Blade Runner is a masterpiece beyond brilliant, far ahead of its time. They’re still arguing on-line whether Deckard is a replicant thirty years later (I think he was).
30 years after Blade Runner, the long awaited “Promethius” is here in IMAX 3D, portending to answer some open questions from “Alien”. I suppose it does, but not to the hyped expectations. DNA from “Aliens” is sprinkled throughout, but in the end none of it morphs into a simple explanation of xenomorphs and the origins of mankind. If there is any explanation, it hides in open-ended bombast and pyrotechnics.
The production is supurb. The cast is well placed. Noomi Rapace (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 1,2 & 3) reprises a determined Sigourney Weaver (complete with the obligatory underwear scene). Michael Fassbinder dredges up a convincing version of Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) in “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001). Charlize Theron chills as a sinister tentacle of the corporate suits, led by the incomparable Guy Pierce. You really believe he’s Peter Weyland . He can and will re-order the universe:
Avoiding clichés and cartoonishness, the first third of the film sets the stage, building suspense and accumulating menacing weirdness. Scott builds opulent grandiosity that really works in 3D, but the promise was only partially fulfilled. The rest of the film de-evolves into contrived twists and reversals seemingly calculated to the sensibilities of audiences full of android-like 3D addicts. The origins of xenomorphs as they apply to origin of mankind are couched in smoke and mirrors, allowing the viewer to connect the dots any way they desire.
Accordingly, it’s wise not to enter the theater expecting to view a culmination the cinematic universe and an definitive answer to all of the questions anyone has ever asked about that universe. That said, this is a film that defies the authority of intellectual dissection. It simply blows the viewer away, overwhelming all the senses in a deafening cacophony of pyrotechnics that defies literal interpretation.
I think Ridley Scott is now the most important Science Fiction director of our generation. “Alien” and “Blade Runner” are ranked respectively as #7 and #8 by the American Film Institute in the list of the greatest science fiction films ever made. “Promethius” is not quite in that league I don’t think, but it is good and definitely worth seeing.
I give it four of five Charlize Therons crawling on her belly like a reptile.