Prometheus ****

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Not a lot of movies can stir up a sense of awe in me. Modern sci-fi pictures are more interested in action and computer generated effects. I have also seen enough alien invasion films recently to last me for the next decade I think. “Prometheus” finds director Ridley Scott returning to a genre that badly needs him and boy does he deliver.

There has been a lot of speculation in the last year about what this movie is really about because it started out as a prequel to “Alien”. But Scott has said that the story takes place in the same universe, but goes down a different path altogether. This is exactly what a prequel should be. Why revisit visit the roots of a story when we know how they end? Here Scott and his writers develop a story that is different yet equally effective and terrifying.

“Prometheus” stars Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw, an archaeologist who discovers a star map pointing toward the possible origins of life on earth. We then cut to on board the Prometheus, a space ship transporting a team of scientists to the galaxy described in the star map.

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The crew arrive at a barn waste land of a planet. There they discover a giant dome structure. Once they land everyone begins exploring what turns out to be a kind of tomb. They stumble across a room that seems to contain many metallic eggs and a giant human face made of stone. I don’t know about you but I could watch people explore alien caves with flashlights and gadgets through an entire movie.

What they find points to the origins of life on earth but it also raises many questions that the movie wisely never really answers. This story is too big to be contained in one film. I imagine a lot of filmgoers will be turned off by the fact that so many questions are asked and not all of them are answered but remember some of the writers of this film were responsible for the television series “Lost”.

The cast are all picked for their specific strengths. Rapace is strong and fierce but tender and harboring a lot of pain over the death of her father. Michael Fassbender gives a creepy yet mysterious performance as the android David. Idris Elba plays the hard nosed captain of the ship who makes a devastating decision near the end of the film that possible prevents the extinction of our planet. Charlize Theron plays the representative of the Weyland corporation, which students of the “Alien” franchise will recognize as the company that Ellen Ripley worked for in the original series.

Now there are connections to “Alien” here, including a final scene that doesn’t seem to really fit in to the story, but this movie is not about face huggers and Xenomorphs. There are some nasty beings and gruesome moments in this film but almost nothing like what we have seen in previous movies.

I saw “Prometheus” in Imax 3D and for once I can say that it was amazing. The 3D was totally immersive and added to the overall effect of the movie. It was still a little dim but honestly, I would have a hard time watching this in 2D as it was that good.

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