"There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing"
This quote from Lawrence of Arabia (1962) features in Prometheus. It is one of my very favourite films. It so happens that I share this with David, the android who is the caretaker of the ship, Prometheus, during the 2 year journey. Michael Fassbender is so good here you could almost miss his facial sorcery while the film blind-sides you with more pertinent questions like: Who created us? Where did we come from? Oh yes, and the magnificent 3-D. This film stands alongside Avatar (2009), Hugo (2011) and The Adventures of Tintin (2011) as the films that actually use 3D aesthetically while several others were busy showing off. The old-schoolers show us how it's done.
Prometheus begins with a prologue that is rather confounding but sets up what is to come later. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover ancient cave paintings which has a link with what we saw in the prologue. The conception of humanity and the large looming answers may be within the reach of Weyland Corporation that has funded this mission. Once they land, we loyally tread the blueprint of the original Alien (1979). Shock, slime, wonder, gore, shock again, slime again, wonder turns to nightmare. The findings aren't ones that will necessarily restore your faith in life. Ridley Scott's sci-fi universes aren't the most hopeful ones. Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) are as bleak, dark and dreary as they come. Enter Prometheus. They are more concerned with the vices of humankind than its virtues. Any ending is a happy ending. But then we have the female heroine and I absolutely love a strong unconventional female protagonist. Elizabeth Shaw is the Ellen Ripley of Prometheus, even donning the same clothing in a scene (or the lack of it).
There are numerous stunning action spectacles that fulfill you summer blockbuster appetite. But there is equal bouts of horror that demands a strong stomach. This is horror that makes you cringe. There is a staggering scene where Elizabeth is forced to perform a surgery on herself. This takes Hitchcockian suspense to a whole new level. This is cinema, not just horror cinema, at its best! Later, David remarks "I didn't know you had it in you". Damon Lindelof, the screenwriter juggles clever dialogue and B-movie dialogue. The film is definitely problematic. It indulges in its excesses when the audience should be getting a more substantial experience. But by then you don't care. You've either fallen in love with this film or started hating it.
Alien has been rebooted in all its quasi-prequel glory. The epilogue wraps up the Alien connection and a sequel is implied. Keeping all the reservations in mind (or rather ignoring them), I'm sure I will be watching this film again. Remember, in space no one can hear you scream.