Monday, June 11, 2012

Exorbitant, enchanting, and empty

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 9 June 2012, retrieved from http://newindianexpress.com/entertainment/reviews/article539016.ece)







Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: 2 stars
When Prometheus begins, I change my mind about Hugo being the best exploration of 3D I have seen thus far. I’m transported to a world of gigantic proportions and infinite beauty, only marred by a suicidal alien who will later be discovered in stasis by suicidal human beings who inject him back into life.
When Prometheus ends, I’m wondering whether it was commissioned by the Vatican or Quakers or Mormons, or whoever else wants us to stop believing in Darwinism. I’m fairly sure no other religion has the funds or inclination to bother with a Ridley Scott film – except Scientology, but then this film would have starred Tom Cruise and done away with crosses.
What bewilders me is what happened in between. We’re later to discover that the suicidal alien is some kind of giant. We’re led to the alien by a couple of archaeologists – Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) – who find patterns in cave paintings that make them link up the beliefs of ancient civilisations that had nothing to do with each other. They’re led to the alien by a super-awesome spaceship commanded by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), captained by Janek (Idris Elba), commissioned by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and chaperoned by Paranoid Android David (Michael Fassbender).
A hologram of Weyland of Weyland Corp gives us some spiel about his noble intentions, and then a Rubik’s Cube that belongs to the gum-chewing Holloway and cross-wearing Shaw projects a rather boring presentation about their search for Engineers (it’s unfashionable to say ‘Makers’).
On board are three other people who will die gory deaths, two other people whose only contribution to the script is a silly bet and whose only contribution to the story is a four-syllable pep talk targeted at Janek, when he needs to be coaxed into a suicidal mission. Yeah, people are weird that way – they sometimes want to attempt a journey back to Earth from 3.7 X 1014 metres away.
Naturally, some of these occupants will form couples whose attempts at breaking a four-year run of celibacy will have disastrous consequences. Naturally, Weyland does not have noble intentions – it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle and all that, you know. Naturally, we see marvellous caves that hold sarcophagi and heathenish statues and earthen pots and vile-looking viscous fluid that spreads contagion. Naturally, the android develops a conscience. But we knew that when he beamed at being called “the closest thing to a son” Weyland has. Naturally, aliens take root in people’s bodies after entering through sundry orifices. Naturally, they burst out of non-orifices. Naturally, someone survives against all logic. Naturally, there will be multiple sequels.
The Verdict: There are some moments when Prometheus has you spellbound for the sheer beauty of its imagery. But mostly, you curse New Age and Existentialism for inspiring this.

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