"Prometheus" and its ambitious reach

In Ridley Scott's ambitious "prequel" -or so its touted- of his 1979 Sci Fi classic Alien, Scott tackles the biggest question of all of humanity; our existence. In Prometheus the year is 2093 and a team of scientists journey through the universe on the spaceship "Prometheus"  to investigate Alien life forms, what they find is a possible answer to whom our creators might be. A question arises as the film's central theme, would we be greeted with hostility and violence if we ever had the chance to meet the creators that made us? It's deep, dark stuff that is handled with real intrigue by Scott and his screenwriters John Spaihts and Damon Lindeloff.  Think of it as The Tree Of Life for the summer blockbuster crowd, although Prometheus doesn't really need to be compared to Terrence Malick's masterpiece. That would only lead you to believe it is a whole other movie than it actually is. It isn't.

Scott stages the actions scenes remarkably well. He's always had a gift for creating character in a sea of action. Think of Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and -more recently- American Gangster. His films have wounded male characters who's lives are filled with violent pasts and presents. In Prometheus, male characters come and go but Scott creates a true action heroine for 2012 in Noomi Rapace. The original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ignites the film with enough gas to fill a tank. She's dynamite and becomes a true heir to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in the first two Alien films. The same brilliance can be attributed to Michael Fassbender who plays the deceiving android that accompanies the crew on their journey. The best compliment I can give Fassbender is that I forgot it was the actor just acting and actually did believe his David was a droid. The whole cast is solid and to reveal more plot would be to ruin Prometheus' dark surprises.

There are holes in Prometheus, its 124 minute running time is overdone and Scott doesn't always know when to stop. Yet its claustrophobic atmosphere is palpably intense. A mix of rich visuals and a thinking man's movie. The questions asked in the film don't all get answered and it infuriates just as much as it entertains. However the ambition of Prometheus is what makes it a solid blockbuster in a sea of muck. The ideas spin out of control and Scott's story somewhat gets out of hand but there's something refreshing about watching a summer movie with ideas. A concept that has not existed in any of the popcorn movies released thus far this summer. Come on, as if The Avengers had a deep layer of existential thought in its candy colored brain. Not that there's anything wrong with just wanting to entertain but sometimes a little extra thought would suffice along with the diversion. Prometheus has that, even when it sometimes misses its swing.