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23 June 2012

Prometheus (Review): "Science versus Humanity and the New Frankenstein"

WARNING: Contains Spoiler

Unlike most films in the Aliens franchise, Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” is far more profound. This supposed prequel tackles the war between the apathetic search of science for truth and humanity’s frustrating search for the meaning of its existence. Scott’s execution is quite straightforward. Audiences need not guess because Scott laid bare the film agenda clearly before our eyes.  “Prometheus,” after all, is still an action movie, albeit infused with intelligence. 

At first, scientists unearthed proof of man’s alien origin, a triumph of science against superstitious creation beliefs so it seemed.  But as the movie unfolds, science reveals itself as cold and robotic in its search for truth.   Science has become a mere agent of human greed for power and immortality.  Science is also not immune to the clutches of money.  Trillions of dollars used for scientific research will turn idealistic scientists into mere employees and they have to sit on the backseat and give way to the delusion of an ailing trillionaire. Ironically, in the film, it is the scientists who became beacons of faith.  Unfortunately, the overall message of the superiority of humanity over science was limited by the use of the cross as the symbol of faith. But then again, let us just consider that detail as part of the character design of the female lead than Scott’s blatant declaration that Christianity is “the religion of humanity.”  I do not think that was his intention as well.

Of course, in the end, the robotic ambition of science inevitably consumes humanity.  Science creates its own voracious predator as represented by the powerful alien at the end of the movie.  The alien is the new Frankenstein of our age.  This alien is intelligent, adaptable and it does not have any remorse in replacing people at the top of the food chain.  The Frankenstein theme is evident in the film.  People, as it turned out, may just be the first "Frankenstein," who evolved intelligently enough to create our own "Frankenstein." 

Once again, Scott delivers an entertaining movie.  Perhaps in the hands of a typical Hollywood director, “Prometheus”  might have become another boring installment to a dying series.  Thankfully, Scott did not compromise much of the story for the sake of showing reel after reel of explosive special effects and grotesque aliens.   It was also a delight to see Noomi Rapage taking the lead again after her impressive performance in the original “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.”  Her performance does justice to Sigourney Weaver’s legacy in the “Aliens” franchise.  For the record, Scott directed the first Alien film, simply titled “Alien.” I guess Scott needed only one alien to make a compelling movie. 

“Prometheus” still falls under the category of alien-oriented science fiction action movie; however, “Prometheus,” like its mythological namesake, possesses fire while the rest of the recent action movies dim quickly after an hour of watching them.

But if you want to watch a really exceptional science fiction film, watch Scott’s “Blade Runner.”

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