The subtitle to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is The Modern Prometheus due to the desire of the original Prometheus to improve the lot of man.
The film opens with the departure of a spacecraft while a super-man, a Prometheus (whose form seems an idealized god-human), drinks a dark liquid, and disintegrates, falling into a waterfall, and creating life as we know it on Earth.
In 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway see an invitation from the “engineers” of humanity in some of the depictions in cave paintings and ancient tablets scattered across the world. There is a depiction of stars or planets—I am not sure which—on each of them and since this happens before Sigourney Weaver interacted with the creatures, believe they must finds the location, which to me seems rather prosaic, but apparently, there is only one such place in the known universe fitting the “clue.”
I have never figured out why, in this type of movie, that the advanced civilization does not give better directions, but, then, this is not a big part of the movie. The characters have to get to the place for all the fun to start, and this time, they do it on a ship named Prometheus, making the voyage in suspended animation, or stasis.
When they get to the planetoid, the crew is told that their real mission—apparently not the one they signed up for—is to find the “engineers.” Mission director Meredith Vickers, played by Charlize Theron orders them to avoid making direct contact. The Prometheus lands near a large artificial structure, which a team explores, and then stuff starts to happen.
Noomi Rapace, who played Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of the Millennium Trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, et al), is the protagonist, Elizabeth Shaw, and she is wonderful, never once losing her faith.
This wouldn’t be an Alien movie without a duplicitous android in the crew, and this one is pretty good, played by Michael Fassbender.
The movie is well acted and the visuals alone are worth the price of the ticket, but there is one particularly rough scene during which I covered my eyes, wherein Elizabeth would have made Lisbeth proud.
There were a couple of scenes that made me wish I had popped for the 3-D version, but they were cool nonetheless.
The plot was a little, well, muddy. It leaves open room for other “prequels” or even new movies based on Shaw that may have nothing to do with the Aliens of days past.
As Fassbender said about the end of the movie: Humanity is safe. For now.
I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.