Dateline: Scotland, 2089. While spelunking along the shores of the Isle of Skye, archaeologists Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) discover an ancient painting etched into the ceiling of an abandoned cave. The researchers immediately realize that the primitive object is an invitation from aliens to visit a moon located in a remote constellation that might very well have been the birthplace of humanity.
Fast-forward a few years and we find the couple en route to LV-233 on a daring expedition to try and find proof that people were either created by God or were genetically engineered by sentient beings from another galaxy. Clearly, unearthing such evidence will have a profound effect on Dr. Shaw who is a devout Christian and always wears a cross that was a gift from her late father Patrick Shaw.
As the spaceship Prometheus approaches its destination, Captain Janek (Idris Elba) and his crew of sixteen are roused from a cryogenic state of hibernation by an android named David (Michael Fassbender). Upon landing, command of the operation falls to Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), a coldhearted corporate executive employed by Weyland Corporation whose late CEO (Guy Pearce) underwrote the trillion-dollar mission.
The trip is just a job to the jaded Vickers who is skeptical about what she refers to as “the scribbling of dirty little savages in caves.” In fact, she orders the disembarking explorers to refrain from making any direct contact with aliens.
Of course, contact with alien life forms is precisely the point of Prometheus, a horror movie directed by three-time Oscar-nominee Ridley Scott (for Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Thelma & Louise). At this juncture, the picture divides its time between raising probing philosophical questions about the intersection of science, religion, and ethics, and graphic depictions of body invasion, mutation, and gruesome vivisection.
Although initially conceived as a prequel to Alien (1979), also directed by Scott, the movie was ultimately released as a stand alone adventure. Regardless, this riveting visually captivating and thought provoking science fiction film is recommended for avid science fiction fans, even if the heavy handed faith-based symbolism (“Where’s my cross?” and “After all this, you still believe!”) gets to be a bit much.
Very Good (***). Rated R for intense violence and brief profanity. Running time: 123 minutes. Distributor: 20th Century Fox.