(director: Ridley Scott; screenwriters: Jon Spaihts Damon Lindelof; cinematographer: Dariusz Wolski; editor: Pietro Scalia; music: Marc Streitenfeld; cast: Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw), Michael Fassbender (David), Guy Pearce (Weyland), Idris Elba (Captain Janek), Logan Marshall-Green (Charlie Holloway), Charlize Theron (Vickers), Rafe Spall (Millburn), Sean Harris (Fifield); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Ridley Scott; 20th Century Fox; 2012)

“Its analytical story line is cold and never warms enough to make it less than inert.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Ridley Scott (“Blade Runner”/”Alien”/”Thelma & Louise”)says no to it being an ‘Alien’ (1979) prequel, that starred Sigourney Weaver. Since the film started out to be a prequel but took a different turn, that probably makes it just anothersci-fi horror movie–though a big-budget one at $130 million. It’s written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, and takes it easy on Christian ‘true believers’ as it brings them down with a soft landing after it shows that a search for their Maker is futile.

The gist of the story is a pursuit to discover who created humans and how they got on Earth. The lead scientist adventurers believe that aliens created earthlings, though the lady believes in God and the man in evolution. It blends together the workings of sci-fi, horror, artificial intelligence, spiritual and adventure genres, into one convoluted pseudo scientific-religious mix. It’s grand as spectacle in 3D, but its analytical story line is cold and never warms enough to make it less inert. It also comes with an open-ending, thereby inviting a sequel to clear up a lot of the illogical things left unanswered. Though it was always visually pleasing there were soft spots in the story line that were not that well-developed, the characters were thin and the dialogue seemed weak like your typical blockbuster action-pic. But the CGI effects and arty set designs were outstanding, and are the prime reason for any raves this film gets.

In the year 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her non-religious boyfriend scientist colleague Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a pictogram hidden in a prehistoric cave on Scotland’s Isle of Skye. This checks out as a star map, and when compared to other similar prehistoric etchings found in various spots across the world it raises metaphysical questions about the origins of the universe. This intrigues the dying aged slippery corporate head Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) so much that he funds a trillion dollar mission to the outer space spot these past inhabitants came from, and two years later the archaeologists are aboard the high-tech starship Prometheus with 15 others and when awakened in another two years land on a crater-filled distant moon of a mysterious planet, where they are disappointed to find only slime, aliens, subterranean tunnels, death and an unfriendly reception.

Those who make an impression aboard the Prometheus include the crusty working-class stud captain (Idris Elba), a bickering geologist (Sean Harris), a nebbish biologist (Rafe Spall), a mysterious, emotionless and soulless dream-reading smarty-pants creepy robot named David (Michael Fassbender) who was programmed by Weyland and, in charge of the ship’s agenda, the uptight rigid ice queen daughter of Weyland named Vickers (Charlize Theron). Shaw is depicted as the soft-spoken cross-wearing Christian true believer heroine at odds with the cynical materialist-minded corporate honcho villain Vickers, and she is willing to take risks to find answers about why the Maker has abandoned mankind while the corporate goddess is afraid to know the truth. In the pic’s centerpiece scene, the gutsy Shaw even performs a Caesarean section operation on herself when she discovers that an alien reptile has been implanted in her uterus.

The title is derived from the mythological Greek Titan who stole fire from the gods to try and give mankind an equal playing field, but was taken captive by the gods for his crime. It was filmed in Iceland, whose location supports a landscape similar to the moon.

Rapace gives an OK feisty performance in her strong vulnerable female role and Fassbender makes his android lively, witty, likable and funny in a droll way. The humans all seem expendable, while his insightful character into human beings, modeled after Peter O’Toole in “Lawrence of Arabia,” seems more human and complex than the human characters.