Life + Arts Movies

Summer sci-fi film driven by strong casting

To call Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” a summer horror film would be akin to labeling Eva Peron a failed actress. It is a clinically accurate description, but that does not mean it is at all correct.

The premise on its face sounds cliché. An intrepid group of explorers, scientists and one power-hungry corporate lawyer travel far out of the way to track down the very physical roots of our existence. If you have had friends or family members tell you this is a prequel to the 1979 classic “Alien,” they are only about 35 percent right.

It has the requisite, minimal amount of gore to earn its R rating, but that is hardly the strongest element of the film’s appeal.

A well-written, almost Asimov-like script coupled with 3D special effects that were enough to cause loss of breath at a few points, “Prometheus” blends art house with science fiction in an oddly dignified way.

One of the most endearing aspects of the movie is that it does not go out of its way to explain things to you.

Scott apparently enjoys it when we actually use our brains. This action on merit alone warrants immediate respect for his craft and skill.

Effects and all are nice, but even the most amazing visual and auditory parts of the film place second to the understated skill and variety of the cast.

Breaking all modern stereotypes of women in horror and sci-fi movies and effortlessly channeling Sigourney Weaver from the original “Alien,” Swedish actress Noomi Rapace captures all of the applicable emotions an archaeologist exploring an unknown planet would have.

Rapace’s character has her beliefs challenged in every scene from every side.

Actor Charlie Holloway comes across as a mix of an archaeologist and a trucker. At times it can be a weird mix, but it works on every level.

Actress Charlize Theron and actor Michael Fassbender, in an eerie way that mimics classic 1960s space operas, are the two who steal the scenes with a practiced coldness that immediately arouses the best brand of cinematic suspicion.

While all of its functioning parts are wonderful, “Prometheus” is indeed greater than the sum of its parts in a way that makes you actually have faith that true and unqualified horror and sci-fi films have not totally been perverted by gore-porn and formulaic sequels.

You will leave the theater with the rare feeling of knowing your ticket was — for once — worth the price.

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