Director Ridley Scott's Alien
has long been held up as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. Repeated viewings emphasize its brilliance as audiences discover the intricacies of the characters and the layers of meaning spread throughout the film. More than three decades later, he's accomplished a similar success with Prometheus
After decades of looking for answers, in 2089 an archaeologist couple solve the mystery of where we came from. Through enormous funding by Weyland Industries, a space mission takes a ragtag group of scientists to a distant planet to meet their makers. However, once they arrive they find the welcome mat has not been laid out and they were not nearly prepared for the hostile environment found outside - and inside - their ship.
Scott has once again given audiences a true sci-fi picture. It's a slow burn and lacks the quantity of intense action sequences of its counterpart, but it's mesmerizing. The extraterrestrial story is the initial draw, pulling people in with the excitement of discovery and an alternate origin story. The curiosity the first sequences in the ship produces is the hook (if you still weren't quite convinced). The need for multiple viewings is evident early on - not because it's confusing but because it's clear there are many layers to the narrative that will not be uncovered in a single viewing. And it's so gorgeous you'll want a chance to admire it again anyway.
The aliens are both different and familiar when compared to Scott's other creations. They slither, bite, attack and easily overpower their victims. Obviously not identical, fans will latch onto the similarities between the creatures; though they will also either love or hate the ending - there will be very little indifference. One of the noticeable changes is the switch from primarily phallic imagery to unmistakably yonic scenes where people are undeniably being attacked by vagina-like things. This could be a clever but subtle acknowledgment of the film's prequel qualities (particularly since it's set 30 years before the first Alien
The talent of the ensemble cast is impressive, but not surprising. A mix of well-known faces and others less recognizable, as well as a well-known face made unrecognizable, compose the group of impromptu astronauts. Charlize Theron is severe as the high-strung woman-in-charge, making the tough decisions without blinking an eye. She's on a very different power trip than the one she rides in Snow White and the Huntsmen
. Noomi Rapace sports those hardcore abs previously made famous by Ripley, who had a somewhat different take on the underwear shot. Michael Fassbender is convincingly inhuman, while remaining a character that holds the audience's interest. And Idris Elba had a small part that he turns into a big role.
The alien-stomach scene is matched, if not surpassed, by an unconventional cesarean that will forever be etched in your memory. Viewers with short attention spans probably won't enjoy the gradual build Scott does so well, but it's worth the wait.
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace
, Charlize Theron
and Michael Fassbender