Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Dave (Barry Watson) Adam (Michael Rosenbaum) and Doofer (Harland Williams) make up the social committee at Kappa Omega Kappa (KOK get it?) a chauvinistic fraternity that chastises women based on their looks. But when the evil KOK president frames them for the theft of fraternity funds the trio suddenly find themselves out on the street. They must now find a place to stay on campus until they can clear their name and get back into the fraternity's good graces. Until this point the film almost makes Freddy Got Fingered look relevant. Then the three protagonists throw on women's garb and join the sorority Delta Omicron Gamma (DOG get it?) which just happens to be in the middle of a membership drive. At least now it gets funny. For the rest of the film Dave Adam and Doofer become Daisy Adina and Roberta and find out what it's like to wear eyeliner heels and be less than desirable. Admittedly there are some laugh-out-loud moments interspersed in this inane comedy; when a fellow sister enters the guys' room and asks if any of them has a maxi pad because she has soaked through all of hers Adina laments to his friends: "We're not supposed to see what's behind the curtain." Although most of the jokes in this pic are blatantly stereotypical I have to admit that when Adina is elated to find the dress he wants in his size on the sale rack I knew where he was coming from.
Barry Watson has gone to extremes to shed the good boy image of Matt Camden which he has portrayed on the WB's 7th Heaven since 1996. In Sorority Boys Watson plays "the pretty one"--Daisy. His performance however is bland and despite starring in this raunchy comedy Watson still comes off as the angelic one who falls in love with the brainy girl in glasses. On the other hand Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luther on the WB's Smallville) is hilarious as Adam/Adina. You feel bad when he gets laughed at on campus and almost vindicated when he hurls a rock through the windshield of a car filled with idiots. Harland Williams completes the trio as Doofer/Roberta the sensitive one that bonds with his sorority sisters. His character is probably the least original one but Williams still has some of the funniest scenes in the film. Unfortunately Doofer is not much different from the characters Williams portrayed in Freddy Got Fingered and Half Baked. The head of the DOG sorority is played ably by Melissa Sagemiller(Soul Survivors). Sagemiller's character has a sweet earthiness to her and is not your typical bombshell made ugly by frumpy clothes and glasses.
With Sorority Boys Wally Wolodarsky delivers a totally unspectacular movie rife with crude humor and tasteless jokes. However I didn't find myself particularly bothered or offended by the film because it satirizes college fraternities which in my opinion are chauvenistic and elitist to begin with. In the film's opening sequence for example the KOK president is getting ready to punish pledges with something that involves Crisco and hamsters. Crass yes but isn't humiliation what hazing is all about? Perhaps it is in bad taste but I laughed when Roberta admits he is addicted to porn during an all-girl support session and I laughed even harder when it's his turn to clean the bathroom and he yanks a massive wad of hair out of the drain. "It's like a Wookie man!" he exclaims followed by a hilarious impression of Chewbacca. Sure there are some not so funny moments (the duel with dildos is just plain dumb) and their plan to clear their names is completely implausible. But why shouldn't we appreciate a good laugh at the Greek system's expense once in a while? The film would have been frighteningly realistic had the three boys not learned a valuable lesson at the end.