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.
The house from "The Blair Witch Project" is getting a new lease on life.
Originally scheduled for a meeting with a wrecking ball, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has decided to spare the 200-year-old Griggs House in western Baltimore County. A lawyer for Haxan Films, which produced "Blair Witch," tells The Baltimore Sun that he thinks distributor Artisan Entertainment put up money with state officials to save the house.
The Griggs House, of course, was the dilapidated shack featured at the climax of the '99 horror hit. At least we think it was. Hard to tell. That friggin' camera was spinning too much.
FROM BRITAIN WITH LOVE: Sean Connery's got a new title -- and this time it's not Sexiest Man Alive.
No, that would be Sir Sean Connery to you. The original 007, along with Elizabeth Taylor and Julie Andrews, were among those knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in a New Year's Eve ceremony in Britain.
Actually, Taylor and Andrews are now officially "dames," not "knights." ("Dames" are titles for girls, "knights" are for boys.)
Other than adding an extra syllable to each of their names, we're not exactly sure what the fancy titles get Sir Sean, Dame Elizabeth and Dame Julie -- well, besides free tea and crumpets.
Name recognition? Not necessary. Oscars? Been there, done that. (Connery won for "The Untouchables," Andrews for "Mary Poppins," and Taylor for "Butterfield 8" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?")
Front-row tickets to the Rolling Stones? We're checking.
RECUPERATING: A "very, very tired" George Harrison will be spending the early part of the millennium recuperating at the house where he was stabbed Thursday.
The former Beatle, 56, was discharged from the Harefield Hospital in London on Saturday along with wife Olivia, who was also injured in the attack. Doctors assured Harrison he would make a full recovery, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Harrison's reputed attacker -- 33-year-old Michael Abram -- has been charged with attempted murder and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment.
A NOT-SO PUFFY SUIT: Sean "Puffy" Combs might want to start designing a courthouse wardrobe under his clothing label, Sean John.
The oft-in-trouble rap mogul is in trouble again -- this time, thanks to a $100 million lawsuit filed by 27-year-old Julius Jones, one of three bystanders wounded by gunfire Dec. 27 at a Manhattan nightclub. The complaint was filed New Year's Eve in New York.
Combs, who made headlines with girlfriend/actress Jennifer Lopez after the two reputedly fled the shooting scene, was arrested on a weapons charge after a gun was found in his car. The music star has denied any wrongdoing.
GOODBYE, YELLOW BRICK ROAD: Harry Monty, one of the surviving supporting players from "The Wizard of Oz," died Dec. 28 at age 95, it has been reported.
The diminutive actor and stuntman, whose real name was Hymie Lichenstein, both helped and hounded Judy Garland in uncredited roles as a Munchkin and an evil winged monkey. He also had roles in "Planet of the Apes" and "Hello, Dolly!"