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.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to don his cyber alter ego once again in the third Terminator installment, tentatively titled T3: Rise of the Machines, but will do so without the help of his T1 and T2 cohorts. Although the sequel will still follow the adventures of now-twentysomething John Connor, Edward Furlong will be replaced in that role by a new actor (yet to be casted). Jonathan Mostow (U-571) takes over directing duties from James Cameron and Linda Hamilton will not return as Sarah Connor. Principal photography is set to begin in April.
Tom Cruise, an outspoken supporter of the Church of Scientology, visited the U.S. ambassador in Germany Wednesday and asked him to help improve the organization's status in that country. Why, you may ask? Apparently Germany views the group as a moneymaking venture rather than a valid religion, and has barred Scientologists from government jobs.
Joel and Ethan Coen, the quirky creators of Fargo and The Man Who Wasn't There, are in negotiations to remake the 1966 British caper comedy Gambit. The story revolves around a British thief involved in a heist of a lifetime and is being touted as a vehicle for actor Hugh Grant.
Universal Studios is suing MGM for false advertising and unfair competition in regards to the current ad campaign for MGM's February release Rollerball, a remake of the 1975 camp classic. The studio is upset that the broadcast spots claim Rollerball comes from the creators of Universal's The Fast and the Furious, when in actuality only one screenwriter, John Pogue, is credited on both films. A temporary restraining order was issued by a federal judge Tuesday to stop the ads from running.
Jude Law is in talks to star in David Mamet's Diary of a Young London Physician, an updated take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz is also being considered for the female lead. Hmm, didn't she say she was taking a break?
CBS will maximize its chances to get ahead in the May sweeps by moving the two-hour final episode of the upcoming Survivor: Marquesas to Sunday, May 19, instead of waiting until the following Thursday. During the last week of the May ratings book, CBS will air no fewer than fours of the hit reality show. Smart move.
The Stephen King miniseries Rose Red, the first two parts of which aired Sunday and Monday night, gave ABC a much-needed boost in the ratings. The spooky three-parter about a haunted house in Seattle took in 20 million viewers Sunday and 18.7 million on Monday, mightily beating the competition. The third part airs Thursday.
For the first time ever, Fox News Channel beat CNN in viewership during a one-month period, which hasn't been accomplished by any other cable news channel in nearly 15 years. You realize, of course, this means war.
ABC has announced that The Wayne Brady Show will be taking over the timeslot currently occupied by The Rosie O'Donnell Show when the talk show goes off the air. This leaves Caroline Rhea, whose show was widely thought to be taking over Rosie's slot, to find a new time of her own.
There might be a little life left in the VHS format after all. Based on a new digital VHS (D-VHS) format, Fox, Universal, DreamWorks and Artisan have announced they will release high-definition movies on videocassette in June. We'll see if can they really compete with DVDs.
Rocker Courtney Love is one step closer to getting her way. In her counter-suit against record company Universal, the California Court of Appeals granted Love clearance Monday to pursue her challenge of California labor laws that hold recording artists to contracts longer than artists in other fields. Universal originally sued the singer for breach of contract when she refused to record for them in 1999.
The sexual harassment trial against the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown, began Tuesday in a L.A. court. A former employee who claims she was fired after refusing the 68-year-old singer's sexual advances filed a $2 million lawsuit against Brown in 2000. Brown has issued a statement denying the accusations, which he calls "baseless and outrageous."
Singing legend Carol Channing was hospitalized in New York Tuesday after she became ill backstage before a scheduled appearance on The View. Apparently stricken with a virus, Channing will remain at the Lennox Hill Hospital for a day or two, according to her publicist.
R&B singer Chante Moore married fellow crooner Kenny Lattimore in Jamaica New Year's Day, Lattimore's record label Arista Records told The Associated Press Tuesday. Moore was previously married to actor Kadeem Hardison and they have one child together.
Author Susan Sontag will be providing liner notes to rebel rocker Patti Smith's retrospective album. The album will feature lyrics, notes, original artwork and previously unavailable photos of the legendary rock 'n' roll singer.