Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' a daring movie without wings of imagination


Ridley Scott's 1979 film 'Alien' was both sci-fi and horror, where Sigourney Weaver performed brilliantly. Then came 'Blade Runner' with its bleak futurist vision of doom. 'Prometheus' proposes to take the 'Alien'story forward. The space expedition reaches a planet which like earth, with its abandoned life systems, and the DNA of the creatures is exactly that of the humans. So, the team argue among themselves, this must have been the place that human life, human creation had originated, and this must be the ur-Eden. But it is a desolate Eden and the attempt is to trace the origin and also the secret of life. The space expedition is the idea of a private tycoon, who is old and tottering and hopes to get at the origin and secret of life.
Sci-fi narratives are difficult to sustain on screen before the visual scene cannot be sufficiently or radically improved upon from that of last century. But Scott adds those little details. Robots intermix with ordinary folk. And the ordinary folk, comprising scientists, still cling to the old religious belief and feel justified as well. In 'Prometheus' the ugly gluey creature reappears without adding much to the meaning of the story. This element can as well be dispensed with and use the traditional Martians of sci-fi imagination.

The new element in the story is that instead of returning to earth, one of the team boldly fares forward into space in search of origins but with full faith in the old religious dispensation. Yes. Death remains a mystery, a puzzle, a burden and a cruel closure. But there is no escape.
Scott tries to pack in action and emotion though on predictable lines. There is no mystery, no beauty and no sense of awe in the film.

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