Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace

Directed by Ridley Scott
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
June 7, 2012

The ending isn't squishy scary or deeply satisfying. Bummer. Otherwise, Prometheus – especially in its spellbinding first hour – kicks ass so hard and often that it's impossible not to be thrilled by it. For starters, the look of the film is an enveloping amazement, with director Ridley Scott using 3D with the fierce finesse of a master. Scott gives us a world to get lost in. Then there's Michael Fassbender. The Irish-German actor is brilliant as David, an android who's been modeled after Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia – the blond hair, the posh Brit accent, the blend of mirth and menace that plays on his face.

Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. There's a plot. Scott, teasing the film's prequel ties to his 1979 classic Alien, is launching a different kind of galactic voyage. The destination is the planetary moon LV-223 (not LV-426, as it was in the original Alien). Archeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are on their way to LV-223 to meet their makers. Prehistoric cave paintings have convinced the two scientists that human life originated there. Conclusions are meant to drawn from the fact that Charlie is a strict Darwinist and Elizabeth wears a crucifix. They've persuaded dead tycoon Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce appearing as a hologram smothered in old-age latex and still doing a bang-up job) to finance the trip aboard the spaceship Prometheus (named after the fire-stealing Titan). While Captain Jadek (Idris Elba) and Weyland bosslady Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) spend two years traveling in hyper-sleep with the rest of the crew, David the robot takes control. Shades of Hal 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

We are now entering spoiler territory. My cue to shut up. Still, post-landing and the start of LV-223 tunnel  explorations – warning, parasites ahead! – you could argue that David is still in charge. Fassbender is so good, he owns the movie. And Rapace, the original Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, evokes stirring memories of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in the first quartet of Alien movies. Rapace has one do-it-yourself medical scene that defines mind-blowing. It's here that Scott hits the buttons labeled "ick" and "eww" that he perfected with John Hurt's chestbusting scene in Alien. So even when the script by Jon Spaihts and Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof ties itself in knots trying to be profound, Scott – returning to sci-fi for the first time since 1982's iconic Blade Runner – shows you what cosmic terror can feel like in the hands of a true visionary. Buckle up.

At the Movies with Peter Travers: Michael Fassbender Shines in Visually Stunning 'Prometheus'
Michael Fassbender Talks Starring Roles
Photos: Michael Fassbender Becomes a Star

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Wake Up Everybody”

    John Legend and the Roots | 2010

    A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

    More Song Stories entries »