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Movies | Despite its flaws, new Ridley Scott movie is visually stunning

Issue: "The brain trust," June 30, 2012

While watching Prometheus you get the sense that you are seeing two movies-the one Ridley Scott really wanted to make and the one he felt he must make to please studio executives and fans.

The first is a beautiful, deeply mythological sci-fi journey that delves into the two most important questions in life. "Who made us? And what is our purpose?" as one of the crew members of the Prometheus, a spacecraft in search of beings who may have been the architects for life on Earth, asks.

The other movie, a far less interesting one, provides all the extraterrestrial gore that, along with profanity and suggestive dialogue, earns the movie an R rating. It's a shame that Scott felt he needed to tie Prometheus in with his 1979 horror film, Alien, because when he isn't focusing on scaring the audience, he flirts with something profound.

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Though most of the crew's professed interest is advancing science or making money, as they draw closer to their goal they begin to express hope that they will gain meaning from meeting their creators. "If they made us, they can save us," says one character. "From what?" asks the cross-wearing Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace). "Death," the character responds simply. This is only one of the many intriguing elements that get lost once things that go squelch in the night take over.

This is not to say that Scott presents anything like sound biblical theology. When someone asks Dr. Shaw if she still has faith, she repeats what her missionary father once told her: "It's what I choose to believe." Unwilling to claim anything smacking of certainty, she settles for the useless hedge, it's true for me. But unless she knows that God as Creator and Christ as Savior is true for all and for all time, then she possesses no kind of truth at all.

Yet despite its flaws, Prometheus is a visually stunning film (well worth the extra expense of 3-D) that leaves the viewer pondering its themes of creation's longing to know its creator long after the credits have rolled.

Listen to Megan Basham discuss Prometheus on WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

Megan Basham
Megan Basham

Megan, a regular correspondent for WORLD News Group, is a writer and film critic living in Charlotte, N.C. She is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All.


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