LOS ANGELES — Yes, “Prometheus” is a futuristic sci-fi film about a group of scientists who search for life’s creators on a far-away planet with the help of an android. They encounter much more than they bargained for in their quest for answers, fight some aliens and save earth. However, I almost feel as if this was a piece of art questioning whether or not we should be looking in the first place.
Look, we know why anyone does anything; because they can, and in this world, the owner and crew of the Prometheus can. But it doesn’t always make it the appropriate line of thinking. I could go take a bath in the pond at The Grove, have someone film it and end up a YouTube hit but it wouldn’t be worth it (maybe). It’s sometimes better to let sleeping dogs lie, or shower at the gym. Doc Brown built a time machine out of a DeLorean but even that screwed just about everything up.
I’ll admit, the idea of having an android to help me get through life is pretty sweet. Yes, it would help make my life easier, I’d win a boatload of cash on Jepoardy or yet-to-be-invented game show, but would I actually learn anything on my own, or improve as a man? Probably not. I could just take him to parties, or get stinking rich because I’d be the only with a life-like robot.
All things being even, I’d probably do it, but it doesn’t mean I should. Like looking for the creators of man.
OK, back to my original lede for this review.
Since winning the Academy Award for her role in “Monster” in 2003, Charlize Theron hasn’t done anything truly memorable – aside from throwing around a drunk Will Smith in “Hancock” (2008) – until last year’s “Young Adult,” a very well done film in which she plays a successful writer who goes back to her hometown to win back her high school sweetheart. However, Theron is a huge movie star, and thusly, very recognizable. So when I saw her in the trailer for Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi blockbuster “Prometheus” I was not only confused but figured her inclusion would be quite distracting from what surely was a very deep and interesting film by a very successful and thought-provoking film maker.
I was slightly wrong. Only slightly because after learning she passed on playing the lead, Elizabeth Shaw, because of a scheduling conflict, she later accepted a lesser role as Meredith Vickers, the Prometheus’ guardian, when the film fit her calendar. Theron in this lesser role is much better than as the lead and therefore not AS distracting as it could’ve been. So it’s a win by default. Michael Fassbender (“X-Men: Origins”), not nearly as big a star though getting there, was perfect is his role as the droid David, who assists the crew of the Prometheus in their hunt for the so-called Engineers, the makers of life, on a far away planet.
“Prometheus” was originally dubbed as an “Alien” prequel but it’s hardly that; completely separate story line, and there’s only a hint at anything Alien at all, so don’t feel like you need to have seen those films to know what’s going on here, as you don’t. Scott’s special effects on this new planet, a planet which takes two years to get to, are incredible, and I enjoyed the acting, especially by the two knuckleheads, Fifield (Sean Harris) and Millburn (Rafe Spall). Initially, I wasn’t that excited about “Prometheus,” but it’s well worth the 124-minute run time. Just don’t spend the entire duration thinking about if the ship is bigger than Spaceball 1. It’s not. And doesn’t have a cool bumper sticker either.
Oh, and Noomi Rapace is awesome as Shaw. But the film, in my opinion, is all about the performance of Fassebender, who in 7 months, should get some award noms.
Brockman Stamp of Approval: 3.5/5 Stomach Staples.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Working on a talk show has some cool perks. OK, really just one: you get to meet celebrities (there are a few jokes here, but I’ll refrain some saying them because, well, we’d like more to come on the show). Usually, these aesthetically-blessed individuals are plugging their latest project, which they’ve been trained to tell everyone who’ll ask and listen that it’s the greatest thing since “Citizen Kane.” Admittedly, as these trained memorizers have described their films, I’ve gotten sucked in to thinking they’re right and that I should fork over the cash to go see what their hocking.
Now, when they leave, I exit the vortex of their propaganda and realize what they’re peddling is piece of crap and save my money for more important things like Subway footlongs and dental floss. However, when recent guest Jake Johnson (“New Girl” & “Get Him To The Greek”) stopped by to talk Chicago Bears and his new indie film “Safety Not Guaranteed” I was intrigued more than normal.
A few days later, I checked out the trailer online and decided it’d be work my time. About a group of writers for Seattle magazine who set off on a journey to find out about this kook who put a classified ad for a trip back in time, ‘Guaranteed,’ which also stars Mark Duplass of “The League” and Aubrey Plaza of “The Office,” is a story of hope, belief and letting go of what’s comfortable and easy for something that could be so much more.
A film that entertains you and makes you think. I’m in.
Johnson plays the dick-ish writer who takes the story with the agenda of meeting up with an old flame in the area; Plaza is the inquisitive, boring intern who draws the assignment of getting close to Duplass, only to eventually grow to like him and buy into his plan to actually travel back in time; and there’s an Indian intern whom they both make fun of. It’s an amusing dynamic and a fun 90 minutes.
I was legit surprised by the ending, too. You’ll enjoy it.
Brockman Stamp of Approval: 3.75/5 Cans of Soup