[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] P [/dropcap] rometheus is the latest Ridley Scott extravaganza and is clearly his return to his Blade Runner roots. This film is getting poked by the critics with a 64 Metascore and everyone feeling like it ain’t no BladeRunner much less a 2001 a Space Odyssey (which Scott is clearly aiming towards with his creationist questioning). Some of my favorite big movies are by Ridley Scott: Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, A Good Year, GI Jane, Thelma & Louise. I will not leave my wing man here…..I liked Prometheus.
Prometheus in Greek mythology angered the gods by giving man fire. He is romanticized for striving for the betterment of mankind and yet suffering eternal damnation for his efforts. I love the nobility of that image and apparently so did Scott. This is the story of a galactic quest in search of the origins of man where the all-too real, diverse and frail crew of the automaton-driven starship finds its goal and struggles with the realization that “everyone learns that they want to kill their father.”
The spectacle and modern-feeling reality in this film are wonderful. The theme is noble. The illusions are not supposed to be simple and easy to grasp (how could they be for such a complex species as man) and yet I felt they kept their thread (unlike Kubrick) and grippingly kept my rapt attention. I did not know what would come next and yet I really wanted to know. This ends dramatically as much for Noomi Rapace (who was as wonderful here as she was with her Dragon Tattoo) as it did for the mythological Prometheus.
Serious special mention goes to both Charlize Theron, who plays the Gwyneth Paltrow role (think Ironman) and especially Michael Fassbender (thanks for keeping your pants on this time, buddy) who plays a wonderful blended version of HAL and The Bicentennial Man.
Cheap things Scott could have avoided: ripping heads off a bit much, wasting Guy Pearce with silly make-up, wake-up scenes ala Sleeper and The Matrix and making “Dad” a nasty vindictive brute that makes want to kill him.
Prometheus is like a Managed Futures hedge fund….it gives the audience what it wants for the most part, but leaves them somewhat unfulfilled because it never really solves the ultimate question. How does one put productive investment to work for the betterment of mankind (a whopping $1Trillion for the project) and why are we here?
[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] Y [/dropcap] oung Adult is about a another case of arrested development, only this time it’s not about some guy who can’t get past his high school quarterback days and abuses subordinates at his hedge fund…..it’s about the prom queen who wakes every morning in her night-before clothes and who’s so bad to the bone that she could make a frat boy blush. Unlike Sunshine Cleaning, where Amy Adams is a likable young woman bemoaning her derailment and working her way back….Young Adult has Charlize Theron hitting her early middle age wall and drinking her way into a messy and disturbing hole in her Minnesota home town. This is Theron back in the North Country and being a different kind of Monster….the kind that haunts teenage girls’ dreams….the pretty A-list girl who has a mean streak in her a mile wide.
Diablo Cody has done a wonderful job writing this in that Theron is naturally pretty, but nasty when she hasn’t put on her heavy makeup and had her mani/pedi. She is successful, but on the verge of failure. She has a dog, but doesn’t care for her dog. She writes trashy high school heartthrob junk and has never left high school in any way. Where Juno was wise beyond her years, Mavis (where does Diablo get these names…..oh, never mind) is a stupid, insensitive lightweight who lashes out intentionally…. or accidentally….. against any and all comers. She is actually nastier and more ruthless than most Wall Street folk….and she hasn’t left the “Mini Apple”. This is complex writing about a category of lost girls that may not add up to the number of Lost Boys or fund managers in the world, but are certainly out there messing with married men and women’s heads.
Her straight man ex-boyfriend and ongoing heartthrob is Patrick Wilson who does a great job of treading that line of fond remembrance and loyal indignation. The real leading man here is Patton Oswalt who was ignored and abused in high school and even now, but who has his sense of humor and moral compass intact. He is a 40 year old virgin who paints action figures and lives at home….and yet he is twice as grounded as Mavis.
I work on Wall Street and live in the Big Apple….I see nasty every day. But Theron does nasty better than anyone…she moves you from dismay to disgust and from there she head fakes you into thinking she may find redemption only to backslide oh so easily into her nasty and uncaring ways. This is a good and serious film with some good humor at the edges.