This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" is a magnificent science-fiction film, all the more intriguing because it raises questions about the origin of human life and doesn't have the answers. It's in the classic tradition of golden age sci-fi, echoing Scott's "Alien" (1979), but creating a world of its own. I'm a pushover for material like this; it's a seamless blend of story, special effects and pitch-perfect casting, filmed in sane, effective 3-D that doesn't distract.
A scene at the outset shows a world with apparently only one animal being, a pale humanoid who stalks a high ridge surrounded by spectacular scenery. This person eats something that causes painful vomiting and rapid body decay. The vomit is followed into flowing water, where it seems to morph into living cellular structures. Where is this place? Is it Earth? Who is the being, and why is it alone and naked? Is the scene a visualization of the theory that life first arrived on Earth from outer space?
Cut to a human spaceship in the year 2093, qualifying "Prometheus" for a flash-forward spanning more years than the opening of "2001." The trillion-dollar ship Prometheus is en route to a distant world, which seems pointed to in prehistoric cave paintings. There's reason to believe human life may have originated there. It's an Earth-sized moon orbiting a giant planet, and at first it seems a disappointment: no growing things, unbreathable atmosphere. But the crew notices straight lines on the surface, and as we all know, nature makes no straight lines.
The lines lead to a vast dome or pyramid, and the film will mostly take place inside the dome and the Prometheus. But let's put the plot on hold and introduce two of the crew members: Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) wears a cross around her neck and believes life ultimately had a divine origin. Her boyfriend, Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), accuses her, a scientist, of dismissing centuries of Darwinism. What they find in the pyramid leaves the question open. Alien humanoids, in suspended animation, incredibly have DNA that's a perfect match for our own. So they could somehow have brought life to Earth — but why? And from this moon where they slumber inside their pyramid, or from another planet around a distant star? Why did they stop here? What are they waiting for?