By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood June 8, 2012 at 6:25PM
While it's not surprising that critics and journos are deeply divided over "Prometheus," it helps to have low expectations. In my case, I came away with more than I expected. I found Ridley Scott's return to sci-fi enthralling. He seems to have transcended the "Alien" universe by combining it with "Blade Runner." In a sense, watching "Prometheus" is like experiencing a hybrid of both, and exploring the dualities that are a part of their shared DNA: beauty and ugliness, creation and destruction, humanity and inhumanity. Ultimately, "Prometheus" is Scott's summary film -- his "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Lawrence of Arabia" yet filtered through his existential lens.
It's no accident that screenwriter-exec producer Damon Lindelof channeled the roots of Scott's passions in his "Prometheus" rewrite. He was eager to revisit this sci-fi icon. "The experience of working with Ridley was intimidating, and incredible and fulfilling and terrifying all at the same time," he says. "It was a very surreal experience. He gets uncomfortable when you praise him and he waved me off and said let's [get to it]."
Lindelof found the script by Jon Spaihts to be a straightforward narrative prequel and brought out more thematic subtext to the surface about the search for God and immortality, which is what animated Scott. "The audience is going to see a bit of the [tropes] because, if you go to a Rolling Stones concert, they'd better play 'Sympathy for the Devil.' I looked at my job as a rebalancing and so I flipped the 70% 'Alien' and 30% new idea. As the development process went along, we were talking more and more about this great sci-fi principle, which is: Do not thou ask where thou comes from. 'Alien' and 'Blade Runner' are still the movies that Ridley is interested in: one is about gestation and creation and delivery: an abomination inside yourself; the fear of coming from within. And 'Blade Runner' asks, 'why am I here and why do I have to die?'"