Release Date: 31st May
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron
Running time 124 mins
The problem a film like Prometheus has is that as a viewer you will interpret it in one of two ways; as a newcomer this is a story of mankind reaching to the stars attempting to find our origins where things don’t exactly go to plan, in this respect Prometheus is one of the most visually stunning and thrilling films you will see this year. However, Prometheus is set in the Alien universe and though of all people Ridley Scott has carte blanche to do this prequel anyway he wants, long term Alien fans are about to have their rule book re-written. The pacing of the film and its growing sense of dread builds expertly, never letting go but in paying tribute to his previous work Scott essentially ends up making Alien again.
The story sees two future archaeologists uncover a cave painting that predates previous discoveries yet also links them by providing a star map, funded by billionaire industrialist and founder of “the company” Peter Weyland played by Guy Pearce (here aged exponentially since the slick teaser vid of his business pitch). A group of scientists head out to these coordinates believing these ancient markings to be an invitation from a species that visited earth long ago. No sooner has the planets alien landscape been milked of its spectacle and the sci-fi wonder gadgets been demonstrated then it’s time to descend into ancient alien ruins and discover its secrets.
Scott’s boast that he would deviate from the Alien universe proves to be hog wash as your inner fanboy starts to recognise familiar structures and occurrences, all that essentially has changed is the nightmare inducing reproduction cycle of the antagonists and if you thought a “facehugger” was bad prepare to be unnerved all over again. As things go from bad to worse for the crew the terror mounts and they must decide what they’re prepared to sacrifice after coming so far.
Prometheus will be remembered for a lot of things, the performances of heroine Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender as the Android David are second to none, Rapace gets to run around being terrified whilst Fassbender chews the scenery having a whale of a time as mechanical man preprogramed with motives on top of motives – always keeping you guessing who his true allegiances are with. Idris Elba is given far too little to do – his sassy captain and Charlize Theron’s corporate enforcer have all the best lines and moments of comic relief but are about the only two characters not given a chance to develop.
What may come across as disappointing is that as grand a spectacle as Prometheus is there were so many moments harking back to Scott’s original that will give you no choice but compare the two, Prometheus feels like Alien made of a vastly bigger budget and at times suffers for it, especially in a few moments of dodgy CG which seems incredible given the lengths went to for the “chestburster” etc of Alien. Any new ideas introduced come off as sci-fi cliché and again whilst visually impressive do little but distract from a story that seems overly familiar repeating motions we have seen before.
With that said, you will no doubt find yourself on the edge of your seat for the whole film, learning the truth about the “Space Jockey” and the scene of self-performed surgery will become things of sci-fi movie legend and are worth the price of admission alone. It’s just now; a day later (after a night of Prometheus induced nightmares I might add) I have begun to question several gaping plot holes, that aside I’m still thinking about the movie as a whole. Prometheus has made me squirm, it’s made me think and most of all its left me wanting to watch it again – how many movies have done that to you recently?