Just one day into its official UK release and Ridley Scott’s long awaited return to Sci-fi with a prequel to one of the defining films of not only his career but to the genre as a whole, is already provoking a variety of mixed reactions. Firstly let’s address the Xenomorph in the room here, this is not Alien and despite Scott’s statements dictating this, those expecting the same tone and style as well as succumbing to the extraterrestrial levels of hype will inevitably be disappointed.

Instead Prometheus focuses more on the mysterious ‘Space Jockey’ – the corpse of an enormous multi-ribbed pilot of the ship at the beginning of Alien that the crew briefly stumble upon only for it to never be mentioned again. The questions provoked by this creature are investigated here as well as not only the origins of the Alien creatures we know and (sort of) love,  but also of humanity itself.

Swedish star Noomi Rapace and Tom Hardy doppelganger, Logan Marshall-Green, begin the story by discovering pictograms of star maps. Believing this will lead them to the answers regarding life on earth a mission is launched to the planet LV-223 (food for thought for Alien fans) to investigate said ‘invitation’ eventually realising this new plant isn’t as hospitable as they expected.

Visually Prometheus is stunning and the production design, though a far cry from Alien’s dank and oppressive capsule, is gorgeous. The ship is a lavishly bright and spacious, kitted out with high-tech gadgetry the Nostromo crew could only dream of. Charlize Theron’s brittle company executive naturally nabs the most luxurious quarters for herself along with her android servant of sorts, David (Michael Fassbender). Fassbender’s performance is a highlight of the film and his clench-jawed emotional ambiguity is mesmerising. Once again the viewer is left conflicted about his intentions and morality and something that is endlessly fascinating and thought provoking.  His solitary activities during the 2 year journey to LV-223 are an interesting addition to the opening sequences as he watches over the rest of the crew in hypersleep, twirls basketballs on his finger and watches, and even models himself on Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.

Rapace and Theron’s performances are also strong and nicely contradicted, Rapace, the passionate and spiritual scientist is poles apart from Theron’s frosty and distant executive. Unfortunately much of the supporting cast are underdeveloped and the camaraderie is lacking that spark resulting in a distinct lack of empathy for those who are the first to be bumped off, had their characters been more fleshed out initially this may have been avoided.

The storyline, though intriguing, is unfortunately one of the weaker aspects of the film, many plot points seem to have been installed to provoke intrigue for a possible sequel-prequel and in fact more questions are raised than answered. Though this in itself if not an issue it is not the satisfying origin story one might have expected and the plot occasionally throws out unexpected situations that don’t always mesh together cohesively. There are some jaw dropping moments but not much in the way of the lingering suspense and chilling atmosphere of Alien. In their place there are more moments of wonderment rather than nail-biting suspense.

Overall Prometheus is a visual delight and has some spectacular set pieces though it is weighed down with plot issues and occasionally clunky dialogue. It’s certainly not Alien but it’s unexpected and undoubtedly worth a watch regardless, if only to see Fassbender’s androgenous performance and a particularly memorable scene involving Noomi Rapace inside a Medi-pod.


Verdict: ***

One Response to “Prometheus”
  1. nediunedited says:

    Great review! We are on the same page with this.

    The high expectations unfortunately turn this into a disappointment for me–despite the bright spots.

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