Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize
Theron, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green
Director: Sir Ridley Scott
The hotly anticipated Prometheus stars Noomi Rapace as Dr Elizabeth Shaw, one of the 17 strong crew of the ship Prometheus, which is on the way to the outer reaches of the stars to discover the potential interstellar origins of life on earth.
When the planet believed to be the start of life on earth is reached, the crew is awoken by synthetic human David (played with aloof brilliance by Michael Fassbender) and set out to explore the world of LV-223.
However, what they discover is devastating in more ways than one - and soon, the crew of the Prometheus is in a fight to the death....
Okay, here's a warning - there's a few spoilers ahead so if you're hoping to head into this completely untouched by the hand of Scott, here's your chance.
Right, so Prometheus is an Alien film - of sorts. It's full of echoes of the previous films and life forms but as Ridley Scott's said, it's more about the strands of Alien's DNA as it explores the "Space Jockey" rather than a direct return to the screen for the brilliant Xenomorphs.
Granted, its scale is epic - the spaceships, the opening shots of our world as the camera rolls over mountains, hills, waterfalls, the CGI star maps and digital tech as well as the underground world of LV-223 are truly incredibly impressive. Not just in some of the CGI work but in the fact that Scott's chosen to build sets and construct a massive alien world for his actors to explore, giving it depth and a reality which is much needed for projects like this.
And there are some big, meaty questions hinted at here too - where did we come from, what is our purpose and what happens when we die; faith and mortality are all mainstays of the movie; from Shaw's lapsed religious believer who hopes to get closer to her gods through answers to Guy Pearce's Weyland who funded the mission to find answers himself, the strands of our place in the universe are never far from Scott's mind. Although, to be honest, as ever with these kinds of films (sequel anyone?) hardly any answers are forthcoming.
But here's the thing - it's just not as frightening or terrifying as it should have been as it leaps around from sequence to sequence. Sure, it's occasionally nervy watching as it descends into B movie body horror and frights (one scene where Shaw's forced to undergo an emergency piece of surgery is as tense, scary and horrific as anything in the original run of films) but there's less tension in the second half of the film which can't match the heightened anticipation of the opening acts which take the crew underground. As the mystery starts to peel back, this onion of a film may leave you crying a little inside.
Of the central cast, Fassbender is once again the stand-out (can this guy do no wrong?) He's nailed the creepy, untrustworthiness of David, a creature who's destined to be superior to his creators but destined to be their downfall because of his attitude; thanks to his nicely presented shiftiness and a bit of character development early on, you really get to understand what's going on in his head. Likewise, Rapace, while not as ballsy as Ripley (she never could be) is a good foil to what's befalling the explorers. She mixes intelligence with frailty; fear with hidden courage.
The rest of the cast fare less well as they're simply there to exist to be killed; and when they do get bumped off, you very rarely care or miss them when they're gone. In fact one sequence where two of them get it is lacking in any real tension as you can see what's coming a mile off. It's unfortunate that there's not the level of engagement you'd quite hope for as the B movie horror sets in.
If all of this seems dismissive of Prometheus and its intentions, it's not quite as simple as that.
When analysed as a movie going experience, Prometheus is still a very solid, entertainingly, well put together and perfectly envisioned slice of sci-fi which some fans of the genre will love (even down to its fanboy pleasing final shot). It's a perfectly adequate scary horror in space style flick.
To this fan's mind, Prometheus falls short on what I had hoped it would deliver; but that said, it's a compelling watch but if you're after a return to the halcyon days of Alien, you won't get that (and probably could never have).
All in all, Prometheus is not an unmitigated disaster by any stretch of the imagination - it's a technically impressive visual marvel of a film which has a great start, some promising ideas but disappointingly executed in the final mix.