The Plot: After discovering similar cave drawings from different continents showing human images worshipping the same cluster of planet formations. Two scientists Dr.Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Dr.Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) share the same belief (and the same bed) that the origins of the human race are out there somewhere.
A few years later they are both an integral part of an expedition on its way through the darkness of space to find this other solar system and hopefully some answers to life the universe and everything and apparently it’s not forty two. As it turns out this is very much a place to fear and could be the biggest threat that mankind has ever known.
Prometheus is the vessel transporting the crew of 17 on their long journey. As well as our two scientists heading up the team, we have the Weyland Corporation represented by hard core bitch Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the trustworthy Captain Janek (Idris Elba), the geologist Fifield (Sean Harris), biologist Millburn (Rafe Spall with an American accent) and the rest of the crew may just as well be wearing red jerseys. I almost forgot to mention, there is also the obligatory alien movie android, this time named David who is superbly played by Michael Fassbender and from his first appearance he pretty much steals the show.
After thirty-odd years Ridley Scott, director of Alien (1979) finally got around to making his prequel. Anyone who has seen the original space horror movie will be aware of the giant humanoid alien strapped into a large space chair with his ribs splayed outwards. This humanoid became known as the ‘Space Jockey’. Who was he? Why was he on this planet? And what the hell happened to him? Scott always wanted to go back to the ‘Space Jockey’ theory which he has used as the catalyst for Prometheus. He always found it strange that none of the following sequels to Alien explored that angle. According to Scott this new instalment is not a prequel but a stand-alone film. I beg to differ, it has to be a prequel but with its own storyline.
The Verdict: On the one hand this should be a technically superior sci-fi movie to the 1979 original Alien, particularly with the advancement of CGI. The overall look of Prometheus is visually stunning and watching it digitally enhanced on a large screen with amazing surround sound is still a great cinema experience. However, even though modern CGI can replace a dodgy hand puppet bursting out of John Hurt's stomach there is still something missing.
Basically for a space movie Prometheus actually doesn’t have any atmosphere. The film seems to be quite formula driven and most of the scares and shock moments are easily predicable and the characters are quite two dimensional. It’s a shame that Charlize Theron is underused and why is Guy Pearce made up as old man Weyland? To be fair though, this was always going to be an uphill struggle for Ridley Scott, with huge expectations for those of us who remember seeing Alien for the first time. When Alien was released in 1979 it was something completely new in the sci-fi / horror genre and the audience didn’t see the ‘jump out of your seat’ moments coming. The crew of the Nostromo were not a highly trained fighting unit or scientists who knew all the answers. They were basically long distance cargo employees doing a boring routine day job. The characters had mundane conversations while doing their chores and eating breakfast. So when they receive a distress signal from a nearby planet, they agree to investigate but are totally unprepared for the outcome. It was a time of ‘less is more’ with a slow build up with a very claustrophobic feel on board the craft and there was no big musical score to distract from the visuals but more of a quietness to add to the suspension. This is the audience that will expect answers.
Don’t get me wrong Prometheus is a good sci-fi movie and I do think fans of the genre should go and see it. Noomi Rapace plays yet another strong female character you latch on to from early on as the main protagonist. Mind you, she did also remind me of English comedy actress Tamsin Grieg which I couldn’t shake off. The other reason you should see this film is because of the inspired casting of Michael Fassbender. The early scenes of the android David doing his good housekeeping while the crew are sleeping in their life support pods are a joy to watch. It seems that even androids get bored on long journeys and David spends much of his time studying Elizabeth Shaw’s dreams and watching his favourite movie, David Leans Lawrence of Arabia. He even bleaches his hair to emulate Peter O’Toole’s T E Lawrence. Brilliant!
3 out of 5 stars