Ridley Scott returns to the Science Fiction genre with Prometheus, a prequel of sorts to the Alien movies. Unfortunately, this seemed to have created unrealistic expectations that the film fails to live up to. That’s not to say that the film is bad, indeed, it is superior to all of the Alien movies since James Cameron’s Aliens. It’s just that it lacks the inventive originality of Alien or Blade Runner.
The plot sees two archaeologists seeking out mankind’s creators that takes them to the far reaches of the universe. Our creators though turn out to be our biggest threat…
I really liked the film’s premise and it’s been some time since a big budget Hollywood movie tackled such hardcore Science Fiction ideas. Michael Fassbender is excellent as the android ‘David’ who he plays as a kind of creepy version of Star Trek’s Mr Data. Naomi Rapace also deserves a special mention as she fills the role of Ripley well, a relentless, all-resourceful female who finds a way to survive anything.
Some of the secondary characters are not fleshed out as well, particularly Charlize Theron’s character. Indeed, her performance is so wooden that the Captain of the ship enquires as to whether she is an android! Some of the plot is also driven by particularly stupid decisions made by some of the scientists whilst exploring the caves.
Like Alien, the production design is excellent and succeeds in creating and updating that believable universe. The special effects are excellent, creating a visual grandeur and Scott’s direction is assured and confident with a sheen of quality.
On the negative side of things, the film raises far more questions than it answers and bar one memorable abortion scene, it’s just not creepy or frightening enough. It must also be pointed out that Guy Pearce’s ‘old guy’ make up is just plain embarrassing. Scott also apes the beginning of Alien closely during the film’s opening scenes, which might lead some to complain that there are a lack of new ideas here.
Overall though, I found much to enjoy here, the film looks superb (flawless even) on Blu-ray and the movie is actually about something. Reading this review back to myself, it sounds like I am being damning with faint praise. That really isn’t the case. The weight of expectation meant that many were expecting a classic movie, when what they get is a beautiful, yet flawed film. Prometheus does what the best Science Fiction stories should – it makes us ask ‘what if’.