DIR: Ridley Scott • WRI: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof • PRO: David Gilel, Walter Hill, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott • DOP: Dariusz Wolski • ED: Pietro Scalia • DES: Arthur Max • Cast: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender
For his first foray into sci-fi in 30 years, Sir Ridley Scott decided to return to the franchise he helped to create. Except not really, as leading up to its release, he’s tried to distance his latest creation from Alien, and have it serve as a stand-alone movie. To that end, this review shall be (hopefully) spoiler-free and (mostly) lacking in comparison to the Alien franchise.
Starting off with the creation of life no less, we jump forward several million years to scientists Noomi Rapace and her partner Logan Marshall-Green discovering ancient drawings with maps to the stars. After getting a trillion dollars’ worth of funding from kindly old Guy Pearce, they’re away to said stars with Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender and a crew of vaguely recognisables who might as well have ‘cannon fodder’ tattooed on to their foreheads. And once the good ship Prometheus lands on the planet they’re looking for, the crew make a discovery, but not the one they were looking for…
Scott takes his time setting up and, as with Alien, it’s the guts of an hour before the crew come across anything nasty. But, unlike Alien, it’s very unlikely you’ll care if any of these make it out alive. Rapace is fine as a Ripley-lite, Elba does a nice line in gruff and charming, but even though the rest of the cast are more than adequate, especially the scene-stealing Fassbender, they’re all so painfully unlikable that you start hoping for face-huggers galore.
To be fair to Scott, the film looks fantastic. The polar opposite of the lived-in gritty look of his previous sci-fi outings, the pristine and polished veneer of Prometheus is something to be constantly marvelled at, and throughout the course of the movie there are two scenes of genuine horror, including one that, while not quite up there with the giddy heights of the original chest-buster scene, gives it a good run for its money in terms of gore and tension. Unfortunately, Scott’s visuals are encumbered by one of the most horrendous scores in recent memory, and the small number of good horror scenes are surrounded by some truly dreadful dialogue.
Good sci-fi should always have the audience asking questions, and while Prometheus bursts out of the gate with potentially the biggest one of all: Why Are We Here?, it quickly drops its lofty ideals of intellectualism in favour of big men in spacesuits throwing other men in spacesuits around the place, and soon the only questions we’re left asking are about the gaping plot holes. What started out as potentially Alien with some brains ended up being Contact with some blood. And that is not a compliment.
Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Prometheus is released on 1st June 2012