In the run-up to Ridley Scott’s much anticipated prequel to the Alien series I, like many others, was subjected to a ruthless amount of advertising and plugging. Hopes were high. Excitement was through the roof. The pressure was on. I had bought the t-shirt before I had even been there and done that. At the earliest opportunity, we got ourselves the tickets and off we were to the IMAX, bottles of pepsi and M&M’s at the ready. This movie had to deliver.
From the opening sequence, the size of this movie really blew me away. Vast and majestic landscapes combined with the 3-D experience really immerse you into the scene from the get-go and set the tone for what’s to come. We are then almost immediately given a shot of the Alien. Sorry…is this where I’m meant to write ‘spoiler alert’ ? You can rest assured that it will be nothing like what you’re expecting.
The movie is set in 2093, at least 3 decades before Ellen Ripleys’ first alien-hunting escapade. In 2089 two archaeologists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), discover a star map which they believe could lead them to the origins of humanity. Their interests are funded by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and they are given the opportunity to travel aboard the Prometheus in search of our ‘Engineers’.
Aboard the Prometheus, the crew travel in stasis for two years monitored by an android, David (Michael Fassbender). Anyone who knows their Alien movies will no doubt be reminded of the solitary shots of the Nostromo at this point with nothing but the sights and sounds of the ship itself. I have to say that Fassbender here, and throughout the movie, really puts on an impressive performance. Another pang of nostalgia as I was taken back to Scotts’ 1982 Bladerunner. Fassbenders’ David has very human moments and this was a theme throughout Bladerunner. We are made to question whether ‘replicants’ may have a soul and are capable of experiencing human emotion.
As the movie progresses, we are introduced to the mission lead Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and the ships’ captain Janek (Idris Elba). I was going to do a detailed run down of who’s who here but really I didn’t feel that there was a lot of depth to the rest of the crew. Meredith Vickers is desperate to keep control of the mission and has daddy issues. Janek is the nonchalant, ‘witty’ captain who plays an instrument more than he drives the ship. If you’re expecting the depth of character that you witnessed in Alien and its’ sequel, you won’t get it here. We know the drill; the rest of the crew are there to be killed. But does character depth really matter for a movie of this size?
The events unfolding as the ship lands are rather predictable: crew find man-made/alien-made structure confirming signs of life; crew enter structure and find dodgy-looking cylinders filled with dodgy-looking fluid; crew find alien corpse; crew bring back alien corpse and dodgy-looking cylinder to the ship; chaos ensues. David is the cause of much of the trouble, rather accidentally in the beginning. His inquisitive and fearless nature see him opening all the doors and pushing all the buttons (literally). Shaw and Holloway return to the ship, eventually feeling (and looking) a little worse for wear. Two crew members are left behind in the structure (the details escape me at this point but something to do with a sandstorm). Action/Sci-fi lovers will get everything they hoped for here. What happens to these guys is grueling, painful and a real feast for the eyes if you can get through it. One by one, crew members start to drop off and our fears are confirmed; there’s something in that dodgy-looking fluid. Ridley Scott also returns to his interest in the alien occupying the human body with Shaw in one particularly gruesome scene. I won’t ruin this for you but girls, it’s hard to watch.
As things increasingly start to go wrong, Shaw realizes that the only way they might live to tell their tale is to get off the planet. But not before one final attempt at making friends with the Alien! David reveals that one of the ‘corpses’ found earlier is still alive and Shaw jumps (or hobbles at this point) at the opportunity to meet her maker. As predicted, things don’t go so well and Shaw is quickly made aware that the very thing they sought out might end the human race altogether.
Honest opinions? Ridley Scott will never recreate what he had with Alien. That being said, I don’t think he was trying to. This movie, although interlinked with the Alien series, has to stand alone completely in order to be appreciated for what it is. I have seen better movies this year but Prometheus did live up to what I expected from it. Plenty of ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ moments to be had!
The downsides? I’m never overly thrilled when a director tries to answer questions about our existence. The attempt is noble but very few actually achieve it and achieve it well. ‘ Who are we? ..Why are we here?…What is our purpose? ‘; these questions are in our face throughout the movie, either directly posed by Shaw or indirectly. The title of the ship itself, Prometheus, is a giveaway. In Greek mythology Prometheus was a titan, responsible for the creation of man from clay. In more Western cultures Prometheus was a figure representing the quest for scientific knowledge. I’m all up for finding out where the Alien in the 1979 movie came from, but giving it a ‘deeper’ meaning put a bit of a damper on the whole experience.
All in all Prometheus deserves an 8/10 in my opinion. Visually breathtaking and a must see for all Alien and non-Alien fans alike. 1979’s Alien was innovative and something which people had never seen or experienced before. It is very difficult to surprise audiences today with the advances technology has made, but I think Ridley Scott has done it again! Watch it, Tweet me if you liked it..tweet me if you hated it. I’m interested. @vedrana_ilic