The search for our beginning could lead to our end
Running Time: 124 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
On a mission to save the Alien franchise from destroying the memories of what made it great in the first place Ridley Scott has returned with a prequel. Prometheus is a mixed bag that’s not quite the classic it is crying out to be.
Prometheus all decends from a much-discussed (not by me or anyone with a job but just those on the internet who obviously have a lot of time on their hands) image of a giant, dead spaceman who crops up on the alien colony for a few seconds in the original Alien. A long time before Ripley and co. ventured there, a group of explorers – including scientist couple Elizbeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green), robotic David (Fassbender), corporation boss with a stick up her arse Meredith Vickers (Theron) and Captain Janek (Elba) – travel from Earth to explore this deadly planet in the search for the origins of humankind. Obviously, things start going wrong when they begin to wonder why everyone on the planet died and the various agendas of the team members come to the fore.
The foreplay of Prometheus is nothing short of cinematographic porn. The scene is set in spectacular fashion as we are introduced to a set of interesting characters, including Theron’s ice queen boss and Fassbender’s likeable but compromised robot, and the ship and alien world look fantastic. Time is taken to present the fascinating questions and the grandiose nature of the origins of humanity storyline is definitely engaging. It gives the movie depth and sets it slightly aside from the rest of this ilk. It’s a scene that’s been set hundreds of times now – crew come out of stasis near an alien world, start exploring then cock it all up – but this is done with real quality.
Unfortunately, when the story actually has to kick in, Ridley seems to have had a panic attack and it all goes wrong. Too much happens in short space of time, big things are explained away in a single sentence or two and, in the end it begins to resemble a story told by a child: and then …, and then …, and then…. Most damaging for me is that there’s something about watching a woman who has just sliced her own stomach open and had an emergency operation, running, jumping and cartwheeling around an alien planet a few minutes later with nothing but a few groans that can just change your perception of what’s happening on screeen in a single blow.
It's Got: Good looks, fascinating story, interesting characters
It Needs: The kind of action finale that the build up deserves, some rest and recouperation for Doctor Shaw
Ridley Scott sets up Prometheus perfectly, only to vomit up a very unsatisfactory conclusion. A missed opportunity.