By Kevin Clare ‘Claratsi’
Hopes for Prometheus are lifted to equal the level of hype that has surrounded this pseudo ‘Alien’ prequel.
Make no mistake this is a prequel, perhaps not quite inhabiting the same xenomorphic world seen before, but certainly so in terms of timeline and in the connecting of the Alien dots.
The ship Prometheus is heading for LV-223 after scientists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), find a repeating star pattern in ancient cave drawings and artefacts, which are dotted about the globe. These may answer the question of man’s own origins.
A two year hyper-sleep journey takes us across space to a bleak, hostile world where the identical reconnaissance of a mystery Alien structure takes place. This is before the usual and expected Alien sticky gooeyness and “glitchy” tech, highlights terror ahead.
The aforementioned, brilliant prologue sets a higher tone, posing the questions of how and why man was created and the sporadic success Prometheus achieves is in the answering of the how but, not so clearly, the why.
Science, religion, creation and Darwinian theory all have a space in Scott’s new world. All the while leaving tantalising further questions, even after the end credits. Not so much around the why but more revelatory and man’s unsuspecting hand in creation itself.
Michael Fassbender owns the movie, with David being the most dimensional protagonist, mysterious and seemingly fulfilling an agenda, not only for The Weyland Corp but something more personal for the advanced super-bot himself.
Noomi Rapace fills the strong female lead well, embodying (literally) all the Ripley-esque qualities expected from a strong Scott lady.
The rest of the cast are either underused or portray only character stereotypes, namely Charlize Theron as cold company bitch, Vickers, and Idris Elba as Ship’s captain, Janek.
With a crew of seventeen, the Prometheus cast is too big with ancillaries as always, presented as fodder. There is a distinct lack of over characterisation due to the large crew, no more so than in Rapace’s and Green’s lovers/colleagues who lack any real chemistry together.
Scott skilfully leaves enough for us to make our own answers and join our own dots to the original, but then halts any grand inertia created by providing the remainder of the movie as what seems at times to be a classic Alien rerun.
It’s only these deliberated questions that separate out the two movies and stop Prometheus from being a flat out prequel, and dare I say, near remake.
Similarities are numerous and bring the inevitable comparisons, leaving Prometheus with an uphill challenge of equalling its queen.
The easy comparisons stem from an almost identical world, story and set design, which only serves to highlights Prometheus’ shortcomings when trying to attain Alien parity; it is an otherwise fantastic and meaningful stand-alone Sci-fi entry.
Never reaching the required level of terror and menace of it’s forbearers either, Prometheus’ scares are mild and the story progresses as expected, all the while lacking the style, realism and atmosphere of Scott’s other Sci-fi entries.
That certain ‘something’ is missing in Prometheus.
Set designs are fantastic but feel like sets, and there are too many characters creating a commune rather than isolation – the greatest of all horror devices – so there is no genuine tension.
Prometheus still manages to provide some fantastic Sci-fi highlights; Rapace’s self-surgery and the glacial terrain panning prologue. Scott’s Space odyssey moment, bookending brilliantly with a finale that, on the surface seems elementary, but still leaves plenty to ponder.
With a cynical view, Prometheus could be looked on as a franchise re-launch posing as a stand-alone entry (expect sequels), but with the deeper questions probed as well as tantalising threads, rather than solid links to the Alien world.
Scott manages to elevate what is mainly a re-tread into a good sci-fi entry that just does enough to be viewed in isolation, without face-hugging strangulation from the classic original.
Not the classic or epic it should have been perhaps, but still a worthy Alien entry.