It is epic, visually dazzling and most definitely, the prequel to director Ridley Scott’s first movie, Alien, released back in 1979. Yes all that nonsense about Prometheus not being an Alien prequel but instead being set in the same universe was simply a distraction. In fact, Scott pretty much sets out the film’s narrative based on that found in Alien.
Let’s list them out – the space voyage where our group of protagonists are in hibernation, the landing and exploration of the target planet, the discovery of a hostile alien organism, panicked return to mother ship, the examination of a found object, gory deaths caused by alien organisms, critical interference by the obligatory android, the final battle and triumph by our main heroine.
Alright. To be fair, these are superficial devices which tell a story quite different from Alien. Whereas Alien was basically a slasher movie set in space, Prometheus has grander aspirations – the creation of the human race and a trip to meet our very makers. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong and it seems our makers are not happy with their creations and seek to wipe out the human race.
For the first half of the movie, Prometheus is satisfyingly intriguing both visually and plotwise with great performances from Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron especially. Once the shit hits the proverbial fan and scientist Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) has to perform surgery on herself (one of the best sequences in the film although a jarring insertion into the narrative), the film is turbo-charged forward as the action totally overwhelms the plot.
Whilst the ending scenes will more or less satisfy fans of the Alien franchise, the numerous questions that are raised suggests that a sequel will be produced – if box office numbers justify. However, that nagging issue of unresolved plotlines is rather annoying and makes the film less coherent than it could have been. In that respect, I get the feeling that Scott went for spectacle and got a little sloppy with the storyline.
That all said, Prometheus is an extremely well put together film – epic visuals which should rightfully be viewed on 3D IMAX. I saw the film on 3D and it generally worked well, the sequence with Shaw caught in the storm was spine-tingling and I would imagine that some of the scenes would be breath-taking on an IMAX screen. Contentions with the plot inconsistencies aside, Prometheus is a movie one has to watch at least twice to let it all sink in. At this point in time, an instant scifi classic albeit flawed.