When news came in that Sir Ridley Scott would be making a return to sci-fi for the first time since 1982′s Blade Runner , fanboys were giddy with anticipation. Then, when it was announced that the film in particular was the prequel/reboot to the culture altering Alien, the same fanboys squealed with the same excitement as a ten year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert.
As more and more photos were leaked or revealed of the spectacular sets and effects, anticipation built to near volcanic proportions. Unfortunately, the final product does not deliver on the hype. This is not down to Sir Ridley, who performs another stellar job creating a masterpiece on a visual level. The problem lies with Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts’ script which is weak and frustrating.
The biggest issue is the characters; there are too many and are hence two dimensional at best. Noomi Rapace is adequate as scientist Elizabeth Shaw. It’s not that she gives a bad performance; it’s just she’s not given much to sink her teeth into and it’s the same story for Logan Marshall-Green as Shaw’s scientist boyfriend, Charlie Holloway. Charlize Theron and Idris Elba are slightly more noteworthy as Meredith Vickers and Prometheus Captain Janek. Theron taking another turn at a sinister character this summer after her role as the Black Queen in Snow White and The Huntsman. She pulls it off well, whereas Elba is in contrast likeable and at times humorous. The standout performance belongs to Michael Fassbender as droid David, balancing a childlike innocence with sinister intentions, making him, ironically, the most in-depth character.
On a mission to find the origin of the human species, Shaw and Holloway find markings across artefacts belonging to separate ancient civilisations that provide a star-map to an unknown planet. Funded by the mysterious Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), the head of a billion-dollar corporation, they set off with an unenthusiastic crew in search of the planet. Upon arrival they quickly realise all is not as it should be and all hell breaks loose; actually, it’s more like Elijah Wood in Green Street breaks loose.
The sets making up the interior of the supposed ancient ruin are spectacular and look terrifying to be in, but, sadly, there is no tension to be had which is caused by the characters being dicks (Sean Harris), boring (Rafe Spall), or completely pointless with an OTT Scottish accent (Kate Dickie).No threat is created because it is so hard to care for these characters. Also, the crew are not hunting something that could potentially kill them; it’s more a race against time to just get off the planet. There’s not the same claustrophobic anxiety of Sir Ridley’s original masterpiece.
Additionally, the plot is a frustrating mess, asking more questions than it answers about these ‘beings’ that created us. It does tie in with the universe of Alien but it is a bit untidy and, instead of concentrating on connecting this with Alien, it ends with the clear intention of a sequel which could bring in a big audience thanks to the “IS THAT IT?!” ending.
Overall this should have been the masterpiece prequel to Alien but instead creates its own agenda of a new franchise which would have been fine if the plot wasn’t such a mess. The characters are wafer thin with a sarcastic ‘oh no, not that guy’ as they one by one become fertiliser. The real saving grace is the visuals which are unbelievable, making Prometheus the best looking 3D film since Avatar. On the whole, though, a big disappointment on what could have been something for the ages.
2 out of 5