Prometheus is many things; it’s a sci-fi, elements of horror, black comedy and epic. It contains strong characters played by strong actors. It asks questions about the nature of our creation, faith versus science is one of the main themes. It is stunning visually, not a surprise considering its director. But the one thing Prometheus is not is an alien movie.
Those expecting one will be disappointed. The fact Prometheus is not an alien movie, but one set in the same universe containing strands of dna from its predecessors will not be surprising to those who have followed its marketing campaign. Yet given the reaction to Prometheus over the last few days by critics and fans, that message has apparently not been clear to some.
So now that Prometheus has been established as not a straight up sequel or in this case prequel to Alien, it’s time to state what it is. Prometheus is an intelligent visually stunning if slightly flawed sci-fi in what is a welcome return to the genre after a 30 year absence by director Ridley Scott.
From the very first frame it’s clear to see Scott has not lost his visual touch. Every inch of every frame is fully detailed, even more impressive in 3-D. Without going into too much detail for fear of disclosing spoilers, the plot details a search for the origins of mankind taking a crew of 17 on board the spaceship Prometheus billions of light-years to the other side of the universe. Upon arrival they discover the remains of an alien civilisation, and by disturbing it they unlock secrets they really wish they haven’t.
There are five leading roles; Noomi Rapace stars as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, Michael Fassbender as the Android David, Logan Marshall Green as Rapace’s colleague Dr. Charlie Holloway, Idris Elba as Ship Captain Janek and Charlize Theron as ice queen/corporate representative Meredith Vickers.
Marshall Green, Elba and Theron all get their moments in the supporting roles, but its Rapace and Fassbender who come of the stronger. Rapace the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo handles her first English speaking lead role with aplomb, completely convincing as both a scientist who believes in creation looking for answers and a hardened survivor.
As good as Rapace is, the standout performance belongs to Michael Fassbender, quickly becoming one of the best working actors today. His David is eerily creepy, weather it’s the early scenes showing him mimicking Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia or his interactions with the other crewmembers. It’s a fascinating performance of restraint and entirely believable, a testament to Fassbender who has been on a hot streak for the past 18 months.
Prometheus is not without flaws. Its first hour is perfectly paced, Scott excelling with the slow build; in fact everything leading up to “first contact” is excellent. Where the film slips up however, is in the second half. While it is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it does feel rushed. The film clocks in at just over two hours and could have done with an extra 25 minutes in the second half to flesh it out.
Despite this Prometheus is well worth viewing, visually stunning, extremely well crafted and containing strong acting from its main cast in what is welcome return to the science fiction genre for Ridley Scott. So go see Prometheus, enjoy it for what it is, just remember it’s not Alien.