For a film of which the director proclaims that it is not the prequel to Alien, Prometheus sure has a strange ending. And that is the only spoiler I am going to give you. However, the web has been teeming with Prometheus teasers, trailers and virals, which have given away so much of the plot already, that I can hardly be accused of spoiling anything.
Quick set-up: a good hundred years before the events of Alien (Ridley Scott’s breakthrough film of 1979) two scientists (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) find a star map that can lead mankind to its creators. They get industrial tycoon Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) to fund an expedition to planetLV 223. Having arrived with a team (including corporate honcho Charlize Theron and captain Idris Elba) on the planet surface, everything goes kinda different from what they expected.
All in all I think that Prometheus disappointed me. But perhaps that is only because I expected so much of it. I really, really did not want it to be ‘just an Alien prequel’. And in too many ways it was just that. Prometheus is a film with its own story, its own agenda and its own ideas. And although it exists in the same universe as Alien, it clearly has different themes. But Ridley Scott filled this film with direct visual and narrative similarities to Alien, without this being necessary.
On itself the film has more good than bad qualities. The casting is excellent for example. Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw is as convincing as a leading lady as Sigourney Weaver was as Ellen Ripley. Supporting roles are equally well-filled. A fantastic performance by Michael Fassbender as the android David stands out.
The film also does not back down with regard to the horror and violence. It is pretty gruesome and visceral, as a proper Alien film should be. I am happy that the studio has had the guts to stick with a 16 (R inAmerica) rating. They could have easily demanded a PG13 from Scott, considering the reported budget of 120 to 130 million dollars.
The film has its own ideas and stands by them. I do not know whether I agree with all of them, and there are certainly still plot strands left open for possible sequels, but any film with ideas, that makes its viewers think and ponder and discuss the movie afterwards gets a plus in my book.
On the downside there is, obviously, the pointless 3D. I watched parts of the film without the 3D glasses and that was fine. And there is a strange thunderous/ethereal score by Marc Streitenfeld that reminded me of the music in Scott’s earlier films 1492 and Kingdom of Heaven (although these score were composed by different people). The music was not so much inappropriate as it was just too much and too omnipresent. Here the contrast with the minimalism of Alien is actually too big.
Prometheus is hardly flawless, and it does not live up to its hype. But apart from the hype, it is a perfectly acceptable, smart and sophisticated horror scif-fi flick.