With the look and atmosphere of classic horror/sci-fi films, Prometheus — the anticipated blockbuster continuation of the Alien franchise, lags in its story department but makes it up with sheer ambiance.
As the prequel to the Sigourney Weaver-starring 1979 film which spawned a pop-culture following by introducing the reptilian-looking Xenomorphs, Prometheus had its publicity running high from its inception.
In its empathic beginning (which could also possibly be the beginning of human civilisation), we meet a gray-skinned extraterrestrial with physical attributes of a man who walks over a large waterfall. He sees a big ship leaving him, and then swallows a weird-looking substance that deconstructs his DNA. His body withers, breaking down as he washes down with the rapids. His DNA now becomes part of the world.
Skip to the year 2093, where a team of scientists, financed by the very old Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), is on a fact-finding trip on the ship, Prometheus. Their destination is a planet in a far-off galaxy that could very well be a place where the human race originated from.
The team is led by Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley-like heroine Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace, the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and her boyfriend Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). The crew’s other noteworthy members are Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) as a mean cross between an executive and a general, pilot Janek (Idris Elba) and David (Michael Fassbender).
Prometheus’ horror is not like Alien. Ridley Scott’s minimalist approach keeps the atmosphere in check and the screenplay doesn’t include big blasts and chases. Also apt is the soaring score by Marc Streitenfeld and Harry Gregson-Williams, which elevates the film during pivotal moments and lingers long after it ends.
Prometheus opens fantastically and then starts to disappoint when the intelligence from the script gradually ebbs away — especially when it reaches its conclusion. Nevertheless, the subtle astuteness of the script, and some moments of fan-service will give its fan boys a reason to hoot.
Prometheus has been released by 20th Century Fox and Mandviwalla Entertainment. The film is rated R. There is a shocking scene of self-surgery that will leave you hushed in wonder.