Dir: Ridley Scott, 2012
In the year 2089, following the discovery of a star map linking several uninvolved ancient civilizations, Peter Weyland funds an expedition on the spaceship Prometheus to uncover what could be the creators of life as they know it to be. However, the naively optimistic crew are surprised at what they do find.
It’s hard not to take Prometheus as what it’s presented to be. Of course, Ridley Scott assured us “this is not an Alien prequel”, merely a film set within the Weyland-Yutani universe (revolving around his mysterious Space Jockey) but it’s easy for moviegoers to get excited when graced with glimpses of Giger-esque spaceships, anthropomorphic entities and oozing terror. For we all know in space no-one can hear you scream.
But let’s move past the ‘79 roots of Prometheus and down to basics. After thirty-odd years Fox have finally given Scott funding to pursue his dream, or is it our nightmare? Scott’s return to science-fiction does a masterful job of re-immersing ourselves into a world we considered dead (Thank you AvP). The glistening 2093 we see is plagued with an air of dank and cold, the universe now gone corporate in a blushing fit of space’s very own Wall Street. A nature not so out of the ordinary when the entire premise hints that God is dead. So we see a desperate mankind reaching out for hope in the form of answers. The Nostromo’s feline companion Jonesy previously proved it’s not the cat that curiosity kills…
The build-up, as one might expect, is slow with bursts of light speed in the shapes of perilous storms and treacherous attacks but Prometheus, after a fairly entertaining mid-section, winds down once more into asinine plot twists and anti-climactic twaddle. Also, keep your eyes peeled for any skirmishes that take place in the hanger bay and see if you can understand any of what’s happening. The characters are regrettably merely less charismatic rehashes of the original crew – the courageous captain, the strong-willed female, the morally ambiguous android, etc. Even the trailers which seemingly have nothing much to offer to the film’s core, are revealed to have summarised Prometheus for us in less than two minutes (the viral marketing alone would have sold this for us).
Truth be told, Prometheus is a delight for the optic nerve and of course, complete with a few thrills strewn about the far edge, but ultimately doesn’t offer anything that we haven’t seen before. Sure, Scott goes for the doom and gloom but the impact just isn’t as forceful as it was thirty years ago. It’s easy to imagine Prometheus as being a distress beacon, crying out for substance or at the very least, fervour. Unfortunately, veteran director Scott’s attempt to grasp onto science fiction once more is a reluctant reminder how terrestrials, spaceships and genuine horror have become a young man’s game. Is Prometheus a revamping of the franchise? Hopefully not, let’s leave the Jockey lost in space.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆