Ridley Scott's triumphant return to the Sci-fi genre that he helped redefine is probably one of the most anticipated films since The Phantom Menace (1999), and similarly the first film in a prequel/sidequel trilogy that will reboot a classic and much loved franchise from the 1970s and 80s. But thankfully Prometheus is not the disappointment that The Phantom Menace was and promises to reveal some fascinating answers to the mysterious origin of the alien creature, which is a far more complex back story than anyone ever imagined. It also reveals the answers to the mystery of the Space Jockey and the purpose of the derelict space ship we saw in the first Alien film.
(Spoiler alert) When a pair of archeologists deciphers a message found in ancient cave paintings from what looks to be alien Gods who visited Earth far in the past, they follow the message to a planet where it is believed to have originated, hoping to find answers to our origins. They do indeed find what they are looking for but it seems that our makers, whose DNA we share, have been planning to destroy their creations using a biological weapon of mass destruction that will be deployed on every planet where our species was planted, Earth included. The reason for this has not yet been revealed but this will presumably be the subject of the next two sequels to come.
Visually, Prometheus definitely shares its DNA with the first Alien (1979), adding some elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and a splash of Blade Runner (1982) thrown in. Story wise it follows the same structure as Alien; a group of space engineers come out of hibernation when they arrive at a mysterious planet. As the mission is revealed to the crew, it meets with the same indifference and disbelief as it did on board the Nostromo and soon people are freaking out when evidence of an alien is found and brought in for examination, unleashing a hostile contagion. As in Alien, there is a synthetic person who acts on orders from an unseen corporation to bring back a living sample at the expense of the crew and the few surviving crew members, realizing the potential dangers to Earth, take matters into their own hands, stopping at nothing to eliminate the threat.
H.R. Giger’s iconic design work has been employed once again giving the film its familiar dark cavernous serpent like look. Alien fans will not be disappointed as there is enough creepy squirm-inducing sequences equivalent to the chest bursting scene in the first film to satisfy them. Traces of the original music also seep in, to create a link to the classic film that started it all. It’s a great mix of high tech, high concept science fiction with primordial horror that will make us look at the original films in a whole new context.
Ridley Scott, who directed the original Alien movie, has assembled another first rate cast of up and coming actors who have already made a name for themselves in high profile, high quality projects starting with the incredible Noomi Rapace as the sole surviving equivalent of the Ripley character, Elizabeth Shaw. She was recently seen in the original Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), where she played a tough but sexy gypsy fortune teller. Joining Noomi is Michael Fassbender as the robot David, who recently made his mark in such films as Fish Tank (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011) and Shame (2011). Charlize Theron who became famous for her roles in The Cider House Rules (1999), Monster (2003) and was recently seen in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), also shows up as a corporate boss.
Ridley Scott has referred to the “completely underrated film Quest for Fire” (1982) as inspiration for Prometheus and there are some interesting similarities. As humans go out into an unknown universe, we discover many hostile beings that want to enslave or destroy us but ultimately through our curiosity and supreme will to survive, we find the answers that will ensure our survival and the power to create the tools we need to become the dominant force in the universe.