After months and indeed years of teasing, beating around the bush and denials by everyone from co-writer Damon Lindelof to producer/director Ridley Scott, after finally seeing the film, let me answer the question on everyone’s minds — the question that is ever so obvious to those who have been keeping up with the film’s production. And to some who have been kept in the dark, consider this one hell of a spoiler (note, I’m using “Invisotext” if you don’t want anything spoiled):
Yes, this is a prequel to “Alien.” Undoubtedly and most definitely.
“Prometheus” is a vessel funded by the Weyland Corporation, commissioned after Drs. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a pattern that suggests the whereabouts of our creators in archaeological findings around the globe.
When the ship arrives at the designated planet, something horrifically otherworldly is awaiting them — something that threatens not only the ship, but Earth itself.
Scott creates first and foremost a beautiful film, creating the most crisp, vivid use of 3D I can ever remember seeing, with gorgeous starscapes, majestic planetary shots and picture-perfect landscapes, not to mention the magnificently rendered ships. The film feels large, as if it threatens to explode off of the edges of the movie screen.
As in all of the best sci-fi, everything about “Prometheus” feels real and plausible, from the biostasis chambers that put everyone in a deep sleep and the ship’s engines to the technology of the alien race they encounter.
It also seriously enriches the “Alien” mythos, finally answering the question of exactly what they are, how and why they were created, and who or what the “Space Jockey” is from the first film. It’s the first prequel I can remember that actually enriches the film it’s based on and feels organic, rather than shoehorned in for the sake of making a little extra coin off an existing franchise.
The cast is tremendous, with Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce rounding out the principal cast. Their performances are uniformly strong, and each character’s motivations are slow to come clear even if they’re not all that hard to figure out, quite frankly. There are a few “reveals” that are pretty easy to peg, but they’re secondary to the primary story, so nothing is really ruined.
Be warned: This film is a slow burn, so don’t come in looking for a lot of cheap scares. Yes, it comes out in the summer, but to call “Prometheus” a summer blockbuster is to shortchange it; it’s bigger than that. It’s a big film full of big ideas and doesn’t always offer easy answers to those ideas.
That’s not to say there’s not a fair amount of terror because there is, but it’s more a bubbling undercurrent than an eruption of horror, with only a few “jump” scares.
But there’s plenty of dread and discomfort to be had. A rather unsettling sequence in a surgical pod is as icky and creepy as anything you’ll see in any film.
Frankly, “Prometheus” is a film best experienced rather than told a lot about. If you know nothing about this film ahead of time and have managed to avoid my various sprinkled hints throughout (and you’re a fan of sci fi/horror), run, don’t walk, to the theater to see “Prometheus.” It’s worth the wait.