When word came out that Ridley Scott was returning to the genre and (possible) franchise that put him on the map and made a name for him in the annals of Sci-Fi geekery, fan boys and girls everywhere could barely withhold their jubilation at the idea that Scott was finally, probably, going to make a prequel to his now legendary movie, Alien. Then Scott himself said that this latest project would not be a prequel but instead take place in the same universe, as the previous Alien movies. Then came the trailers and commercials, and the more that was seen the more it seemed that Scott had be lying and this movie would indeed be a prequel to the classic Alien.
So what is Prometheus exactly? Is it a prequel or isn’t it? The answer to that question is that it is and it isn’t. Prometheus takes place some 30 years before the events of the first Alien movie. We find the crew of the ship the movie is named after headed to the planet of LV-223 after two scientist discover a star map on earth that was apparently left by a race of beings around the dawn of man. The map and the questions it presents leads the crew to distant planet where the scientist believe they’ll find the answers to the questions they have. Once there the movie kicks in and what follows is something very similar but different. Scott manages to capture the essence and feel of the original Alien while managing to make something that stands apart from the earlier film while still sharing some sort of connection with it. Prometheus isn’t exactly a true prequel in the sense that it doesn’t directly connect to the films that came before it. Instead it manages to answer some questions that were set up by the first film, specifically with the “Space Jockeys” and what exactly their influence is from the original film and the Alien species themselves, while being able to exist as its own entity. Those going into this film expecting to get another Alien film will be disappointed. Scott made it clear he didn’t want to do another Alien film, and he has managed to pull it off. This movie isn’t about the origins of the Aliens as much as it is about man’s origin and their beliefs. It’s a movie about faith and continuing to have it in the face of everything you’ve worked for and care about being taken away from you and having it turn out to be nothing like you had planned.
The performances in this film by Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender (who is excellent as the synthetic David), Idris Elba, and to a lesser degree, Guy Pearce, are probably standout performances of the film, especially Fassbender. The rest are just a blur of faces that don’t really matter since their characters don’t really matter. Charlize Theron plays her character well, but the problem with her character is that we’ve seen that variation of that character in previous Alien movies, and she really doesn’t bring any new dimensions to it. Prometheus is beautifully shot and its clear Scott hasn’t lost his eye for the realm of Sci-Fi. For me the 3D didn’t really enhance it despite that some have said this movie showcases 3D in all its glory. I guess it’s depends on who is viewing it. The movie isn’t great, but it’s not bad. It does what it sets out to do by adding layers to the Alien story while not tying itself to those movies completely. It probably won’t be one of the best movies of the year, but for me, it’s easily one of the best of the summer so far.