Published: 7 June, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by Ridley Scott
Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
What a burden it must be, to have made two of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, and then have a nagging feeling that you have just got to return to deep space and create another.
Poor Sir Ridley Scott, he has already set himself as high a bar as you could possibly imagine.
He gave us that mix of horror and sci-fi in Alien, and was also behind the future-scape nightmare of Blade Runner.
Now he has returned to the theme, with a prequel to his 1979 Alien film.
Prometheus has its base in a creation myth.
Its fundamental question is one that sci-fi writers love to return to over and again: is there anything out there, and if there is, do they have a part to play in the story of human development?
We meet archaeological researchers Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall Green) as they uncover a cave in the Isle of Skye.
The walls are adorned with images of ancients pointing skywards at five planet shapes.
They realise that this is an image that has been found across continents and through different epochs of human development, so therefore it must mean something.
Fast forward a little bit and we are suddenly on a funky-looking deep space exploring ship, with a team of scientists all tucked up in their sleeping pods as they travel to discover a solar system where these ancients seem to think we have some link.
The opening scenes feel a little like 2001: A Space Odyssey – quiet, well paced, with an android going about his business.
But then Scott slips into default mode and instead of giving us an intelligent sci-fi film where you get to think wondrously deep thoughts about the idea of the infinity of space, where we came from, is there life up there etc, it becomes a clichéd mash-up of his early (and admittedly superb) works.
So there are plenty of utterly squirmish Alien moments, with eye-wincing bits of slug-like creatures doing unmentionable things, and one scene featuring a caesarean that is so vile it verges on tastelessness.
We also get a crew who are a bunch of poorly developed characters, each filling a tick-box role, either inexplicably angry with one another and utterly dysfunctional for a voyage of this type, or wildly in love or lust.
The adventurers have found a planet that seems to be able to support life, and they land on its surface then make their way inside a mountain/pyramid to see if they can make contact with said aliens.
Things, obviously, go wrong and there is a twist in the tale as to why they have travelled all this way in the first instance.