From the moment Ridley Scott first announced that he would be making a new movie somehow related to his 1979 Sci-Fi masterpiece Alien, Prometheus has been a film surrounded by almost as many mysteries and questions as the newest Christopher Nolan project.
Would it be a prequel to Alien? Would its new aliens be related to Alien’s originals? Would its story finally reveal what led up to the mysterious S.O.S. call that Ripley and her crew answered? And most of all: Would Prometheus be able to live up to the iconic movie its design presumably connects it to?
And the answer? A whole lot of maybes and even more questions than we started out with.
Without revealing too much, the plot of Prometheus pretty much starts off like this: Archeologists discover multiple cave paintings depicting ancient civilizations worshiping the same formation of planets. Several years later, said archeologists wake up on scientific research ship named Prometheus that has just come into the orbit of the distant planet they believe is at the center of those drawings. And, as the ship full of as many motives as members lands on the mysterious planet, so begins a search for answers to questions that only multiply as they come into contact and conflict with an alien race some of them believe to also be their creators.
As a movie, and a member of the Alien family, Prometheus is an engaging thriller and a solid contribution to the series that definitely capitalizes on some of the elements that made Alien the classic that it is. In her first lead role in a Hollywood movie, Noomi Rapace gives a performance almost as good as Sigourney Weaver’s, bringing to life a legitimately kick-ass female character whose strength and fierceness reveal themselves through both the physical fights she puts up and the emotional and mental determination which fuel her continued pursuit of the answers she seeks.
With over 30 years of additional technology at its disposal, Prometheus also looks good. Its sets are cool. Its effects are impressive. And while not as jaw-dropping and awe inspiring as they could have been, born mostly of interactions that occur after Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and her crew arrive, each one of the movie’s new and/or evolved “alien” creatures is mysterious and interesting in its own right.
However, as intriguing as its array of aliens and questions are, where Prometheus falls short is in delivering an actual plot anywhere near as exciting or rewarding as its Alien sister. Scenes you see coming from a mile away, Prometheus‘ alien attacks are almost all lacking in one necessary, heart-pumping element—surprise. Throw in the fact that too many of the movie’s deaths could be attributed more to characters’ stupidity than anything else, and all but a few of the movie’s climaxes simply fall short.