Prometheus – a religious pilgrimage for devotees of Alien

All the speculation about whether Prometheus is or isn’t a prequel to Alien, made for a delicious bit of anticipation which stretched out over months and months as fans dissected the trailer and those viral character videos.

Well, in the end all the coyness from Ridley Scott & co. was just a smokescreen; Prometheus is indeed a bona fide prequel to the three-decade-old space horror classic. Nevertheless, as Mr. Scott promised, this film explores the history of this universe, rather than revisit the Xenomorphs themselves. Also, as promised we finally get to know more about the ‘space jockey’!

Watching it this afternoon on IMAX 3D (worth paying the surcharge) was an intense, almost religious experience.

The production design and the cinematography are both outstanding. I am hoping that Dariusz Wolski will finally get an Oscar nomination for cinematography after years of bringing fantastical worlds to life – from Alex Proyas’ Dark City and The Crow to the three Pirates of the Caribbean movies to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Sweeny Todd.

The world of Prometheus, particulary the spaceship and the people in it, looks cleaner and more antiseptic than the world of Alien set approximately 30 years later. Of course this could also be because the Prometheus is the flagship spacecraft of Weyland Corp. whereas the Nostromo, the Sulaco and other ships from the Alien movies are cargo or military ships with fewer amenities.

Unfortunately, the characters are a bit of a mixed bag, with some displaying illogical or downright irritating behaviour. But of course, if all movie characters acted logically, we wouldn’t have much of a plot, would we? Even so, the acting is top notch from all the key actors; most reviews focus on yet another amazing performance from Michael Fassbender, but the others – Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green – are all in equally fine form.

I also loved the way the movie takes time to settle into the narrative, rather than feeling rushed or obliged to take the audience on a roller coaster ride from the start. In fact, the downside perhaps is that there is no roller coaster ride. Scott is not trying to clone James Cameron’s Aliens, which exploded into non-stop action after the initial set-up.  Instead this is very much a unique entry in the series in terms of tone…with an epic, almost reverential feel to it. Unlike the previous films, the set-pieces here take place in a variety of places – inside the ship, on the surface of the planet and inside the alien structure.

I was actually disappointed when the film ended. I felt that the last act could have been given an additional 10 minutes or so, in order to create a more drawn out climax. And you walk out of the movie definitely looking forward to a sequel as Prometheus sets up plenty of questions and hypotheses which need to be answered. I hope Mr. Scott will retain control of the future path of the franchise and not allow it to go into spin-offs like Alien vs. Predator.

Definitely a must-see and I hope it will be financially successful (it cost about USD 130 million + marketing expenses, so will have to gross roughly twice that in order to break even), so that Fox will green-light the sequel.

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