Watching the opening sequence at the IMAX cinema, with a sprawling waterfall, rocky mountains and a huge alien ship, turning vertically towards the sky, I thought wow…this will be extremely good. Then the scene descends to a bald, muscular (giant-baby looking) alien, and my viewpoint diminishes to…this will be very good.
And that is how Prometheus stays – just a few touches short of extremely good, settling into sci-fi comfort for most of the film, with a few nice deaths, excellent world design, and generic characters. Yes, the characters almost ruin the film. Not quite, but a good two-thirds of them are one dimensional, barely explored…and easily forgotten. Attempts at banter fall slightly flat, and only Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace are given room to wiggle, and both shine in their respective roles. Why Ridley Scott thought dressing Guy Pearce up in Back to the Future style ‘make me look ancient’ make-up is beyond me, and Charlize Theron is miscast – her best moment easily her squish-squash death.
The visuals are excellent, as is the sound, but too much of the planet seems unexplored. Why did everything happen in one rocky cave? In fact, this is a bit of a microcosm for the film. Grand scope, but rushed and cramped when it comes to the narrative.
Overall, Fassbender’s empathetic anti-hero robot, the pleasantly nasty deaths – not overdone, as can be the way in sci-fi – and Rapace’s approachable heroine give enough oomph to Prometheus that the two hours don’t drag, but the mythology of the ‘engineers’ isn’t explored enough for my satisfaction, and fewer characters and more depth would’ve turned this film into something approaching special.
As it is, Prometheus sits with its cigar in the realms of ‘comfortable, enjoyable watch’.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10