Prometheus, 124 minutes, Rating: 15+, Director: Ridley Scott. Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron
Friday 15 June 2012, 10:35AM
“Big things have small beginnings,” Michael Fassbender’s character whispers at a pivotal moment in Ridley Scott’s long-awaited return to the realm of sci-fi. But while the Alien universe he created in 1979 is certainly a big thing, Scott’s latest addition, Prometheus, offers no small beginning.
Prometheus not only features one of the most captivating and carefully-paced opening acts in recent memory, it is a masterpiece of cinema aesthetic that raises the bar for sci-fi imagery.
At the same time, this is a film that’s going to have very different impacts on people, largely because of the major question that has haunted the project since it was announced – where exactly does it fit within the Alien universe?
Set prior to the events of the original Alien, Prometheus provides a few answers that many fans of the franchise will appreciate, but at the same time raises much larger (and significantly more relatable) questions about the wonders – and horrors – of creation, and humanity’s place in the cosmos.
As a result, the actual connections to the Alien universe feel at times tenuous in relation to the central story, and for non-fans, could come across as tacked-on. Conversely, hardcore fans may be slightly frustrated by some of the answers provided – and perhaps more so by the lack of them.
All of the major players deliver enjoyable, or at the very least believable, performances. However, it is Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, Shame) who offer especially memorable turns.
Fassbender’s David is easily one of the most fascinating (and disturbing) characters of 2012, and Rapace holds nothing back in a number of especially challenging scenes (not to mention an especially brutal one that will undoubtedly haunt the dreams of all who witness it).
Some of the other characters are undercooked, but the shortcomings in their development can almost be overlooked given Scott’s eye for set design and scene composition.
The important thing to remember that, despite some laboured efforts to try and be one, Prometheus isn’t an Alien movie. Its core idea is different, and it’s a film more interested in exploring science and religion, and where they intersect.