Saturday, 2 June 2012

Review: Prometheus (SPOILERS)

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron
Released: 01/06/2012

In space, no one can hear you scream. That was the tagline to 1979's seminal science-fiction-cum-horror film Alien. There have been several sequels to the film over the years, but now, more than thirty years later Ridley Scott is going back to space to explore where the story (not just of Alien but of mankind itself) all began.

When two archaeologists find a series of cave paintings from different civilisations, all pointing to the same constellation, and all suggesting a race of super beings coming down to earth, it isn't long before they realise they must assemble a team and head out there in search of the origins of humanity.

Noomi Rapace impresses  with her Elizabeth Shaw, a devout christian, searching for answers, but refusing to give up her faith despite what she discovers. It is a weighty role but she does not disappoint, drawing the audience in and really making them care about her fate.

Michael Fassbender also has an excellent showing as David - an android, and by far the most morally ambiguous character in the film. His motives seem to suggest he is on one side one minute, while going completely the other way the next. Intriguing to note of course that we find ourselves questioning morality more for the only being without a soul in the film than anyone else.

From sweeping views across a harsh alien landscape to more familiar structures and interiors which hark back to the original film, no one could accuse the film of going half heartedly about its design, and this is to the credit of all involved.

Unfortunately as good as the film looks it is far from flawless. It certainly starts well, raising intriguing philosophical questions while not forgetting its horror roots, but the film rather falls flat in its final act. Some dodgy CGI, as well as a need to leave something for the inevitable sequel, means that in the end not everything gets tied up and you're left scratching your head.

If Prometheus 2 comes along and answers these questions, all may be forgiven, but for now nonetheless we have a fun and thrilling (even if not entirely sound) horror film which will no doubt have audiences on the edge of their seat throughout. From a scene of self-inflicted surgery which makes the scene of the alien eating it's way out of John Hurt's stomach look like child's play, to the very final shots, there is plenty here to keep fans of the franchise happy from start to finish.

Verdict: Not without flaws, but thoroughly entertaining and plenty of thrills. 3.5/5