For obvious reasons, this article comes attached with a SPOILER ALERT.
If you haven’t yet given Prometheus a watch, I would recommend doing so in the next few weeks. This assertion does not come as a result of my finding it a strong piece of cinema- quite the contrary, I’m inclined to see it as one of the year’s biggest disappointments- but instead for you as a viewer to be able to gain a stance on what is looking likely to become one of the most controversial offerings of 2012. For countless reasons, critics have averaged mediocre reviews for Ridley Scott’s prequel to Alien, and yet for me it all boils down to one simple factor: nostalgia.
Had Scott and his production team decided to make this much-anticipated science-fiction epic a completely standalone flick, then I would imagine that my own rating of the piece would have shifted from 3 stars to at least 4, possibly 5 depending on how far the proposed philosophical concepts of man’s origins were explored. As it is, though, Prometheus falls well short of the mark simply because it fails to move out of the boundaries set by the Alien franchise and indeed the 1979 classic original, a fact I believe can be expressed by a number of key elements…
1. The Plot
Right from off the bat, anyone who has seen the original Alien (be it upon its original cinema release in 1979 or indeed in its various retail formats) will notice that Prometheus shares a similar narrative structure to its alleged successor, and indeed the more recent Alien VS. Predator. We see a group of scientists and explorers brought together by a common goal of solving a mystery in an extra-terrestrial structure, and who then find themselves at the mercy of an alien menace once one of their colleagues foolishly ‘set off the traps’.
This similar structure would perhaps be a little more forgivable were we to assume director and writer Ridley was simply taking inspiration from the legendary greats of the sci-fi genre who emerged in the years after Alien, but that the layout shares such similarities with his own previous work, works which undoubtedly many fans would have re-watched shortly before coming to see this, reeks of laziness and a general attitude of not fixing what ain’t broken. The main problem this causes is that very little in the film feels original beyond the (admittedly stunning) special effects, and that we get cryo-stasis pods and WMD-carrying sarcophagi that share a striking resemblance to Xenomorph eggs doesn’t help either.