Sweeping landscapes, light, no Xenomorphs…no cats. All contrasts to the original genre bending introduction to the Alien franchise in Ridley Scott’s original Horror/Sci-Fi classic ‘Alien’ brought to us by this week’s newest release, Prometheus.
Despite living in an era where repetitive story lines, churned out, thoughtless sequels are both the norm and viciously criticised by today’s cinema-goer and reviewer, in regards to Prometheus the issue seems to be that it isn’t like its predecessor. Ironic really isn’t it?
It is by no means the main consensus; the film has received glowing reviews from many areas of the cinema world yet a recurring theme is people stating that it doesn’t work in conjunction with the other Alien films and it makes the film weaker for it. I’m here to say that, in no uncertain terms, these people are idiots.
Where Alien melded the worlds of Science and Horror, Prometheus sees the opportunity to bring life back into a genre tired with expensive CGI effects which, although they make money, deaden any sense of real mind expanding spectacle, Ridley Scott here takes Sci-Fi back to the era of Star Wars where it’s not just a film set in space, it’s a journey of discovery.
However where genre classics like Star Wars and Alien saw fit to stick to a simple plot as well as breaching the grounds of what we thought possible, Prometheus brings in themes of creationism, discovery and the human condition to strengthen this film to not just being a brilliant Sci-Fi entry, but the best one of its kind.
It’s true, Prometheus couldn’t be the masterpiece it is without the Alien franchise there to springboard it, the intrigue of the Space Jockey narrative keeps you hooked through the films more drawn out discovery sequences and its ability to ask just as many questions as it seems to answer continues to tantalise until the very conclusion.
Despite this needing the original Alien DNA to strengthen its narrative that does not inherently mean it is required to be of the same ilk as Alien. Where the original took a claustrophobic, tense scenario and added only the inclusion of an Alien, this prequel of sorts frees itself from those constraints to be a film of its own.
That idea begins by the people behind the film consistently reminding us that this is not a remake or direct sequel to Alien, but also the nature of the topic and the story being told is so different to that of the original Alien DNA that any comparisons as a form of criticism is both lazy and juvenile.
Ridley Scott uses the basic story of his original creation to leap into a whole new universe which melds mystery, deep themes, intense action and the first truly intriguing sci-fi film in years.
Recent entries do little compete with this, Avatar was a lovely bit of decoration but failed to truly encapsulate anything bigger than one of its big trees in its massively expensive, environment preaching scope, whilst films like Star Trek 2009 was an adventure filmed but once more didn’t deliver on the sense of scale and intrigue that Prometheus gives around every corner; and the less said about Transformers the better.
If this film has a flaw it’s that its third act somewhat underwhelms after the long winded build up, sporadic stabs at action end quickly and before they truly get to raise the stakes of the situation, although this inherently leads to Prometheus’ greatest success of transcending what are now genre expectations of the quality action elevating the quality of the movie, it could be without it and still be just as good.
This movie does what we thought not possible, breach the sci-fi bubble of effects equalling excitement and through its mystery and spectacle reinvigorate a genre that was tired and lazily jumping through self imposed hoops of cliché.
The springboard of Alien is required to make this film what it is, but that doesn’t stop it from being something new, something different and something better than all that has come before.