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Review: Prometheus Running time: 123 mins Certificate: 15 ****
10:25am Friday 1st June 2012 in Film news and reviews
MORE than three decades ago the North-East’s most successful movie director, Sir Ridley Scott, reinvented the science fiction genre with his chest-bursting display of space horror called Alien.
A few years later he did it again with the futuristic Blade Runner, a film that was not universally praised when first released but has attained respect and cult status over the years.
Will the same, I wonder, happen to Prometheus, which marks his return to the well-worn genre? I can imagine it dividing opinion. No matter how well made – and this being a Ridley Scott film, it’s a first rate piece of film-making on all levels – some are going to dismiss it as either a poor Alien imitation or sci-fi mumbo-jumbo.
What began as a prequel to Alien turned into a different kind of creature (and, you hardly need telling, a very nasty creature) once Scott and the writers began developing it. Prometheus “tips its hat”, as the production notes put it, to the original Alien as a team of scientists and explorers answer a call contained in newly-discovered cave paintings on the Isle of Skye and blast off into space only to end up fighting to save the human race.
Well, some of them fight. Noomi Rapace’s scientist clings to her faith as she investigates the birth, and possible death, of mankind. But when the going gets tough, she toughens up and fights for her rights. Charlize Theron’s “suit”, on the other hand, represents big bad business, namely the mysterious corporation whose aged boss has a vested interest in the expedition.
I don’t want to give too much away because Prometheus is a fun, scary, rollercoaster of a film. Although it may leave you asking questions, like why cast Guy Pearce as a very, very old man and have him spend his scenes unrecognisable beneath layers of prosthetics? But there is much to think about, plenty to look at and several moments to make you jump like the PR sitting next to me at the screening.
Just as Sigourney Weaver did in Alien, Rapace makes a determined and resourceful heroine while Michael Fassbender, channeling the personality of an English butler, is a hoot as the ship’s robot David. Theron is icy cool as the business representative on board the Prometheus. The rest of the expeditionary force are mostly there as fodder for the monster/creature/ alien when it/they appear.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, Scott has come up with a scene every bit as nasty as the shocking moment the little alien burst out of John Hurt’s chest. You have been warned.