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by Jonathan Rothwell

Film Review: Prometheus

Publicity shot from Prometheus. © 21st Century Fox

I have a confession, and one that I doubt will make me very popular with many moviegoers. OK, here goes.

I liked Prometheus.

There, I said it.

True, it’s not as good as Alien. Prometheus is nowhere near as frightening, for a start, especially if you’ve already seen its illustrious predecessor. In places, it’s unnecessarily loud, and the film lacks the stripped-back, utilitarian feel that made Alien so atmospheric, scary and iconic.

The film’s plot is superficially more intelligent than Alien, but only makes sense if you ignore everything you’ve ever learned about science, archaeology and biology. The script is also mediocre: where there was silence or banal dialogue in Alien, Prometheus distracts you with a dull wisecrack from one of the redshirt characters.

The main characters, however, are compelling. Noomi Rapace plays Elizabeth Shaw, an archaeologist with strong religious tendencies. She and her partner, Charlie Holloway, discover a star map in artefacts and structures from multiple, unconnected ancient civilisations: they believe this to be an ‘invitation’ from humanity’s alien forerunner, whom they christen ‘Engineers.’

They are joined on the titular ship, the Prometheus, by a number of crewmen, Vickers, an agent of the Weyland corporation played with an icy edge by Charlize Theron, and David, an android so advanced he is indistinguishable from Michael Fassbender.

Ultimately, all of the actors make up for a script that feels loose, weak and forced in places, but the FassBot is indubitably the star of the show. He gleefully steals every scene in which he appears, playing a character who not so much resembles HAL from 2001, or Data from The Next Generation, as Durandal from the Marathon games, or GLaDOS from Portal.

Visually, the film is beautiful, and makes use of 3D in a way that enhances the feel of the film without feeling overbearing. There is one particular scene, featuring Fassbender alone, which is so exquisitely beautiful and sumptuously executed that it could’ve been released as a standalone film and made millions at the box office.1

So, there we go. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed Prometheus. It’s not as good as Alien, but it’s still a fun film to watch. Hokum? Most certainly, but it’s of the ‘enjoyable’ type, rather than the ‘Bonekickers’ type.

  1. I won’t spoil it, but here’s a hint: it involves holograms.