Romania Insider film review: Prometheus, an Alien pre-sequel

Film producers these days seem to love digging up older films and making sequels, pre-quels and playing around with them, taking advantage of the instant audience for popular film franchises and the taste some viewers have for the big screen, special effects and the 3D option.

This is the case with Prometheus, a pre-quel to the Alien series. Science fiction fans will be thrilled to learn that a new film featuring man-eating monsters, futuristic tehcnology and scientists in search of answers will hit the cinema screens in Romania the coming week-end. Don’t hold your breath though.

Special effects junkies will definitely get their fix and watching in 3D and IMAX will take the special effects to the max. And there are some cool ones. Director and producer Ridley Scott knows how to use modern technology to thrill and baffle the senses, even so, he used many real sets and stunts in Prometheus, meaning the end result is not wall to wall computer generated imaginery.

Anyone looking for a strong story might want to look again, despite the mythology inspired name of the space ship on a journey to a far away planet. In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it to mankind. In this case, scientists from Earth want to meet their creators on a distant planet.

Having not seen the Alien series from beginning to end, a comparison would not be fair. Plus, the world – and taste and expectations of movie goers, have changed a lot since 1979, when the first Alien movie was released, by the same Ridley Scott.

Prometheus starts with a promise – and makes several promises throughout the film – but it fails to keep them. The whole movie is a carousel of expectations that are not met in the end, as if the plot is scattering, rather than slowly narrowing down and making ends meet somehow. Some (most) twists to the story seem to be thrown in for the sake of it, and there seem to be too many loose ends in the fabric of this pre-Alien story.

And the subject was a generous one. A team of scientists from Earth in the year 2090 head to a planet very far away in search of mysterious “Creators”, who they believe created mankind, based on archeological proof of their contact with Earth’s inhabitants throughout centuries. On this new planet, they discover a new species …and all hell breaks loose as they attempt to save themselves and the whole human race along with them.

The story’s got the key elements right there. We have cool, science-fiction technology encountered in the original Alien films – like cryogenics for long space flights, the android with human appearance who’s not supposed to have feelings but who does twisted, unexpected and unexplained things and even the wicked corporation that sponsors the trip, but for the reasons other than the scientists believe. On paper, it sounds good.

Add names like Guy Pearce – playing the extremely old founder of the corporation-, Charlize Theron – as corporation representative on the Prometheus ship, Noomi Rapace as scientist (whom you may remember from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a far better role for her than this) and Michael Fassbender (former “Inglorious Bastard’ and former ‘X-Man’), now playing the twisted, slightly evil robot.

Despite the strong cast, characters and the way they are shaped in the story are not a highlight of the film. It’s as if it was not important to have strong characters. True, you never know who’s going to die next anyway.

Ah, there is one promise the movie does live up to: it does explain how the Alien was created.

Prometheus opens on cinema screens in Romania on June 8. The movie also available in 3D and IMAX and Samsung IMAX and Cinema City Cotroceni.

By Corina Chirileasa, [email protected]

Romania Insider
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