Good, but Not Great, Scott; Film of the Week: Prometheus

Article excerpt

MORE than 30 years after Ridley Scott proved that in space, everyone can hear you scream - loudly - the Oscar-nominated director returns to the science-fiction genre and the ultimate deep space killing machine: Alien.

The weight of expectation resting on Prometheus would crush even the eponymous titan from Greek mythology, whose quest to bridge the divide between the mortals and gods provides the film with its pseudo-philosophical framework.

There are some intriguing ideas embedded within Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof's script - Darwinism vs Creationism, the recklessness of scientific endeavour - but inevitably, Scott's film reduces to a big budget game of cat and mouse between wily xenomorphs and human interlopers.

Production values are impeccable and the numerous dank, foreboding corridors provide plentiful opportunities to slaughter supporting characters.

As in earlier films, an android - played here with a well-practised smile by Michael Fassbender - presides over the ill-fated mission and discovers that automatons are not immune from the rapacious beasts.

If the original Alien was a masterclass in nervous silences and sustained, nail-biting tension, Prometheus opts for composer Marc Streitenfeld's overwrought orchestration and splatter par excellence courtesy of the visual effects department, who hark back to HR Giger's iconic original designs.

In 2089, astrophysicist Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her partner Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) unearth an ancient cave painting that confirms the existence of an extra-terrestrial race known as the Engineers.

Wealthy industrialist Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) agrees to finance a voyage to the alien home planet.

A spaceship called Prometheus captained by Janek (Idris Elba) provides the transport for Weyland company executive Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and the crew, including geologist Fifield (Sean Harris) and medic Ford (Kate Dickie). …