Related Video: Watch the 'Prometheus' featurette
'Prometheus' is a hard film to review. On the surface it's enjoyable; visually impressive, with great actors and the acclaimed director Ridley Scott ('Blade Runner,' 'Alien') and yet... there's something missing.
On reflection it's almost as if great swathes were cut from the film, as we don't see enough of the characters to really care about them, getting flashes of them that makes us feel like we're only getting part of the story.
The film feels in many ways rushed, and the addition of Peter Weyland (played by Australia's Guy Pearce) seemed largely unnecessary to the story, a sub plot that added little to the movie but instead detracted from it by stealing valuable screen time from the primary story.
Even worse was a sub plot that could have been expressed in a far more interesting manner between the android and the crew's interactions with each other. The time used on Weyland would have been better spent expanding on the android David's motivations and detached interaction with the crew, rather than largely limiting it to the puzzling moment where he spikes the drink of Charlie Holloway (played by Logan Marshall-Green) with alien matter and providing little exposition otherwise.
Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed the movie. If you're an 'Alien' fan (and I am, let's be honest here) you'll pick some great nods to that seminal sci-fi classic in Prometheus, especially in the closing arc, but I think that might be a part of the film's downfall – it's just trying too hard to align to that Alien formula, and instead comes out feeling rushed and formulaic instead of capturing that original magic.
Related Video: Interview with Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender
Indulge me a moment, and allow me to describe the following film:
"A scientific crew on a spaceship encounter something unexplained, fail to follow proper quarantine procedure, are teamed with a morally dubious android and after the crew are picked off one by one, we're left with a single surviving female crew member left and a message log playing as she travels alone into the depths of space."
You'd think I was talking about Alien, right? Well, that also covers the general frame work for Prometheus as well. Of course there are differences – Prometheus is about humanity within the Alien universe (and is explored through the crew’s experiences with the aliens, and the android’s – expertly played by Michael Fassbender – experience with humanity).
Prometheus ultimately leaves a lot unexplained, to the point that you're wondering if they've intentionally set it up for a sequel by leaving holes in the story, and it’s an undeniably fun experience with a few moments where you might be inclined to cover your eyes.
Three out of five stars.
'Prometheus' is in cinemas now.