Visual treat as crew back in Alien territory
PROMETHEUS (15) Sci-fi thriller. Stars: Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Ben Foster, Idris Elba, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Michael Fassbender.
MORE than 30 years ago director Ridley Scott set a chilling, thrilling, stylistic standard with his horrific vision of travel, and encounters, between contrasting worlds and different species with Alien. In space, nobody could hear you scream but in cinemas around the world, everybody was dropping their ice-creams.
Successful sequels followed with other directors at the helm, notably James Cameron.
Now Scott is boldly going again with Prometheus, a prequel of sorts, offering tantalising clues to the origins of the acid-blooded predator and the human race.
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In the late 21st century, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation finances an archaeological dig led by icy cool Meredith Vickers (Theron) to uncover the secrets of an alien race known as the Engineers.
Vickers recruits astrophysicist Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace), xenoarchaeologist Dr Theo Zedmore (Pearce) and a second astrophysicist (Foster) to lead the mission and they discover vital information plotting the location of the Engineers' home planet.
Determined to learn more about these omnipotent creatures, Vickers spearheads a mission to the far off solar system.
A spaceship called Prometheus captained by Jeremiah Janek (Elba) provides the transport and Vickers bolsters the crew with top men and women in their fields including medical officer Fifield (Harris) and engineer Yuri (Spall).
Operations android David 4.0 (Fassbender) keeps a dispassionate eye on proceedings but as the party touches down on the Engineers' home world, they are woefully unprepared for the horrors that await them.
And the verdict? As you'd expect, Prometheus is a visual treat with superb effects (to be enjoyed all the more in the 3D and IMAX 3D versions).
This time we get a pair of iron-willed female characters in the mode of Ripley, a role illuminated by Sigourney Weaver in the four Alien films – Rapace and Theron are worthy successors. Fassbender, blonded up as the droid, provides the expected Hal-esque dry humour, and other strong performances flesh out the characters.
The plot is less successful. There's a lot of chat and a main theme about the origin of our species (did God, aliens or chance make mankind?) and the darkness within us.
And Prometheus isn't as bold in its vision as either Alien or Blade Runner. But it's still a blast that delivers the gore and thrills – and leaves the door to a sequel open wide.