Be afraid – there be a many spoilers ahead. I’ve just returned from finally viewing the long-awaited Prometheus, and boy was it worth it. In a franchise universe dominated by Alien Resurrection vs. Predator vs. Gremlins, Ridley Scott has kidknapped his baby back and gloriously held two fingers up. Quite rightly so.
Not since Danny Boyle’s Sunshine have I sat in my cinema seat almost falling into the aisle with my skin crawling with tension. The exploration of LV-223’s hollow tomb, Fifield’s return to the Prometheus and Shaw’s excruciating to watch self-operation (“Cut it out of me!”) are truely harrowing pieces of cinema to watch. Ridley certainly pushes the boundaries if the BBFC 15 rating. Michael Fassbender’s creepy android, David, explores with a child-like intuition who interestingly also starts to question his origin. At one point he even throws back to Logan Marshall-Green’s Holloway, [after being told he was made “because we could”] “how would you feel if your maker said that to you?”. Charlize Theron oozes with corporate sleaze (and in a very hot way I might add) out with her own agenda, and lurks in the corners casting a beady eye over the crew. The rest of the supporting class including Idris Elba, Rafe Spall, Sean Harris and Guy Pearce as well as a few others all turn in stellar performances.
Then there’s Noomi Rapace’s Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. She unquestionably has propelled herself up into the ranks of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from the previous (well, technically) films, and for that fact, the elite of strong female leads such as Sarah Connor. She’s a contemporary Joan of Arc.
As for the answers we are all so desperately seeking, I can see some fans leaving with a bitter taste in their mouth. We get a lot of insight into the space jockey’s purpose but not so much on their origin. Shaw and David’s head-in-bag leave LV-223 in search of this (LV-426?) and dangles the possibility of future sequels in the audience’s face. So this is definitely moving away from the Alien franchise we’ve all know for the past 3 decades, but still contains its DNA (as we do with the ‘Engineers’). Ultimately the question, “what happens when you meet your maker?” is asked. I’m not overly disappointed with this as it was still a very rewarding film, and leaves room for interpretation. We are, however, treated to a chest bursting Alien-parent, formed from the last Engineer and Shaw/Holloway’s ‘baby’, at the end. Disturbing stuff indeed!
Prometheus is a must-see for fans and newcomers to the Alien universe, and the tension will still be on your skin on the drive home after. But I have to ask; who’s the space jockey in the seat of the first Alien if he’s lying with his chest open in Shaw’s escape pod?