Past science-fiction efforts from director Ridley Scott have been described as nothing short of prolific, delivering cult classics like Alien and Blade Runner. As a result, his first true return to science fiction since the mid-80s has garnered tremendous attention. Scott’s new film Prometheus, which made $21.4 million in its Friday night opening (beating Madagascar 3 by just a million) has been billed as a loose prequel to the Alien franchise, and the setting again returns to the isolation of space.
The title alone reveals the premise of the film, in which a human space crew seeks to discover the origin of mankind. For fans of the original Alien flick, Prometheus retains a similar atmosphere, spending the start of the film centering in on the isolation of the ship’s crew. Noomi Rapace stars in the role of scientist Elizabeth Shaw, supported by a cast including Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and up-and-coming star Michael Fassbender.
On a distant moon known only as LV-223, the crew encounters the ruins of what they believe was an outpost for humanity’s alien ancestors. Much like in Alien, the crew comes across an unknown substance, which triggers the fast paced action seen in the trailers. Despite Scott’s attempts to distance Prometheus from the Alien franchise in pre-release promotions, Prometheus has drawn mixed reviews due to constant comparisons to the 1979 film and its use of vague storytelling.
Without revealing too much of the plot, Prometheus both meets and disappoints expectations. Elements of the film that would have been breathtaking in Scott’s older series have become cliché in present-day cinema. Still, strong special effects and genuinely interesting themes will make the movie a satisfying watch for most theater-goers.