Ridley Scott brings us the prequel sequel nightmares are made of
In the near future, an intergalactic map is found in imagery of several ancient civilisations, drawing a small team of humans out to an isolated part of the galaxy. What they find there may hold the secret to the origins of the species, or the source of their extinction.Ridley Scott helped to define a generation and a genre with the original Alien. His impeccably designed sci-fi/horror was an instant classic and foreshadowed the blockbuster production values we’ve come to expect from event movies, while also spawning a trio of other films in the series.
The trailers for Prometheus will suggest it is a film 30 years in the making and that’s far from true but does make for good ad copy. But rumours of a fifth film had begun to circulate not long after the somewhat dismal Alien: Resurrection in 1997. Both Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver had stated an interest in exploring the origins of the Xenomorphs and a way to expand the franchise.
It wasn’t until 2008 that Scott was confirmed for the project, and then only as a producer with young Carl Rinsch up to direct. Eventually the film was deemed too costly for an unproven director, and Scott stepped up to the plate with a new script from Jon Spaihts and Lost’s Damon Lindelof.Prometheus takes the universe of the Alien franchise and steps back from the situations and characters we’re familiar with, presenting a much larger story of ancient aliens capable of transforming entire worlds. The terraforming aspect has been rumoured for years, along with a much reduced role for the xenomorphs in favour of the space jockey – which previously appeared as a hollowed out husk in the original Alien.
Anticipation for the film is mounting, with a careful drip-feed of promotional material and some viral activity focussing on the android David (Michael Fassbender). And there are certainly many things to get excited about – Scott is a visual genius and gets the chance here to not only work with an expansive budget (somewhere around $150 million) but also with 3D for the first time, thankfully shot natively.
Then there’s the impressive cast – no doubt drawn by the chance to work with one of the few remaining visionary directors and a classic sci-fi franchise. Noomi Rapace nabbed the lead role from several better known stars and looks great on screen, especially as there seems to be little attempt to connect her to Weaver’s Ripley. Other players include the fantastic Fassbender, who brings his usual focus to bear on creating a new take on the Android characters previously played by Ian Holm and Lance Henriksen. You’ll also find the incomparableIdris Elba as the ship’s captain and Charlize Theron as the somewhat sinister Vickers – there as a representative for the Weyland Corporation before its merger with Yutani.
But there are dangers here too. Scott has never been the most consistent director but his recent efforts have been particularly underwhelming – from Robin Hood right back to Hannibal. He’ll doubtless earn some kudos for returning to the Alien fold but the pressures of that, plus a massive budget and his first foray into 3D may prove too much for the filmmaker.Prometheus is set to arrive in cinemas at the crest of a massive promotional campaign and we remain ever hopeful. The recent confirmation of that R-rating is a massive plus and we can’t wait to see another of Scott’s meticulously designed worlds on the big screen. And if he can deliver on even a fraction of the promise of a unique take on the material, we should have a new sci-fi horror classic for the 21st Century.Prometheus is in cinemas in 3D and 2D from the 1st of June. Beware of spoilers in this final trailer.
It has been a 33 years since