First off, I apologise for being late today; I actually fell asleep while working on the page last night and had to haul my sorry backside to bed  before I could finish it.

In any case, better late than never! Part of the reason I had so little time was that I went to see new Ridley Scott film Prometheus, a prequel of sorts to the Alien series.

Here is my verdict in a bottle: It is an okay film. I won’t say I was disappointed, but I think I was perhaps expecting too much from it. There’s nothing overarchingly WRONG with the film per se, and there is plenty of wonderful stuff in there. But I think it would be best to approach the film cautiously.

Let’s start with the good stuff; If you’re a fan of the Alien films, then you will LOVE the sheer amount of backstory that you can glean. The story focuses not on the Aliens themselves (although you can certainly see a lot of elements and precursors, which is fascinating if you pay attention), but on the mysterious ‘Space Jockey’ race, the giant corpse found in the wreck during the first film. What’s revealed about them engages your sense of mystery, and certainly gets you thinking about their motivations and their real relationship to humanity. The sense of wonder in the first part of the film is outstanding, and was everything I had wanted from a film involving the exploration of extraterrestrial ruins. The mysterious yet familiar Gigerian designs of the Space Jockeys’ architecture contrasts deliciously with the beautiful landscapes on display, and really helps to reinforce the alien nature of the planet. Taking the crown amongst the characters by and far is the android, David. I shan’t say too much about him, but given that this is a film in the Alien family, what you’re assuming is probably correct… And also, so so wrong. I think most people will be able to appreciate David and Michael Fassbender’s fantastically uncanny acting. I’ve never seen anyone juggle ‘likeable’ and ‘terrifying’ so damn well.

Onto the negative bits: We can break this up into three parts. Plot: Yes, what people are saying about it raising more questions than it answers is true. To be honest, this niggle can go either way; Part of the nature of the film IS to engender questioning and philosophising, after all, but there are a couple of points that don’t quite make sense. Given what the planet turns out to be, why were humans invited there in the first place? How do the xenomorphs get to the way we see them in the Alien films and not the similar but noticeably different proto-xeno we see in the film? Were we actually able to communicate with the other race? Pacing: A few of the horror parts of the film felt a little too rushed and tacked on. I suspect these were ramped up a little bit to appeal to a wider audience than the deeply introspective affair Prometheus could have been In general they were quite watchable, but if they had been built up over a longer period of time I would have enjoyed them a whole lot more. In general, I think that the film should have decided if it was going to be an adventure film or a horror film: The kinds of threat between the two are very different, and didn’t mesh perfectly in this instance. Alternatively, if the cast size had been reduced, it might’ve allowed for more time to be dedicated to the characters, and to allow the horror to develop more organically. Writing: This pains me the most, because so much of the film is wonderfully written. Then there are the two or three lines of utterly clichéd dialogue that absolutely howl. And there’s one reveal that just springs out of nowhere, and has absolutely no bearing on the rest of the plot. It just seemed to have been placed for shock value (PARTIALSPOILER!!when you see the film, it reveals a family connection between the frost queen and one of the other characters!!PARTIALSPOILER. Tell me if I’m wrong!)

I say the writing pains me the most to complain about, because there is SO MUCH that is done so damn well. There are more than a few mysteries that are foreshadowed and hinted at throughout the film that it absolutely mystifies me how the parts that I felt were ‘tacked on’ weren’t woven better into the fabric of the plot. I’d say that if you have a keen eye for detail, you will enjoy the film; If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping action flick, give this one a pass. Prometheus is more about thinking, looking, and piecing evidence together than about action and horror, although what action and horror is there is generally alright.

Final verdict: Go see Prometheus, but make sure that you’re not expecting too much from it. There is certainly plenty of excellent stuff in there that you’ll enjoy, especially if you’re trying to piece together the backstory to the Alien franchise. Just be aware that it stumbles from time-to-time on pacing and dialogue. If you can overlook those flaws, you’ll find plenty of mysteries to fuel your imagination.