The crew of the starship Prometheus are roused from cryo-sleep to ask the big questions. Who are we? Why are we here? Yes they’re really asking those questions. None of them seem to know who anyone else is or why they came. Some don’t like the mission and want to go home. Seriously, no one knows what they’re doing, except Fassbender’s android. By the end it’s still not clear who some of the crew are – not even a pair who actually save the earth from alien apocalypse. Then again maybe that’s fitting as we never really find out who these rebooted aliens they’re saving us from are either.
Far from explaining everything, there are more loose ends left in Prometheus’s wake than the prior Alien saga left us with, plot tendrils snaking about like a grasping face hugger that’s drunk too much coffee. Spotlight on writer Damon Lindelof who penned the TV series Lost. Mystery is replaced by bafflement.
A couple of times Prometheus stops ploughing a furrow through the dirt and actually gets off the ground. There is one classic, possibly genre-forming scene of medical horror in this movie that goes places only the Japanese have gone before. And maybe that’s where Prometheus went astray. This was all too sci-fi, while Alien knew much better what it was, and that was single-minded, uber-stylish horror.
The franchise that inspired so many films that followed it now borrows back from nearly all of them. Even the Thing makes an appearance, complete with flamethrower demise. The greasy metal and CRT interiors of the original are apparently predated in this prequel by overfamiliar floating 3D holographic displays. Maybe an intervening GFC and resulting technological devolution will be described in the sequels, or interstitials, or whatever the sequel to a prequel is called.