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Prometheus (3D)


Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Guy Pearce, Rafe Spall, Kate Dickie, Sean Harris

Director: Ridley Scott

After 33 years, director Scott returns to Alien territory. Again, our principal character is a woman - although Sweden's Rapace is almost a foot shorter than Sigourney Weaver - and Prometheus' last line exactly replicates that of the earlier film, to which it is effectively a prequel.

Although, like Alien, this one takes a while to galvanize itself into action, the atmosphere of foreboding on an alien planet awesome in its towering set design reassures us that most of our earthly astronauts who land there are destined for a sticky end.

You shouldn't hurt your head trying too hard to understand the plot, for the director merely wants you to enjoy the ride. At any rate, in 2089, scientists on the Isle of Skye, led by Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace - strange to hire a Swedish actress and still keep the character's very English name) and her lover Charlie (Marshall-Green overdoing the laddishness) find cave paintings with a configuration of star-like objects that mirrors those from other ancient civilizations and sets Shaw and Charlie, four years later, on a mission into deep space towards a planet that matches those configurations (to be fair, this all seems less unlikely when you see the movie).

The woman (Theron) behind the company that bankrolls the expedition has, of course, her own agenda, the captain (Elba) is 'just there to fly the ship' and everyone else is pretty much expendable at the appropriate horrific moment. All, that is, except David (Fassbender), a humanoid robot who studies the film Lawrence of Arabia and is about as reliable as HAL from 2001.

Famiiiar Scott trappings are all about, from gleaming black alien tumuli, to tentacled, life-crushing monsters, and baby aliens bursting out of stomachs. Although not so much the girl with Dragon Tattoo as the girl with the Alien Baby, Rapace is terrific apart from the odd wobbly line, and carries the film. And, once it does start, the action pounds along incessantly. Another alien is born at the end and the question of where it'll end up should be no problem for fans of the original. Scott's ace alien-designer HR Giger is once again in charge of Monsters Inc, and does his mentor proud.

David Quinlan

USA/UK 2012. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
123 minutes. Not widescreen (3D). UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 31 May 2012