There seems to have been an recent influx of reboots, remakes, sequels and prequels recently. It seems like most films that have been released so far are in some way connected with another film. When I learned two years ago that Ridley Scott would be returning to the Alien universe that he helped create. I obviously took it as great news. Scott is a great director and more importantly, it would allow for the Alien vs Predator “movies” to be written out of established canon. How on earth some producer thought “I know what Aliens vs Predator needs. A Sequel!” is still something that continues to boggle my mind.
Back on subject, Ridley Scott has taken his time with Prometheus and it shows throughout the film and it shows his typical “quality over style” film work method that other filmmakers (*cough* Michael Bay *cough*) frequently seem to ignore. Prometheus is a film that many would seem to think acts as a prequel to the first Alien film. The truth is that the film is more of a prelude to the Alien movies if that at all. The biggest mistake that people seem to be making with the film is they are walking into the film expecting to find an Alien movie. Before seeing the film I was frequently reminded by a friend “if you go see Prometheus thinking its an Alien Prequel, you’ll leave disappointed.” So with that in mind I watched the film thinking of it like any other regular sci-fi film.
It would almost be certain that had I walked into the cinema thinking I was about to see an Alien prequel, I would have left incredibly pissed off. However, walking into it without expectations enabled me to walk out of the cinema happy with what I had seen. If I were to describe Prometheus and compare it to the Alien series of movies. It would probably be best described as a fork in the road. Prometheus represents that fork, what you basically have is some elements of the Alien films, when the fork arrives, Alien goes down one path, Prometheus goes down the other. Both with a similar narrative and same universe, but different parallel stories. Prometheus is to the Alien movies what Pitch Black is to the Chronicles of Riddick or what The Hobbit is to Lord of the Rings.
There are some elements that are obviously borrowed from the Alien films. Most notably there will be comparisons made between Noomi Rapace’s character Elisabeth Shaw and Sigourney Weavers Ellen Ripley. This and the Engineers concept are the only elements that are lifted from the Alien movie and obviously there is a passing reference to the titular xenomorph from the movies from which this movie was spawned.
I also had to make note of the viral campaign that was used to promote the film. While some of it was standard advertising fare. One that did catch my eye and I did enjoy was the TEDTalk video which acts as a way of adding to the films storyline. It’s this kind of thinking that represents a significant shift in the way a film is produced, advertised and word of mouth generated. Rather than throw movie posters or passing references in reality shows. Prometheus makes use of other avenues which enable it to get into the attention span of those viewing, but also it adds to the films overall storyline allowing for a greater understanding of the films storyline.
It would be unfair to compare this movie to the Alien film or any of its sequels. Not only because of the fact that the film is very loosely connected to the Alien franchise but also because it’s a sci-fi film in its own right. It’s a film that should be viewed and rated on its own merits. It shouldn’t be compared to the Alien movie because that is its own separate movie. Prometheus is neither a prequel or a reboot. It is simply a film that is connected to another but continues on its own path. While some parts of Prometheus hint at what would come in Alien. It neither inflicts damage or destabilizes the plot of Alien.
With the vast majority of popular films now being released and all mostly being connected to another film. Prometheus represents something entirely unique. A film that is connected to another. But is willing to go on its own path and make its own story. Prometheus therefore deserves to be viewed as such and it I do believe that this alone makes the film watchable. Its more than a decent, solid, well put together film. It’s a film that simply deserves to have its story told, free from restrictions and without the pressure of previous installments casting their shadow over it.