First, the bad news: Michael Fassbender remains fully-clothed for the entire duration of this movie. The good news is that Ridley Scott is back on top form.
Before seeing Prometheus I’d already made up my mind to hate it. In the run-up to its release all I’ve heard is "Alien prequel" this, "Alien prequel" that, and I thought it was pretty lame to return to a movie made all of 32 years ago (even if it is a sci-fi classic). Sure, Scott hasn’t even touched the sci-fi genre since 1982’s Blade Runner, and went from the sublime Thelma & Louise to the pretty awful A Good Year, but his return to space is pretty impressive.
The movie kicks off back in the distant past with what looks like an alien committing suicide beside a waterfall after being left behind by his ship, and initiating life on Earth. Moving swiftly into the late 21st century, a star map is discovered on The Isle of Skye by Elizabeth Shaw (another impressive turn by Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), a couple of archaeologists.
Funded by the rich (and apparently deceased) owner of the Weyland Corporation, Peter Weyland (an unrecognisable Guy Pearce), they follow the star map and journey to a distant planet, overseen by a rather cold mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Under the guidance of an android (Michael Fassbender) with a fixation about Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia – he even dyes his hair blond – they quickly discover what seems to be a temple. And then the real fun begins...
While Prometheus is neither groundbreaking nor utterly predictable, it is a lot of fun, and the cast rises to a script, originally written by sci-fi go-to guy Jon Spaihts, that was brought to rude health by Damon Lindelof, formerly of Lost.
In the words of whomever it was who wrote it first, this is all about the journey. As the body count racks up, there are some excellent gut-churning moments, most notably when Shaw is in urgent need of surgery on her own gut. Now I know why they knock you out cold before an operation.
Amid all the madness and mayhem, the supremely cool Idris Elba (playing the pragmatic Captain Janek) once again steals a movie without doing an awful lot - which kind of sums up Prometheus.
Great fun, though.