With Ridley Scott returning to the science fiction genre's space travel segment, and doing so with a lot of ambition, he cannot help but raise the stakes and create high expectations. And rightly so, because since making a name for himself in said genre with films like Alien and Blade Runner, Scott has continued to output large-scale productions of a surprisingly high quality, although he has arguably never again made such iconic films as the two aforementioned. And as Prometheus opens, with its alluring combo of creative existentialism, Star Trek-ish robots and the genre-typical crew composition and presentation, it's difficult not to get sucked into the possibilities it opens and the promise of it all. The story and backdrop is so well thought out and aptly handled, and Scott keeps us aptly in the dark with a notion that there is more to the story than what meets the eye.
As our spacecraft approach its destination, and the narrative turns from voyage to operation, Scott still retains his thought-provoking, sly style of storytelling. The film grows increasingly eerie, and Scott starts introducing a few horror elements which moves Prometheus closer to Alien territory. Although there is no characterological connection between the films, there are more than subtle hints suggesting that the creature that Prometheus' crew is dealing with shares a good deal of DNA with Sigourney Weaver's old friend. And from the middle part of the film and on, our protagonists (notably Rapace and eventually Fassbender) must try to solve several recognizable space-travel mysteries: Who were there before them? What happened to them? Who can we trust onboard? And will we be able to get the ship back in the air?
Prometheus does remain interesting throughout, but the originality which Scott looked to have promised us early on, mostly remains just that - promises. There is loads of unexplored territory and potential here, and we only get hints of the undeniable potency in Guy Pearce's character and the relationship between Rapace's and Fassbender's characters. Towards the end, we realise that this may well be because the filmmakers have their minds set on pre-planned sequels, and that this has lead to an intentional obscuring of information and storyline. I guess that's the way to make money in the business these days, but it's not the way to make great art. And Ridley Scott, if anybody, should know that.