‘Prometheus’ gets mixed reaction in first reviews

The critics have had their say on Ridley Scott's 'Alien' prequel

The first reviews of Prometheus are out, and critics have met it with a mixed reaction.

Ridley Scott‘s prequel to his 1979 sci-fi classic Alien has been met with a huge weight of expectation, and while people have been wary of saying it matches up, the reaction says that it stands better in its own right. Prometheus tells the story of the ‘space jockey’ glimpsed at the start of Alien, and sets about telling the story of a group of pioneers looking for the origins of humankind.

Peter Bradshaw writing for Guardian said that compared to Alien the film is “more grandiose, more elaborate – but less interesting”. He continued, “in place of scariness there is wonderment; in place of tension there is hugely ambitious design; in place of unforgettable shocks there are reminders of the original’s unforgettable shocks.”

Bradshaw singled out Michael Fassbender‘s performance as the android David as the movie’s “real glint of steel” saying, “as in other performances, Fassbender’s lower jaw has a tendency to clench, as if suppressing rage or disgust: here it becomes an opaque, robotic mannerism of veiled threat.”

Todd McCarthy in Hollywood Reporter praises “a visual feast of a 3D sci-fi movie that has trouble combining its high-minded notions about the origins of the species and its Alien-based obligation to deliver oozy gross-out moments”. He concludes that it comes off as “a film that caters too much to imagined audience expectations when a little more adventurous thought might have taken it to some excitingly unsuspected destinations”.

Caroline Frost in the Huffington Post says that Scott “still has a way with an alien” and praises the stunning visual effects, but singles out Noomi Rapace for praise as Dr Elizabeth Shaw, saying she “stamps her mark as a surprisingly feminine action-heroine – no shaved head or buffed torso on display here. She’s not trying to out-Ripley any of Scott’s predecessors and is the more interesting for it, with her faith and curiosity in these strange creatures, even when the personal cost is phenomenal, setting her apart.”

Although much has been made of the grand creation story at the heart of Prometheus, Jonathan Crocker in The Wrap reckons that “Scott has always been more at home with Big Spectacle than Big Ideas. And sure enough, once people start dying, Prometheus‘ ambitious thematic payload goes straight out of the airlock.” He reassures fans, “It might not pack the unbearable menace or blazing horror of the saga’s first two movies, but it utterly eclipses the last two. It’s exciting, tense and fully impregnated for sequels.”

Prometheus opens in the UK tomorrow (June 1). You can watch the trailer at the top of the page.