Prometheus asks loftier questions than it’s willing to answer, but it may just may be the best scifi-horror film since Alien.
At about the two-thirds mark in Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s unrelenting scifi-horror prequel to Alien, we are so inundated by disturbing visuals, so exhausted by the unraveling tension, so disoriented by quick-cuts to each character’s confrontation with the film’s endless terrors, that by the end we feel like we’re the ones who survived a trip to hell and back again. It’s dense and terrifying, and easily the best Alien film since, well, Alien.
On the Road to Prometheus is a series of retrospectives on the Alien franchise, in anticipation for Prometheus, which arrives in theaters on June 8th.
In tone, pacing, and emotional impact, James Cameron’s 1986 action flick Aliens bears almost no resemblance to its predecessor. Sure, there are familiar faces (Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, now fully transformed into an action superstar), creatures (the alien “xenomorphs”, their eggs, and the facehuggers), and locations (the planet, now named LV-426 and looking very little like the enigmatic rock of the original), but it’s a wild departure from the previous entry in the series. The slow, creeping horror film tone of Alien is supplanted by big explosions, big guns, and even bigger personalities, bombarding us with not one but dozens (hundreds?) of bloodthirsty aliens filling the screen in each gruesome action set piece.