"Prometheus" Provides Little Satisfaction as a Pointless Prequel to "Alien"

Walking out of the press screening for "Prometheus" I couldn't help thinking to myself, "This is what I've been waiting almost four years for?" I filled out my questionnaire, gave it to the Fox representative, and walked away telling my fellow movie reviewers goodbye. I stated that I hoped I could have a better day after it started out being ruined by a morning filled with disappointment delivered by Ridley Scott. I could sum up my review of the film in one sentence: Lower your expectations.

In the film, archaeologists and scientists find star maps drawn and displayed throughout different ancient civilizations. They believe an alien force left the maps as a way to lead humankind to find them. A team of scientists travel to the distant moon LV-223 in cryo stasis while an android named David monitors the 10-year voyage. Upon waking up, they discover the remains of a spaceship littered with cylinders and adorned with a large statue of a humanoid head. The cylinders are filled with some sort of liquid substance and a sample of it is taken aboard. Soon, the crew discovers that who or whatever led them to the planet possibly didn't have the best intentions in mind.

First off, "Prometheus" is everything Scott told you it wasn't. It is a direct prequel to "Alien" and it leads directly into the 1979 classic. He sure did go to a lot of trouble to mirror the original film for someone who wanted this movie to be completely separated from it. Scott went out of his way to distance the film from "Alien" since he started publicly talking about in 2009. The entire mid-section feels like a retread. As soon as the action moves onto the spaceship, there's a sense of deja vu and nostalgia felt. We get treated to scenes of the crew waking up, getting dressed, and eating dinner together before the ship arrives at its location.

The music from "Alien" is even used in bits and pieces throughout the movie's score. It's strategically placed in certain scenes to tap us on the shoulder and say, "Hey, this is foreshadowing something you saw 33 years ago."

My biggest issue with the movie is it doesn't explore any new ideas. It's based on a 44-year old book entitled "Chariot of the Gods?," which was already used as the inspiration for 1978's "Battlestar Galactica" and 1994's "Stargate." Screenwriter Damon Lindelof and Scott couldn't come up with something better than this concept in a four year period?

I'm not going to say the movie didn't have good spots. There were some great scenes of alien carnage. The practical and CG effects look absolutely wonderful, but the 3D is useless unless you're interested in dust and debris coming out of the screen at you. It's basically used to give the film more depth.

"Prometheus" felt tired to me. It was a conglomeration of recycled ideas and nostalgic bits and pieces spread out so "Alien" fanboys and girls could look over at each other and wink while watching it together. Fanatics of the franchise will be "in on" the subtle and not-so subtle references to the original, while others who never saw it won't be "lost." That being said, the only viewers who should be surprised by anything that happens in this movie are those who never experienced "Alien."

"Alien" enthusiasts need to see "Prometheus." Although it's pointless and disappointing in the grand scheme of things, it was mildly interesting to see the events talked about in the original film played out in front of me. Just don't go into it expecting for the film to break new ground or terrify you the way "Alien" did in 1979.