It seems this movie has split audiences, even the die-hard Alien fans like myself. I for one loved it, ok so it isn't as good as the original masterpiece Alien or the action-packed Aliens, but at least it's marginally better than the flawed but still very under-rated third instalment and I don't even acknowledge the existence of the atrocity that is Alien: Resurrection!
I am glad that Ridley decided to go in a different direction with Prometheus and not just do another `Alien' movie, he's a better director than that. Any number of other directors could do that job, but we were always going to get something a little more unconventional with Ridley at the helm, and given the latest offerings concerning the Alien franchise (the awful AVP films) we're better off for it!
In Prometheus Ridley seems to be laying the foundations for a much larger story that may or may not include the events in the other movies (many people don't realise that this isn't actually set on the planet that is featured in the other Alien films!) There are still a lot of questions left unanswered at the end of the film and the story could continue in any number of directions, which I found very intriguing.
What also surprised me was the close links to another of Ridley's films; Blade Runner! It explores similar themes of life, death, creation and of `meeting your maker'. The android character of David has a much larger role than I expected he would have, and the question of whether Vickers is also an android is an interesting, yet unanswered question, just like Deckard in Blade Runner. The Weyland/Tyrell comparison is obvious, there is even a nod to Tyrell and his Replicant technology in the `Weyland Files' extra in the special features. Weyland played by Guy Pearce, like Roy Batty in Blade Runner, is seeking more life and seems to go to any lengths to find it!
The cinematography, visuals, production design are excellent, there is a nice music score and a great ensemble cast with particular plaudits going to Michael Fassbender as the ambiguous android David.
The film does take a while to get going however, but when it does there are some great set-pieces and a few nice surprises during the climax!
Despite a few flaws Prometheus is a return to more `intelligent' sci-fi, it may not be the most original film ever but it certainly offers a breath of fresh air in the wake of more bubblegum crowd-pleasers like Avatar!