Prequels are still on trend in Hollywood, and the latest addition to the ranks fills in the backstory of entrenched cult classic Alien
. Director Ridley Scott returns to helm the franchise's sixth instalment, yet for all the questions Prometheus
asks, it offers very little in the way of answers.
Set in the year 2093, exploratory spaceship Prometheus lands on the distant moon LV-223 after an ancient star map was discovered etched into a cave in the Scottish Highlands.
The local alien life, we soon learn, created humans from their own DNA, but the expedition to meet their makers quickly becomes a battle for survival.
With the exception of the imperceptibly malevolent robot named David (played by the scene-stealing Michael Fassbender), the crew are inexcusably stereotyped; from the two attractive leads in love (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green), the African American captain (Idris Elba) and his Asian co-pilot (Benedict Wong), to the tattooed geologist (Sean Harris).
Meanwhile, Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) charges around in a tight body suit as the snide soon-to-be heir of the company who funded the one-trillion-dollar journey.
The premise of charting an invitational map from a 35,000-year-old civilisation is commendably original. However, the film suffers from a lack of any further grounding in reality.
While a surgery pod birth-scene is particularly memorable, and nothing can be taken away from the explosive 3D special effects, after an encouraging start the film too hastily descends into a contrived jumble of fiction, burdened by undertows of faith, mankind's origins and what it means to be human.
The film's shoulders are simply not broad enough to cope.
Watch the Prometheus trailer now