Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Sorry Charlize, but your new role is alien to me

Frances Burscough
Frances Burscough

This week I went to the cinema with my teenage son and his mates to see Prometheus, that much-hyped gazillion dollar blockbuster by Ridley Scott.

So, for a change, I decided to write you a review. Now, before reading please note the following: I neither know, nor understand, nor care very much about science fiction films. Also, it contains spoilers. Lots of 'em.

In the beginning, millions of years ago, a spaceship arrives on Earth. Out comes a very tall, alien-type creature with humanoid features that remind me a bit of the new manager of Liverpool Football Club. He opens what looks like a jar of Marmite, eats the contents and then dies a horrible painful death, dissolving from the inside until he falls into a river and breaks up into DNA molecules. Confused? You will be. Read on ...

Fastforward to the mid-21st century. Two archaeologists are on the Isle of Skye. One looks like Kirsty Wark from Newsnight, the other looks like the Diet Coke Hunk. Together they discover an ancient cave painting depicting an alien-type creature (not unlike the aforementioned football manager) pointing at the sky towards a specific constellation of stars and planets. They look at each other and agree: “It's almost as though they are trying to tell us something” (like archaeologists always do in sci-fi films).

But what?

Fast forward again to the end of the 21st century. We're on a space ship a bit like the Starship Enterprise but with better knobs and bleeps, which is hurtling through space towards a constellation of stars and planets just like the ones in the cave painting. All the humans on board are asleep in big freezers that are being attended to by a robot. We know he's a robot only because of his jerky head movements. Other than that he's a dead ringer for Laurence of Arabia in a spacesuit.

According to his captain’s log, this is a two-year journey during which he has kept himself busy doing some kind of Open University course and he is now fluent in every language in the universe.

Soon the ship approaches its destination — a planet known locally as LV-223 — so he defrosts everybody and we discover that Kirsty Wark and the Diet Coke Hunk are among the team, as well as Stringer Bell from the Wire and Charlize Theron, who was on Graham Norton. There are also lots of others who we've never seen before, so, according to movie lore, their destiny is to be picked off one by one over the course of the film to become dead meat.

Now, to cut a long story short, things don't go well on old LV-223. They find evidence of an ancient civilisation (of course) inside a pyramid (of course) but there's also a menacing life-force (of course) that keeps lurking in dark corners before slithering off into more dark corners. The place is also crammed with gigantic jars containing what looks like Marmite but turns out to be a weapon of mass destruction.

Anyway, a few nondescript extras get picked off one by one by the lurking presence to become dead meat and the Laurence of Arabia robot starts turning evil (like they always do in sci-fi films) and intentionally infects the Diet Coke bloke with the Marmite stuff and he turns into a deranged infected monster. He dies.

Then a really old man appears, who looks and acts a bit like Doctor Evil and he has an ulterior motive for going there (of course) which is to find out how he can live forever.

Anyways ... er ... Kirsty discovers she's pregnant, but after having a scan discovers that Baby Wark is actually a man-eating giant squid, so she performs an emergency Caesarean on herself (like you do) in a tanning booth and then runs off, carelessly leaving baby squid to grow to adult monster size inside the space ship.

Meanwhile, back on LV-223 they find one of those LFC manager-type aliens in a freezer and they defrost it. The robot asks it (in fluent Alien) what is the meaning of life and it rips his head off and kills a few more extras, plus Dr Evil, before jumping into a spaceship that was conveniently waiting inside the pyramid. And it's obviously full of petrol too, because it takes off on a dastardly mission to destroy Earth, but Stringer Bell makes a snap decision to sacrifice his own life and the lives of his crew (like captains of spaceships always do in sci-fi) by smashing into the alien ship.

Everyone dies except Kirsty Wark and the LFC manager alien who, after being consumed by giant squid, turns into a very familiar-looking creature indeed ... none other than Alien, off the film Alien.

So after all that, it turns out this was just a prequel after all!

For special effects I give this film five stars. For everything else I'd give it none ...

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