An early screening of Ridley Scott's Prometheus has unleashed a flood of reviews and tweets across the internet. So, was it any good? We rounded up the both the good and the bad so you could decide for yourself. With absolutely no spoilers.
It seems like the general consensus is while it's visually stunning, you shouldn't go into the theater hoping for the next Alien. A lot of what you loved about the original film has been replaced with sweeping visuals, a booming score, a sense of wonder, and (some would argue exceptionally thin) science. We did our best to keep this collection of quotes spoiler free — but be careful, most of the reviews we link to are lousy with spoilery details.
The Guardian points out the stylistic departure Prometheus' made from the original Alien franchise.
Ridley Scott has counter-evolved his 1979 classic Alien into something more grandiose, more elaborate – but less interesting. In place of scariness there is wonderment; in place of tension there is hugely ambitious design; in place of unforgettable shocks there are reminders of the original's unforgettable shocks. There are also some shrewd and witty touches, and one terrifically creepy performance from Michael Fassbender, who steals the film with the chilling, parasitic relentlessness of that first gut-bound alien. The original took place in space, where no one can hear you scream; in this film, no one can hear you scream above the deafening, kettle drum-bothering orchestral score.
The Hollywood Reporter admits you will be entertained Avatar style, but wishes for more than just glorious spectacle:
Although Ridley Scott's 3D visual feast is no classic, the oozing alien tentacles hit all the right sci-fi horror notes... Technically, Prometheus is magnificent. Shot in 3D but without the director taking the process into account in his conceptions or execution, the film absorbs and uses the process seamlessly. There is nary a false or phony note in the effects supervised by Richard Stammers, which build upon the outstanding production design by Arthur Max. Dariusz Wolski's graceful and vivid cinematography synthesizes all the elements beautifully in a film that caters too much to imagined audience expectations when a little more adventurous thought might have taken it to some excitingly unsuspected destinations.
Total Film wants a sequel!
Back in the sci-fi genre for the first time since 1982's Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott has always been more at home with Big Spectacle than Big Ideas. And sure enough, once people start dying, Prometheus' ambitious thematic payload goes straight out of the airlock.
But Scott's movie is flawlessly designed, with the beautiful 3D cinematography contrasting the clean white futurism of Prometheus' interiors with the black corporeal surfaces of the alien catacombs. It might not pack the unbearable menace or blazing horror of the saga's first two movies, but it utterly eclipses the last two. It's exciting, tense and fully impregnated for sequels…
Variety also comments on the score (something lots of online critics are making note of) and explains how Prometheus uses chatter to disperse tension in various directions.
Yet a key difference between this film and its predecessor is one of volume. Incongruously backed by an orchestral surge of a score, the film conspicuously lacks the long, drawn-out silences and sense of menace in close quarters that made "Alien" so elegantly unnerving. Prometheus is one chatty vessel, populated by stock wise-guy types who spout tired one-liners when they're not either cynically debunking or earnestly defending belief in a superior power. The picture's very structure serves to disperse rather than build tension, cross-cutting regularly between the underground chamber [spoiler redacted] and the ship, where efforts to contain the threat are thwarted by the increasingly uncertain chain of command…Scott and his production crew compensate to some degree with an intricate, immersive visual design that doesn't skimp on futuristic eye-candy or prosthetic splatter.
The translated review from Sci-Fi Universe seems torn. But they have hope that Prometheus will be built up as a cult legend, much like Blade Runner.
Prometheus is just perfect in terms of image design, this means that the sense of framing, the esthetic, what the meaning of everything shown on the screen. Ridley Scott is a genius in this field, and it is the top of his game on this film....
Provided that a future "director's cut" makes its appearance (or an assembly fixing some questions), or that comes back to lessen the disappointment of the moment, it is not unlikely that Prometheus may grow in the heart of people with time and earns cult status. If it is not the masterpiece of the immediate, the time may well be favorable to him.
The Telegraph gives us a lot of hope for lengthy late-night debates after you've watched the film:
There's too much to process in a first viewing of Ridley Scott's Prometheus — some of it good, some of it great, almost all of it mental. How the movie fits together — both internally, and in sequence with the Alien series Scott launched in 1979 — are questions its core audience will come out fiercely debating: those who've managed to keep down their dinner, anyway.
Screen Daily saw both Prometheus' flaws and its success.
One thing that Prometheus isn't is an Alien-clone. Alien – despite that it may feel slowly-paced set against current editing styles – was a film that embraced its horror-in-space format, and after a slow-burn set up and magnificent central gore moment as the mini-alien bursts from John Hurt's chest settled into a brilliantly shot monster movie before Sigourney Weaver's final memorable battle. While Prometheus has some striking chilling moments it never plays the all-out horror card, instead developing the science alongside the action and punctuating the film with moments that jolt and amaze...
It is Michael Fassbender, though, who perhaps has the most fun in Prometheus.
Meanwhile the online scene has been twittering up a storm in defense of the flick.
I've been given the go ahead. I can tell you I've seen Prometheus and I can confirm that it is awesome.
Prometheus: Not only is it thrilling, but it leaves you asking questions. (remember, @DamonLindelof is involved after all)
Prometheus is the type of big budget sci-fi that studios rarely make. Extremely well done. Don't read reviews. Just go see it.
PROMETHEUS is, um, absolutely nuts. Not perfect by a stretch but there are ideas here you wouldn't expect a studio to touch with a 10ft pole.
I predict that #Prometheus will sway some 3D nay sayers. Simply stunning.
Well, almost everyone...
The first two acts of "Prometheus" are fairly tremendous — 2 or 3 classic fright scenes, some strong acting, good 3D.
The last chunk of "Prometheus" is trying to serve too many masters and becomes muddled, though not cripplingly so.
Lower your expectations for PROMETHEUS.