We've just clapped our eyes on 20 minutes of footage from Ridley Scott's Prometheus. Nothing spoilerific, but enough to give us a better idea of the world and its characters. Already on the verge of a full-blown nerdgasm, we were also treated to a Q&A session with director Scott, and his cast of Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace. Read on for the full details.
The footage, screened in 3D and roughly edited, comprised about four scenes. The first was on Earth in 2089, where an archeological dig by Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) on the Isle of Skye in Scotland uncovers a 35,000 thousand year old cave painting of a star map. The pair clasp hands and smile at each other, and they're clearly an item.
The next scene jumps three years to December 2092 and takes place in deep space, where David (Fassbender) is pootling about the space-ship Prometheus all on his lonesome. Prompted by the navigational computer, he initiates a cryogenic wake-up call for the 17-man crew. Notable here is our introduction to Meredith Vickers (Theron), who is the first to emerge from cryo-sleep and immediately starts doing a rigorous set of press-ups. To emphasise the point that she's a bad-ass, the rest of the team are busy puking their guts up.
We also meet the captain of the ship, Janek (Idris Elba), who is chugging on a cigar whilst decorating a Christmas tree on a pool table. He trades barbs with Vickers, and it's a neat echo of the friction between company personnel and crew from the original Alien.
Third scene is where Shaw and Holloway brief the crew on their mission, following the coordinates of a star map they've discovered in multiple instances from several ancient civilisations. Guy Pearce makes his appearance in a holographic projection as Peter Weyland, but he's virtually unrecognisable under layers of make-up as a wizened old man. If this is the extent of his screen-time, then we've probably seen more of his character from the viral TedTalk video that was released several weeks back.
Fourth and final scene is the entry of the Prometheus into the upper atmosphere of their final destination, guided by the steady hand of Captain Janek. Nothing exceptional to report here, other than the fact that the planet they're landing on is codenamed LV-233, not LV-426 as from the original Alien. What could that mean, we wonder...?
Afterwards, the Q&A with director and cast was relaxed, and they all clearly had a great time working together. Fassbender said he researched his character by watching The Servant and studying the peculiar walk of an Olympic swimmer. Similarly, Theron took inspiration from Tilda Swinton's performance as Karen Crowder in Michael Clayton.
Rapace was kinda sorta confirmed as the Ripley-analogue of the prequel, when a journalist asked Theron what it was like to follow in Sigourney Weaver's footsteps. She deflected the question onto Rapace. But conversely, there was a hint that something horrific was going to happen to Rapace on the scale of the famous chest-burster scene...
Scott was characteristically gruff, and insisted that everyone in the audience stopped calling him "Sir Ridley". He talked about the design and initial pitch for the film, in that the franchise had played itself out without bothering to explore the origins of the "space jockey". He also had some harsh words about the nature of film ratings, which were a reality of the business but inconsistently applied. Last, but not least, he reckoned that filming in 3D wasn't that big a deal.
For our part, we're looking forward to seeing the final film. There's been plenty of teaser posters, trailers and viral videos to build up anticipation, but now we're ready for the real thing. And after the sad disappointments of tawdry outings like Alien Vs Predator, it shouldn't be too hard for Prometheus to deliver... Should it?