Prometheus is "sure to be one of the top geek movies of 2012," ays Sal Cangeloso at Geek. From director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien), Prometheus is ambiguously billed as a quasi-prequel to the Alien franchise, and stars Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Noomi Rapace as members of a crew searching for the origins of humanity on a faraway planet. Prometheus' publicity team has unloaded two different trailers on fans — a U.S. version and an international one — setting off a frenzy of buzz leading up to the film's June 8 release. (Watch the trailers below.) Here, five talking points:
1. It could be the best movie of the summer
"Prometheus is the must-see movie of the year," says Carol Pinchefsky at Forbes. Yes, when you set aside its tired recycling of Inception-like sound effects, "this is the best trailer yet" for a film opening this year, says Forrest Wickman at Slate. We get a full two minutes of satisfying exposition before the clip transitions to an action assault at "terrifying and borderline incomprehensible rates." It's clearly going to be a tight race between Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises to become the summer's premium popcorn attraction.
2. The sci-fi plot is quite compelling
This is the rare trailer that goes beyond a montage of action shots, and actually reveals the film's basic plot, says Sarah Anne Hughes at The Washington Post. Essentially, the same pictogram is discovered on artifacts of several ancient human civilizations from different time periods, causing the crew to conclude that it's a star map to a planet containing the origins of humanity. Rapace's character forebodingly cautions that it's "not a map," but "an invitation." Judging by the strobing montage of explosions and screams that conclude the trailer, it may not have been a warm invitation. "Big things have small beginnings," Fassbender says, ominously, as the trailer ends.
3. It's visually stunning
The trailers look stellar, says Sandy Schaefer at Screen Rant, boasting "some genuinely breath-taking cinematography." I'm already salivating over what these shots are going to look like in 3D on the big screen. The most promising aspect: Scott's decision to complement practical, actually-standing sets with ever-en-vogue CGI only when necessary.
4. But Prometheus might not make a fortune
These trailers "rock," says Dorothy Pomerantz at Forbes. But Prometheus may struggle "during a very crowded summer" that features one blockbuster after another. Before Prometheus comes The Avengers, Dark Shadows, Battleship, Men in Black III, and Snow White and the Huntsman. "Lots of big films hitting theaters at the same time can cannibalize each other," leading to the risk of "blockbuster fatigue." Case in point: By the time Captain America debuted last summer, audiences had already shelled out money to see Thor, the latest Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Hangover Part II, leading to diminished box office returns for Captain America. Prometheus faces the same risk.
5. And it's unclear if it's an Alien prequel
Scott maintains that while Prometheus takes place "within the same fictional Alien universe," it's "a story to be enjoyed on its own merits," says Sean O'Neal at The A.V. Club. Screenwriter Damon Lindelof (who also created Lost) maintains that Prometheus and any sequel it spawns will "contextualize the Alien films," says Jen Yamato at Movieline, "while moving tangentially away from those stories, exploring new space in that same universe." Basically, we should look at this as "a standalone feature" with winks to Alien fans — already the trailers allude to the iconic Space Jockey — instead of "a dyed in the wool prequel," says Schaefer. Prequel or not, says Pomerantz, Prometheus "looks like a kick-ass summer sci-fi film."