More than three decades after introducing cinemagoers to the queasy delights of chestbursters and face-huggers, Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in Alien with the spectacular sci-fi prequel Prometheus.

On board a space mission to a distant moon in 2093 to learn whether alien engineers created humankind, Noomi Rapace’s archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw proves a ballsy heir to Sigourney Weaver’s iconic Ripley, having put events in motion with her discovery of a 35,00-year-old cave painting depicting humans worshipping a giant alien. Needless to say, the mission doesn’t end happily.

Scott’s new film can’t claim to be anywhere as groundbreaking as his original. Nor is it anywhere near as scary. By now, the Alien films’ repertoire of shocks has been done to death, although Scott does deliver a grisly standout scene in which Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) performs auto-surgery on herself – a sequence that will leave most viewers squirming.

This time Scott has a much bigger budget to play with and he’s put it to good use – the film looks stunning. He also has a bigger cast, but more people in the crew means fewer vivid characters. Those that do stand out are Idris Elba’s tough, nonchalant spaceship captain, Charlize Theron’s icy mission director and, best of all, Michael Fassbender’s robot David, the ship’s eerily aloof blond android, who manages to be simultaneously sympathetic and sinister.

Released on Blu-ray and DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on Monday 8th October.

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