Very rarely have I seen a prequel I actually enjoyed, but this one is superb. I think, because unlike most prequels it was not just showing us something we already knew. Prometheus not only takes the viewer into the origin of the alien species, but the human species as well. It also has a lot of mirroring of the other films in interesting ways.
The whole aliens made us idea is not new, but the way Prometheus approached it was highly entertaining and just different enough to make it very interesting. Beautiful sequel at the start introducing them as well.
Idris Elba is also brilliant as the captain of the space ship. He has some great lines and plays down to earth with a side of heroic human really well. He's practical, but not bitter like we have seen in some captains in gritty sci-fi.
Then there's Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers, who is almost as cold as David, but with that spark of humanity that makes her seem actually worse. She does a fabulous job of being the corporate bad for most of the movie.
And of course Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw, who is really the star of the show after David, but didn't actually capture me until about half way through. At the end she definitely shines, but she's no Ripley, sorry.
BELOW THE CUT ARE SPOILERS
Okay so now onto the stuff with spoilers in it.
I liked what they did with Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), Elizabeth's partner, but I did think his death was a little throw away. It would have been interesting to see him transform a little more after being exposed to the ancient alien Engineer's black goop by David. Nice wink to Ripley in the way Vickers finished him off with the flame thrower too.
The whole mutated alien pregnancy for the woman who can't have children was the one bit where I went 'really! you had to have that cliche?' I didn't mind the mutated pregnancy; that was just bizarre, but perfectly within the confines of Alien, so worked and gave the audience the whole skin distending is she going to burst moment, but the whole discussion about her not being able to have kids was just a little OTT for my taste. It wasn't required. Elizabeth and Charlie having celebration sex because their theories were right would have been plenty.
Loved how they had one of the Engineers left alive in the stasis pod, a mirror of Ripley almost (at least that's how I viewed it) and the way she was found in Aliens. Why he was a psychotic bastard heaven knows, but possibly they were viewing humans like humans view the aliens. Will be interesting to see where they go with that in number two. Would have been nice to find out more about what killed them all too. It seems to me that Scott did a lot of ground work for the sequel in this one.
I thought the characters I can only recall as the geologist and the biologist were a bit under defined and rubber stamp like. I didn't know enough about them to really care when they died, but they did die well, I'll give them that. Took me a while to figure out they found the biologist in the cave and the geologist was the one who came back, mutated by the black gunk because I didn't remember their names :). I thought the mutated worms were superb, a great predecessor to the face huggers.
Personally I would have liked a little more science in the whole thing. Y'know someone doing an analysis of exactly what the black goop they found does, how it breaks DNA down, a few theories flying around, but they did well with the showing, just wasn't quite enough for me. It wasn't really destroying life, it was mutating it, so it would be interesting to have some theories on what they wanted to do with the human race. Waiting several hundred thousand years seems rather a long time just to mutate a species. I hope these question are answered in the sequel.
So yes, I think it is a great movie, but it still could have been improved a little, just a little mind you. It kept me hooked for the whole length and has me asking questions for the sequel, so I supposed it has done its job almost perfectly.