The movie begins in a cave on the Isle of Skye in Scotland where archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover ancient cave paintings. These paintings show the origins of an alien race called the ‘Engineers’, whom Shaw and Holloway believe are responsible for the creation of the human race.
We next see Shaw and Holloway in the year 2093, when they are on the Starship Prometheus approaching the distant moon identified in the paintings. They have just woken up after spending the past two years in cryogenic sleep. Among Prometheus’s crew of 17 are android David (Michael Fassbender), ageing zillionaire and project funder Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and project boss Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). After landing, a small exploration team including Shaw, Holloway and David leave the safety of Prometheus to check out gigantic alien-made structures on the moon’s surface. While exploring these structures, Shaw and her team discover a chamber containing dozens of long dead giant alien bodies piled against a door. The door leads to a room with hundreds of vase-like cylinders all of which begin to ooze organic fluids when the door is opened. We learn later that the cylinders contain alien creatures created by the Engineers, which have been designed to either impregnate humans with alien fetuses or infect humans with a virus that turns them into mutated homicidal monsters.
An approaching storm forces the team to abandon their find and go back to Prometheus. Before they do, David steals one of the cylinders and sneaks it aboard. David’s actions have devastating consequences. Shaw is impregnated by an alien fetus and Holloway is infected with the virus. To make things worse, the crew of Prometheus learn that the real aim of the Engineers is to destroy the life they once created on Earth. The explorers are determined to stop that from happening.
This movie has intense sequences of violence and peril including some disturbing images of very brutal violence with realistic depictions of blood and gore. The movie also has a scene showing a highly intense and very realistic surgical procedure. For example:
- A long snake-like alien creature bites a man on the hand. It attaches itself to his hand and wraps itself around his arm. The man screams out in fear and pain as the creature snaps his forearm in half. Bone and flesh stick out from the wound. A second man tries to cut the creature off the first man’s arm, causing acid-like blood to squirt out of the creature and onto his helmet. The visor melts onto the man’s face, leaving him screaming in agony.
- A man who is infected with an alien virus is burned alive after he begs to be burned. Flames engulf him after he is set on fire by a flame-thrower. He eventually collapses to the ground.
- After being impregnated with an alien fetus, Shaw races against time to have the fetus surgically removed before it kills her by exploding out of her abdomen. There are images of the fetus trying to push its way out. The woman straps herself into an automated surgical unit and an automated laser cuts her abdomen. There is blood and gore as the cut is made. A second mechanical hand spreads open the wound, and a claw-like tool reaches into the wound and pulls out the fetus just before it wakes up. Several times throughout the surgery, Shaw convulses in pain and injects herself with drugs. After the surgery, an automated arm fires staples into her abdomen to close the wound. There are later images of Shaw’s abdomen and thighs splattered with blood and clear images of her stapled wound.
- In one brutal, disturbing and graphically violent scene, a mutated man infested with an alien virus goes crazy. He attacks his colleagues in a fit of rage, killing several men. He clamps his fists together and brings them down on a man’s helmeted head, smashing the victim’s head open. Blood sprays in all directions. The infected man is shot many times, set on fire with a flame-thrower and run over several times by a heavy vehicle.
- A man punches a woman in the stomach, knocking her to the ground. A second man says, ‘If she talks again, shoot her’.
- There are distressing images of a giant humanoid alien grabbing David by the throat and lifting him off the ground. The alien twists and rips David’s head off. David’s headless body falls to the ground.
- A woman is crushed underneath a gigantic alien ship. The scene doesn’t show her being crushed, but does have the sound of her screaming. It shows her body disappearing underneath the falling ship.
- There is a fight between a giant squid-like alien and a giant humanoid alien. A snake-like thing shoots out of the squid alien’s mouth and forces its way inside the humanoid alien’s mouth. At the end of the fight, the humanoid alien lies on the floor with its head and body completely covered by the squid alien.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie also has scary horror scenes and images throughout. For example:
- The humanoid aliens (the Engineers) are 10 feet tall. They have white skin, black eyes, bald heads and unnaturally overdeveloped muscular bodies.
- A male humanoid alien eats a substance that causes him to change. His skin gets streaky dark lines that turn into cracks. His flesh falls apart and his limbs break off as his body falls into the sea. It collapses and falls apart in a swirling bloody mess.
- A cut-off giant alien head is on a table where a large needle-like electrode is put into the ear and then the brain. The head is animated for several seconds and its eyes open and blink. A growth comes out of the top of the head until the head explodes in a shower of flesh.
- There are disturbing images of a man changing slowly at first and then quickly. At first the man’s eyes turn black and small black worm-like creatures appear in his eyes. As the change speeds up, the man’s face begins to get black lines and then black patches, as though the flesh on his face is falling apart.
- An extracted alien fetus has a squid-like appearance.There are disturbing and scary images of a mutated man who has a monstrously distorted body and face. His arms and legs are bent at unnatural angles.
- There are images of a gigantic alien squid-like creature with a beak-like mouth full of fangs.
- What looks like a dead giant humanoid alien lies on the ground. The alien’s body begins to convulse and the chest rips open. A fully grown alien monster slithers out.
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violence and scary scenes described above.
Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
This movie has some sexual references. For example:
- After losing their way and getting isolated from the rest of the crew, two male crew members are told by their male captain, ‘Try not to bugger each other’.
- A man says to a woman, ‘If you want to be laid you could just say, “Hey I want to be laid” ’. When the woman doesn’t look very impressed, the man asks if she is a robot. She says, ‘My room – 10 minutes’.
- After being medically examined, Shaw is told that she is pregnant. She is asked if she has had sex with Dr Holloway.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie shows some use of substances. For example:
- The captain of Prometheus smokes a cigar.
- A couple of scenes show characters drinking vodka martinis and champagne.
- One scene shows a character smoking inside his space suit. Another man asks if it’s tobacco smoke inside the man’s helmet. The first man replies that it isn't. The man sucks on a tube inside his helmet. It’s obvious that he’s smoking cannabis.
- During and after a caesarean section operation, a woman injects herself with drugs, as well as taking some of tablets.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has some sexual activity. For example, a man and woman kiss passionately. The woman takes off the man’s top before the scene ends.
None of concern
This movie has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Prometheus in 3D is a science fiction action movie, containing horror images and brutal violence. It is a prequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie Alien and answers some of the unexplained questions from that movie.
The movie targets a wide-ranging audience from older teenagers to adults, but is completely unsuitable for younger audiences. You should know that it was originally rated MA15+ by the Australian Government Classification Board, but the rating was lowered to M by the Board after appeal by the distributors.
These are the movie’s main messages:
- Humans are always seeking knowledge about where they come from and what happens when they die.
- Curiosity can be fatal. The expedition’s thirst for hidden knowledge ultimately leads to their death.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include self-sacrifice. Throughout the movie, both humans and androids sacrifice their own safety to save others. At the end of the movie, several crew members willingly sacrifice their lives to stop the human race being destroyed.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the question of what makes us human. For example, the android David seems to have no emotions. He can’t understand happiness, love, greed and so on. But he often seems to be more human than the humans.