Ridley Scott's sort-of prequel to Alien, Prometheus, is coming to UK cinemas on 1 June, and Pocket-lint was invited to be one of the first outside of 20th Century Fox itself to see actual footage from the movie. Not the trailer. Not small clips shown on a flatscreen TV in a Soho public relations company. Genuine 3D footage on the big screen and everything. And from what we've seen so far, it's looking good. Scrub that, it's looking very, very good indeed.
Roughly 13 minutes of the film were shown before a Q&A session with director Scott and cast members Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, and the action started in 2089 on the Isle of Skye.
There's always a risk when writing about these sorts of things that you can end up revealing massive spoilers, but, to be honest, we didn't see enough to ruin any of the plot - or twists therein. The stuff we did see that's worth talking about doesn't really spoil anything.
For starters, we saw Prometheus itself, the ship that our cast members travel in, and it looks incredible. Time and technology has meant that the hulking bulk of Nostramo in Alien has been upstaged with some incredible CG effects. Also, the time frame - as it occurs before Alien - allows for cleaner, less travel-weary surfaces and designs.
The 3D works really well, especially in space-wide panning shots. One revolves around Prometheus and the depth is almost tangible. You can see the stars fade off into the distance.
Indeed, the stereoscopic ambience is one of the best we've seen. From the Isle of Skye at the start, with booming caverns and rocky canyons, to the landing sequence on a distant planet, you get the feeling that the 3D contextualises, rather than overbears. It'll be interesting to see if it translates as well to a 42-inch 3D TV, but it looks superb on the big screen.
Perhaps the best scene that we saw during the preview however, was based inside Prometheus rather than out. Again, we don't think we're giving anything away when we talk about the crew coming out of suspended animation, aided by android David, who has been pottering about while the rest of them slept (for just over two years). The first shot we get is of Charlize Theron, who plays the Weyland corporation's Meredith Vickers, in just strap-like underwear, doing press ups and dripping reanimation fluids on to the floor. It sets the stall for her character at least.
"Oh f**k yeah," said Charlize herself when asked whether she was pleased she got to play a strong character.
As Doctor Elizabeth Shaw though, Noomi Rapace is the Ripley of Prometheus. The Swedish star of the original The Girl Who... trilogy is the centrepiece of the story, and the one who has to cope with the bad things throughout, even during filming.
"We were doing quite disturbed things some days," she told us. "But I always went back happy."
And so did we, even after just 13 minutes of footage. This could not only be the best film Ridley Scott has made in years, it could be the best science fiction film made in years.
We loved the taster, now we want the main course.
Are you looking forward to Prometheus hitting cinemas? Let us know in the comments below...