Ridley Scott’s prequel to the “Alien” franchise comes off as a standalone project with potential to be its own thing entirely. Panned hard since its release, I believe that viewers expecting more about the xenomorphs themselves could be disappointed (although a possible explanation and, indeed, beginning is presented). This is really a tale of biological engineering and how that can have both tremendous and terrifying consequences, starting with who gets the glory and the blame for humankind. The strengths of the film include: those amazing and chill-inducing Giger sets, the strong performances of Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw) and Michael Fassbender (David), an almost Lovecraftian evolutionary spin, and – if you like that kind of thing – a mirroring of “Alien” in characterizations, scenes, and plot details. The weaknesses of the film include: some predictability (easy to play Who’s Going to Die First, while not so easy to say how), an unnecessary subplot or two, and delivering a complete summary of what’s going on and what has to happen through the mouth of the captain (having a Quint in “Jaws” moment) rather than let the resolution take 20 more minutes of film time. Overall, things are familiar enough to give you a solid sense of dread going in, while things are new enough to give you more food for thought than cheaply being “Alien 5″. I give “Prometheus” a Reaper Rating of 3 (Timely Departure) for its courage at re-entering such a bleak world working the reboot/non-reboot angle, and for its clear command of the blockbuster space thriller genre.