Prometheus, The Dark Knight, Hamlet: Films on TV today

Ridley Scott is in Alien territory, Heath Ledger is on Oscar-winning form, and Mel Gibson wonders whether to be or not to be: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY

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PREMIERE

Prometheus ★★★★
9.00-11.25pm C4 

Ridley Scott insists that Prometheus isn’t a “direct prequel” to Alien but it shares “strands of Alien’s DNA”, which means that you can treat it as part of the franchise. I do. Scott’s return to the series that he launched in 1979 was always a delicious prospect, and his visual touch is much in evidence as another spaceship lands on a barren planet and another motley crew go investigating – with monstrously gooey results. Using a “star map”, archaeologist couple Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green seek to discover humankind’s ancestors, but existential wonder is quickly extinguished when an alien virus gets on board ship. The narrative framework – from a screenplay by Damon Lindelof (Lost) and Jon Spaihts – mirrors Alien’s, but the unbearable tension, deep backstory, stunning visuals and horrible deaths will seal the deal for fans. Actually, all the British and Irish thesps – Idris Elba, Sean Harris, Michael Fassbender, Rafe Spall – make it feel like Alien3.


Spider-Man 3 ★★★

5.20-8.00pm C5 

Spidey has his webs full in this CGI-heavy yarn as a new Green Goblin, as well as Sandman and Venom, decide it’s time to squash the arachnid superhero.    


The Mothman Prophecies ★★★
11.30pm-1.20am BBC1 

Richard Gere goes out of his usual romantic comfort zone in this spookie paranormal tale, playing a journalist who comes up against a winged legend in a small West Virginia town.     


The Dark Knight ★★★★★

9.00pm-12.05am ITV2 

Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his scarily intense portrayal of The Joker, who here brings chaos to Gotham and manages to rattle Christian Bale’s gruffly unflappable Batman.    


Hamlet ★★★★

11.10pm-1.50am ITV3 

Hollywood didn’t want Mel Gibson to make this Shakespeare adaptation. So he founded his own company and made it anyway, on the way proving he was more than just an action hero with a neat line in wry quips.        


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