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Monday July 15th 2024

Prometheus | 2012

Prometheus filming location: Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Prometheus location: the archaeological discovery: Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland | Photograph: Wikimedia / George Hiles

Ridley Scott's long-awaited prequel to? companion piece to? – well, it "shares the same DNA as" – Alien does manage to use a few practical locations.

The opening sequence of, what turns out to be one of the 'Engineers' on some unknown planet, uses flyover shots of the strange and wonderful landscapes of Iceland, before settling on the Dettifoss Waterfall in the north of the country.

45 metres high, 100 metres wide and with 500 cubic metres of water per second plunging down, Dettifoss has the greatest volume of any waterfall in Europe.

If you're fit and adventurous, there's a 20 mile hiking trail Asbyrgi to Dettifoss, and campsite in Vesturdalur a few miles to the north. Be aware that some roads in the area are closed during winter months and bad weather.

Prometheus filming location: Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland
Prometheus location: the Engineer on his home planet: Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland | Photograph: Wikimedia / žába

On earth, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) make a startling discovery on the Isle of Skye, beneath the equally strange Old Man of Storr rock formation.

Intrigued by clues left in ancient paintings and carvings, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) funds a mission for Shaw and Holloway, together with a specialist team, to venture forth and meet their makers.

Prometheus filming location: Wadi Rumm, Jordan
Prometheus location: the surface of the alien planet: the cliffs of Wadi Rum, Jordan | Photograph: Wikimedia / Tango7174

It seems there are no (human) movie buffs among the crew who would have known never to board a space craft owned by the Weyland Corporation.

The wide views of the planet to which they find themselves transported are Wadi Rum, known as the Valley of the Moon, a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock nearly 40 miles east of Aqaba in southern Jordan. It went on to become the surface of the Red Planet on which Matt Damon is stranded in Ridley Scott's The Martian.

More interestingly, Wadi Rum was used for the desert scenes in David Lean's 1962 epic Lawrence Of Arabia – which is the film David (Michael Fassbender) watches and rewatches as the crew hibernate through the long journey.

The area is one of Jordan's most popular tourist attractions whether you want to go trekking or rock-climbing or simply visiting on a day trip from Aqaba or Petra (another of the country's great film locations, seen in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade).

Once the team lands, the harsh landscape through which the convoy rumbles is the volcanic wasteland surrounding Mount Hekla, the most active volcano in Iceland, in the south of the country.

The more extravagant geological features, including the mysterious hollow ‘pyramid’ are – surprise! – digital additions.