I would consider the piece of music below to be the main theme from Prometheus. It’s played during the mysterious opening sequence, and the main melody pops up again and again throughout the movie. One of the more memorable pieces of recent film score, this beautiful, haunting melody, voiced alternately by strings and horns with occasional choral backing, suggests a yearning to know the secrets of the universe. Most of the score consists of standard suspense music, but this one refrain helps to elevate the movie’s purpose beyond merely trying to frighten and shock the audience. It’s a key part of why the movie works to the extent that it does.
But I noticed something almost immediately after this melody made its first appearance: it sounded damn familiar. It only took me a few more seconds to realize that the melody is a minor variation on John Williams’ track “The Planet Krypton” from the original Superman soundtrack. The melody starts around the thirty second mark:
Does anybody else hear the similarity? It’s not just me, right? Strangely enough, knowing that the Prometheus theme was probably inspired by the Superman track does nothing to lessen my appreciation of it. My guess is that the composer (apparently Harry Gregson-Williams, although he isn’t credited as the main composer on the film) is familiar with Williams’ piece, but wasn’t conscious of the homage he was paying to it. Point is, a piece of art doesn’t have to be original to be powerful.
As a bonus, here’s that Prometheus track arranged for guitar by a guy on YouTube. Pretty amazing in its own way.