Let’s have a chat about Ridley Scott’s recently released prequel to Alien.
I have now seen Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s 2nd foray into the world of aliens, two times in the theater. The last movie I saw twice in a theater was Transformers. I was so disappointed by what a terrible movie it was that I thought I would enjoy it more the second time if I went in with lowered expectations. Nope, it was still bad. Prometheus drew me back a second time because it’s a fantastic movie. It’s one of those movies that you’ll think about for days, even weeks, after you see it. It’s a movie that asks questions not just about where those pesky aliens originated, but about the origin of humanity as we know it. It’s ideas place Christianity and Evolution on the same plane; as religions that need an equal amount of faith to believe in. The concepts in Prometheus, while wholly science fiction, are almost in line with The Matrix, in that you leave the theater thinking about things just that much differently.
First off, let’s get this out-of-the-way…
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend you do that first. I will be discussing very specific parts of the movie in this article, as with any future “let’s talk” articles about movies. Feel free to come back to discuss the movie after! Bye now!
The biggest disappointment for me with Prometheus wasn’t the movie itself, but rather the critics who are giving it low marks. Most of the people who are doing this are saying that this movie produces far more questions than it does answers, and that there is no closure at the end of the movie, or rather, a proper conclusion. I don’t get this at all, as the movie made perfect sense to me the first time I watched it, and even more so the second time. Let me break down some of the points of contention that I’ve seen critics have issue with.
What the hell did the opening scene have to do with anything?
I’m actually surprised that so many people (including friends of mine) didn’t understand the opening scene of the movie, but I suppose I could see how things might have gotten missed. The planet we see in the opening scene is very early, lifeless Earth. The Engineer watches as his people’s ship leaves the planet, and promptly takes a serum that breaks down his body to the very DNA. As he breaks apart and falls into the water, he is providing the very building blocks of life for the planet. It seems to me like this race of “proto-humans” has done this on more planets than just Earth, but I suppose that’s not something we’ll find out until future movies (if they are made).
What killed all the Engineers within the dome?
Again, while this is not explained directly in the movie (although it’s theorized), it seems pretty obvious what happened. Somehow the alien virus got released in the dome, and it infected a huge number of Engineers. Those that were inside the ship had to cut off the rest to keep from being infected themselves, or from making the outbreak worse. To do this, they went into the hypersleep, assumingly to let the outbreak die out. We don’t know the life-cycle of the alien virus, so who knows if it does take hundreds of years for them to eventually die off? Why didn’t they wake up? Who knows? A malfunction? Was it on purpose? I don’t think that question really affects the movie much.
Why was David such a conniving douchebag?
It is quite clear to me that throughout the film, David (the android) was simply following orders given to him by Peter Weyland. Much in like in the original Alien, where Ash (a different android) is following orders that were programmed into him, so is David as he causes trouble for the crew by bringing back the alien goo to the ship. If there is one aspect of his actions that might actually show a bit of real spite, it’s that he infects Charlie rather than choosing someone else. It’s obvious from the beginning that Charlie has no respect for David, and while David is supposed to be devoid of real emotions, it does seem like Charlie gets under his artificial skin. But alas, while David is certainly painted as the main antagonist in this movie, I feel like Weyland is the true bad guy.
What exactly were the orders given to David by Weyland?
This is one of things that is actually not provided by the movie, but I feel like actions speak louder than words. It seems pretty obvious to me that Weyland’s orders were simply to find a living Engineer at all costs. Since no one really knows the nature of biological weapon, who’s to say that David didn’t infect Charlie because he was testing it out to see if the goo somehow related to gaining access to an Engineer? Keep in mind that this happened before David found the Engineer in hypersleep.
Why did the Engineer react the way it did towards the humans & David?
While we don’t know what exactly David said to him (assuming he did what he was told and asked what Peter told him to ask), it seemed extremely apparent to me why the Engineer reacted with such anger. He saw the humans – the far inferior creatures that his race created for whatever reason – and he saw David. He realized that the same creatures his race was trying to wipe out (again, for unknown reasons) had made the same mistakes hat his race did in trying to create life (David) themselves. To me it was disgust and anger that caused him to react the way he did. He watched his creations make the same mistake they did in creating life on their own.
Why did the Engineers create life on Earth? Why do they want to destroy it?
It seems obvious to me that these are questions that are being saved for a sequel to Prometheus down the road. While many critics saw this as a negative, I don’t see this being any different from thousands of other movies that have ended with minor “cliffhangers”. My opinion? I think that the Engineers have been constantly watching humanity, as well as life on other planets they have given it to, and have become disgusted at what humans have become. They saw the war, the disregard for life, and other very human actions. Perhaps they were worried that the humans would eventually find a way to spread their hate to the stars, and didn’t want that to happen, so they planned on destroying all life with their biological weapon (the aliens).
I can’t really think of any more blatant questions that I’ve heard about the movie, but I feel like overall the movie does a great job answering some things, leaving other questions to interpretation of the viewer (as a good movie should), and finishes the movie with the last two questions that will be answered at some point in the series, hopefully in the inevitable sequel. I don’t see any this as being a negative aspect of the film. Again, comparing this to The Matrix, people had ten times more questions coming out of that film, but it was still an amazing movie. Had there been no plans for a trilogy, it wouldn’t have been so great. So for me, the validity of how great Prometheus is on it’s own relies a lot on what happens in future films as much as it relies on itself.
If there is one thing that bothered me about Promethues, it’s the blind stupidity of so many of the characters, who are all supposed to be scientists in their respective fields. I heard the phrase “Don’t touch that!” so many times I felt like I was leading a group of elementary school kids through a museum. Literally minutes after they land on a completely foreign moon, they are suiting up and driving towards a structure that they know nothing about, trying to find an alien race that they know nothing about. Oh yeah, and there are no guns allowed because this is a “scientific expedition.” WTF?! Then two of the guys get the creeps and want to return to the ship, so they do so without actually following a map on how to get out? Did everyone really plunge into these tunnels without so much as bread crumbs to find their way back? Seems to me like the realistic and logical thing to do would have been to let those “pups” free at the opening of the structure, give them over night to map everything out/search for life, and THEN dive in head-first. Yes, I understand that plots need to move along, but I felt their were too many moments in this movie that equivocated to the girl going out to the tool shed by herself with the teen murderer lurking around the property. Does the original Alien do the same thing? Sure, at first, but the crew there is not made up of intellectuals and scientists. Oh well, movie characters must be movie characters.
So if you’ve made it this far, share your thoughts! What did you think of Prometheus? Do you have further questions that weren’t mentioned here, or answers to questions I brought forth? Let me know, so I don’t feel like I’ve written this exhaustive piece for nothing.