Sunday, July 15, 2012

Prometheus: the prequel that raises more questions than answers

Sorry it’s been a while since my last review. I’ve been busy with the usual day-to-day events that typically take a great deal of our spare time, but are necessary to do regardless. Good news is, I did happen to catch a couple of films during my absence at the site. One of which I will give my two cents on in this entry. 

As you all already know, “Prometheus”, is the supposed prequel to the Alien(s) series. The movie itself was to give a detailed look at where and how the aliens in Alien originate. That said, after seeing the film, for me at least it raised far more questions than answers. 

Don’t get me wrong, the movie itself was very well done as a stand alone film. It took on an origin theme of the human race, that only until recently was only done in certain sci-fi shows, and very rarely on the big screen outside of Christian, or evolutionarily standpoint. Not to suggest that it would be wrong to do so, but the outlook for this one was in fact a combination of both. The main character, Elizabeth Shaw, was not only a woman of science, but has a strong belief in God, which of course is challenged in her beliefs as you would expect a movie like this.

Alas, like many movies such as this, what is expected by those characters soon change into what wasn’t expected when the reality of their situation becomes too much to bear. As much as I would like to go into details of what happens and why, I’m afraid, it would take too long of review to write down.


However I will address a few areas of the film that I feel need to be addressed. One of which, is or course, these “engineers”. The big question which is never really answered (at least not in this film, but possibly in its potential sequel), if these humanoid were the designers of what the human race is, why then would they go through so much to try to destroy us when they did so much to create us?

Ironically it’s this one question our protagonist Elizabeth Shaw intends to find out as we see near the end of the film. Yet at the same time, many (including myself) felt they could have at the very least address this in some way with some sort of answer…which never really occurs. Some think this was a bit of a screw job to the audience looking for some sort of answer, which instead raises more questions. But I personally think they did that intentionally to get a green light on a sequel to this prequel. When you look at it as a prequel to the Alien movie, there are still many gaps between this and Alien 1. Perhaps with a part 2 of this film might close that same gap, but that’s just my opinion.

Another area to address is, the alien origin itself. Well that one at least is somewhat clear. Perhaps what should be addressed it that black liquid. Notice how it not only destroys anything biological from its DNA, but what it doesn’t destroy, it seems to mutate to some degree. Remember that part where some of the crew of the Prometheus discover the room with the vials of black liquid, and how some of it seeped out of those containers and how those maggot like worms on the ground got covered in those pools? Well remember later on in the movie where two members of the crew were stuck down there overnight, and those snakes came up later? Ever wonder why we did not see them or the sensors from before did not pick any of them up? My guess is, the film was implying that because of the exposure of that black liquid to those maggots, perhaps mutated them into those acid spitting snakes you see later on, in a very short amount of time too I might add. Much like what we see with a few of the humans later on in the film.

Also, you see that engineer drink something very similar to it at the beginning of the film. Would this suggest that this black stuff is also key to our origin with this engineer, that we are the by-product of a mutated version of these engineers? Also added to this, the origin of the aliens, based on the film, it seems that all of this mutations are dealt with from a DNA origin, much like the current Aliens we know and fear. Considering what happens during the film, it would not only suggest the aliens we know not only have a large percentage of engineer DNA (which is very simular to ours) but also human DNA that potentially makes up the aliens we know now…and for me, that’s a very scary thought.

In any case I think a film like this is very good on its own, but as a prequel to Aliens, it has a lot of explaining to do. Thoughts on this?


  1. I think I'll have to see it again with you to get some of what I apparently must have missed, but my general take on this sequel is thumbs down.

    Yes, M. Wanderer, it's quite possible that we need at least one more installment after Prometheus and before Alien; however, on the face of it, I think Prometheus' dabbling in the whole "human origins" topic is totally not what the Alien franchise was ever about.

    I think they'd have been better to make no mention nor connection to the Alien franchise at all, and just make a movie that explores this fundamental question.

    And, hey, your comment on the connectivity among the DNA of the engineers, aliens and humans isn't a far stretch - recall in Alien Resurrection the development of Ripley as "its mother" at a level far above simply that of incubating host for the chest-bursting thing.

    Even so, however, it's got to be noted that conversation about "the origin of humanity" does not come up so clearly that it is a conversation. I recall talks about using the aliens as biological weapons and other such claptrap...but some connection between our origins and them...? That's an entirely new contrivance that, as such, was evidently and perhaps rightly difficult to stitch into the prequel world because it was a new contrivance, and does not mesh well withe the Alien franchise as we know it.

    All in all, as a prequel, nope. As a standalone? Meh. Special effects? Rarely a selling point for me - the most important part of a movie is story, after which we measure the degree to which the special effects help or distract from the story.

    If only George Lucas could understand this.

  2. I'm reminded also that you've talked about prequels, and we noted that Hollywood appeared to have "figured it out" with a string of prequels that were better than previous efforts that fell flat.

    Well, I think Prometheus takes us back to that previous lower level - we already know that sequels are not guaranteed to do as well as any original. Now we are fairly confident in saying that prequels are no guarantee either.

    I guess that, sometimes, a movie catches lightning in a bottle and is a surprise hit such that decoding what made it successful and then emulating that formula is not as simple as movie-makers feign to expect.

    Having said that, I can argue that there are several great movies that were indeed followed up by even better sequels; and the let down came in installment 3: Blade, Star Wars original trilogy, the Godfather, and The Terminator are all series that had a great opener, an even better sequel, but a third installment letdown. Why such appears to be the case remains to be examined.

  3. Heh.. Well I think there might be some promise towards this prequel...IF they do another sequel to this prequel, and IF they address this connection of the Aliens with both the eningeers and humans, or at least something closer relatead to where the first Alien movie starts.

    Like you said, even as a stand alone there are alot of holes in the plot and unanswered questions. And as a prequel, even more unanswered questions with its continuality with the Alien franchise.

    I mean for example. That proto-alien at the end of the film..unless it somewhow produces asexually, how exactly will it breed? theres nothing else alive on that planet. And I think initially the alien race are at least so a degree a parasitic species. Were they ever going to show how this proto-type suvives? or breeds? And how so?

    Also following the protangonist Elizabeth Shaw, she wants to find out answers to the engineers, and uses one of their ships to head to presumingly their home planet for answers to why they created mankind, and why they want to destroy them. That too needs to be addressed as a loose end.

    By the way, speaking of Shaw, A friend of mine was theriozing, she could potentially become a early "alien queen". His theory is based on the suggestion that whatever remenence of that black liquid that was passed on from her husband to her, might be still in her dormant. He thinks based of what she was pregnant with (which evenually turned out to be a very large proto-face hugger)could potentially happen again. Remember you once told me, compared to the Predators whom have a more masculine genre, the Alien hierarchy, is more feminine. With the Queen being at the top, much a insect colony. Its the queen that lays eggs and produces those facehuggers, much like Shaw just did (though not willingly). Its a interest theory..but personally I'm skeptical.

    Granted generally sequels or prequel rarely do better then the orignal film..there are some exceptions. (The Chistopher Nolan Batman series is a good example you left out). Sadly it doesnt seem this one is not one of least not completly. But expect a sequel-prequel nonetheless!

  4. M. Wanderer, you make an excellent point. If the alien is a parasite requiring a face to hug and a chest in which to incubate before bursting out, what are they going to on a barren planet, and how do they survive traveling through interstellar space on their own? Bwahahaha! We might get tired counting all the stupidities in this film.

  5. Just a Quick update, just recently purchased the 4 disc deluxe video of this film, that comes with a directors cut, and 2 alt. beginings AND 3 alt. endings....should be good, and might shed a little more light on this film as well. I will let you all know later...


What do you think?!