Notes on Prometheus

If you have not seen Prometheus (2012) read no further. I’m going to discuss the story and characters and share some notes on what I took out of the film. If anyone has read Roger Ebert’s review (link below) they might agree with his appreciation of the film, but disagree with the role of the aliens and the engineers. Ebert seems to suggest there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. I didn’t take that out of the movie. I just saw the black glop as a biological weapon that the engineers couldn’t control. The Prometheus Captain Janek (Idris Elba) iterates the point late in the movie.  Here are my notes:

  • The opening sequence introduces us to a humanoid but alien being. The being drinks an oozing black liquid.  The black liquid is biologically active and fuses to and destroys the being’s DNA.  We see deterioration of the alien’s DNA as his body weathers away in the water.  Was the being sacrificing himself?
  • In 2089, a husband and wife archeological team are funded by Weyland Corporation.  This is the precursor company to Weyland-Yutani which appears in subsequent Alien films.  The couple seem more like cultural anthropologists than archaeologists.  They discover evidence of alien visitation in ancient ruins and tablets from many Earth cultures.  A common denominator in various Earth artifacts is the arrangement of a group of celestial bodies.  The bodies are tracked to a distant solar system with an inhabitable moon LV-223.
  • LV-223 is not LV-426 (Alien and Aliens).  Key point: None of activities in Prometheus reside on the worlds of Alien or Aliens.
  • The background story of ancient aliens or “engineers” is strongly reminiscent of Erich Von Daniken’s popular pseudo-scientific pulp classic “Chariots of the Gods?”.  Aliens from space taught us everything we know.
  • I agree with Ebert that David is a walking HAL-9000, but he really likes “Lawrence of Arabia”.  There’s something creepy about a cyborg that quotes Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence.  Like all robots in the Alien franchise, the robot has alternative motives.
  • Like Alien, Prometheus reminded me much of the Mario Bava & Ib Melchior alien horror romp Planet of the Vampires (1965) (Down to the tuning fork pitch pipe spaceship activator).
  • The giant engineer temples look a lot like Giger’s conceptual art for an alien egg chamber.
  • The engineers are the Space Jockeys of Alien lore. They are humanoid beings with DNA that matches Homo sapiens.
  • At least 6 forms of the Aliens exist in Prometheus.  1) A black ooze or spore (likely adopted from Dan O’Bannon’s original script with Alien spore on an altar), 2) Alien elvers (eel-like forms that crawl in the black ooze), 3) a constrictor mouth-poker form that implants an egg or Alien seed into a host (analogous to the face-hugger form), 4) a squid-like form (which originated from an infected human and female recipient), 5) a big squid-like form (that attacks an engineer), and 6) an Alien-like chest-burster that crawls out of a Space Jockey/Engineer.
  • The engineers made the black alien spore to kill humans.  It’s unclear why the engineers want to exterminate the human race. It’s not clear if the engineers made humans.  Dr. Shaw continues to search for these answers.
  • Dr. Shaw departs LV-223 in search of other engineers and origins of life.  She will likely return to another alien world.  Perhaps it will be LV-426.
  • We did not see the seated Space Jockey with a blown up chest in Prometheus.
  • More Prometheus films will follow.  David and Dr. Shaw make a terrific team for exploration of new Alien worlds.

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