With the confirmation of [Prometheus 2](movie:512281) heading our way next year we thought it about time that we sat down and went through the movie bit by bit to try and post an article to hopefully answer a lot of those unanswered questions.
This piece is not only for the hardcore fans of the sci-fi genre but also to make the 'uninitiated' aware of some awesome sub-context and classic movie reference heaven deep set within the caverns on this great movie.
Prometheus as I am sure you are aware is the prequel to the 'Alien' series a sort of video playback version of Charles Darwins 'Origin of Species'.
Before I go on if you actually haven't seen Prometheus yet then do away and watch it now as this does contain spoilers. Sources of information at the bottom of the Article.
Lets start at the begining, what is the opening scene all about?
Prometheus contains such a huge amount of religious and mythic resonance that it aids in the telling of a story that effectively depicts the entirety of existence. I'd like to draw your attention to the use of motifs and callbacks in the film that not only enrich it, but offer possible hints as to what was going on in otherwise confusing scenes.
So [Prometheus](movie:40483). He was a god, a wise and benevolent entity who was responsible for creating 'mankind', forming the first humans from clay. The other Gods were okay with his creation, until Prometheus gave unto them fire. This was seen as a crime of the highest order, as fire was supposed to be the exclusive property of the Gods. As punishment, Prometheus was chained to a rock and condemned to have his liver ripped out and eaten every day by an eagle.
Fix that image in your mind, please: the giver of life, with his abdomen torn open. We'll be coming back to it many times in the course of this article.
The ethos of the titan Prometheus is one of willing and necessary sacrifice for life's sake. That's a pattern we see replicated throughout the ancient world. J G Frazer wrote his lengthy anthropological study, The Golden Bough, around the idea of the Dying God - a lifegiver who voluntarily dies for the sake of the people. It was incumbent upon the King to die at the right and proper time, because that was what heaven demanded, and fertility would not ensue if he did not do his royal duty of dying.
Now, consider the opening sequence of Prometheus. We fly over a spectacular vista, which may or may not be primordial Earth. According to Ridley Scott, it doesn't matter. A lone Engineer at the top of a waterfall goes through a strange ritual, drinking from a cup of black goo that causes his body to disintegrate into the building blocks of life. We see the fragments of his body falling into the river, twirling and spiralling into DNA helices.
Ridley Scott has this to say about the scene: 'That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself.
Prometheus, Osiris, John Barleycorn, and of course the Jesus of Christianity are all supposed to embody this same principle. It is held up as one of the most enduring human concepts of what it means to be 'good'.
Seen in this light, the perplexing obscurity of the rest of the film yields to an examination of the interwoven themes of sacrifice, creation, and preservation of life. We also discover, through hints, exactly what the nature of the clash between the Engineers and humanity entailed.
So back to plot, the crew of the Prometheus discover an ancient chamber, presided over by a brooding solemn face, in which urns of the same black substance are kept. A mural (above) on the wall presents an image which you will recognise instantly: the lifegiver with his abdomen torn open.
See Also - WatchDogs Review - Next Gen game changer?
And there's another mural there, one which shows a familiar xenomorph-like figure. This is the Destroyer who mirrors the Creator, I think - the avatar of supremely selfish life, devouring and destroying others purely to preserve itself.
Where did it all go wrong?
Through Shaw and Holloway's investigations, we learn that the Engineers not only created human life, they supervised our development. (How else are we to explain the numerous images of Engineers in primitive art, complete with star diagram showing us the way to find them?) We have to assume, then, that for a good few hundred thousand years, they were pretty happy with us. They could have destroyed us at any time, but instead, they effectively invited us over; the big pointy finger seems to be saying 'Hey, guys, when you're grown up enough to develop space travel, come see us.' Until something changed, something which not only messed up our relationship with them but caused their installation on LV-223 to be almost entirely wiped out.
From the Engineers' perspective, so long as humans retained that notion of self-sacrifice as central, we weren't entirely beyond redemption. But we went and screwed it all up, and the film hints at when, if not why: the Engineers at the base died two thousand years ago. That suggests that the event that turned them against us and led to the huge piles of dead Engineers lying about was one and the same event. We did something very, very bad, and somehow the consequences of that dreadful act accompanied the Engineers back to LV-223 and massacred them.
If you have uneasy suspicions about what 'a bad thing approximately 2,000 years ago' might be, then let me reassure you that you are right. An astonishing excerpt from the Movies.com interview with Ridley Scott:
Movies.com: We had heard it was scripted that the Engineers were targeting our planet for destruction because we had crucified one of their representatives, and that Jesus Christ might have been an alien. Was that ever considered?
Ridley Scott: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, "Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it." Guess what? They crucified him.
So how did our (in the context of the film) terrible murderous act of crucifixion end up wiping out all but one of the Engineers back on LV-223?
Presumably through the black slime, which evidently models its behaviour on the user's mental state. Create unselfishly, accepting self-destruction as the cost, and the black stuff engenders fertile life. But expose the potent black slimy stuff to the thoughts and emotions of flawed humanity, and 'the sleep of reason produces monsters'. We never see the threat that the Engineers were fleeing from, we never see them killed other than accidentally (decapitation by door), and we see no remaining trace of whatever killed them. Either it left a long time ago, or it reverted to inert black slime, waiting for a human mind to reactivate it.
The black slime reacts to the nature and intent of the being that wields it, and the humans in the film didn't even know that they WERE wielding it. That's why it remained completely inert in David's presence, and why he needed a human proxy in order to use the stuff to create anything. The black goo could read no emotion or intent from him, because he was an android.
Shaw's comment when the urn chamber is entered - 'we've changed the atmosphere in the room' - is deceptively informative. The psychic atmosphere has changed, because humans - tainted, Space Jesus-killing humans - are present. The slime begins to engender new life, drawing not from a self-sacrificing Engineer but from human hunger for knowledge, for more life, for more everything. Little wonder, then, that it takes serpent-like form. The symbolism of a corrupting serpent, turning men into beasts, is pretty unmistakeable.
Right, in fear that this has been a little deep so far i will attempt to paraphrase and directly address other debatable plot points and key scenes.
Prometheus lands on LV223 yet the planet in Alien is LV426. Whaaa?
Aaaah, you must be a fellow geek, hello. Well, Ridley Scott made no secret of there being two hypothetical films between Prometheus and Alien, but how would a horseshoe-ship, with an engineer with a hole in his chest and a cargo hold bursting with facehugger eggs, find its way onto the completely different planet we saw in the 1979 original?
The answer could possibly lie with the other ships on LV223. There are several (we see two, but many more pyramids housing them), and at the film’s climax a slimy xenomorph appears to burst from the Engineer who made the error of crossing Noomi Rapace. If this xenomorph is a queen, it could scuttle off to lay eggs to its black heart’s content inside one of the other ships.
Now, in Alien 3 Ripley has been impregnated during hypersleep. If there was another Engineer in hypersleep in one of the other ships the same thing may have happened: he’d wake up, realise with some consternation he’s got a bun in the oven and decide to get the Sam Hill out of there, only for chest-bursting nature to take its course mid-flight, possibly causing him to crash on LV426.
There are a lot of ‘ifs’ here, but this would certainly explain how the ship and Space Jockey get into the positions we see them in in Alien.
It's nothing personal - David kills Holloway
David doesn’t have the capacity to be evil - he lacks the ability to feel emotions and simply follows directives. So why would he take the opportunity to poison Holloway with the black goo for seemingly no purpose?
While the rest of the crew on-board the Prometheus were looking for the origins of life on Earth and our creator, David had a very specific side mission: to find a way for Weyland to live forever. Therefore, it’s possible that David decided to dose Holloway because he wanted to experiment and see if the black goo they found would be the key for Weyland. It’s also possible he saw the black goo as the potential to create alien weapon creatures, which a company like Weyland could exploit-- though he might not have counted on that weapon attacking his crew so soon.
What did David actually say to the “Space Jockey” to make him so angry?
As the Space Jockey emerges from this cryo-stasis pod, Weyland orders his android, David to “tell him what I told you to tell him,” to paraphrase the quote. David says something to the Engineer in his native, alien language. And he gets his head knocked off in response.
It doesn’t matter what David said. The point of the scene is to show how angry the Engineer is that he’s being woken up out of cryo-stasis by these insignificant beings, and all he wants is for this android to stop talking. So he tears his head off, like you would the wings of an insect, an insignificant fly.
The Alien, Xenomorph - How did it evolve so quickly?
At the end of Prometheus, we see an ancestor of the Xenomorph from the original Alien film.
How did this powerful species evolve so quickly out of so few evolutionary links? Darthfuzzy asserts, "The Xenomorph is an anti-creator. It is death incarnate. It is the grim reaper. It is created from sin, and once it embodies all the sins, it takes on the ultimate Xenomorph form. This explains why, at the end of the movie, the Xenomorph is not a perfect evolution. It has only reproduced in two ways, lust and rage...I also believe that the xenomorph can only be created from a higher thinking life form. Because the DNA of the Human and Engineer are almost exact, the Xenomorph couldn't evolve from the worms."
Any who, you are probably by now wanting to rewatch Prometheus and have that "Oh my word, no way" moments or simply just so you can add your thoughts below. This was a collaberation of Gamertag Gaming and other pieces from around the wonderful world of the internet so please like I said add your thoughts below!
Here is one more little nugget from Youtube adding a few other things that we couldn't fit in here.
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Sources:Google, Wiki, Cinablend, Tashmag, Screeenrant, Yahoomovies