It's funny that I can now look at a trailer for a new Ridley Scott movie, thinking "oh he's going back to basics with this one!" and the movie be literally about a guy living on Mars! The world was recently treated to this rousing trailer, and given that this is another attempt at reasonably hard sci-fi by Ridley Scott, we should ask ourselves what's to be expected from Prometheus 2.
Hopeful world views
The original Alien is such a gorgeous piece of sci-fi cynicism, positing that instead of space welcoming you to a new age of discovery, it wants to bite your face off and use your corpse for it's spawn! It's hard to believe its director would go on to create movies with such idealized outlooks like Gladiator, Exodus, and oh yeah Prometheus. The ending to Prometheus which has Shaw fly off to the Engineers' home world equipped with only an alien spacecraft and Michael Fassbender's head is perhaps the definition of putting all your eggs in one basket.
Despite being at least slightly grounded in reality, The Martian seems to also have a slightly optimistic tone. It's ultimately a movie about helping others regardless of the circumstances, with an entire mission launched just go get Mark Watney back home. I mean come on, why wouldn't you travel 140 million miles to rescue Matt Damon? We need him for when they inevitably continue the Bourne movies. No one liked that Jeremy Renner one!
A fight for survival
One thing you can track between Alien, Prometheus and The Martian is the idea of being part of an advanced space faring civilization, yet still having to fight to survive with the bare minimum. You can see this with Ripley improvising with the use of a space suit to eject the Alien from her escape pod. You can see it with Shaw removing an alien parasite from her own body, and now with Mark Watney surviving by using the very technical term, and having to "science the shit out of this". The Martian seems to draw tension from its protagonist only just clinging on, and I could imagine that the same will be true for Prometheus 2. We're going to see Shaw mostly alone on a completely alien world, discovering things she doesn't quite understand. The stakes have never been higher!
I can't say for sure how much The Martian will adhere to real science, given that I haven't asked anyone who has survived on Mars for four years. I know, I know. I should have done my research. The very appeal of The Martian does seem to hinge on the very slim chances of survival if one were to make a trip to the red planet.
What can we then expect from Prometheus 2? Well, the first movie played pretty fast and loose with science, what with on-board gravity and a woman able to leap great distances with only staples holding her stomach together. The magic of the original Alien came from it all feeling like a measured routine procedure, which made the scares later on seem all the more real. If Prometheus 2 could trust its audience to have a reasonable attention span, we could be in for a real space-faring treat!
The Martian seems to be employing a wide variety of character viewpoints, put to use through a surprising array of talent. It's cast include names like Jeff Daniels, Kristin Wiig, Donald Glover, with Jessica Chastain and Matt Damon likely being kept in their costumes after filming Interstellar. It's an interesting tactic to have the scope of a movie literally span across the solar system, for a story that stuck only to Mark Watney's point of view could be a little hard to swallow.
Now the actual details of the stories Prometheus 2 is to deal with are still up in the air. A suggestion that half the movie would take place on Earth, with the other half focusing on the Enginees' home world was recently debunked. I have to admit that exhibiting multiple characters' efforts to understand the universe would be an interesting move for Prometheus 2, though it would likely reduce any sense of claustrophobia and threat. Still, was anyone actually scared of the first Prometheus anyway?
Do you think Ridley Scott should elaborate on his hard sci-fi style in The Martian when he brings us Prometheus 2? Let us know with a post on MoviePilot, or by leaving a comment below!