22:48, May 30 2012
One hour from now i’ll enter the movie theater and watch the movie Prometheus. This movie is a prequel to the horror-SF classic “alien”. As many know I have always been positively obsessed about Alien, and quite a buff in this movie. I dedicate this night to a friend, who is longer be with us (he was sick, and has dropped of the radar some time ago) Here’s to you, Simon Deering.
When I get back tonight I’ll give my low-spoilerage review of the movie.
This is a fairly rude and cynical analysis.
Prometheus was a good movie. I could have done a better story, but the story was decent. Watch it. What I’d say about is this. Ridley made a movie in the 1970s showing his distaste and contempt of all Science Fiction that existed before Alien. Ridley wanted a Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Star Wars. He made a classic that has become a defining feature of not just cinematic history, but of the collective human subconscious. All SF movies after Alien to some extent reflect Alien. Ridley was not a fan of SF, but he had a big ego and he said – “let me show these idiots how it’s done” and so her did.
Now it is 2012 and Ridley is an old man. Ridley faces his life and realizes his SF movies were the best things he ever made. And as he reflects back on his life he wants to leave a legacy. Ridley realizes that Alien was such an evocative movie, but part of him wants to “claim’ the legacy as formed by him. Ridley Scott has a very big ego, and he now has said – this is mine. My creation. I made this.
There is a character of a very old man in the movie. Note that this old character, as well as the giant head sculpture in the movie closely resemble H.R. Giger. Both Giger, the character in the movie, as well as Ridley now stare in to the dark void of death in the actual world and all want to leave something meaningful behind, something that can be quoted endlessly. For Ridley his preferred statement would be a perfect sequence of future alien/prometheus movies. Prometheus was an “inception” seed for an rebirth of the Alien franchise. Ridley makes some other statements, specifically about the fear of death.
This movie has a message and it is – in being mortal beings we have meaning. In becoming immortal, or even aspiring to become immortal, we as humans become immoral. We become servants of transcendant plans and goals and ambitions. The engineers in the movie are divine creatures. Angels even. Yet they also carry the outward symbolism of Nephilim.
I believe Ridley made a mistake by taking the Engineers. The engineers were humans, and in being humans, Ridley has damaged the Lovecraftian mystery of the original movie. If I had made Prometheus I would have made the engineers completely inhumanly alien. I’d have made the Prometheus movie a “first contact”.
But the depiction of the Xenomorphs was true to form. These have in the Prometheus franchise become unspeakably horrendous beings. And likewise, the androids in the movie are unfathomably intelligent. They are de facto puppeteers of humanity, or would be if we gave them half a chance. They clearly exist to obey the verbatim instructions of humans – even in to death. But the David/Ash android are so much smarter than humans we are not a pale shadow of what these androids signify.
Mind you, I thought the “engineer” design was well done and evocative. Note that the Engineers are biomechanical, probably even cyborgs. But I’d still would have preferred something utterly nonhuman. I’d still would have preferred the old 1980s Warhammer 40K design for Tyranids. That one design was a splitting image for the old alien jockey.
And yes, Ridley Scott has made the aliens much nastier and malleable as a movie seed. These things destroy worlds.
* Review, explanation