Alien was an amazing movie set in a gritty world where space travel was mundane and the people working for the The Company were more interested in their bonuses than the monster that was loose in the bowels of the ship. H.R.Giger’s creature and spaceship were perfect, his wonderful mix of machines and organics was made for a sci fi movie project. Alien was meant to be a one off horror movie that didn’t need to answer any of the countless questions it asked, such as: Why did the ship stop? How did the robot know about the alien? Why did they want to capture the alien? Who were the space faring aliens killed by the monsters? Where did the aliens come from? And so on and so forth. Some of these questions were answered, after a fashion, in the many Alien movies that followed.
Prometheus is the Phantom Menace of Alien movies, it has a meaningless title, tells us a story we already know, and exists in a pure and untouched universe completely unlike the first movie in the series.
Prometheus opens with an alien landscape zipping by under the opening credits, where we find an advance human-like alien. We know he is advanced because, like body builders and porn stars, he has no body hair and very well developed abs. He stands at the edge of a cliff and watches one of Giger’s spaceships fly off. He then calmly drinks some poison which breaks down his body at the DNA level and he crumbles into tiny bits and falls into the water below. The rest of the film makes just about as much sense. Many people who watched this scene think that the alien was seeding life on Earth by killing himself, but I seem to recall seeing the same landscape when Prometheus lands on moon LV-Whatever. Maybe he was killing off all life there instead. Or maybe he just read the script and decided to end it all.
Prometheus was a beautiful film to look at, the special effects were as close to perfect as I have seen in some time. The actors did the best could with what they had to work with. But the script, well, there’s the rub. Prometheus didn’t end where Alien started, just as Phantom Menace didn’t end with Darth Vader pulling over Princess Leia’s transport. Prometheus all but ignored the monster, giving us only a brief glimpse of one proto-alien at the very end. The bulk of the movie was this kind of Star Trek The Changeling story where a wayward creature-in this case humans-wants to meet it’s Maker.
There was one special effect that was poorly done, we see an old man who is the head of the Weyland Corporation and he is encased in so much plastic age makeup that he looks almost clownish. They couldn’t find one real old man in Hollywood to play this part? Really?
Ridley Scott also makes the classic mistake of referencing a great movie within his not so great movie. We see his soft in the head robot watch a scene from Lawrence of Arabia and quotes the film several times. Prometheus is no Lawrence of Arabia.
Prometheus answers one of the big questions from Alien, but it’s the wrong answer. Instead of finding an odd elephant nosed alien race, we find over sized humans wearing odd elephant nosed spacesuits. Why not just tell us the monster is a human as well? And so are the Predators.
Prometheus was better was than Alien 3 and Alien 4, but then Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was better than Alien 3 and Alien 4.