Friday, November 16, 2012

Prometheus: a prequel or a remake or both?

When I settled down with the DVD of Prometheus, I didn't know what to expect.  I had heard or read a few vague comments that suggested it was a film worth watching.  So, I settled back in my recliner to find out whether it really was worth watching.

The actors were convincing in their roles, the special effects were good, the dialogue was considerably better than silly, and the plot was interesting,  but I felt as the end approached that the film really didn't break any new ground.  I felt it had all been done before, which may be unfair to the film, to some extent, because I've watched many SF films over the decades.  It wasn't until the very end of the film that I finally caught on.  I'm slow that way, partially because I get involved in the film or book or whatever and don't step back to take a good analytical look at it until I've finished, or until something jumps out at me. Frequently I have to watch or read it again to get beyond enjoying it or being bored by it.   This time it was the ending that did it..



Unfortunately there's no way I can talk about this film without revealing plot details and the ending.


SPOILER WARNING!





As I mentioned above, the ending finally gave me the clue.  I then did some research and talked to some knowledgeable friends and got confirmation.  I'm probably the last person in the Known Universe to find this out: Prometheus is a prequel, the first of three actually, to the superb SF/Horror film, Alien, with Sigourney Weaver. I finally caught on when the critter that popped out of the giant's body at the end was the monster with the pointy head and the most frightening set of jaws in filmdom.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced there was more to Prometheus than simply being a prequel.  It was the initial familiarity that I experienced long before I caught on to the relationship with Alien that got me thinking.  I eventually came up with the following chart. :



Director::
Alien  (A) :            Ridley Scott

Prometheus  (P) :  Ridley Scott



Set Designer:
A    H. R. Giger

P    H. R. Giger




Film's Initiating Event::
A.   Spaceship Nostromo receives message interpreted as an SOS which later turns out to be a warning to all ships to avoid this planet.

P.  Archeologists discover a drawing or illustration that is found in many cultures world wide--what appears   to be a giant pointing at several stars. The pattern of stars is identical regardless of the time and place.  This is interpreted as an invitation to go there, but it could as easily have been a warning to stay away.




Setting:
A:  uninhabited planet with an apparently deserted alien spaceship.

P.   uninhabited planet with an apparently deserted alien spaceship.


  
The Alien Ship:
A.  appears to be a cargo ship

P.  appears to be a cargo ship


Exploration of the Ship
A.  It becomes clear the ship is not uninhabited but is occupied by dangerous creatures 

P.   It becomes clear the ship is not uninhabited but is occupied by dangerous creatures.




The Android/Robot:
A  One of the crew members is an android who is responsible for bringing a creature on board ship and is directly responsible for the death of one of the crew.

One of the crew members is an android who is responsible for bringing a creature on board ship and is directly responsible for the death of one of the crew.



The Android/Robot:
A.   The android attempts to kill Ripley (the Sigourney  Weaver character)  but fails.

P    The android attempts to kill  Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (the Noomi Repace character) but fails.




The Android/Robot's Head: 
A.  In a struggle, the android is decapitated, and we see the android's head on the floor, still able to function.

P.   In a struggle, the android is decapitated, and we see the android's head on the floor, still able to function.



The Crew:
A  The crew members of the ship Nostromo are killed, leaving Ripley, a woman, as the sole survivor (plus the ship's cat, of course.)

P   The crew members of the ship Prometheus are killed, leaving Shaw, a woman, as sole survivor, along with the android's head.



The Escape:
A.   Ripley attempts to escape in the ship's emergency pod, but finds the creature already there.

P    Shaw attempts to escape in the ship's emergency pod, but finds the creature already there.



The Ending:
A   Ripley with ship's cat gets in the deepsleep capsule and heads for nearest Terran outpost.

P    Shaw, with the android's head,  finds another alien ship and they?  head for the home planet of the giants, leaving the critter from Alien alone on the planet, awaiting the arrival of the Nostromo?.


What do you think?   

4 comments:

  1. Fred,

    Does this film add anything interesting to the whole Alien franchise? I've read reviews of it before, and many who liked the Alien movies did not like this one. I'm still not sure if I want to see it. ( I never watched the 4th Alien movie, either.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cheryl,

    Interesting? That's hard to answer. I think the interest level would depend upon one's interest in the "Alien" universe.

    Prometheus does answer several questions left around at the end of the Alien films. One was the identity of the ones who left the message at the beginning of _Alien_, warning all to stay away from that planet. Or, at least I think that question has been answered.

    We also now know why the alien ship was there and the reason for the existence of the critters on board.

    I assume that subsequent prequels will tie up some loose ends left at the end of _Prometheus_.

    Why were some of the _Alien_ fans unhappy with Prometheus? If they were expecting another _Alien_, they were bound to be disappointed, just like many Lord of the Ring fans were disappointed by _The Silmarillion_. They were expecting another LotR, which they shouldn't have been.


    ReplyDelete
  3. Fred,

    I think they were disappointed because the look of the first Alien movie was more "realistic" (i.e. not so pretty) and didn't rely as much on CGI to maintain interest in the story. Reviews I've read said they cared about the characters in Alien, but did not care about the poorly written characters in Prometheus. This is the opinion of a few reviewers, not mine, as I haven't seen Prometheus yet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cheryl,

    I have to agree with them about the characters. While the acting was competent, the characters were not memorable.

    If the reviews aren't too negative about Prometheus II, I may watch it when the library gets a copy. I'm not interested enough to spend the price of a theatre ticket on it.

    ReplyDelete