By Deadline Cindy | Lists | April 1, 2014 |
By Deadline Cindy | Lists | April 1, 2014 |
After Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof’s Prometheus made its triumphant debut, there was a plethora of acid-tongued criticism, likely entirely made up by the last of the bitter Lost contingent, an audience who couldn’t stand the thought of their entirely baseless, complaints about Lindelof being negated (again) by the existence of this brilliant, thought-provoking film. But that’s another story for another day; today we’ll simply revel in the genius that is Prometheus, a true thinking person’s film.
1. Following the emotional opening “Engineer’s” self-sacrificing, black-goo-drinking, planet-seeding scene, reminiscent of — but not at all too on the nose — Jesus giving his own life so that humankind could live, archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Greene) discover an ancient cave drawing of a figure pointing to a group of planets in the sky. While you and I might wonder how in the world those figures could have seen such an exactly configured space map with the naked eye, it’s only because we’re not as clever as Dr. Shaw. Clearly the Engineers visited ancient Earth, showed those early humans detailed photos of their planet-hood, and told them “Hey, when you become technologically advanced to fly to space, use this map, and come on up and see us sometime.”
2. The android David (Michael Fassbender) studies and mimics human behavior because he wants to be like us…or, is it because he wants to destroy us? If you understand that David was in collusion with the Engineer/aliens from the beginning, everything makes perfect sense.
3. As the Prometheus crew arrive at their destination planet, and one by one are awakened from their cryostasis, we’re briefly introduced to Janek, Fifield, Millburn, Chance, Ravel, and Ford, largely undeveloped characters who remain…largely undeveloped. For those who maybe have been bothered by the these empty shells of people and the complete lack of character development, once again, you’ve missed the point: They are not important, all of them will die; therefore, you don’t need to waste time digging into their backgrounds or motivation.
4. Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) is introduced as the mission director; she’s tough, courageous, pragmatic, and aside from pseudo-brother David, the smartest person aboard Prometheus. She knows that anyone who leaves the ship and goes down to the planet will die; note that she repeatedly warns the crew, as well as her foolish father. And when the moment arrives that she herself must leave the ship — when it’s taken over by the crazed Captain Janek (Idris Elba) — she realizes there no sense in trying to stay alive. Instead of running sideways to escape the giant alien ship falling toward her, she continues running directly under its path and (mostly) bravely faces her own death.
5. No matter how dangerous things get, the Prometheus crew never allow foolish apprehensions or fear to overtake the wonders of the huge opportunity for scientific discovery. The expedition group quickly realizes the Engineers (even in their apparent absence) had the ability to create a completely safe and breathable atmosphere to welcome the über-intelligent humanoids who have finally made it to their booby-trapped planet. Proving he is a true scientific pioneer, Holloway immediately rips off his helmet with no concern over any biological contagions that might be in their midst; the others quickly follow suit. These are the brave kind of explorers necessary to uncovering new lifeforms and the sort of grand-scale mutations that will allow humankind to continue to evolve.
6. Fifield (Sean Harris) and Millburne (Rafe Spall) do pretend they’re afraid in front of the rest of the expedition crew, but what they really want is to separate from the group so they can discover new life forms on their own. To walk with the animals, talk with the animals; they only wanted to pet (reassure) and communicate with the pretty snake-thing. No one could have predicted the new life form would turn on them, and even if Filfield or Millburne had anticipated such a thing, they knew truly important scientific discoveries often require sacrifice. The courageous scientists’ lives were given in dedication to their profession and for the benefit of all mankind. Because of the pair’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge and fearless interactions with new life forms, no one will ever again have to test out just how not to approach an alien snakey-thing.
7. David, who has studied many languages so that he may one day speak with the Engineers, can already read and understand their hieroglyphic instructions; he can confidently affect and control this new world. He opens doors, collects the necessary vase of goo, infects Holloway — who in turn “infects” Shaw — and prepares himself to carry on the powerful Weyland family name. His father Peter is not in charge; his sister Meredith is not in charge. David is in charge. He might not have a soul, but David knows he is the real future of humanity, and he will not rest until his biological step-brothers and sisters are dead, one and all. “Sometimes to create, one must destroy.” David has been in league with the Engineers’ Engineer (presumably Skynet) all along, and to complete his mission, he must get back to their home. But first, he has to win back Dr. Shaw’s trust with a dramatic pre-planned decapitation (creates empathetic situation), and some last minute help, just when she needs him most.
8. David’s successful coercion means that after Dr. Shaw escapes the lifeboat where the alien has consumed the Engineer and is morphing into the Alien alien, Shaw realizes she needs David to get off the planet. Now — and this is key — remember back in the beginning when David was spying on Shaw’s hypersleep dreams? His intimate knowledge of Shaw has allowed David to manipulate her throughout the film (even though she did trip him up that one time by aborting the alien fetus, which, let’s be honest — he just wanted to see what would happen if she got pregnant with an alien), and again he’ll use her, to hitch a ride off the planet, and convince her to reattach his pretty, bottle-blonde head.
9. “A king has his reign. He dies. It’s the natural order of things.” And so it goes with humanity; we had our run, we’re going to be killed off, and the aliens and the robots will take over. It’s the natural order of things. David’s co-mission with the Engineers was successful, regardless of Janek’s deadly intervention. By the time Shaw figures out what’s been going on and what David’s been up to, it will be too late. He’ll have “helped” her find the Engineers’ home planet, and she’ll be disposed of. The new alien creature birthed in Prometheus’ final scene is being controlled by David, and there is no hope for the human race as Shaw knows it.
See you at Prometheus 2: The Terminator/Alien Crossover.