Not just once nor twice. But three times now! I have to say that despite all the rants from people on imdb and other spots, I was pretty impressed by the film. I do believe it is a film that improves upon multiple viewings. Visually, it’s stunning but there’s so much detail put into the movie that you require multiple viewings to fully absorb each element on its own merit.
I did a long write up a while back analyzing the film and possible implications. This blog will encompass my perspective just as a viewer. First, the film remains quite puzzling and feels like there’s a bit of Kubrick. One of the biggest criticisms has been the lack of answers. But part of that feels as though those answers will be revealed in the upcoming movie (granted it gets filmed). No doubt there are many questions left unanswered:
- What is the black goo exactly?
- Who are the engineers?
- Are the engineers connected to the one at the beginning of the movie?
- Why aren’t there any females seen with the engineers?
- What is the connection between the non-engineer life forms and the Alien saga?
- Why, indeed, did the engineers want to assault man/earth?
- Do the engineers, indeed, want to assault man/earth?
- What happened to the crew of the engineers?
- Why are there multiple ships on the planet? And if so why didn’t Shaw and David locate more engineers who could’ve been alive?
- Why is the engineer in stasis when they found him? And how long has he been in stasis?
- Was Vickers, indeed, a robot?
Some of these questions possibly can be answered within the movie (if no sequel is made). For instance, Janek’s acumen about what the engineers have done as well as the recent release of his cut scene with Vickers further allude to the purpose of the engineers in creating a secret weapon. Also, we see the engineer speaking to Weyland as well as an egotistical expatiation for Weyland’s purpose in accompanying the crew to the planet.
Those deleted scenes absolutely added a great deal more depth to the movie. Similarly, the battle scene between Shaw and the engineer demonstrated just before they fight how the engineer seemingly was gazing in wonder at the aesthetics of Vickers’ life boat. It seemed as though he admired what we had created, hinting that perhaps his species had long lost something special of their own.
If I found a flaw in the movie, it could’ve been the pacing. For instance, I felt that Fifield’s sudden cowardice to be revealed far too early in the movie and needed more time to develop. There wasn’t enough build up for him to suddenly turn and run away. Same with Milburn’s decision to accompany Fifield. It was obvious that their presence was primarily for comic relief as well as instigators for the ooze and hammerpede. However, the lack of development for them made their death scenes seem like cliches from any standard horror film.
Some people argued that there were simply too many characters to develop in the movie. I think that part is definitely true. David’s character felt the most developed ironically. But take Holloway for instance. I thought that there wasn’t as much tension between him and David that made it justifiable to inject Holloway with the goo by David. Then you get Vickers who, imo, was a completely wasted character. I love Charlize Theron but her character needed a lot more. For instance, what’s her true relation to Weyland? With her supposedly getting squashed by the alien ship, we won’t have a chance to see much of her in future films (unless they pull some soap opera twin sister deal).
That said, in seeing the movie and extras as well as reading a few high level rumors put out by people (including Ridley Scott himself), I’m already starting to think about the follow up. First, the movie will certainly be about Elizabeth Shaw and David searching and discovering the engineers’ home world. This aspect Ridley Scott has admitted. The other part is discovering what these engineers are: hostile beings as opposed to the angelic inspirations man has believed in.
With that being the premise, the questions that need to be answered are the fill and linking back to Prometheus and possibly the entire Alien genre. The biggest question people are probably wondering is what the black goo exactly is. While I’ve covered some possibilities, I think the next Prometheus might go into more detail about the origin of the substance as well as the possible intent.
Next, I feel that the questions that Shaw asked the engineer need to be answered. Those questions are what happened to the engineers? What killed them off? And why is there a perception that the engineers want to kill humans and have a hatred for them? While Janek did propose one theory in his anecdotal in the extras portion, we cannot say for certain that he is 100% correct.
Another major issue that must be addressed is if more characters will be introduced. Obviously, Shaw and David will be a major part of the story. However, the characters of Vickers and Weyland still play a huge background role. In the case of Weyland within the context of the Alien genre, his presence is too big to be ignored. With him dead, there cannot be any denial that it’s impact will be felt on Earth and to humans. So the Weyland corporation will want to find out what happened to him and perform some kind of investigation for the expedition. In short, you cannot just fund $1 trillion dollars into a science expedition for fun, especially with the possibility of the discovering the most significant finding in human’s history.
With Weyland dead though, we open up the connection to the Alien universe in figuring out what the Weyland-Yutani corporation is. While the non-movie books/comics address this detail, we may very well see the union of names come into play. This is where Vickers can make her re-appearance. Her character is very strong in the movie and too brief as I mentioned. Yet since Janek suggested the possibility of her being an android, there’s a lot of room to play around her character. We know very little about the Weyland family outside of the fact that David is considered a surrogate son and that Vickers is the daughter. But what kind of daughter? Is Weyland like Dr Tyrell in that he has created androids for the sake of being a God and considers them all his children? And in assuming that Weyland has a great deal of power (and ego), it’s completely feasible to believe he has some biological family.
Next we need to determine what the relation is between LV-226 and LV-446. The system that LV-226 is part of heavily resembles that of LV-446. Yet when Holloway does the briefing at the beginning of the movie, he mentioned that only a single moon in that system can support life. So does LV-226 become LV-446? Or perhaps is there another moon in that system where the engineers are setting up some sort of military research post (as Janek alluded to)? Although Scott is attempting to veer away from the Alien series, the universe still is interconnected. I feel strongly that part of what we will see is how the ship and space jockey that the crew of the Nostromo found arrived on LV-446. If there’s a personal question that Scott himself must fulfill, it should be to answer what Alien, his original movie, hinted at.
From there, I think we need to see the connection between the vials and eggs on the original derelict space craft shown. All this time, we’ve assumed that the aliens were manufactured and/or tamed biological weapons for the engineers. For myself I’ve assumed all this time up until Prometheus that the eggs were the remnants of the crew from the derelict space craft. But with the introduction of Prometheus, the vials have made it less clear where the eggs were derived from as well as their real purpose.
Of course, we need to include the original alien itself. We have three elements to work with in the original alien adult form, the new deacon and the mysterious idol that the crew discovers in the chamber with the vases. Even if Scott included the deacon as a tribute to Alien, there’s no way that you can avoid such a critical character in the alien universe without a share of the spotlight. I feel that we’ll get more insight into the creature’s life cycle.
In general though, what has to be answered are the larger questions in life. I think we’ll see that the engineers themselves are not gods but are actually attempting to discover the answers to these questions themselves, which is partly why they manufactured humans. Maybe at a certain point they stopped caring about the questions and focused more on creating answers.
At any rate, I’m looking forward to the sequel. I think there’s plenty of bits that make a sequel deserving and I hope that Scott will direct it again. Maybe we’ll get to see a return of the hammerpede if anything since honestly it was the coolest alien in Prometheus.