I’ve seen Prometheus twice, which is more than most people will probably bother with it sadly, and I have to say I have never been so blown away and yet so frustrated by a movie in quite some time. The first time was pretty difficult for me, so many little things were getting on my nerves, mostly regarding the characters and their behavior, but after thinking on it, reading other people’s thoughts online, and watching it again, I have to say things made a bit more sense and didn’t get on my nerves nearly as much.
So here, in no particular order, are some of my spoiler-heavy thoughts on the movie.
The dome with the face on it is from one of HR Giger’s unused concepts from Jodorowsky’s 1970’s attempt at filming Dune. That put a huge smile on my face.
The spacesuits: I want one. I think they look exactly like something Enki Bilal would design, though comparisons to Wally Wood’s EC comics work are also apt. Sean Witzke pointed out their similarities to the suits from Planet of the Vampires, which I also greatly enjoy. Really, practically everything about the design work of the movie and even the way Ridley Scott shot it just screams Heavy Metal to me. I seriously wish more sci fi films looked this good.
I’m really glad they managed to bring out the same creepy, uncomfortable rape-y vibe from the original Alien. It’s not quite as heavily laden with phallic symbols and vaginal openings, but it’s still there.
The pacing is interesting. The first bulk of the movie is just discovery and awe, then BAM, dudes start getting killed, weird shit starts happening all at once, and the pace just jacks up and it turns into a relentless beast of a movie. That bothered the hell out of me the first time I watched it, but now I enjoy it for switching gears like that, just outright fucking with audience expectations in a way.
The black goo: I like the theory that the way it works depends on who’s exposed to it. The Engineer at the beginning of the movie is ripped apart at a molecular level in order to create life on…whatever planet that was. It’s a similar situation with Holloway, I think, only it’s not as quick because he only ingested a single drop of it. Both had good intentions. Fifeld turns into a monster because…well, I guess because he’s kind of a douche. As for all those Engineer corpses…I’m still not sure.
A few bits are straight out of 2001: the hanging spacesuits, David saying “I know we’ve had our differences,” and the way zombie-Fifeld was bashing people to death and running around the way the apes did.
Once you realize that Vickers is Weyland’s daughter, everything she was doing up to that point in the movie makes sense. She wants her father dead so she can inherit everything, and she despises David because Weyland views him as the superior “sibling.” Having David call her “mum” I think is a part of that, something to deal with an inferiority complex she has. She’s also impatient about leaving the planet because she doesn’t want them to find anything that could prove her father right and ruin her chances of taking over. The medical pod is calibrated only for men because it actually belongs to Weyland. This illustrates that he’s a selfish bastard (he probably used it simply to keep himself alive for so long), and is also evidence that Vickers wants what her father has, all for herself.
David’s motives are never clear, and I don’t think they’re supposed to be. What you’re supposed to notice is the simple fact that a damn robot even has an agenda and feelings of his own. He despises Weyland and Vickers ("doesn't everyone want to kill their parents?"), the way they consider themselves superior to him, and he dislikes Holloway for the same reasons. It’s not like he knew Holloway would get Shaw pregnant or anything, he was just curious as to what the black goo does to a human being and picked him as the guinea pig. Finding out that Shaw was pregnant with some wicked creature has little to do with any plan he might’ve had, I think he’s just happy that he himself indirectly created life, something that only gods or other living beings should be able to do. I’m starting to think he might have a god complex or something, based on his belief that he’s better than humanity, and that’s possibly what drives him to behave the way he does.
I wonder just how much this film connects with Lawrence of Arabia, aside from it being David’s favorite film. I think the key to figuring out David’s motivations might have something to do with that film, especially that line that he repeats: “the trick is not minding that it hurts.”
I loved the music. I mean, well, I wouldn’t buy the soundtrack and listen to it, but it feels so much more old fashioned than what a traditional film score is these days. It’s no Jerry Goldsmith, no, but it reminds me so much of older movies in a good way.
The ending: Am I really the only one who realized that the giant squid thing was some kind of proto-facehugger? I mean, everyone online just calls it a squid or Cthulhu or something, but I’ve never seen anyone point out that it LOOKS JUST LIKE A FACEHUGGER. Except, you know, big.
I’m hoping for an even better director’s cut when it comes out on DVD, with loads of special features. I really think it’s this generation’s Blade Runner, and a really big director’s cut would support that a lot, considering Ridley Scott’s track record and the fact that he’s mentioned in interviews all of this stuff that was cut out of the movie…