Philosophical question: if God created the universe and all its creatures, did he also create the title character in Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror classic Alien? If so, then for what purpose? To make Sigourney Weaver a star?
“How far would you go to get your answers? What would you be willing to do?” inquires Michael Fassbender’s David The Android in the British trailer (please scroll down) of Scott’s Alien sort-of prequel Prometheus.
Although I don’t think David is referring to Sigourney Weaver’s stardom, the answer to that particular question seems to be … hop on a huge spaceship and travel to a distant, dark planet where things may not be quite as they seem. Hint: That’s the place where Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, and Yaphet Kotto encountered the remains of several gigantic beings in addition to the deadly fetus of a ravenous cockroach-like monstrous creature.
Looking at the trailer, we at Alt Film Guide were reminded of other films, e.g., Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (the crashing spaceship), Tobe Hooper / Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist (Logan Marshall-Green’s bleeding eye while he stares in the mirror), Paul W.S. Anderson’s Event Horizon (the otherworldly enemy destroying from within), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (Fassbender’s android: where does the robot end and the human being begin?), Fred M. Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet (humankind as the perpetrator of its own destruction after unleashing forces it can’t control), and, inevitably, Scott’s Alien (Noomi Rapace in her underwear, much like Weaver’s Ripley; Fassbender’s is-he-to-be-trusted android, much like Ian Holm’s Ash).
Anyhow, being derivative isn’t necessarily a problem. After all, just about every work of art features elements borrowed from other works. What matters is that, unlike the all-action no-brain teasers, this Prometheus trailer makes Scott’s film look promising – less because of its special effects (however impressive) and more because of its philosophical (almost theological) premise: Where do human beings come from? Will our search for knowledge lead to our eventual destruction?
And we’re back to Forbidden Planet territory, which, by the way, uses elements found in another work of art, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which itself borrowed from Greek mythology.
The tale of Prometheus, I should add, is to a certain extent the Greek equivalent of the Biblical myth of the Fall of Man: he was the Titan who stole fire from the gods to give it (back) to humankind. Like the Serpent, Adam, Eve, and (apparently) the characters in Scott’s upcoming film, Prometheus was brutally punished. Try imagining having an eagle chew on your liver for all eternity.
Prometheus opens June 8. Ridley Scott directed from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. In the Prometheus cast: Shame / Jane Eyre‘s Michael Fassbender, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows’ Noomi Rapace, Snow White and the Huntsman / Monster‘s Charlize Theron, Mildred Pierce / L.A. Confidential‘s Guy Pearce, Across the Universe / Devil‘s Logan Marshall-Green, Thor / Luther‘s Idris Elba, The Borgias / Harry Brown‘s Sean Harris, Anonymous / Behind the Door‘s Rafe Spall, Somers Town / Red Road‘s Kate Dickie, and Evening / Little Children‘s Patrick Wilson.
Prometheus photo: Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox.
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus trailer will have its IMAX premiere today following the movie’s panel at WonderCon, which is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California. So far, we’ve been fed minute-long teasers – or rather, trailers of the trailer. This latest teaser (please scroll down) offers lots of action, a few faces, a brief line of dialogue, visual effects, explosions, and the like.
Watching this teaser, there’s no way to know exactly what’s going on, except that earthlings have landed on some dark planet where something that’s supposed to be scary happens. Will Prometheus be like Alien? Or will it be like Event Horizon? Here’s hoping it’s like the former.
The (maybe) Alien prequel opens June 8. Ridley Scott directed from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. In the Prometheus cast: Shame / Jane Eyre‘s Michael Fassbender, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows’ Noomi Rapace, Snow White and the Huntsman / Young Adult‘s Charlize Theron, Mildred Pierce / L.A. Confidential‘s Guy Pearce, and Thor / Luther‘s Idris Elba, plus Sean Harris, Logan Marshall-Green, Rafe Spall, Kate Dickie, and Patrick Wilson.
Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Prometheus photo: Kerry Brown / 20th Century Fox.