Prometheus Review

I will start with a spoiler warning. Much of this review is going to talk about pretty massive spoilers for the film.  So you should really only read on if you have already seen the film, or you don’t care about reading spoilers before seeing it.  If you fall into either of those camps, read on.  If not, you might want to come back after seeing Prometheus.

Now that we have that out of the way, Prometheus really blew me away.  The visuals, the story and the philosophy all were elegant in their own way.  So I am going to break this review down into those three parts.

First off, the visuals.  I read review after review that said I should go see Prometheus in 3D.  Ridley Scott filmed the entire movie with 3D cameras and you can tell a lot of love was put into how everything looked.  From sweeping landscapes on Earth, to the Prometheus flying through space, to everything that occurred on LV-223 (the alien planet) I was awe-struck.  Watching all of the technology on the human ship was jaw dropping enough.  But then you get to see the technology of the aliens and you know seeing the film in 3D was the right choice.

Charlize Theron in 3D, also not a bad thing.

I will admit though, that my favorite visual in the entire film is the Engineers.  I thought that their spacesuits were them.  But from the very opening scene, when you see an Engineer create life on Earth I was mesmerized by them.  They seem to be perfect physical specimens. It is made obvious that they are our progenitors (but I will get more into that later).  It was such a cool thought that we were a science experiment, but the fact that they were the scientists made me excited to see what would come next.

The story is the next beautiful part of Prometheus, and I will give fair warning that I am about to go on a little rant here.  Occasionally, movie reviewers make me feel sad for humanity.  (Don’t worry, that sentence will make sense in a moment.)  I regularly read reviews where the reviewer complains about things not making sense, or not being explained in the movie they are reviewing.  For Prometheus, I read that A LOT.  I truly wonder what movie these reviewers are watching, because everything was connected and made sense in Prometheus.

Normally, when I write a review, I try and talk about as little of the plot as possible.  For me, doing that is just a recap, and what is the point if you are going to go watch the movie.  I believe a review should be about what you did and did not like about a film.  But for this one occasion I feel it necessary to recap the plot points that make Prometheus make sense, because I want to see if people disagree with me or how people interpreted things differently than me.  I believe their are two things that Ridley Scott wanted to get across with Prometheus: a philosophy of destruction being necessary for birth, and an explanation of how the aliens (or xenomorphs) from the previous films were created.  What I loved was that Scott showed us quite a bit of this, he did not have one of the characters tell us.  I guess if more of that happening means that I am going to have to read more reviews about how someone didn’t get it, that is a fair trade.

Since I am going to go on and write about the philosophy last, I will just focus on the plot points for the origin story of the xenomorphs.  First, the Engineers came to Earth and started the creation of life by sacrificing one of their own to be the juice that creates life, by combining their genetic structure with the black ooze, which is the catalyst for creating new forms of life.  Humans evolve from this process and get to the point where they can travel through space, and so they go looking for a possible creator: the Engineers.  They find LV-223 where they also find the black ooze.  David (Michael Fassbender’s android character) wants to test out what the ooze does, and so he puts a tiny bit of it into one of the lead scientists drink.  This lead scientist, Charlie Holloway, then has sex with the other lead scientist, Elizabeth Shaw.

Elizabeth Shaw cannot have babies, but is now immaculately concepted into pregnancy that is a combination of Holloway’s sperm, her eggs and the black primordial ooze.  This creates the universe’s first face-hugger.  That face-hugger than gets a hold of its very own Engineer and face fucks him into creating, you guessed it, the very first xenomorph.  So when Ridley Scott has said that Prometheus is of the same DNA as the Alien films, he is being literal.  It took thousands of years of evolution to create the humans that could find the Engineers and have their DNA combined (Shaw’s, Holloway’s, Black Ooze and an Engineer’s) that would create the first xenomorph.  Every step is needed in order for the xenomorphs to be created, and the xenomorphs are the punishment for Prometheus (the humans)  for getting their fire (knowledge of the Engineers).

Finally, the philosophy of Prometheus.  Ridley Scott from the very first Alien film, has created a species that requires the death of their hosts to live.  He begins Prometheus by showing that life was created on Earth because an Engineer sacrificed himself in order to give up his genetic material which instantly started to mutate into new genetic material.

One interesting question that seeing all of the Engineers looked the same made me ask is if the Engineers themselves are androids created by the true “God” aliens.  If you have seen any of the viral marketing for Prometheus, you might know that all androids at this time on Earth look like David.  They are all identical.  So maybe all of the Engineers are also androids doing the bidding of their creators.  A fun thought for possible future installments of Prometheus.

Back to creation out of destruction.  Everything in this universe requires death to create.  The black ooze kills anyone that it comes into contact with.  Dr. Shaw never came into direct contact with the ooze, but the semen that came from her contaminated partner would have most definitely killed her if she had not removed the alien creature.  The xenomorphs burrow/bite their way out of their hosts, killing them.  Even the face-huggers that plant their eggs die after they do so.  The Engineers have to give up their lives in order to do their experiments.  The one man who does not want to die, Weyland, is brutally murdered for assuming that he even has that possibility.  It is a very harsh philosophy, but one that has much backing in reality.  Evolution is based on it.  Our economy almost seems to require it.  Death makes way for life.

I think that Prometheus is an amazing film.  It is beautiful to look at, to understand and even in the ruthlessness of its philosophy.  Go see Prometheus.

What did you think of Prometheus?  Let us know in the comments below.

~Ryan Lynch

5 thoughts on “Prometheus Review

  1. a compelling interpretation, but if the first xenomorph is the one we see at the end of the movie, why was there an image of a xenomorph inside the Engineers’ space ship? was it something else?

      • I thought the “new” xenomorph looked odd too. In fact the entire lifecycle of the xenomorphs in Prometheus was confusing to me. As I remember it, the queen lays eggs, the eggs produce face-huggers, face-huggers infect a host, and from the host comes the baby xenomorph. In Prometheus, it was all different–the facehugger, which is way bigger than the facehuggers we know from the sequels, is produced by a very different method, as you note. And the huge facehugger shoots one of those snake-eel things into the Engineer’s mouth, resulting in the odd baby xenomorph. Maybe it’s different because an Engineer, and not a human, was the host?

        ha, i wrote all that and then googled it up, and here’s this: http://avp.wikia.com/wiki/Trilobite

        also your stuff about the prometheus myth was pretty cool, hadn’t thought of that :).

  2. Good catch on the Prometheus myth reference, I totally didn’t think of that when I should have. I liked the idea that the Engineers were all robots too, that’s pretty compelling. I had a difficult understanding the life cycle of the xenomorphs myself as shown by the film.

    Overall, I thought “Prometheus” was a very frustrating movie. Possibly the most frustrating movie I’ve ever seen. Like you, I loved the darkness of it and the fact that nothing gets answered in spite of how much is discovered/revealed. I loved that although it was full of religious imagery, in a lot of ways it was an atheist film at heart. I loved that the point of everything that happens in the film is completely different, and less noble, than it appears on it’s face (the point of Prometheus’ voyage, whatever the hell the Engineers are up to). It’s a pretty dark film that leaves you with no answers and questioning just about everything.

    That having been said, you can tell the script is a Frankenstein’s monster of long development, multiple rewrites, etc. The dialogue is atrocious. The character development is horrible. There’s very little internal logical consistency and characters act in ways that are completely irrational and inconsistent. The plot is not clear. The goofy, unnecessary action tropes of running away from the storm, running away from the crashing spaceship distracted too. It’s frustrating when you see Scott make so much with so little in comparison in the sequence with Michael Fassbender’s David alone on the ship (something I could have watched 90 minutes of).

    Ridley Scott is one of the best directors alive, in my opinion, but like anyone else he’s only as good as his source material. The source material here is not as tight and well-developed as “Alien” or “Blade Runner” or even “Blackhawk Down,” but he still managed to wrench the genius within it to the front and make a deeply compelling film that’s probably going to be the most discussed movie this year. I think the critics are right that there are egregious flaws in this film’s script, but it’s a must-see anyways. That’s the testament of Scott’s skill.

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