Ridley Scott’s Prometheus follows tough acts

I heard the new Ridley Scott film Prometheus is sort of a prequel to that other seminal Scott film Alien but will supposedly “explore its own mythology and ideas”. That’s just as well considering that what made Alien so great was in the way the nature of the beastly alien after which the movie was titled was artfully revealed to its 1979 audience who for the first time beholds not little green men, Klingons or Chewbacca, but a gross-out parasitical organism that gestates inside a living human before bursting out of its host’s chest cavity in a spectacular explosion of blood and gore.

The premise of Prometheus doesn’t sound quite as original as Alien must have come across in 1979 though…

In the late 21st century, a star map is discovered within the archeological imagery of several otherwise unconnected cultures, which includes the Aztec, Mesopotamian and Magdalenian civilizations. The crew of the spaceship Prometheus is sent on a scientific expedition to follow the map as part of a mission to find the origins of humanity. Exploring the advanced civilization of an extraterrestrial race, they soon face a threat to humanity’s very existence.

…which sounds a bit like the premise of Battlestar Galactica and Stargate.

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For me personally, the more notable common denominator amongst the great Ridley Scott movies is their humanoid automaton characters (often called androids — for those born before 1995, the term is not to be confiused with the Google-owned mobile device OS). The Alien franchise terms them “artificials” and the characters were given life by the exquisite performance of actors Ian Holm who played the artificial named Ash in Alien and Lance Henriksen who played the artificial named Bishop in Aliens.

That other seminal Scott movie Blade Runner was, of course, all about artificials — called replicants in the film — played by an excellent team which included Rutger Hauer, Daryll Hannah, and Joanna Cassidy.

In Prometheus Michael Fassbender steps into big shoes to play David, the most recent incarnation of Scott’s illustrious line of humanoid automaton characters. Fassbender describes his rendition of a Scott artificial as one who is “somewhat child-like” and is “jealous and arrogant because he realizes that his knowledge is all-encompassing and therefore he is superior to the humans”.

Whether the new mythology or ideas Scott will be “exploring” in Prometheus will be as groundbreaking as the premises of his previous classics is anybody’s guess for now. The trailers didn’t give all that much of a lasting impression as scenes of whiz-bang space ships landing on alien landscapes have pretty much become a commodity in today’s CGI-enabled sci-fi movie portfolio.

13 Replies to “Ridley Scott’s Prometheus follows tough acts”

  1. I currently downl… errr… obtained 😉 a copy of Blade Runner and previewed the beginning of the movie. Two things struck me:

    1. The use of the word “skin job”, which I first heard from the epic reimagined Battlestar Galactica series
    2. As if on cue, a younger and thinner Edward James Olmos is there!

    I surmise I also ought to obtain a copy of Alien and its sequels… it’s been eons since I’ve seen it and that last time I was a teenager unappreciative of the nuances of stories inspired by Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, etc.

    1. Lol! Congratulations on your “acquisition”. 😉

      I read that there is actually a director’s cut of Alien released in 2003. You should also check out the director’s cut of Blade Runner which does not have a voice over narrative which was how it was originally supposed to have been released if it weren’t for the distributors insisting on the voice-over fearing that the audience might not understand the story without it.

    1. Fortunately MMFF entries more often rip off fantasy series. Expect a Game of Thrones rip-off (both story and costumes!) this coming December.

      It is sad that there have been some efforts to put up sensible sci-fi on MMFF but because of the general lack of capacity to appreciate such work, these turn out to be box-office flops.

      One example is MMFF 2010’s RPG:Metanoia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPG:_Metanoia , a computer-animated story about a boy’s addiction to MMORPGs, his relationship with his working mother and his OFW father, and a computer virus that hypnotizes MMORPG addicts into becoming zombies.

      The attention to detail and coherence of that movie is astounding in terms of Pinoy standards, but all it ever got was songwriting awards and some weird token for gender sensitivity (whatever that means).

  2. Ridley Scott + Michael Fassbender = It’s going to be a winner!

    I can’t wait to see it! I’m already getting goosebumps. 😉

  3. I still think of Alien as a classic in the horror genre. The way it was marketed back then gave the audience no idea of what they were about to see…the ol’ haunted house scenario replaced by a spaceship. Of course, the film was a lot more than that…which is why it’s also a sci-fi classic. The sequels were more on action., but it couldn’t top the suspense of the original.

    So it catches my attention if Prometheus may be a prequel to Alien.

    1. There is a thin, blurry, fake-bloodstained line between horror and sci-fi, perhaps pioneered by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but made even blurrier by Richard Matheson, George Romero, and the makers of The Twilight Zone.

    1. Interesting. I like his work. He seems to be fond of Vigo Mortesen. Speaking of Vigo, you should watch The Road. I was shaking the whole time. 🙂

      1. The Road freaked me out, the book and the movie equally. And Vigo is a good judge of scripts and directors, hasn’t made a misstep as far as I can tell. When he’s in it, it’s usually good.

      2. Umm… I just re-watched “A History of Violence”, and yes, it is fairly rewatchable. I just felt the ending was quite hanging, but overall, I like the straightforward storytelling, the performances of mortensen, bello, holmes, harris, and hurt. and most of all the exploration of this moral complexity going on as one rediscovers his/her shady history. oops, spoilers! hahahaha. but yeah, should watch.

        you may also check out Eastern Promises although again, don’t expect a groundbreaking finale. hehehe.

        1. I’ve seen both films and I thought they were good. I was shocked at the fight scene in the shower room though. Very frontal. 😉

    2. anyway, did i tell you how i thought this was going to be a “meh” film with that disgusting Twilight guy in it..until i finally watched the trailer.
      My anticipation meter just went up the wazoo!
      just the same as with The Wettest Country/Lawless. You know the cool guys are there: Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman…and there came Shia Labeouf. ugh

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