I read several reviews of this movie when it was first released, but I didn’t get around to seeing it until this weekend because none of them made clear whether it was an actual prequel to Alien or not. If someone would have come right out and said exactly what it was one way or the other, I might have gone to see it sooner. I would say it can be a direct prequel if one wants it to be, otherwise it can serve as an updated version of the original such as Planet of the Apes.
Alien is, in a way, the 2001: A Space Odyssey of my generation in the way it left so many questions unanswered. 2001 spawned one movie sequel and three additional books, so most of the questions arising from that movie were eventually answered. The questions spawned by Alien were at least addressed in some of the various comic books series, and of course I had my own ideas about the backstory myself. Now along comes Prometheus and blows everything I thought I knew out of the water!
The entire movie seems to me to be a metaphor for many of today’s hot-button political issues, especially those which pit science against religion. Creationism vs. evolution? Check. Intelligent design? Check. Faith vs. empirical evidence? Check. Abortion? Check. On another level, Prometheus is very much like an adult version of Jack Kirby’s The Eternals.
The movie starts with nothing less than “god” creating life on Earth (“in his own image,” no less), “there were giants in the Earth,” all that jazz. It refutes Darwinism in favor of intelligent design, and features a character who refuses to give up her faith in light of empirical evidence. Not that I believe in any of that stuff, but I found the movie both entertaining and thought-provoking. If I did believe in that stuff, this is the movie I’d be touting. I’m thinking the religious right ought to be all over this movie (in a positive way), yet I somehow don’t find that likely.
Everything I had previously assumed about the Aliens backstory is wrong, yet this movie doesn’t contradict anything from the previous movie(s). I was surprised Tracy liked it as much as she did. She doesn’t remember the last time an original movie inspired her to buy the paperback adaptation, but last night she went online looking for one. Too bad the only one there is is written in Japanese. Similarly, there’s a DVD four-pack of all the “Alien” films, but it’s available only in Germany.
I’ve heard the sequel which the ending sets up will be out in 2014. (Shaw in particular reminds me of Dodge from Planet of the Apes, who would “walk through a volcano naked if he thought he could learn something no one else knew.”) Maybe we’ll get some answers then (except for the one about why the religious right hasn’t embraced this film).
I liked this, although I made the mistake of seeing it in IMAX - IMAX kills my eyes. You should be able to find a four-pack of the Alien pictures in this country, I bought one a few years ago.
I guess I'll see it one of these years (no time soon, probably).
I got the impression from ALIENS VS. PREDATORS that the Aliens had actually been genetically engineered BY the Predators just to give them something challenging to fight. Isn't that a sick idea? Also, the end of that film set up the idea that in ALIEN, the crew had been sent out into space specifically looking for the monsters, hoping to bring one back so they could use it as a weapon. (Actually, I think that idea was in the 1st film... but AVP strengthened it.)
The dvd box-set I saw was Prometheus to Alien: The Evolution. The 9-disc set is the Prometheus movie, the 4 Alien movies and extras. On the first website, only a German edition was listed. Today I went to a different website that showed the set offered in the UK.
As different as they were in style from each other, I really liked both Alien and Aliens.. “Alien Cubed” and Alien: Resurrection were both huge disappointments. I have all four of those on widescreen VHS. I have seen the latter two only twice each: once in the theatre and once on video tape. Whereas I remember liking Aliens vs. Predators more than the previous two, I didn’t even bother buying it on tape or disc, so consequently I have seen it only once.
Your recollection of the Aliens being genetically engineered by the Predators sounds familiar, though, which would clearly make Prometheus a restart of the franchise. That’s okay. The more I think about it, the more obvious it becomes that it has to be. Yes, the idea that “the company” sent the Nostromo to Acheron specifically to secure an alien specimen was revealed in the first film. One of the unanswered questions is how they knew the alien ship was there and what was in it in the first place. Prometeus seems to answer that question, however both the alien ship and the planet are different from the ship and planet in Alien.
Tracy is hip to read the (non-existent) novelization of Prometheus, but I’m trying to interest her in the comics. She hasn’t yet seen Aliens, so I’m hoping that may spark her interest. Although wholly different from the backstory provided by the new film, the backstory put forth by the comics is pretty good. I eventually stopped collecting the sundry limited series, but I do have quite a few of them. I may even re-read them myself.
Shouldn't Tracy just read this?
I actually have that. I bought it just a couple of years ago when I was re-reading Jack Kirby's Eternals, but I haven't even read it myself yet.
“Alien Cubed” and Alien: Resurrection were both huge disappointments.. I have all four of those on widescreen VHS.
Why buy a copy of something you thought was a huge disappointment?
My best friend and I both agreed that they felt they absolutely "had" to do another sequel, then ALIEN RESURRECTION was the one they should have done. It reminds me a lot of SON OF FRANKENSTEIN.
The main problem with the film is, unfortunately, it's a sequel to a complete piece of S***.
Doctor Hmmm? said:
Why buy a copy of something you thought was a huge disappointment?
Because I thought it would be better the second time?
Because I'm a completist?
Because I'm a complete idiot?
I actually don’t own a copy of “Chariots of the Gods?” I remember now… I saw a copy at HPB around the time I was leading that “Jack Kirby’s Eternals” discussion, but I didn’t buy it because I figured reading it would be a waste of time. I did find my old copy of Alan Dean Foster’s Alien movie tie-in paperback for Tracy to read. She’s looking specifically for clues about the “Prometheus” aliens. I don’t think she’s likely to find what she’s looking for, though. For one thing, the current backstory wasn’t in place 30 years ago. Second, I remember it as being a fairly straight-forward adaptation of the movie plot, with one additional scene.* One the other hand, it’s clear from the very first paragraph that ADF added a lot of his own flourishes to the basic screenplay.
*I imagine the scene in question (Ripley finds Dallas cocooned but still alive after his encounter with the alien) was part of the original shooting script. Whether or not the scene was filmed but ended up on the cutting room floor or was scrapped before it was filmed, I don’t know.
There were 2 scenes in the screenplay not in the finished film. The first was Ripley & Dallas making love in a glass "blister" at the top of the ship, then seeing John Hurt's body floating by and it spoiled the mood. This wasn't filmed, as it would have added too much to the budget.
The 2nd scene was when Ripley is in the process of escaping, but, for no apparent reason, goes down the latter instead of up, and finds Dallas in a coccoon. He begs her to kill him, and she does, with the flame-thrower. This scene WAS filmed, but cut at the last minute, as it was felt it interfered with the pacing and momentum of the escape sequence. When the film was reissued about 10 years ago, there it was. I saw it! It did interfere with the pacing, but what bugged me more was, it made it look like something ELSE was missing, because for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why she suddenly climbed down that ladder. I bet there was something, maybe only a single shot, that didn't get filmed. Either that, or some kind of sound dubbed it to draw her attention, but if so, it wasn't there.