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 don't think the scene of Dallas and Ripley making love made it into the novelization. (I'm pretty sure I would have remembered that!) The other scene is in the paperback, though, just as you describe it.
You know Archie Goodwin and walt Simonson adapted the movie for Heavy Metal. Walt Simonson evidently doesn't sell any of his original art (which is why IDW was able to publish and "Artist's Edition" of some of his Thor work). Another publisher (I don't recall which one) solicited a similar (but much less expensive) "artist edition" of Alien, originally solicited for release last June. It's now on the schedule for December 26 (which my retailer explained to me is "Diamond-speak" for "we don't know when it's going to ship"). Someday soon we may be treated to an accurate reproduction Simonson's Alien in gorgeous black and white.
Hmm... Perhaps I should re-title this discussion "Alien."
"I don't think the scene of Dallas and Ripley making love made it into the novelization. (I'm pretty sure I would have remembered that!) The other scene is in the paperback, though, just as you describe it."
That sounds like the novelization followed what was filmed. I'm guessing the 2nd scene may have been cut at the last minute.
I'm reminded that a friend of mine suggested that an adaptation of almost ANY one of the Dark Horse spin-off stories would have made a better 3rd movie than ALIEN 3.
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.
I specifically want to read the description of scenes and artifacts. I would like to have the characters and dialogue fleshed out. I want to get deeper into Scott's inspiration for this Prometheus story.
My biggest problem with the movie was that the ship was manned with the Worst. Scientists. EVER. The lead was an idiot who didn't even seem to understand evolution (though that may be excusable because the movie itself didn't seem to understand evolution), and her faith was completely incongruous with what her job was for the mission.
Also, why did they keep Weyland secret from the rest of the crew? What did that accomplish, either within story or within the dramatic line of the plot? Why did the android feed the alien brew to the guy scientist? Was he pissed at him for some reason? It made no sense.
It was beautifully shot, but plot-wise it was utterly incomprehensible.
My purpose in starting this thread was to discuss Prometheus as an allegory of current religious thought (particularly Christian). As soon as I saw it as an allegory for modern religion thought (which was from the very first scene, as soon as I realized what I was being shown), I stopped expecting it to make sense. I know that sounds snarky, but I don't intend it that way. (Religious is all about metaphor and interpretation, which leads to... well, you know.) Not since Carl Sagan's Contact have I encountered a work of science fiction so steeped in religion (Anakin Skywalker's "immaculate conception," L. Ron Hubbard and the "Left Behind" series notwithstanding.) Perhaps I should have said "serious science fiction"? Which begs the question, "Is Prometheus 'serious' science fiction?" Whether it is or not, I found it to be both entertaining as well as thought-provoking.
On Earth-J, a "science fiction" film doesn't have doesn't have to be scientifically plausible (or even possible) to be entertaining. For example, I enjoy many stories I enjoy which feature feature time-travel and and faster-than-light travel, both scientifically impossible. In response to your objections, I excuse Shaw's faith vs. her science because her fellings are all jumbled up with her feelings toward her father (her literal, small-case "f" father). I classify that as characterization. regarding the secrecy surrounding Weyland, c'mon! Everything at this company (in both realities) is done in secrecy on a strictly "need to know" basis. And the android has the best character arc of the entire film! It wasn't "pissed" the scientist (or at Shaw, for that matter, when it went all "pro-life" on her before she performed her "do-it-yourself" abortion); it was simpy following its prograing. When it allied with shaw at the end, it was demonstrating free will (a common SF theme), foreshadowed earlier.
Allegiances shift like sand in this movie, but "it's not personal, it's only business." Or is it "science"? Or is it "faith"? that's what I started this thread to discuss.