Movies

Prometheus Finally Admits It’s an Alien Prequel

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Prometheus was never really fooling anyone. Director Ridley Scott proved evasive about the connections between his new film and his original, ground-breaking, endlessly referenced-and-parodied Alien. But now the trailer’s out, and so is the poorly kept secret: this is the Alien prequel we always knew it was.

The evidence is rampant. The title slowly turns into view, imitating the credits of the original Alien. The otherworldly scenery resembles the marooned craft that housed the xenomorph eggs in Alien, right down to the H.R. Giger home d?cor. And you’ll even see what looks like the cockpit of the Space Jockey, the mysterious fossilized giant who apparently had a lot to do with the origin of the xenomorphs. Sprinkled amid these sights are the makings of a more recognizable sci-fi movie: the human explorers race through hexagonal halls, shoot at off-screen threats, dodge explosions, and stumble around in states of undress. But this is still echoing Alien at nearly every turn.

And that’s what we all wanted, isn’t it? I admit that I disliked the idea of a film that sat down and explained the origins of the Space Jockey’s race, as the mystery of the creature was a fundamental part of Alien‘s appeal, and it meshed perfectly with the film’s menace of the unknown and unknowable. Now that I’ve had a good look at Prometheus, however, a big part of me wants to see it. That may be the same part of me that bought a Bull Alien action figure when I was a kid, but I can’t deny that Prometheus is quite compelling.

Of course, I’d be no sort of nerd if I didn’t dissect key points of this trailer, so here are mild spoilers and speculation about the five most important shots in the Prometheus trailer.


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?First of all, there’s this shot of a chamber that holds a giant relief of a human face, plus neat little rows of coffin-shaped objects that recreated the egg chamber from Alien. There was no such stone face in Alien, but this ties into Scott’s description of Prometheus as dealing with “engineers of space” and the origins of the human race. I hope that the movie’s take on the idea is better than Alien vs. Predator‘s or the typical History Channel special.

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?Scott also promised a good look at the Space Jockeys, and here’s the most revealing scene in the trailer. Of course, Scott’s also alluded to the giant husk of the Space Jockey being a suit, so it’s an open question as to whether that thing on the table is a helmet or a skull. Either way, I like how that piece of the title seems to give it a snout.

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?At two separate points in the trailer, we see crew members clearly infected by something: one’s screaming as though he just threw up inside his helmet, and the other’s panting in terror. Both seem connected to another interesting shot, this one showing a disfigured man in a spacesuit attacking unmutated comrades. It’s the closest the trailer gets to showing an actual monster.

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?This scene of a crashed ship might not look particularly special, but once flipped around it matches the tail of the derelict ship seen in Alien. But is this the same vessel, or just another craft built by the same race? And is all of this taking place on the same planet, LV-426, where this whole Alien mess started?

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?This is by far the most interesting shot in the trailer: a scene of the Space Jockey’s chamber, complete with recliner and telescope-like cockpit. Note the bald guy on the right. He appears to be wearing a space suit without a helmet, and he’s glimpsed in a wheelchair elsewhere in the trailer. But he’s also rather large next to the rest of the set. Wasn’t the original Space Jockey (and, by extension, its furniture) much larger than a normal human?

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?Yes, it was. Either the trailer’s shot is a trick of perspective, or there’s some plot twist at play. And we’ll all have fun arguing about this and more in the six months before Prometheus hits theaters.

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