First off, if you haven’t seen Prometheus or any of the Alien franchise of films, you might wanna stop reading right now. Spoiler warning. Done. Sorted. Continue at your own risk.
I made the mistake the other day of watching Prometheus. I was told Ridley Scott did to the Alien franchise with his prequel what George Lucas did to the Star Wars franchise with Phantom Menace, and that what these men did essentially was piss on our childhoods for money. Their franchises. They’re entitled to piss on their own franchises, but I made the mistake as a child of investing my childhood on franchises like these and I guess I shouldn’t have trusted these assholes that they wouldn’t make me regret doing that, but we live and learn.
Still, while I don’t necessarily like where it appears Scott is going with his franchise, it is his, and I’m still apparently along for the ride. Kinda like a car wreck it’s difficult to look away. He must have done something right tho cuz I’m still contemplating the ramifications of this movie days later. Isn’t that the sort of thing someone who makes movies wants people who watch your films to do? Think about them later? However, my favorite films are like Princess Bride, Metropolis, Serenity, Citizen Kane, Ghostbusters, Sneakers. These are films that are great for longevity and replayability. They can still make me laugh and make me cry and make me think and wonder what if and all that. Prometheus has me scratching my head. I understand the premise though I don’t believe in it. Aliens showed up several millennia ago and allegedly created mankind. They made us. I don’t buy that, but as I watched the film I tried to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the film. Trust the producers and director and writers know what they’re doing and lets see if this journey takes us anywhere, and in the end I kinda felt like they just put us right back where we were when we started which was nowhere really. The movie starts in a remote part of what may be Earth with scientists looking for answers and in the end we have Elizabeth and David with some questions answered but they are just left with more questions. And I’m left scratching my head, cuz I can’t tell if its my own inability to suspend disbelief or if the film itself is cluing us in on something: Shaw’s full of shit.
I think what could make this movie make more sense if it is watched with the presumption on the audience member that Elizabeth Shaw is completely wrong. She calls them Engineers but they did not engineer us. They found us thousands of years ago. Or rather, they found what we would consider to be primitive primates, and when they did, they were not themselves humanoid. Their genetic makeup is xenomorphic, which explains why when Shaw observed that head’s DNA it looked like a near match for human DNA cuz they were emulating us. So what I think happened is that long ago the xenomorphs were seeking a genetic structure that they could use to stabilize their species. Being xenomorphic was probably rather chaotic for them. Perhaps they actively seek many different forms that they can turn into, but they found in primitive mammals some qualities that they wanted to incorporate into their own makeup.
The early voyages to our planet could have been test runs. They showed up as scouts and infected a small tribe of nomadic primates, became more humanoid and then travelled some distance to another tribe and appeared to them like gods. This may not have been intentional. It probably just kinda happened. Maybe the first few times worked well, of mutual benefit. The early tribal primates saw humanoid aliens and not so humanoid aliens and saw them as gods. This might explain some early mythologies. However, understand this is NOT them creating us. In fact, if xenomorphic DNA had influenced us at all, then we too would be xenomorphic. Our genetic makeup was not dramatically changed by these guys. Perhaps they affected us culturally. Maybe before their interest in early primates, no primate came up with the idea of godheads but when some saw “Aliens” from space, it made primate brains a little bigger over time to try to cope with this. I can’t explain why other species were not similarly affected, except maybe that the “Engineers” intentionally didn’t infect any other species on Earth. They were only interested in bipedal humanoids for some reason. Maybe they already had reptile like DNA or whatever and were trying to ‘purify’ their race by focusing on the most preferred species on our planet at the time.
I’ve read that during production the writers were considering the “Space Jesus” thing where around two thousand years ago the “Engineers” got mad at mankind cuz we killed Jesus and he just happened to be one of them. I think that’d be both too easy and too far fetched for some of the audience to accept. I would prefer a different approach to this storyline if Scott’s gonna continue exploring this idea. Rather than claim Jesus was an Engineer, I’d prefer if the story revealed over time that by the time Saul of Tarsus came on the scene after his “road to Damascus” incident, the xenomorphs of the Alien franchise were already back at the planet where Prometheus takes place, and what they had decided was we had exhausted our welcome as “friendlies.” The xenomorphs had for a time liked the idea of being gods to early Earth primates, but after a half dozen visits, it became clear we were getting too smart for them, and we were growing out of our need for a polytheistic society. We only wanted one god. We would go to war over who had the better god. Maybe this was party influenced by the xenomorphs or maybe we were culturally influenced by the xenomorphs tendencies to be violent and have mood swings.
They weren’t going to destroy mankind per se. Okay they were, but it wasn’t cuz they were mad at us or that they HAD created us and changed their minds. None of that makes any sense. The intent was not to send the black goo in order to wipe out mankind directly. They were going to hybridize their species with a more stable species. Us. That’s why early religions are so heavy on the sacrifice thing. They were trying to get human beings to accept the idea of sacrificing themselves to their “gods” aka what Shaw thought were Creators or Engineers. The xenomorphs were sending the black goo in order to create an entire generation of their kind who would be xenomorphic but also have a humanoid baseline. I think these Engineers we see in the film were successful hybrids from Earth, who had decided to come back to Earth with this black goo in order to colonize our planet by using us as breed stock for their own kind. They wanted to turn Earth into a colony of xenomorphs, and the human race DNA would allow them to be humanoid and bipedal and more civilized than they had been.
So who actually did make us? Who knows? The Alien franchise shouldn’t even bother answering that question, but it makes more sense if the xenomorphs are just as much in the dark about the origins of life kind in the universe as we are. In fact, what if both the xenomorphs and carbon based life on our planet started in a similar puddle of primordial goo, but the big diff here is that the xenomorphs on their home planet never actually left that black goo state, until another species discovered them. They can only become something else if another race of beings comes along and steps in their puddle. Whereas our genetic make up just figured it out on our own. Cuz we’re awesome. I dunno. Or maybe at the very end of the last Alien movie a single drop of black goo is splashed onto an asteroid that then falls into a black hole goes back in time across the galaxy and then happens upon our solar system by chance and crash lands in the ocean of Earth, creating a single microbe from amino acids already swimming around in proto Earth and voila!
Or not. Whatever. So if the Black Goo is their natural state, you can imagine being humanoid would be preferable. Being anything would be preferable but especially humanoid cuz you can drive cars and build spaceships and play games. Especially if you could improve upon the human design with other genetic code you’d picked up before encountering humans on Earth. However, something went wrong on the planet where most of Prometheus takes place. It could have been an accident or intentional sabotage. That doesn’t matter. It would mean they didn’t colonize us and we’ve been left alone for over two thousand years. However, our planet was not the only one they were interested in. They had more successfully colonized other planets with other species that may not have been bipedal or humanoid. They could have been anything. Perhaps that’s what we see in the first movie.
This could also open the Alien franchise up to other stories that would take place alongside the Sigourney Weaver films or perhaps even after them. If there were other planets where the “Engineers” colonized species, that would mean there might be other species out there which could befriend humans and then later we find out they have xenomorphic qualities in their makeup. They could be either friend or foe. We could say there are several other species out there. I’d limit it to three or five as a writer but allow for the presumption that there’s many more just so far away it’s unlikely humans from Earth would ever interact with them. Also, one could toy with the possibility that maybe some of the early xenomorph hybrids were able to get close enough to us to lock their DNA in place and cohabitate. However, this means that some normal human beings are secretly “sleeper cell” xenomorphs. The writers would have to think of something that would have to transpire that hasn’t happened to any human being in thousands of years, in order for one of these dormant xenos to realize their potential. They wouldn’t suddenly have a face hugger jump out of their chest. They’d simply be mutant shapeshifters. Their abilities would manifest in different ways. This could be a very small percentage of the population, or it could be all human beings. I’d probably make it between a tenth and a fifth of the population, again to keep things simple. Recently scientists have discovered there is a very small percentage of neandertal DNA in most human beings. it’s not too far fetched to think perhaps other species could be there as well.
I guess what I take away from having experienced Prometheus is that it wasn’t a great film but it wasn’t entirely terrible either. It was a pretty film. The visuals were nice. Most of the special effects didn’t pull me out of the reverie so much as the dialogue or the character development did. They didn’t feel like scientists to me. I would think with so much riding on the success, these characters would have been smarter. It didn’t feel boring at any point throughout but at the same time sometimes the story itself made me feel like it was sometimes insulting my intelligence and other times intentionally misleading me, giving false information, or otherwise being untrustworthy as a storytelling device. The tragedy here is not that Prometheus was terrible. It was mediocre. The sad thing is it could have been so much more, and I think that’s why I find it so haunting. It brings out the backseat driver in me. The armchair quarterback. The inner child who thinks he could do better if he had millions of dollars and was named Ridley Scott.