Prequel to Alien and homage to ancient aliens
Written by Tyler Wiest
In the Film Prometheus, the title is reference to the name of the ship-which took a crew of a few dozen Geologists near a light year in distance to find those believed to have created man. The name Prometheus however, is derived from the Greek Myth about the Titan Prometheus, who stole fire from the Gods, and gave it to man. The Greek myth of Prometheus is very appropriate to share its name with the Ridley Scott film. Because, one of the central ideas of the film is, man was put on Earth by Alien intervention of pre-Homo Sapien genetics. Modern Scientists believe pre-Homo Sapien Primates began to evolve in to whom we are today because of the discovery of fire, and how fire drove man to thrive and pursue civilization. Could the title Prometheus alone be hinting technology was brought to us from the Gods above?
Within the first ten minutes of the film, the main archeologists who spearheaded the operation, Charlie and Elizabeth speak of how there are pictograms from ancient cultures all over the world that share the same image of Aliens coming down to Earth, that were all from one Star System, Sirius. This is actually not fiction. Many ancient cultures share the belief that Gods, or Aliens, came from the Solar System around the Star Sirius. The evidence for this is not only seen in pictograms, but it is also seen in architecture. For example, one culture that believes their Gods, or Aliens, came from the Sirius Star System, is the Ancient Egyptian one. This is best exampled with, the synonymous symbol of the Egyptian culture, the Pyramids of Giza. Each of the three pyramids is pointed at each Star of Orion’s belt, an astronomical constellation, which points to none other than the Sirius star system. Nearly 2,000 Miles away there is a Native African tribe called the Dogons. The Dogon’s belief weigh heavily on the Nommo, which are described by Dogon descendants, and ancient Dogon pictograms, as other worldly beings that have made direct contact with the Dogon People. The descendants and the pictograms both describe the Nommo, as being from the Sirius Star System. Also, Dogon translated in their own language means, “Children of the Star People”. It is also important to note, the Moon visited by the crew of Geologists in Prometheus, was in the Sirius Star System.
These references to Ancient humanity demands attention to the central theme of the film, which begs to answer the question of what was previously asked of us, does the Homo Sapien exist because of ancient Alien intervention of the primate genetic code? Was technology brought to us from Aliens? And, what asked by the protagonist of our story, Elizabeth, why were we created?
WARNING SPOILERS APPROACHING
This question, why we were created is what Elizabeth obsessed over through out the film, but the answer was provided in two ways in the film. Before revealing this, I must first establish who the Weyland Corporation is, and who David is. First, the Weyland Corporation had only a blip on the radar in Prometheus, however, the Corporation is who funded the journey, and is involved in every Alien film in some way. The CEO of the Weyland Corporation funded the journey because he believed making contact with the creators of man would provide him immortality, for he was in his last moments of life. It is immediately established David, was created by the Weyland Corporation to take care of the company’s CEO.
Side Note: One trailer that was released online, was the CEO of the Weyland Corp., played by Guy Pierce (Which apparently, is who plays the CEO in the film but the old man make up makes this indistinguishable) speaking about the pursuit of finding our creators at TED conference in 2023. The film Prometheus takes place in the 2090s, Establishing this was a life long project of the Weyland Corp.’s CEO.
Because David is an android, he does not sleep, and while the crew of Prometheus was in a 2-year hibernation, David studied the beliefs and languages of Ancient cultures that believed in the Aliens of the Syrian Star System. David’s desire to discover our creators, is not from being a life’s passion, like that of our protagonists Charlie and Elizabeth, but it was programmed into him, by the Weyland CEO to make first contact, when our creators were met. David was also programmed to make meeting the Alien’s contact with the Weyland CEO possible by any means necessary. Thus, David took action to use the Alien bio weapons set in the temple on the Moon visited by the crew of Prometheus, against those who had good intentions during first contact. He did this knowing exactly what the bio weapon would do to Charlie and Elizabeth. He took action to incapacitate the protagonists because he knew Charlie and Elizabeth would take action to prevent the Weyland CEO from making first contact with the Aliens.
The Captain of the operation, Mrs. Vickers, who was later established as the Weyland CEO’s daughter, showed similar characteristics when pulling the ship’s Captain and acting crew chief Janek away from his post of over-watching the two Gelogists who were trapped in the temple on that Moon, by uncharacteristically offering her body. And than once again by not allowing Charlie to get back in to the ship when he was obviously in need of a visit to the infirmary, she went to the lengths of shooting Charlie with a flame thrower, burning him alive.
The Behavior exemplified by David and Vickers indicated a theme carried through other Alien films, including that of Alien 1. Which was man’s desire of war, exampled in the Weyland Corporation’s obsession with obtaining the Alien bio weapon for man-kind’s control, and doing this with no fear of sacrifice of human life.
Now to answer the question, why were we created, this is answered simply put by David, “We were created simply because they could do so.” This may sound like an easy out, but David’s theory is once again backed up by the beliefs of Ancient civilizations. The Egyptian Gods, which were referred to earlier as a Civilization who could believe in the same Aliens which starred in Prometheus. The Egyptian Gods appear to have been created by genetically mixing creatures of Earthly origins. Look at images of Anubis, which is half man, half Dog, or Ra their Sun God, which is half Man half Bird. The Egyptians also have consistent references to beasts such as Griffons, which are beasts identical to what People living in Europe in the Medieval Times believed in. Also, throughout all ancient cultures there are beliefs of creatures that could have been created in the same manner, literally genetic experiment done by Aliens.
The answer here provided by David, of being created by Aliens, by just because they are able to, is dissatisfying, but necessary for the storyline. In the film, it was established early on that the ancient pictograms directing the film’s Protagonists to that Moon, were not maps but invitations. The climax of the story is where David, and the Weyland CEO confront the supposed creators of man. This moment parallel to that which is seen in Michelangelo’s “The Creation” which shows man meeting God, the creator of man.
“The Creation”, by Michelangelo. Any time a moment in film is paralleled to “The Creation” it immediately deems its self as a story arc driven by the conflict of Man vs. God. When David and the CEO of the Weyland Corp. meet our potential creators or potential “God” they are judged. Because the Aliens in this system do not know how much good or evil has become of human beings, they must judge us based off of their first impressions of us. Which explains why they left a map for us to discover. For their first impression of us would be the difference of, them sending their bio-weapon to Earth, or them sharing their knowledge with us. David, and the CEO of Weyland did not give the best impression by immediately asking for immortality. The Aliens of course, killed every one in the room with them, and ripped David’s head off. The climax went from, what’s going to happen at the first meeting, to how will Earth survive?
This twist turned the theme of Man vs. God from symbolic to literal. The sacrificial actions of the Captain of Prometheus decided the sparing of mankind, which is a very classic Greek story piece, literal self-sacrifice to save humanity and deny the Gods. The next piece of the climax involved Elizabeth’s escape from the Alien’s who pursuit her understanding she could find away to get to his home planet. Ironically, it was the squid that was cut out of Elizabeth’s whom that would kill the Alien pursuing her, squid implanted an infant Xenomorph (Aliens of the Alien movies) in to the stomach of the Alien, just as how the Aliens in the Alien films reproduce.
Side Note: Xenomorph translated from Latin is Xeno: Soldier, and Morph: Of Dreams. So Xenomorph means Soldier of Dreams.
This could explain how, in Alien one, when a crew of a space ship carrying Ore taken from another planet was awaken from cryostasis to answer a distress call from another ship, which was discovered to have been overrun by Xenomorphs. Also, Alien one took place 2122, 28 years after what went down in Prometheus. This however does not provide enough of a bridge in storyline, so I think Prometheus might have a sequel that will still precede Alien. We also still have the story, which is left to be told of what happens to Elizabeth, and what was left of David and their self proclaimed mission to fly to the home planet of the Aliens who created Man, and the Xenomorphs.
What is most amazing to me about Prometheus is the Antagonist, you as the audience member experiencing this story can make an argument for two different Antagonists that clearly relate. First what is first interpreted as the primary Antagonists are the Aliens who are laterally providing possible human extinction, but you can also argue the Antagonist of Prometheus is the Weyland Corporation or David, who represents them. The Weyland Corp. Is Pursuiting the destruction of Man for their own personal gains. Their pursuit of this, is what may have caused the Aliens in the film to try to send their bio-weapon to Earth.
Prometheus was considered to be one of the most anticipated films of 2012. This was literally Ridley Scott’s Avatar. I do not mean, Avatar in terms of success, but Avatar in terms of self-proclamation, just as James Cameron wrote Avatar himself, developed technology for Avatar, and paid for it completely out of his pocket, so did Ridley Scott with Prometheus.
Side note: Ridley Scott only directed one Alien film, Alien (Alien 1). Coincidentally, James Cameron directed Aliens (Alien 2).
Unfortunately, the hype surrounding Prometheus lead to an expectation for success that was not met. Prometheus has only made about 90,000,000 in its first 2 weeks, performance which is average for a film of this budget. Maybe because of it being in such a crowded summer, and it coming out so close to 2012’s juggernaut film, The Avengers, which is currently closing in on Titanic for the number 2 spot of all of film’s grossing totals has overshadowed the film.
It also may be because the majority of target age group for film audiences memory of Alien is of the poorly made Alien Vs. Predator films, which is based on a comic cross over that has little substantial story that would generate interest in the Alien storyline. It also could be Prometheus has a lot of obscurity about it, and requires audience attention to detail in character traits and sub-plot. Attention of that level is usually reserved for film students and screenwriters and attention of that level is beyond that of average movie-goers. Unfortunately, when you have that amount of attention requirement, it leaves too many people scratching their heads, and advising against seeing Prometheus. This is simply because people generally go to the movies to have fun, not think.
Luckily for Prometheus, being a Film student, and having a sharpened appreciation for film through the study of criticism, I have fun thinking about things like character traits and sub plots and how they drive story arcs in films. I would give Prometheus an 8.0 out of 10. It looses some points in my book because of the scene following Elizabeth’s scene of self-preservation where she cut the squid out of her own uterus. She literally just cut herself open, limped across the ship, and walked in to a room with the CEO of Weyland, Mrs.Vickers, and David, to only be told basically “I am impressed with your self preservasionism.” This does provide a cliché that supports the story, where when the King, (the CEO) is in the room, all others, no matter how good of a person they are (Elizabeth), are pawns.
This however left me face palming. Just moments before her self-inflicted cesarean, she was being pinned by people in the suits you would see in movies involving diseases breaking out like Outbreak. Some how Elizabeth went from being a possible carrier of a disease, to “Oh, you’re here, glad you’re okay, come with us to meet our creators.” That 20minute sequence, as entertaining and suspenseful as it was, felt forced and not thought out. Also, notice how the surgery machine was in Mrs. Vicker’s escape pod but it was made males only. Don’t you think, the only person the Owner of the ship could have any care for, his daughter, would have the right kind of machine in her room? After thinking about it this was a subtlety in the writing. Mr. Weyland cares about his daughter, but not enough to take the basic step of making sure she had the right machine with her.
Aside from that mis-step, I think it was a very good story that was very well presented. It was definitely a noted Ridley Scott feature. It was, in Ridley Scott fashion, dialogue heavy and filled with very strong performances by the actors carrying the film. The downfall of a Ridley Scott film though, is you have long bridges of dialogue between the incidents in the story. This is great because it literally makes you wait for those moments you want to wait for, like reading a novel. But it is a double-edged sword, those who make up the majority of American audiences are those who only care about how Entertained they were with out thinking.
Unfortunately, based off of Prometheus’s showing I think Ridley Scott is going to end up like Stephen Spielberg, a once king of the box-office, but now a directing savant, who makes stories which require too much attention for American audiences. But, that happens to all the greats, it happened to Stanley Kubric, it happened to David Lynch, and it happened to Alfred Hitchcock. Luckily Ridley is making the same transition Scorsesse and Speilberg had done as of late, that from being a director, to that of a producer. Finally I will leave you with a chart describing the origin of the creatures in the film, to aid in clarity.