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Monday
Mar192012

Some Thoughts On Prometheus

Given that we've just had four new Prometheus trailers over the weekend, I've been finding myself getting a bit obsessed over it. Their viral campaign that they've put out there has really caught my attention and it's pulled me in to the point where I'm finding myself poring over each new trailer for new shots. I've noticed quite a few things that I thought might be worth talking about, so I'm going to go through the imagery from all the trailers released so far and try to join up some dots to get an idea of what this amazing looking film might actually be. I'm trying to put them in sequence here so if it turns out in the future that I'm completely wrong, please don't judge me too harshly. And if you're one of these people who is "saving yourself", probably best to just watch this for a bit and come back tomorrow when I put a new post up.

It looks like we start off with an archaelogical expedition of some kind here on earth.

 After a bit of poking around with torches in a cave, some sort of ancient artwork is discovered.

This makes the Archaeologist's very happy and would appear to be what they came here looking for.

It appears that these two characters have a bit more going on than a purely professional relationship. Presumably this bond will be used as a dramatic device as the story develops and these two characters will be at the centre of some action that will strain this connection in some way. Like perhaps they get tragically seperated. Just a thought.

As they make their way back, the pair discuss the impact their findings will have and are excited about having the proof to get the backing for an archaeologcal expedition off-world. This is a huge win for them and all their dreams have come true. Judging from the looks on their faces, I'm presuming that the character of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) is in charge of things here and persumably the authority on this research. It looks like her boyfriend might have some reservations about all of this.

They report back to their team who have been roving the globe looking for what these two have just found. A presentation is held to show everybody and we find out exactly what is going on by sitting in on a lecture. Ancient artworks from throughout humanity are linked together and we learn there is some sort of puzzle, the answer to which is pointing towards a location on another planet. The theories are proved correct and everybody else is spun out by the enormity of what they have just learned.

I really like the look of this guy on the right. He somehow looks clever and tough but also reasonable. Good mix.

As the team come to understand the magnitude of what this all means, the logical next step of the off-world mission is announced. Weyland Industries come to the fore as it is announced they will be sponsoring the mission. We meet Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and David (Michael Fassbender) who are the face of the company and will be coming with them. They hover around the fringes of the lecture making their presence felt. The introduction of the android David is going to be a good one here as there's lots of room to play with it. As far as I understand, in the timeline of Prometheus, these kind of robots are brand new and meeting a completely convincing humanoid robot like that for the first time would be pretty freaky.

I'm expecting the initial distrust and paranoia around the character but there's the opportunity to not go the obvious route here and have David turn out to be the good guy, or at the very least amoral. I'm really interested to see how this all goes as although Weyland Yutani is the evil company in the other Alien films, at this point in the universe's timeline they might not be. It seems the character of Peter Wayland is more of a self-empowering philanthropist and so at this point there may not be any evil intentions or secret agendas coming from the company.

Then Benedict Wong turns up and the film gets a bit better still. I hope he makes it through to the end of the film. I love how Charlize Theron is staring right through the back of his head, I think she's going to be a good "suit".

So we're off the Earth and into the mission. Peter Weyland pays for a ship to take the crew on what may be the most important scientific find in the whole of human history answering questions to the origins of life, the universe and everything. Douglas Adams would have been proud. The pretty spacecraft approaches the planet in some sweet sci-fi vehicle porn.

The lights are all down low and the crew are asleep in their cryo-tanks. We get a tour of the empty ship like the beginning of Alien and everything looks abandoned, very empty and a bit spooky.

The corridors are stalked by a creepy and menacing looking David, who has been overseeing the flight of the ship whilst the crew slept.

As the ship arrives, he wakes the crew. I think this whole sequence will be very creepy and build a sense of threat from David which I expect to be flipped around later in the film. I do like the look of this suit with the yellow visor, its very "Moebius". And this yellow lighting looks lovely.

The crew wake and get their shit together as the prometheus approaches the planet, which is almost unduobtedly LV426 (although I expect it to be called something else in this film). Stringer Bell from the Wire puts a blanket over his shoulders because he's cold from the space travel and checks his equivalent of a space-satnav. He is the pilot of the Prometheus and will stay on the ship for the entire film. He announces they are almost there.

The crew have some banter about being a bit nervous but also excited and take their positions, reading in science updates from ship sensors at they get closer because they're landing a spaceship in a sci-fi film.

The ship comes in for final approach and landing with everybody in their flight positions. There's a bit of bumping and rattling as Stringer Bell from the Wire stands at the cockpit like a vicar at a pulpit and reels off lists of numbers and shouts a bit over the buffeting wind and engine noises. He does not make a whooping noise or punch the air.

One thing I do see in the open, spacious bridge design is elements of Ron Cobb's unused design for the original Nostromo bridge that became known as "California Split Level". This design ended up being too costly for the original Alien production as it featured massive windows at the front where the approaching planet could clearly be seen. Looks like this got dusted off for the Prometheus bridge design.

So the pretty spaceship makes it's way down towards the puffy clouds and everybody gets a bit tense as the ship gets buffeted around a bit by the thickening atmosphere.

The planet looks very pretty and "clean", with nice blue skies and billowing white clouds. Everything is massive so the human presence looks tiny and almost insignificant. The Prometheus touches down. Nobody can believe they are actually here. "This is going to be great" they all think.

The archaeological couple are a bit spun out by the enormity of their situation and both begin to have an apprehensive attitude towards the possibility of something bad happening to their partner.

They get ready to go outside. The ship interiors look very nice here. Good work you production peeps.

As everybody gets their game faces on, it becomes apparent how different from the others David is. We are reminded of his artificial nature with a tiny Weyland logo in the middle of his fingerprint (very cool visual device). Can David be trusted? Of course not - he's an artificial person and they always try to fuck you over, right?

The away team assemble in the vehicle bay where they take one of the trucks and both of the little scooters.

David walks alongside as they won't let an artificial person drive.

The truck and pair of quads head along a suspiciously roadlike looking flat area in a straight line towards their destination. The whole feel of the environment looks pre-prepared and is probably setting off alarm bells, as if they were expected.

The vehicles arrive at a structure that looks very like a piece of unused Giger art from the first Alien film. In the original Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Schusett script, the alien eggs were to be found inside a pyramid like structure and the derelict was found later on in the story, after Kane had disturbed the egg and suffered the consequences.

This boob-shaped pyramid looks very much like an unused piece of concept art for the original Alien film for the pyramid structure. From what I understand, the pyramid and derelict were mashed together in the original script to save money on set the build, but I'm sure you'll agree that film didn't suffer as a consequence. It looks here like Ridley Scott is going back to other material from Giger that was never used back in the seventies. This is a nice strategy and it makes me wonder what else might be popping up in this film.

The team arrive at the pyramid and jump out of the truck, entering through a large gap at the base.

This leads them down into a series of tunnels where they deploy some cool looking little mapping drones that they launch into the air and they shoot off down the tunnels, scanning the surface with lasers and streaming back topographic data as they go.

The drones do their thing and the command team back on the ship watch as they start to build up a picture. In this diagram I'm presuming the team members are the little yellow diamonds and the red points are the mapping drones. The green cylindrical shapes are the tunnels they have covered.

The archaelogical team start looking around whilst the mapping drones give them a more accurate picture of their surroundings and they discover some hieroglyphs that correspond to the images they found on Earth. They were right and the puzzle seems to make sense. David makes the discovery and informs the rest of the team which only serves to make him look more suspicious.

The mapping drones finish their work as they have hit a dead-end. The team move to see what is blocking their way and find a door with the probes pressed against it, trying to go deeper into the structure.

They open the door and proceed inside. It leads down a long, dark corridor.

Once again, David is at the front of the corridor when he makes a discovery that leaves him agape, even though he is a robot. He is still capable of gaping. More human than human is their motto.

That's right robot man; it's a big space face. I think this moment in the film is going to be quite spectacular.

They're all a bit freaked out and Meredith Vickers tells them all to be careful. They all assure her they will be.

The command team back on the Prometheus are watching the mission unfold through cameras worn by the team. There is also a presence back in the truck serving as a rescue team should it be needed. It definately will be.

Anybody who has seen the first Alien film can only see this as a dead ringer for the egg chamber the Nostromo crew find in the derelict. I can't see how team Prometheus can sell this scene any other way. These are surely the equivalent of the series' familiar alien eggs.

I've got to point out here that I'm not sure how the helmets work but I have a suspicion they retract using some sci-fi technology and fold themselves away on the suit. There are quite a few pics of both helmeted and helmetless explorers in the apparent same environment and I can't see anybody actually holding a helmet. I'm assuming they work in a similar fashion to Mat LeBlanc's combat helmet in Lost In Space. So it appears that somebody (possibly David) announces that the air is breathable and they cautiously open their helmets.

This is when this guy seems about to make a textbook mistake in the Alien universe. The little things on the top of the "ampule" are wriggling and it's clear you shouldn't put your face anywhere near them.

I'm presuming these images go together and thet the "ampule" is essentially the equivalent in some way of the alien eggs we are used to. Although, I might be wrong about this. Looking at the two images below, they appear to have found something that resembles an Alien egg as we would expect.

Setting this aside for the time being, I'm going to presume that the ampule essentially spat in his face. It looks like his helmet has sprung closed again and the organism is possibly inside it, sealed in. There's lots of smoke suggesting there's a bit of acid blood action going on too.

Big mistake there buddy, poking an alien thing and leaning right in to get a good look at it. This prompts an emergency evacuation and everybody runs back to the truck and drives to the Prometheus asap to get him to the infirmary. Things are going to get a bit fuzzier from here as I'm certain there are all sorts of story points that I have no clue about right now and so joining the dots together is becoming really hard to do with any degree of confidence. So I'll try complete segments and see how it goes. Don't harsh me up too much if the film is released and there are massive gaps/I'm completely wrong.

Upon return to the Prometheus, it appears that everybody who opened their helmet and exposed themselves needs to be isolated.

This machine looks like a body scanner/isolation tank and this appears to be a POV shot looking down at a pair of knees. Check out the shot below and tell me that doesn't look like a facehugger in there. It looks like a creature is making a break for it as the tank opens.

This sequence seems to follow the following two images which look a bit more tenticle-based than the facehuggers we know and love.

Noomi Rapace is woken in the infirmary and startled to find she is in quarantine. It looks like she freaks out a bit at the guy in the bio-suit but I guess that's fair enough becasue I hate it when that happens to me.

Noomi Rapace's boyfriend was the chap who took one in the face and it's starting to affect him. His eyes are changing and there appears to be some weird creature wiggling around inside his eye. Not good.

He is put into isolation and over the course of the film his body completely changes.

The pair of them are seperated by the forced confinement and it seems Miss Rapace spends a deal of time alone in the ship in her pants. The reason I think that her boyfriend is turning into a tenticle monster is mainly because of the sequence below which may be her at the infirmary window witnessing what he has become as the purple tenticle swipes across the blood-stained door and bangs against the window.

Alternately, it may be another creature altogether trying to get inside the Prometheus. The images below show a similar purple tentacled "arm", apparently breaking free from the suited arm of what appears to be the Space Jockey.

So I'm not sure if this is the same creature or not. it may be that a tentacle monster bursts out of the space jockey and makes it's way onto the prometheus, killing all the humans as it goes. I hope it's not this and there's a bit more going on than B-Movie alien-hunting-humans-and-eating-them. Either way it seems Miss Rapace gets chased around the Prometheus by something. The images above appear to show a tentacled arm breaking free and a more human gloved hand pressing over it as if to try and contain it. Tetsua! KANEDA!!

At first I thought there were other people in this shot, but I think it's just empty hanging suits. The image below caught my attention as I'm not sure what's going on - it looks like she's being chased by a large humanoid figure just coming round the corner behind her. Could this be the Space Jockey? Could he be on board the Prometheus to deal with the tentacle monster? Could he BE the tenticle monster using a some sort of shell-like bio-suit to give itself a humanoid form? Actually, looking back at this it seems like it's an arm from a different type of hanging suit. It looks pretty certain that something's chasing her though.

There's something else about the creatures that I'm absolutely dying to know. On the medical table, we have what appears to be the head of a space jockey. Although Ridley Scott has been quoted saying that the Jockey we know is acutally a suit rather than a creature. So perhaps the tentacle monsters do use a humanoid hard-suit to get around after all and the archeological expedition recovered a helmet?

I'm having a hard time establishing a time-line to all of this as the Space Jockey comes from the derelict and it seems like the appearance of the derelict is a major story event that would typically happen at the end of an act. Presumably the end of Act 2, when our heroes reach their lowest point. Many of their team are killed by the falling debris, and their ship is badly damaged. It seems that possibly their poking around in the pyramid starts a drama that results in a spectacular crash of an alien ship right on top of their heads. It looks like this may well happen during the medical evacuation from the pyramid as the truck races back followed by a large cloud of dust.

This big crack opening in the ground looks like things kicking off. it looks like it happens when they're outside, on their way back to the truck evacuating after the incident with the ampules.

So we can clearly see here some sort of covering opening for a massive buried structure. The large saucer-ship makes an appearance, descending from orbit, and the pyramid reacts by opening up like a flower to reveal most of the upper structure was actually hollow, kind of like a cooling tower from an old coal fired power station.

So I think the derelict is launched to intercept this saucer-ship. One thing that I noticed was that the computer that's making the map from the little red drones seems to have made the shape of the derelict so  it makes sense that it was lying under the pyramid in a silo waiting to be launched. these massive doors opening would seem to support this. The archeological team were inside the derelict when they found the ampules and didn't realise.

I've been trying to figure out the realtionship between these two ships in the distance as one of them is obviously the derelict from Alien and the other appears to be the large saucer seen elsewhere in the trailer. It's possible this might be a confrontation between the two ships or possibly an accident/collision. Script-wise, a confrontation would be much easier to sell the audience as the explanation for an accident would require going into the story of why the ships happened to crash, so I'm presuming there's some sort of conflict going on here.

Either way, the ship is involved in an incident and plows towards the ground. I have a feeling the large explosion in the sky is the saucer ship and the debris smashing into the ground is predominantly from this craft and not the derelict. As all of this happens whilst the archaeological team are trying to evacuate, they gat caught up in the debris field and many of them are killed by the massive impacts of chunks of burning alien spacecraft.

This whole event leaves the derelict in this position, face-down in the dirt. The surviving team members get to the truck and hightail it out of there as fast as they can.

Given that there are images of David inside the derelict at the space-jockey station, it sems logical that the wrecked ship needs to get itself over 90 degrees at some point. That's where I think this happens, as a second phase to the incident. It looks like it's all settled and then the upright ship keels over and smashes into the ground, creating a huge pressure wave and cloud of dust.

To demonstrate the power of the shockwave, we see this cool looking scene of one of the crew members awaiting the truck's return by the open ramp on the Prometheus getting blown off their feet.

The Prometheus takes damage and it's unclear as to whether the ship will be able to take off again. It seems like this damage might be a chunk of debris that was falling on the archaeological team. It looks like an engine's taking secondary damage here so I wouldn't expect this vehicle to be taking off without substantial repairs.

However, these shots below seem to show the prometheus in ascent.The lighting is completely different from the earlier shots of the ship approaching the planet and unless it was moved in the interim, it would seem that it is leaving the planet here.

I have a theory about this as I think it might be a sister ship. I think another human ship apears with some sort of backup/troubleshooting team on it. I actually think that's what this might be; the second human ship approaching the planet. It would make sense that if it is a sister ship it would look almost identical to the Prometheus and this story doesn't seem like it would suit a drydock period of three months whilst all the action stops whilst they fixed the engines to go home.

Besides which, it seems that at some point a bunch of guys turn up pointing weapons at everybody and generally looking like some sort of military/police outfit. If this is the case, these guys need to come from somewhere. And if they're not on the Prometheus, that must mean another ship.

There's also an incident that happens in the vehicle hold. The images below come from two seperate shots but they appear to join up quite well and show what is presumably the android David jumping from the roof of a vehicle and throwing somebody in a suit into the air with superhuman strength.

You can clearly see the men with guns in the background and so it would appear that they are either pointing their weapons at the leaping android or at the man he is throwing. He appears to catch fire a bit during this move which is something I find generally best avoided. There seems to be quite a bit of flamethrower action going on around here which could be a few things but I hypothesise is an attempt at sterilisation. I think the armed men are attempting to stop this, so it's armed cop type spacemen with pistols versus the Prometheus crew with flamethrowers. In this context, I think David is stepping up to fight the space cops and so is on the side of the Prometheus crew. The dramatic leap from the top of the truck looks like a dramatic move pulled in the middle of a fight or possibly to break a mexican stand-off where everybody is stood pointing weapons at each other.

There seems to be a bit of nonchelance in this scene with the way the suited figures are strolling around as bursts of flame lick across the screen. I think this is the Prometheus crew "disinfecting" the bay with fire just before the spacecops arrive. It seems like if there was trouble with the risk of some weird infection up in the infirmary, they might take steps to try and ensure they didn't bring anything else back with them. Or perhaps a beastie on board the ship (possibly coming from the infirmary) made it's way to the vehicle bay. Or they might have driven it in here to try and capture/kill it. Either way, something made them get their flamethrowers out.

What a surprise; Charlize Theron in a space suit with a flamethrower looks AMAZING.

I think what happens next is that for some reason, David is motivated to return to the derelict. He jumps out of the back of one of the trucks out of the open cargo bay doors and lands on the ground outside, making his way to the crashed ship. I thought that this shot was cool-looking when I saw it in the trailer. it kind of reminded me of Chris Morris as Denholm jumping out of the window when he comitted suicide on the IT crowd.

The other footage in the trailers is impossible to make real sense of, but features what is unmistakably the interior of the derelict ship.

It appears that David ends up in the Space Jockey's chamber and seems to activate some sort of star-map. Judging by the look on his face, acquiring this information may be what the whole expedition was about.

It looks Like David drops his phone or something and is disturbed by a huge phallic object coming out of the floor.

And then there's this guy. Anybody doubting that this film had anything to do with the Alien franchise should just get off the internet right now.

And then there's this. Which apparently has nothing to do with the Alien franchise. At all. Whatsoever.

We also get to see David playing with some sort of specimin and somewhere else, a gloved hand comes into contact with some xenomorph slime.

And this is just something that I don't know what it is. Is this a man in a suit? Some kind of precursor to the Alien? I actually think that this is Noomi Rapace's boyfriend who is turning into some sort of weird new creature. It's too small to be a Space Jockey and if it was just a human it wouldn't be that dramatic.

He gets left behind at the end and is stood on the planet when another ship turns up, looking familiar.

I'm presuming these two shots go together, as the flowing water is very similar in the background of these two images. I think the saucer ship that turned up first was trying to retrieve the ampules as whatever is inside them was being carried as cargo in the derelict and the saucer-driving aliens want it back. This image feels like it's at the end of the film to me.

There's a few other bits and pieces that seem to make sense, such as Meredith Vickers running for an escape capsule. She's not hanging around and jumps in and slams the door shut so presumably everybody else is either dead or just busy doing space stuff. There's a chance she could be pulling a Carter Burke type stunt and attempting to run out on them when they find themselves in a jam but seeing her step up with a flamethrower makes this seem a bit unrealistic; her character is not a coward. To me this image feels like it belongs towards the end of the film, or at least towards the end of this character's story. Having seen the engine damage shot, it does make me curious as to whether anybody gets off the planet. It I'm wrong about the second ship, they might all die there. If the ship doesn't ever take off again, I wonder if the story will "dispose" of it so that there's no lose ends for the Nostromo to find when they come back a few years later? Was it one of them that planted the distress beacon that the Nostromo heard? Will this be the final shot of the film?

I think Charlize Theron's going to be doing quite a bit of running around in this film. So that's my round-up of my current thoughts on what we might be getting treated to in June when this film hits. I just hope Benny Wong gets out safe and goes to live with Charlize Theron on a nice quiet asteroid.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (13)

and all this from two mostly identical trailers? epic ;]

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpukomuko

Great read, Gavin. I've found myself in the same boat after these epic trailers in trying to piece it all together! I had a slightly different order in my head, with the Noomi Rapace operation and having the weird alien pulled out of her then being chased around by that bio-tech suited guy more towards the end, but I like your thinking on this too. It would definitely make sense for her to wake up and be seen by the biohazard guy after an op. I also wonder if the mutated guy overlooking the waterfall is Noomi Rapace's mutated boyfriend, or some bio-tech version of Fassbender's android,or maybe something even more way out there. Great fun speculating either way! Thanks for the write up!

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSiUttley

That was great and has got me wanting to watch Alien again.

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon Ainsworth

Despite what I said on Twitter earlier today, predictably I couldn't help myself and had to look. I'm actually glad to say I don't agree with all your assumptions which means that I haven't definitely ruined it for myself. One thing I wondered was whether it was one of the Prometheus crew who left the distress/warning beacon that is eventually picked up by the Nostromo. I've still got odd niggles with the design (Scott's explanation notwithstanding) but there's a clear nod with the suit that you think Fassbender's wearing as he walks out alongside the scooters, with the Moebius designed suits from the original. The huge head is like he drew in Incal, and as I'd already noted, a lot of Ron Cobb influence in the bridge. A long time since I've been this excited about an upcoming movie.

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I'm pretty sure that's Prometheus crashing into the Derelict trying to stop it from heading to Earth?

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstuholton

Great thoughts Gav ! (email sent with new thoughts of mine this time)

I don't know why, but the design of the Prometheus reminds me of the Serenity from the TV show... maybe because both share similar inspirational sources ? (Ron Cobb & Chris Foss)

: o

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFred

I know that it is a modern movie but shouldn't the tech look like precursors to the 1970's Alien stuff? Sure the designs are sourced there, but looking at suits and holograms I don't see to much that suggests pre Alien.

Also don't they allude to the concept of all the ancient clues as bait? That is attracting an advanced civilisation to prey upon rather than hunting them down.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

That pink worm type alien slithering into the bio-suit arm looks similar to the tail-end of this Giger art:

http://jfjacobs.com/Gallery/albums/SciFi-05/0uro0010_h_r_giger_alien_monster_lll.jpg

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSiUttley

Weyland Industries is not Weyland Yutani at the time of the film. Yutani Corporation is still their competitor, as mentioned in the corporate timeline (2029): https://www.weylandindustries.com/#/timeline

In the old canon they merge in 2030 when they buy out Borgia Industries, but this new timeline has them unmerged in 2073 [/nerd]

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCal

Minor point - the Noomi Rapace picture in 'Empire' shows her holding her helmet - so I imagine they take them off in the old-fashioned way (and presumably put them on the floor...)

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWoodzmeister

Tremendous post. Just tremendous.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPage

The Weyland web-site makes a reference to short-term ressurection of the dead. "Weyland Industries earns patent number 18,364,003 for Method and Apparatus for device able to temporarily restart brain activity of deceased individuals." I'm pretty sure that's going to turn out to be a plot point in one form or another.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcus Worth

Your analysis/assumption is that the Prometheus takes damage from the crash, but the trailer clearly shows it RAMMING the space jockey ship in flight. I don't know how you could take that any other way. What I gathered was that the ship was taking off and Prometheus rammed it (causing the explosion) and caused the space jockey ship to crash.

Also, I can't watch the trailer at work, but it appeared as though the person jumping and tossing the other person in the space suit around was the infected crew member, not David the android.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGerald S.

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