Last night, at a packed Manhattan theater for an opening night showing of Prometheus, a friend turned to me and said, “It’s really kind of weird you even want to see this. Don’t you hate outer space?” The answer is yes! I won’t bore you with the reasoning behind my terror of outer space (except to remind you we’re in it, hurtling through it, right at this very minute. Brawwwwng!). Suffice it to say nothing makes my heart beat a little faster than a wide shot of a vast (oh so vast) planet- and star-filled sky. And who does a gleaming spaceship gliding through terrifyingly cold skies better than Ridley Scott? For that matter, who does totally bananas things better than Ridley Scott? And really, is there a better scary sci-fi movie than 1979’s Alien?
But love of good movies trumps irrational fears. I was also determined to keep my eyes open through the whole movie. But in the spirit of honesty, I failed hard on that account. My eyes stayed firmly shut during the following scenes: When the snake-y thing in the cave wrapped around poor Millburn’s (Rafe Spall) arm, audibly breaking it and then diving through the helmet to plunge down his throat. Nope, no can do. Ditto Noomi Rapace’s self-administered C-section. (By the gasps I heard around me, it must have been impressive.)
But on the flip side, I couldn’t take my eyes off Michael Fassbender as David, the polite and ever-malevolent robot aboard the ship Prometheus. I was already well primed to love this character after seeing this video. But after seeing it, I have to give Fassbender the movie’s MVP award. (Also, all robots should pattern themselves after Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.) I also very much enjoyed Charlize Theron, so cold and slim that it wasn’t a stretch to wonder, as Capt. Idris Elba does, if she’s a robot. It was beautiful, it was exciting, and sure — for this amateur sci-fi-watcher, anyway — a little confusing.
After the movie finished, so began a discussion about what it all meant in relation to 1979’s Alien. In her review of the film, EW’s critic, Lisa Schwarzbaum says, “But oh, mortals, beware the WTF? awaiting any who try to shed light on the heavy, heavy heaviosity of Prometheus‘ mythology.” Well, sure. But much like the characters on board the ship, I still want to know! And what about that ending? Are we supposed to believe that it’s this planet, this fallen ship, and this hybrid of alien and Original Human (as I like to call them) that eventually populates the land in preparation for when the Nostromo arrives? And why were the “Engineers” so much buffer than us, their creations, anyway?
So, you guys, I’d like to open this up to you. Which parts of Prometheus did you close your eyes for? Did you understand that ending at all and how it relates to Alien? And did you enjoy it? Please please please, sound off in the comments section below.