ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 9, 2012
Ok, let’s get this out of the way quickly: If you haven’t seen Prometheus yet and don’t want anything spoiled, LEAVE. NOW. QUICKLY. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER!
This is your last warning!
Lots of evil spoilers in 3…
Ok then, you asked for it…
I just saw Prometheus a few hours ago. Good movie, but not great. However, it did the one thing that I think was mainly intended, and that’s to engender conversation. My son and friend that saw it with me were talking about it most of the way home. I threw out a couple of obvious explanations for things to them and we bandied about a few theories about some less obvious things.
But, sitting there watching TV a little while afterward I had a bit of a revelation. Here’s what I think was going on that I didn’t catch during the movie…
The saucer ship in the beginning… the first thing you assume is that was the same species as the Engineers. But, upon further reflection, I don’t think that was the case. I think that’s a different species entirely (or possibly an offshoot of the Engineers).
I was thinking back to some of the early script reviews I saw… they all brought up the mythological aspect of Prometheus having stolen fire from the gods and Zeus casting him out for it. That was brought up in the movie too. All along I’ve seen everyone, myself included, assuming the human race was supposed to be akin to Prometheus.
Now though, I think that’s entirely wrong. I now think it’s the Engineers who are supposed to represent Prometheus.
I think they stole the bioengineering technology from the saucer people, I’ll call them for now. In the opening of Prometheus, we see an Engineer ingesting the stuff and being torn apart, his body falling into a river below. The assumption you make is that was seeding life, most probably on Earth. I think that’s wrong though. I bet that Engineer was assuming he’d be transformed into a God, into one of the saucer people, by ingesting it. Obviously, he was wrong. Whether that somehow seeded life or not, by accident, in that case, I’m not so sure. I tend to doubt it actually. I think that was basically Prometheus being “cast out”, so to speak, and the saucer people were there watching. Notice they were leaving at that point. They probably knew what was about to happen and figured “ok, fine, you just go right ahead and mess yourself up”.
So, was the black stuff a biological weapon used by the Engineers, as the captain suggests? Maybe, but then the question is who is it to be used against? We’re led to believe the Engineers were coming to destroy humanity. Why would they do that though if they created us?
I have two theories on that.
First, it could be that the Engineers did NOT create us and it was, in fact, the saucer people. I’d suggest then that the opening scene did NOT occur on Earth. In this case, the Engineers discover Earth, and the creations of the saucer people, and set out to destroy said creations. Maybe they’re doing this all over the galaxy, kind of “rebelling against the Gods” so to speak.
The second possibility is that we were created by accident, maybe as a result of what that Engineer in the opening scene did (which there’s some evidence for based on the DNA breaking/reforming stuff seen there), and they’re just out to fix that mistake. All indications so far are that the Engineers are a malevolent species, their actions in Prometheus seem to support that. Maybe they just don’t want to see another species rise that could rival them, or maybe they just hate anything created by the saucer people, directly or indirectly. If the Engineers view the saucer people as their Gods, as would kind of be implied by the whole Prometheus mythology, then they may not like the idea of having competition for their attention. Sort of wanting to kill your new baby brother so you keep getting your parents’ attention 🙂
Whatever the case, I’m now pretty convinced that what happened to the Engineer in the beginning, whether it was on Earth or not, wasn’t what he intended or expected to happen. I’m also convinced there are two species besides humans in play here, the Engineers and the saucer people. I could have the exact plot wrong around those facts, but I think those two things will prove to be true in a potential sequel. I hope I’m right too because I think that actually makes the storyline FAR more interesting and opens up many more possibilities. Might we have to join forces with the Engineers against the saucer people later? Might we need the help of the saucer people against the Engineers in an all-out war? Maybe all three species are up shits’ creek with the creation of the Xenomorph species. Lots of possibilities. But if it’s fairly straightforward, as in the Engineers seeded Earth and now for some reason want to destroy us, well, that’ll be perfectly fun I’m sure, but a little bit of a letdown.
Another possibility to explain why they might want to destroy us: did you notice the dating of the Engineer head? 2,000 years roughly. Also right around the time of Jesus. I wonder if the Engineers sent one of their own to check up on us, whether that was to check up on their creation or to see the status of the “mistake”… and we promptly crucified him! Might that have pissed them off? Oh, I’d say it might have 🙂 Maybe they were on their way to spank us at that point when all hell broke loose on their bioweapons storage world and they didn’t get around to it (bigger fish to fry and whatnot). That’s not a bad storyline either. But, that leaves the question of why the different ship in the opening scene. Sure, there’s every chance there’s simply different ships in the Engineer fleet, but for some reason, I doubt that. I think there’s a deeper meaning to that one detail and I think it’s something along the lines of my theory above.
One other point that I have a theory on is the effect of the black goo… we see it basically destroy any creature it comes in contact with save Shaw and the worms. Why is that? Well, clearly the stuff manipulates life on a genetic level. What’s the common pattern here? Well, you’ll note that everyone affected by it except for Shaw was a male. We don’t know the gender of the worms of course… maybe they were female, or maybe they were asexual… but either way, could it be that when the goo encounters a lifeform with reproductive capabilities it uses that capability to its advantage? At first, I thought the squid creature that Shaw takes out of herself was supposed to be a “mutated” Charlie sperm, but now I’m not so sure. I instead think it’s more likely the stuff used her reproductive capabilities, broken as we’re told they were, to create a forerunner of the well-known facehugger. The worms, if they were asexual, might have just been mutated. Or maybe they were female, which I think I prefer in theory because we see one try to enter one of the crew (I forget which), and that makes me think of impregnation. Maybe that was a failed attempt at a Xenomorph reproductive entity? In either case, males it just destroys outright, that’s my thought.
Well, hopefully, Prometheus does well enough to justify a sequel and we find out for sure about all of this. No doubt it’s a compelling storyline either way. Funny thing is, if you subscribe to ancient astronaut theory as I do them Prometheus is in many ways just rehashing concepts you’re already quite familiar with. That dulls it a little bit frankly for me. But still, this is heady stuff that is well worth exploring in a well-made movie. Prometheus was that for sure and so long as Ridley Scott is involved in any sequel I’m sure it will be completely worth my hard-earned money next time around no matter which way the story goes!