Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw wants answers. There's a good chance that after you see "Prometheus," you will, too.
Astoundingly gorgeous yet fundamentally frustrating, "Prometheus" seems poised to be the most analyzed and debated big budget Hollywood release this year.
Its intentional ambiguity is a nice nod to its ancestor (1979's "Alien" has more than its share of elliptical moments) but this new one seems doubly excited to leave its viewers in the dark, especially considering how today's megaplex fare seems to spoon feed us.
(Editor's Note: If you haven't yet seen "Prometheus," read no further. Spoilers abound!)
Luckily, I've seen "Prometheus" and, in case you didn't already realize it, I'm a frickin' genius. As such, I have answers to the most common questions in the film – even if director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Damon Lindelof continue to plead the fifth.
Obviously, these are wall-to-wall spoilers, so proceed with caution.
1. What the hell was that pre-title sequence all about?
That was one of the Engineers on Earth, jump-starting the creation of man. (In case you didn't know, the Greek mythological figure Prometheus didn't just steal fire and get a harsh punishment from Zeus, he also CREATED mankind, for which, oddly, he doesn't get as much credit.)
2. Wait, so did the giant blue man make those cave etchings with the stars? The ones future scientists will be able to chart to LV-223?
There is absolutely no evidence to support this in the text, but I believe the Engineers imprinted these images on early man – kinda like how the people in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" all felt compelled to design images of Devil's Tower.
3. How can an android, even one as technologically advanced as David, read dreams?
You gotta just accept that one. Maybe dreams give off electrical discharges that, in future years, will be reconstructable? But this is a question like "if 'Prometheus' is set before 'Alien,' why does it look more modern than 'Alien'?" It's not a real question.
4. Why did those awesome roving spheres that make the 3-D map, that are ostensibly looking for life forms, not pickup on those earthworms?
That's annoying, ain't it? I can only guess that the spheres don't recognize life forms that small, or that the indigenous life on LV-223 consists of properties Human tech isn't hip to. (Like silicon-based life as opposed to carbon-based, c.f. Star Trek, "The Devil in the Dark," 1967.)
However, the spheres were able to pick up on the giant snake that the worms turned into once the evil black goo mixed with them. That means the spheres would recognize the goo-derived aspects of the snake. This makes sense, because the goo came from the Engineers' world and the Engineers, as we later discover, have the same DNA as us.
Still, you'd think the black goo alone would have biological elements of a recognizable nature that the spheres could detect, but I'm not an expert in black goo. Maybe it only becomes "alive" when it mixes with other living matter.
5. Where did the snake come from?
I just answered that. David started messing with the canisters of black goo and it mixed with the earthworms to become giant snake monsters not dissimilar to the Dionaga from "Episode IV."
6. Why did David grab the canister of goo?
I believe that Peter Weyland told David on the down low that, listen, we're not just here to talk to our Gods and try and stave off death. We've also got an obligation to our investors to grab anything that can be of scientific or technological interest.
I don't think, however, Weyland knew specifically about the goo in advance, or knew what it could do.
7. Why did David poison Charlie with the goo?
One of the principal themes of "Prometheus" is creation. Most (but not all) humans feel compelled to procreate. Peter Weyland designed David to have as many human characteristics as possible. He wants to be a real boy, like Pinocchio or Lt. Commander Data. However, he is unable to create life. He even discusses his wonder at creating life with Charlie. He knows that if he poisons Charlie and if Charlie is intimate with Elizabeth Shaw, he will impregnate her with a lifeform based partly on his design. This will also be seen as a "take that, Dad!" to his father, whom he feels the need, in some ways, to impress or "one-up."
8. Okay, so HOW did David know that he could do all this with a drop of goo in Charlie's drink?
No frickin' clue. It's a big problem with "Prometheus." The only answer I can give is that David, like Data, is smart. He figured it out. I have a hunch that this is something being "saved for the sequel," which, again, is a cop-out. You shouldn't have questions like this saved for a sequel.
9. How did Idris Elba know that LV-223 was a testing ground for Engineer WMD?
Again, no idea. I was right there with him and I didn't put that together. Hell, I actually saw MORE of the story, through the power of cross-cutting, and I didn't put that together. My hunch is that Elba's character knew this through the power of the almighty "Studio Note." Somebody read Lindelof's script and said, "you need someone to come in and explain this point."
10. How did David know how to find the Engineer's ships?
He's got sensors.
11. How did David know how to manipulate the ship?
He's Data! He's really smart. How many times do I have to tell you?
12. Why cast Guy Pearce and put him in awful makeup? There are no 90 year-old actors out there? Is Guy Pearce such a box office draw?
No, he isn't, but having him involved meant they could make that cool viral video of him as a young businessman. That's the only excuse I can think of for that bad makeup.
13. Why did the Engineer go batty and start killing people? Was it something David said?
I think David was on the level and said whatever it was that Peter wanted to say to him. The Engineer, however, has been asleep for a thousand years. He's grumpy. But he knew that he had to kill humans. What does he see? Humans! So he starts killing.
14. This is LV-223 and "Alien" takes place on LV-426. What's the deal?
Well, there are some missing pieces between the end of "Prometheus" and the beginning of "Alien."
LV-223 is left with dead engineers, a derelict ship and a room full of black goo canisters. LV-426 has dead engineers (or at least one), a derelict ship (or at least one) and a room not full of canisters but of Xenomorph eggs. It's a different place. (Or an altered place that is coincidentally timed with a change in stellar cartography – so not bloody likely.)
This means that somehow some sort of similar event is happening on LV-426. Maybe it was a second WND testing site?
Also, as is evident solely in "Alien," someone needed to have communicated back to Weyland-Yutani the potential of the Xenomorph on LV-426 to make it of interest to them. That means either the surviving characters of "Prometheus" do it or other characters we haven't met yet do it. This is not a direct prequel.
15. Wait, so, about the Xenomorphs. The aliens from "Alien" that we know and love. We don't see them until the very end of the movie, when we see (and take a deep breath here) the biological by-product of a half-Engineer and a black goo inseminated human fetus. But if they all have the same DNA, why does this create a Xenomorph when the other critters in "Prometheus" are clearly not Xenomorphs?
I could be a jerk and say things like "it needs to be second-generation" or it was the fact that Shaw's creature was ripped out before its full term, but the real answer is this: the fans.
If there wasn't a Xenomorph in the movie, everyone would go nuts. So why not throw it in there in the very last frame? It'll make people happy, they'll leave the theater with a smile, tell their friends to go see it, cause the film to make money, inspire a sequel and, well, by then someone will have thought up a good answer.
16. Why do the Engineers create us just to kill us?
That's not for this movie to answer. That's between you and your God.
17. Okay, why does Idris Elba listen to Stephen Stills so far into the future?
The classics stay classic.
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