Of Xenomorphs and Space Jesus: Prometheus

In my last post, I discussed a film, Quatermass and the Pit, which dealt with aliens altering human evolution in the distant past. This time, I'm going to talk about another film that focuses heavily on this concept, Ridley Scott's Prometheus.

 I am a huge fan of the original Alien. I saw it in the theater when it came out in 1979 -I had an older brother who took me - and it made an impact on me, not only for the bizarre yet beautiful  H.R. Giger creature designs, but also because of the intriguing lifecycle of the alien, and the mystery of the  derelict  alien spaceship. Like many people, I wondered about how the alien eggs got on that ship, what happened to the space jockey, and who were these people who wound up crashed on LV-426? There were so many questions that were left unanswered.

When Prometheus was announced, I was filled with a great sense of anticipation and excitement, because it was going to be a prequel to Alien, and would provide answers to so many of the questions fans had been asking for decades. I had not had such high expectations since waiting on the Star Wars prequels -and we know how that went.  I went into Prometheus thinking we'd learn more about the xenomorphs, their origins, how their lifecycle worked, and also about the species that had crashed on LV-426 in Alien. How were they connected? Had the space jockey's people created the xenomorphs?

I was quite surprised -and disappointed -to find that the film went in a completely unexpected direction, by saying that the crew of the derelict ship were part of a species-"the Engineers" -  who had actually seeded life on Earth. So we were back to the ancient astronaut theory, which is not a bad thing in itself, but came out of nowhere for the Alien series. However, apparently they became unhappy with us approximately 2,000 years ago, and intended to wipe out life on Earth, but were stopped by an accident on the ship which unleashed the xenomorphs. Hmm, what happened on Earth 2,000 years ago? Wait, wait - it can't be so obvious, can it? But according to an interview with Ridley Scott, one of the Engineers came to Earth 2,000 years ago to bring peace, and was crucified, and that pissed them off so much they were going to kill us all. Yes, we're actually talking about Space Jesus.

I'm not going to go into all of the shortcomings of the film, but surely for a film that is part of the Alien series, it was sorely lacking in actual aliens. We get some of the familiar trappings: a downed ship, a chamber full of eggs (canisters, really), the space jockey. But until the end, we don't see any sign of the classic full-grown xenomorph, and the creature we do get has only a passing resemblance to our long-headed beastie. 

 I need to watch Alien Covenant before I can comment on the alien's lifecycle. I actually tried, but my streaming service cut out 2/3rds of the way through. What I saw didn't impress me. But there has been a lot of inconsistencies in how the lifecycle has been presented over the course of the series. Right after the first film came out, there were ideas bandied about, such as the ship itself producing the eggs -if you look at the interior of the egg chamber, there are long tubes that seem as if they might be capable of producing the eggs. I guess it's the age old alien or the egg question.

Why Scott decided to tie Alien to the creation of life on Earth I don't know. I feel like they've unnecessarily burdened what was once a great horror story in a science fiction setting with a pretentious "big idea." But unlike peanut butter and chocolate, these are not two great tastes that taste great together. 


  1. Never saw Prometheus, and based on your observations, I probably never will. To echo (oh! An unintentional pun!) what I said in the comments over at Planet 8 for your Alien(s) show, I don't think anything outside of Alien and Aliens should have ever been made.

  2. I never thought I’d say this, but I think AvP is more fun than this film. I felt they really missed the mark.


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