C'mon Hollywood: Don't give up on the Prometheus sequel!
One of the most anticipated films last summer was Ridley Scott’s PROMETHEUS. Not only did it mark the return of Scott to the science fiction genre, but to the franchise that helped make him famous. Scott has brought us many classic and revered films in his long career, but none have touched upon the sheer terror and tension of 1979’s ALIEN. Hearing that he would be making a prequel to that film sounded like a dream come true. Based on an original script by John Spaihts with a rewrite from Lost creator Damon Lindelof, the ambiguous film debuted to predominantly favorable reviews (see ours here), but created a divide amongst fans, many who felt that it failed to come close to the feel of the first ALIEN and instead came out a sloppy, confusing mess.
The film didn’t set the domestic box office on fire, but its worldwide gross of $403 million was more than enough to justify a sequel, which Scott had planned from the beginning. Fox originally didn’t trust Spaihts’ script enough to guide the franchise, so they brought in Lindelof to help crack it open some more for a story that could run “parallel” to the ALIEN franchise, rather than lead into a series of sequels about the xenomorphs themselves. Essentially, they wanted to branch off into a new arena, creating a new franchise out of an old one. Spinoff at its finest, you could say.
PROMETHEUS ended up alienating a lot of viewers. It brought in a lot of big ideas about creation, existence, God, faith, religion, etc., which deviated heavily from the cat-and-mouse monster fighting that had populated the first four films. Suddenly, we had a very cerebral, ambiguous film born into the same universe, which both intrigued and frustrated viewers. Depending on which side of the fence you fell on, this was either a good or bad thing. It was impossible to deny the beauty of the film, as Scott is accustomed to delivering a visually stunning experience regardless of content. The effects work, if nothing else, was superb.
However, the story about Engineers utilizing an organic substance to create a biological weapon that led to the birth of our ever-lovable slobbering, acid-for-blood, H.R. Giger-inspired xenomorphs, was a bit more complex (or not complex enough) for many. Faith and belief in the face of science and fact is the predominant theme of PROMETHEUS and one that has sparked endless debate. The origins and history of the Engineers, too, has become a great source of discussion, especially when you match it up with the notion that they want to unleash the biological black goo on Earth (to which Scott has said was originally meant as revenge for killing one of the Engineer’s “emissaries” who may have been Jesus Christ).
No matter whom you talk to about PROMETHEUS, it seems like everyone has their own theory about the film, including those who purport to hate it. In fact, those that say they can’t stand the film are often the ones who get into very spirited debate over the topic, even if it’s just a dissection of its imperfections. There are message boards and forums abound with various theories about the intricate and cryptic story, branching off into a number of viable possibilities and explanations for the entire mythology set up in the film.
This is a remarkable thing.
With so much passion, heated debate, vitriol, and general interest in just what makes PROMETHEUS tick, it seems that there is a massive amount of potential to expand the story. Some will be happy to never hear of it again and consider the franchise dead. However, I think that there’s ripe potential to build upon what’s already been established. It’s a rare thing to have a film drudge up so much controversy and dialogue. Leaving it blowing in the breeze after such an intricate set-up is like franchise blue balls. There’s a pay off waiting in the wings and the only way to get there is to continue the work. Although some may argue that Lindelof’s involvement would create a Lost-like finale that doesn’t answer questions outright, I think that there’s plenty of room to come to a conclusion and maintain some mystery, which would satisfy most viewers. Plus, Lindelof has already bowed out due to his commitment on Brad Bird’s TOMORROWLAND.
I don’t think PROMETHEUS is a perfect film, but it’s one that I’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating, like a puzzle I can’t quite crack. I love the debate, both from those who appreciate the ambiguity and those that despise it. There are so many awesome theories and explorations of where the story could go and I think it would be a source of discontent if the filmmakers created such an epic set-up only to abandon it before it really took off. I’d love to see where Shaw and David end up and what truths lie beyond LV-223. Science fiction has long been the venue for exploring philosophical ideas and I think PROMETHEUS fits squarely within that description. Let’s keep the journey going.
Art by Dejan Jovanovic
|Extra Tidbit:||Do you think Fox should continue with the Prometheus films or go back to the xenomorphs? What direction do you think they should take with either choice?|