‘Prometheus’ is still a masterpiece

‘Prometheus’ is still a masterpiece

Every now and then a movie comes along with the ability to break a friendship in half. The ones we saw Prometheus in 2012 we may understand what I mean. The exploding head, the inexplicable pale giant, the unsolved mysteries of humanity’s origins … it all pissed me off. Where is the Xenomorph? Hearing a friend out of the cinema insist that Prometheus It’s an excellent movie, which is a smart movie, a movie that I wouldn’t necessarily understand, well, it made me climb the walls. And it made me want to throw his phone, and our friendship, into the void of space. I thought it was full of shit.

Almost 10 years after the premiere of PrometheusDisney, which has already acquired 20th Century Fox, shows no interest in revisiting the daring black-infested world of the 2012 prequel. In December of last year they announced that the director of Fargo, Noah Hawley, will bring the xenomorphs to television, promising a series of Alien set on Earth that will somehow combine the horror and action of the first two films of the original quadrilogy. So the questions raised by Prometheus will remain unanswered.

At least that’s what I thought until I finally reviewed the movie for myself. podcast this summer. I realized that we had all seen Prometheus wrong way. We entered it hoping to find the origins of Weyland-Yutani, the Xenomorph and, based on what we learned from the (unforgettably promising) trailers, perhaps even humanity itself. We thought we didn’t get them, so we rate the film as disappointing. But, to quote Elizabeth Shaw, “We were wrong. We were very, very wrong.”

Prometheuss tackles literally the Greek myth on which its title is based.

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Prometheus It opens with a strange otherworldly sequence in which a huge white humanoid, who we will later learn to be an engineer, ingests a potion of bubbling black liquid that causes him to disintegrate in an icy blue ocean. From there, the strands of his DNA explode and suddenly life emerges. Human life, above all.

Next, we fast-forward thousands of years to meet Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, played by a stoic but intensely determined Noomi Rapace. After discovering a series of ancient cave drawings with the help of his partner, he believes he has found the root of human life – the Engineers, he calls them – and sees their cryptic engravings as an invitation.

Prometheus takes a literal approach to the Greek myth on which its title is based. Greek history tells of Prometheus, the son of the Titans who steals fire from the gods and gives it to humans. As punishment for helping us humble homo-sapiens, Zeus has Prometheus tied to a rock so that an eagle can peck at his liver for all eternity. Even by the standards of Alien, it’s pretty scary. But it is this story that inspires Peter Weyland, founder of the infamous Weyland Corporation (which has yet to merge with Yutani), to fund Shaw’s mission, and attempt to remove the question marks from the mysteries of the origins of the humanity.

Like it or not, you have to admire Scott’s audacity in giving us such an expansive new scope for the franchise. It is a risky and potentially lethal undertaking. None of the directors of the aftermath of Alien has had the guts to blow up the franchise at this size, not James Cameron, not David Fincher, not even Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who took the series to its absurd extreme in Alien: Resurrection (which is also tragically underrated).

In summary, Prometheus It is a story about humans who are going to literally meet their creator. Our creator, as it turns out, is not so interested in knowing us as in erasing us from the face of the universe. When the ship’s crew Prometheus arrives on the planet where Shaw believes our gods reside, they encounter something much more like hell than heaven. The abandoned Engineers ship that crashed on LV-223 is a cold and unforgiving semicircle of suffering, filled with parasites that enter the body from the jaws inward, with a black viscous substance that can both turn a body into a monster like an infertile woman pregnant with something like, well, the devil.

There, in the abandoned ship, they finally meet an Engineer – the last of his kind, perhaps – and when they wake up the sleeping giant, he is not very happy to see us. But it’s not Shaw’s fault. Weyland reveals that the real reason he has gathered these explorers for Shaw’s mission is not to find the Garden of Eden, but to uproot it, feed on its sap, drink from the fountain of youth. He wants that fire for himself. Weyland has created life, referring to his android David (played with an impossible delicacy by Michael Fassbender), and for this reason he also believes himself a God. Weyland orders David to ask the Titan for the secret of eternal life, because “the Gods must live forever”, and before such arrogance, the Engineer tears off David’s head, and beats Weyland with it to death.

It turns out that the planet they have found is not the Garden of Eden, but a gigantic bunker full of weapons of mass destruction. Biological weapons are, of course, the legendary Xenomorphs, or at least a primitive form of them, and the Engineers were going to use them to kill us all. Why? “Why do they hate us?” asks Shaw. Why would our creators want to destroy their creation?

This is the question, actually, that stands at the center of Prometheus. It is the scene in which the ancient astronaut turns against the human explorers which makes Prometheus be such a deafening (and legitimately terrifying) statement in the series Alien. It is shocking, unexpected and very black. Like all movies of Alien above (except, I suppose, Aliens vs. Predator 2 which is, to put it mildly, shit), Prometheus It is not a movie about the evil of monsters, but about the men who use them for their own benefit. In this case, it is a vengeful God who has created the monsters. And he will kill us with his bare hands if necessary.

For more than a decade, people have complained that Prometheus it makes no sense, that Scott never tells us why our creators despise us, and that, as this is seemingly unresolved, the film does not have a cohesive message. They say it can’t live up to bulletproof classics like the first three movies of Alienas they combine satisfying horror action with very simple motivations: in those movies, the aliens are among us and we have to kill them before they kill us. That is all.

Although it is a pretty lousy way to enjoy the vast and colorful world of cinema – always requiring directors to answer all the questions that are asked – if you are looking for conclusions, they are all there in Prometheus. You may not have given the movie enough of a chance to notice them. The humans of PrometheusExcept perhaps Dr. Shaw, they are proud creatures of ignorance, vanity, and, of course, bottomless greed. One of the central criticisms of Prometheus is that the scientists aboard the Prometheus they are too dumb to be credible, operating with such arrogance that it is almost impossible to sympathize with them. But have you ever considered that Scott might have characterized them that way for a reason?

Weyland has funded this mission only out of his own self-reliance, his vain belief that he is superior to all other humans, and, after all, out of the riches that may await the discovery of eternal life. His daughter, played by Charlize Theron, is an ice-cold and unsympathetic Weyland operative, lacking even the most basic principles of humanity that would allow the explorers aboard her ship to do their job properly; he is only there to carry out orders. You can go down the line -Holloway, Shaw’s partner, gives up and constantly disrespects protocol due to his overconfidence- the biologist thinks he knows enough about animals to pet a deadly space snake, the geologist just wants to study rocks; can’t be expected to help with anything else. It could even be argued that Shaw herself is a tragically arrogant character, as her obsession with finding the basis of human life leads her crew into some of the most dangerous and unspeakably brutal situations imaginable.

The misery, the violence, the subjugation, which constantly crowd the corners of our day to day, maybe it is trying to tell us something?

You don’t need to look far beyond the limits of Prometheus to see why, after more than 30 years since Scott made the relatively optimistic Alien (hey, at least Ripley survives with the cat), the director may have gotten a bit more nihilistic about humans. The way we have trashed this planet, how we have turned the natural world into our own personal toilet, how billionaires who skip taxes take to space instead of trying to solve real and serious problems like poverty or hunger in the world. world. The misery, the violence, the subjugation, constantly crowding the corners of each day, maybe he is trying to tell us something?

I think Scott must have known by setting his sights on such big and dark ideas that he was going to kick the hornet’s nest (or the neomorph). Perhaps realizing that the movie would be absolutely loathed if it ended with the image of our creator, who is like a God, being sucked into the stomach of a scary octopus monster that literally combines to create Satan incarnate, Scott sends Shaw back into space, where his journey hasn’t really started yet. At least it seems that way before it starts Alien: Covenant.

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Although Prometheus follows many of the themes of the franchise, this is another great, and probably for most fans of the series, unexpected departure from the genetic code of Alien. While Ripley would have returned to Earth at the end of a movie like this, to return home, where everything is safe and welcoming, Shaw, instead, resolves to finish his mission, to find our creator’s true home planet. Not because, like Prometheus, he wants to steal their technology and use it to bring glory and wealth to humans. But because it is curious. He just wants to know what’s out there. I think if you start Prometheus With this humble curiosity in mind, you can have a different – and even revealing – experience.

Since Scott will likely never get a chance to close the prequel trilogy he promised us, this movie, with all its philosophy and promises of greatness, will never be fully satisfied. It will always seem a little smaller than necessary. But remember, as David says, “Big things have small beginnings”.

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‘Prometheus’ is still a masterpiece