Prometheus, the much anticipated 'prequel' to the Alien has had us all drooling like predatory beasts at the prospect of more mythology behind what is probably the best Science Fiction franchise ever to hit the big screen. Despite Ridley Scott's insistence that this is a film set in the same universe as Aliens, and at a prior time, but not strictly a prequel.
When it arrived in cinemas, it was met with a mixture of reviews. Some people found it amazing, and it is true that compared to the other fair available, it's production quality was leaps ahead. A true tribute to the golden era of Sci-Fi in the late seventies and eighties. If you were too young to have jumped at the rustle of a bag of popcorn just behind your head when the original films were screened, it must have been a cinematic experience.
However, for many fans of the original films, there was a slight sense of disappointment. It wasn't as scary as the original films. Not a problem, they were horror films as much as science fiction, this one promised revelation, which to any geek (whether a film geek or a science geek), was promising enough. But it seemed to tease just a little, and leave much to the imagination. It was certainly consistent with the earlier films in that the Xenomorphic nature of the Alien DNA meant that we encountered new, or rather older forms. And the evolution of form towards more recognisable forms was fascinating, but the un-provoked hostility of the Engineer (the humanoid aliens who seeded the human species), and the mutation of Fairfield and his attack on the crew, just seemed unexplained. And it's not at all clear how the opening scene of the lone Engineer drinking the mysterious substance and initiating some kind of DNA mutation related to the film or to us.
The deleted scenes, however transform the film.
From the very start, we see that he is not a lone engineer, but a sacrifice being directed by an elder of the engineers, a story which is completed when Elizabeth Shaw finds a DNA match between the engineers and our own species. And at the end of the film we witness a discussion between David and the Engineer. A discussion which ends when Weyland, declares himself to be a god, like the engineer, for the creation of David. This provokes the engineer to destroy David and kill the monsters his race has created. A race which has grown from their seed so far away, and made their way back to them, and now consider themselves not only their equal, but gods. This not only gives the film's name much greater meaning but shows that these people pose a real threat to their creators, and explain why he would want to sterilise his ship of this infestation. After all, "who doesn't want their parents dead?". I don't, I might add, but it's a common theme in the film. David, is fascinated by the prospect of freedom, and it's likely that humans were created by the Engineers as another bio-weapon experiment. We've certainly been capable of great destruction judging by our history. Maybe they had already reached that conclusion 2000 years ago.
Certainly Peter Weyland's arrogance is something to be wary of. Arrogance so familiar in the film series where Ripley is constantly fighting to prevent the corporation attempting to bring the Alien into our midst confident of their ability to control it in the face of the failure of all who have gone before. A fight she faces time and time again, even through re-birth, only to suffer the same fate, as of the titan she eventually becomes before her return to earth, as a stronger more powerful, unhuman creature. A final product of events initiated by the Engineers at the start of Prometheus. But of course you shouldn't believe my speculation, but you should see the Weyland Files, presented alongside the deleted scenes, in particular, the awesome TED conference of 2023, where Peter Weyland... well, I should leave something for your delectable enjoyment. It's good stuff for those who want to understand the film and the mythology better, and it's set just 11 years from now, and really brings the whole enterprise within tasting distance.
In other scenes we see the very first Alien. A small wriggling thing about 6 inches long, and later a shed skin, in reference to the first film. Possibly a sign that these smallest aliens are growing - perhaps into the proto face huggers, that later attack the two scientists who overnight in the pyramid, or perhaps left over from whatever attacked the engineers. The truth is, there is no large predator in the plot, except those born of the humans, so it would raise more questions, so perhaps wisely, it was left out.
But other scenes were a great loss and probably the most tragic loss was the original CGI form of Fifield's mutation (pictured). He is transformed into a much more Alien like form. His body is contorted, and his fingers monstrously elongated, and his head is distended hinting at the classic Alien signature. His movements are very reminiscent of the original Alien, and his first sudden stealthy uncurling from a stationary prone form, apparently dead and immoveable, to his first attack is chilling.
We also see a much extended confrontation between the engineer and Elizabeth, including an axe fight, leading up to her finally opening the door ("just die, will you?") leading to the engineer being implanted with what would seem to be the first recognisable full Alien. However, it should be noted, that this creature doesn't leave the moon, so can't be the originator of the Aliens in the first films. Unless of course he hitches a ride with Elizabeth and David. Surely he wouldn't do that, would he?
I can't wait for the directors cut, let alone the next film! In the meantime, the film is out in 3D and 2D in all the usual places. The deleted scenes are only on the 2D disk by the way (but you do get that included in the 3D package).
In other news Ridley Scott has suggested that Blade Runner and Prometheus are set in the same universe, and with a sequel to Blade Runner in the works, I can barely contain myself...