Some thoughts on the 'no-show' (?) xenomorphs in 'Prometheus'
|FEATURES - MOVIES|
Why would anyone make an Alien prequel without xenomorphs..?
If you're reading this, you've read everything else on the matter - that Ridley Scott has declared numerous times that while Prometheus occupies the same universe (Weyland-Yutani, etc), it is not intended to lead on to the Alien films that were made between 1979-1997 (argue amongst yourselves on the date-range!) and that the familiar Giger-designed, hydraulic-tongued beasties are not in it.
Where, then, is it leading, in a Hollywood environment that eschews 'one-offs' (even with this kind of pre-sold franchise appeal) and is determined to leave no major motion genre picture without an open door for a sequel?
A new creature/species from Giger in the post-'Man-in-a-suit' era?
The Swiss conceptual artist H.R. Giger, creator of the Xenomorph (see picture right, first appeared in the book Necronomicon in 1977) was brought back for Prometheus to design 'a few murals' - the artist's first contact with the Alien franchise since his participation in David Fincher's studio-mishandled Alien 3. Certainly Scott has expressed over the years in commentaries and interviews how much he enjoyed working with Giger, and certainly the PR department would have wanted as many of the 'old gang' back together as possible for marketing purposes - and the official Prometheus trailer (see below) mainlines Scott's original movie like a junkie that hasn't had a hit in three weeks.
The Blu-ray release of the Alien quadrilogy (the formidable extras of which expanded a little on the previous DVD Anthology release in the early 2000s) finds Scott talking about the problem that nearly all pre-CGI horror movies suffered from: the monster is always a guy in a rubber suit. To obviate this, Scott tried a number of bizarre approaches, including using three acrobats walking in concert to hide their combined 'humanity', before deciding that the Necronomicon creature could avoid the 'rubber-suit-effect' if filmed sparsely and creatively. Which Scott certainly did in the 1979 movie.
And now those days are gone. There's nothing from Giger's bizarre existing catalogue or continuous imagination that could not now be rendered on screen. So was Giger really involved in Prometheus as a marketing stunt, through Scott's sentimentality - or just to do a 'few murals'..?
There's something horrible in Prometheus, and it seems odd that you'd have Giger involved and not either have him design or at least supervise it. At the very least, to be consistent with the 'Alien universe' in which Prometheus clearly exists, whatever creature or species is in there will surely have some of that 'Alien DNA' that Scott has been so coy in mentioning. Therefore...
It's a Star Trek-style franchise reboot
What, they were going to remake Alien and Aliens? As J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek, so I believe Ridley Scott is doing with Prometheus - taking the legend back to its origins and then going in a new direction for a new series of movies with a new type of creature that could have been envisioned but not effectively realised when the franchise began in the late 1970s. If Scott had had the current state of the art of CGI in 1978, he wouldn't have been fooling about with acrobats at Shepperton Studios. He didn't want a man in a suit in the first place, so why would he make another movie with an anthropomorphic creature, however popular? And would the crucial teen market (Scott is submitting both PG-13 and R-rated cuts of Prometheus to Fox) buy anything that conventional after the disaster of the videogame-fuelled AVP movies - and in an SF-film culture where the brakes are truly off in terms of imagination?
Living down the AVP movies and PR Piggy-backing on existing Alien franchise fans
Fox arguably have the task ahead of them that they least like - selling the public something brand new. And much as I believe the PR department for Prometheus have wrung their hands many times over Scott's assertion that the film is something new, I do wonder at the politics behind it...
If Scott had kept entirely silent about the presence of xenomorphs in Prometheus, then in effect you would have something very good to play (Ridley Scott is returning to the Alien franchise!!!) and something very bad (they're making another f***ing Xenomorph movie, and the last two really sucked).
Great a director as he has often shown himself to be, Prometheus is only getting made because Scott agreed to replace his own suggestion as director - Carl Erik Rinsch. The PR department really needed to side-step or otherwise straddle/obfuscate the lack of xenomorphs in this release - and that meant getting as many people together from the original Ridley Scott Alien movie as would be useful for marketing purposes.
The fact that the film takes place 30 years before Alien obviated the possibility of including any of the original characters from the 'pure' Alien franchise, leaving only Scott and Giger as recognisable legacy contributors (Alien originator the late Dan O'Bannon washed his hands of the franchise, telling me in 2007 that "I’d like to see [the Alien franchise] stop. A horror movie’s a fragile thing, and once you’ve gotten past the original, it isn’t scary anymore").
Therefore we have Fox's PR department putting out the 'fingers-crossed' Ridley Scott's Alien V2.0 road-show at the moment.
Listen to the 'screaming' sound in the much-vaunted Prometheus trailer below, and compare it to the screaming sound in the original Alien (1979) movie trailer underneath:
Original Alien (1979) movie trailer
It's amazing, really. Only guys my age (definitely a mere ancillary market for any film as big-budgeted as Prometheus) would even remember seeing the original trailer in cinemas.
That's not to mention the re-use of the 'hieroglyphic-style' titles for the first time in any supposedly Alien-related movie.
Also, no xenomorphs in Prometheus, everyone says, but still a xenomorph-style egg in the latest hyped photo release:
Just keep telling yourself 'It's not a new movie...it's not a new movie...'
Guys, IMO it's a brand new movie. It could even be a great movie (and if so would be Scott's first truly distinctive outing since Gladiator in 2000). I just wonder if Fox's PR machine would prefer us to think it's an Alien movie.
..There are xenomorphs in Prometheus, and they're terrifying and the best we've ever seen. Even if Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. are not suiting up for an Alien movie for the first time since Aliens (1986).
God-damn you all to hell!
We are the xenomorphs. Or were, way back when. We evolved from the same DNA. It's all our fault. They're our brothers. Etc etc.
This, inspired by a quote from Damon Lindeloff , exec producer of Prometheus:
"It covers a vast expanse of time, past, present and future. It doesn't take place on Earth in any real significant way. The way we're exploring the future is away from Earth and [asking] what are people like now? What have they gone through and what are they thinking of? Space exploration in the future is going to evolve into this idea that it's not just about going out there and finding planets to build colonies. It also has this inherent idea that the further we go out, the more we learn about ourselves. The characters in this movie are preoccupied by the idea: what are our origins?"
One of the Prometheus posters led me in that direction too...
Review: Alien Blu-ray 'Anthology' transfer - by Alien's art director
Damon Lindelof talks Prometheus at Comic-Con
Prometheus: Alien prequel or not?
Alien prequel details revealed - 'Forced gay sex'?
EXCLUSIVE: Alien prequel WILL be 3D
H.R. Giger on board for Ridley Scott's Alien prequel
Space misfits: Nostromo crew back-stories revealed
Meryl Streep's lost place in the Alien franchise?
The worst casualty of the Aliens Blu-ray transfer
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.