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Vengeful Gods, Slaves & Mere Mortals: Deconstructing The ‘Prometheus’ Trailer

The Playlist By The Playlist | The Playlist March 19, 2012 at 2:06PM

The trailer for Ridley Scott’s upcoming, much-anticipated sci-fi film, “Prometheus” has landed and pardon our French, but holy shit, it’s rather astounding. Christopher Nolan you’re officially on blast and you may need to raise your game for ‘TDKR’ trailer number two.
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Prometheus feature

The trailer for Ridley Scott’s upcoming, much-anticipated sci-fi film, “Prometheushas landed and pardon our French, but holy shit, it’s rather astounding. Christopher Nolan you’re officially on blast and you may need to raise your game for ‘TDKR’ trailer number two.

We digress. “Prometheus,” Scott’s sort-of quasi prequel to the “Alien” franchise he bore, has had an intense aura of enigma and mystery to it, and we must say, it’s been created rather organically instead of the J.J. Abrams form of mystery which always seems to have an manufactured air of forced fabrication. And the latest trailer does exactly what it should, raise anticipation even further by posing lots of questions, teases and clues that hint at something epic and out of the ordinary.

While anticipating the film ourselves, many of us have wondered and worried whether “Prometheus” would simply follow the “Alien” franchise paradigm: band a disparate group of people together and watch them get picked off one by one by the monster/alien creatures, only to watch the unlikely heroine to survive and best it. While “Prometheus” very well may employ that tried-and-true formula, it also feels like it has a canyon-deep level of extra depth to it.

Spoilers suck. This we know. But we have eyes and ears like you do, so it’s not like we have secret information you don’t about “Prometheus,” but in examining this trailer closely for clues (and just paying attention), we’ve put together what we feel are some solid posits about the film and which direction the plot will go in. Again, we have no clue if we’re right, but we suppose we’ll throw the spoiler tag out there just in case June 8th proves that we’re right on the mark. Anyhow, here’s 8 things we think are the most intriguing and telling elements of the new “Prometheus” trailer (and you can watch both the U.S. and U.K. versions below).

And before do, here to remind you once more is the official synopsis of the film: “A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.”

Prometheus, Fassbender

Michael Fassbender’s Android character David
Here’s what we don’t want from “Prometheus,” another android character that’s there to double cross the crew like Ian Holm's Ash character in the original “Alien.” In this sense, the “Prometheus” trailer deliberately shows off a lot of misdirection. When someone asks, “Please someone tell me they know what this means,” in regards to cryptic hieroglyphics written in the caves of the alien planet, it cuts to a shot of Fassbender’s David looking worried and concerned, but we’re not sure if this insert is from another scene and whoever is asking might be talking to someone entirely different. What does ring a little sinister is the creepy smile David evinces once he sees larvae-like creatures on top of the alien-like pods at the base of the cave chamber staring to move and come to life. Presumably as the science officer of the crew, it’s ok for his character to be examining the alien life forms, but whether Fassbender’s android character has secretly been sent by the company to retrieve the alien life forms at all cost (like in “Alien”) remains to be seen. After all Bishop (Lance Henriksen), the synthetic life form in “Aliens,” was the reverse and was completely loyal to his colleagues. Let’s assume Ridley and screenwriter Damon Lindelof will be keeping us on our toes.

Prometheus

The Gods In “Prometheus”
To remind you, in Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mortals. Zeus then punished him for his crime by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. It’s a cautionary tale of hubris and the over-reaching of modern man into dangerous areas of knowledge. Fitting since “Prometheus” the movie appears to be just that -- scientists and explorers who believe they may have found the origins of the universe on an alien planet only to discover they are woefully in over their heads.

So who are the thematic gods who reap punishment on these idealistic, perhaps arrogant mere mortals? Well, there’s several figures in the trailer who look like they’re light-blue humanoids that are rather gigantic in size and it appears that Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace, essentially the new Ripley) comes face to face with one of them. See the photographic evidence above. They appear to be the same god-like humanoids that the crew find etched in stone, looking like the statuettes of Easter Island.

Prometheus trailer

Crime & Punishment
So if the gods are punishing these scientists -- and hey, maybe “Prometheus” isn’t this literal, but let’s assume it is for now -- what’s their punishment? Well, our guess it’s the alien creatures that are on the planet. In the caves, these alien-pods are at the feet of these statues almost as if they are worshipping them. Are these creatures -- and the trailer points to some kind of xenomorph, but likely not the same ones in "Alien" -- the wrath that comes down with a fury on man? Also, if you look closely, you’ll see a facehugger like creature racing up one of the cryo-chambers, the aforementioned xenomorph growing on a wall like it’s right out of an H.R. Giger book and a slippery alien like creature that slides in the arm of the space suit one of the scientists is wearing and melting his face off with its acidic-blood (the DNA of “Alien” is in evidence, indeed). And as for those cryo-chambers? Well, that's where the shots of the half-naked of Theron and Rapace come in and while they're puzzling -- do they get back in them on their way off the planet? -- one things for sure, every shot of the scientists in that state of half-dress is eerily ominous.

Prometheus, sleep chambers

The Weyland Company Suits
Again, the normal paradigm of the "Aliens" series is to have a self-serving, cold and calculating corporate suit on board with a secret agenda. And while Charlize Theron's character seems to embody that archetype, the flashes of the trailer within also seem to suggest that when the chips are down, she steps up to the plate and places the survival of her team as the paramount task. How?

Prometheus Ships
The Alien Ships Face Off
Obviously, there’s “Prometheus” the ship, but clearly another alien spacecraft too -- not so ironically, one that looks awfully familiar and just like the derelict alien spacecraft that Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo found in 1979’s “Alien.” It doesn’t take too much of genius to see the narrative of the trailer regarding the ships. The alien ship takes off on course for Earth -- "If you don't stop it, there won't be any home to go back to!" Rapace screams at one point -- and “Prometheus” takes off after it and as you can hear people screaming, “Cut if off! Cut it off!” not to mention Theron's character yelling, "Take us home!" While many are assuming "cut if off" is in regards to a space hugger, we think it might pertain to the ships' explosions you see. The “Prometheus” sacrifices itself, smashes into the alien ship and it comes crashing down on the planet forcing the crew to run for their lives.

Prometheus

Mutations?
Obviously, we’re examining both this weekend’s U.S. trailer and the U.K. trailer, the latter of which has new clues too. Logan Marshall-Green is one of the key characters in this film and at one point, we see him examining his own eyes with what looks like it could be some sort of infection. Later on, we see a figure leaping on top of one of the scientists and with a zoomed-in inspection, this figure looks like some sort of deformed or mutated crew member wearing a space suit. This creature also seems to have received some super human strength as it whips crew members around like flies. The scene in the trailer when the crew comes out armed, appears to be a response to whoever this thing may be. What’s interesting about this idea is that the potential “punishments” in the film may be multi-fold and beyond just extra-terrestrials trying to kill the crew.

Prometheus

Where Do The Space Jockeys Fit In?
While Ridley Scott has spoke about the "space jockeys" aka “terraformers” a lot in his initial conversations about “Prometheus” -- who they were, how they got there, etc. -- as being the questions that intrigued him into exploring this universe again, they don’t seem to be an overly integral part of the story. Likely, they’re some kind of slave or pawn in the larger scheme of things. Terraforming obviously suggests some kind of transformation of the topography or ecology of a planet -- as you can see in the trailer when this planet begins to split up like gigantic gears -- and our guess is these guys are some kind of engineers that fit somewhere into the big picture, but aren’t the main subject themselves. There's an interesting shot above of Rapace's character examining one of their heads (or helmets?) inside the ship.

The Romance
Lastly, if you watch the U.K. trailer, much slower in pace then the U.S. version, you’ll see a budding romance in the picture from Noomi Rapace’s character and Logan Marshall-Green. Clearly both scientists, the discovery they make and “the invitation” to come discover this alien world is one they make together. All the more brutal when Rapace desperately cries, “We were so wrong.” If anything this invitation was the exact opposite and more of bait for a trap which begs the question: Do the gods need the mortals for some reason?

Prometheus

Lots of questions raised in the “Prometheus” trailers and surely there’s more posits out there. What are your thoughts? Meanwhile, “Prometheus” lands in theaters June 8th and we cannot wait.

This article is related to: Prometheus, Ridley Scott, Features


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