Friday, April 06, 2012

Pondering Plausible 'Prometheus' Plot Possibilities

ADDED 4/11: More here

ADDED 5/12: Latest here "Space Jockeys are Galactic Police"

Apologies for format issues. I'll work on it, but I'm thinking this is as good as it gets. Too complicated to explain. Just scroll a lot -- it's all there.


SPOILERS -- Just so nobody goes crazy after reading this, it's possible that some of the following wild speculation may be correct. If it is that would qualify as a huge, really huge, spoiler. If what I'm taking a stab at is right I'm going to be discussing the core of the (top secret) plot of 'Prometheus'. If you don't want to run the chance, however remote, of having the movie ruined, stop reading.

Just for the record, I haven't read the 'Prometheus' script or know anything about the plot. Following is based solely on the imagery made available. It's guesswork.


I'm intrigued by these two new stills we got yesterday. What they suggest, to me, is a very solid sci-fi story -- the kind we used to get back in the 50s when the genre was still firing on all cylinders. I'd expect as much from Ridley Scott considering this is the prequel to one of the finest examples of the genre, 'Alien' (which also happens to be a movie he directed -- so the pressure's on). He knows he has to deliver something special or he'll be seen as simply cashing in.

The two shots imply a very simple sequence of events: 1) The crew of the Prometheus goes to the horseshoe ship and 2) They find the holographic image of Earth in computers on the ship. 

If that's the case the 3D image of Earth would, most likely, be part of a map. You might say that's silly. It has to belong to the crew of the Prometheus not the horseshoe ship (HS). Okay, fine, but if it was part of a navigation system of the Prometheus why would it be treated with such reverence? And, why would we even be looking at a map of Earth? Plotwise, there's no reason to look at a map of your home planet and, movie-wise there's no time for unrelated stuff.

So, it's fair to conclude the 3D map of Earth belongs to the Space Jockeys. If that's the case it's a helluva reveal.

Let's take a step back. Here's how the crew of the Nostromo found the horseshoe ship in 'Alien'.

Inside, they found Space Jockey.

Okay, we're caught up. It's not hard to determine what happened. The HS was carrying a bunch of pods. There was a malfunction or accident and one or more of the aliens got out and implanted themselves in the Space Jockey(s). The Space Jockeys (SJ) are killed and the HS is found, still parked in hover-mode, by the crew of the Prometheus.

They go on board, find the map of Earth and a map of a mountain with an underground complex.

This facility is an alien pod factory. They go into the tunnels and check it out.

They find a pod storage area.

Then what happens?

1) The crew of the Prometheus becomes infected (or whatever the word would be) by the aliens or whatever is in the pods

2) For some reason the HS develops control issues (possibly a nod to the ship self-destruct sequence in 'Alien'). As systems fail the automatic distress signal is activated 

 3) HS crashes (see trailers), comes to rest on its side and stays like that, sending its distress signal, until it's discovered by the crew of the Nostromo years later

There's a problem with that which would have to be addressed in the plot of 'Prometheus'. If the Prometheus discovered an entire weaponized alien production facility then why would the Nostromo crew not know about it years later? Most likely answer: The crew of the Prometheus doesn't make it home. They all die. Or, better, more dramatically correct answer: Only one makes it home -- David. This character is played by Michael Fassbender and he's a robotic synthetic. Company property. Then again, this is a bit on-the-nose and Scott would know that. With Ash (Ian Holm), another Company synthetic, having been the heavy in 'Alien' Scott would be repeating himself by making the robot the bad guy again in 'Prometheus'. 

Enter Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers.

That's not a happy camper. She blends in with the background. Her clothes and hair color match the wall -- that's not an accident. There's more light falling on the background than on her, making it a bit difficult to see her. She looks to her side but doesn't turn her head. Her hair is pulled tight and has an unflattering style. Her clothing is bland and there is little color contrast. These are a visual cues that indicate a character who has self-image issues. It would be Theron's style to want to play a complex deeply flawed character with a hidden or nefarious agenda (Monster, Snow White and the Huntsman, Young Adult). Seems likely Scott would want Theron's character to play some dark part and seeing that she's a Company rep it wouldn't be a stretch.

There's some speculation she will turn out to be a synth, which would be a very nice reveal. Here's David, he's a synth, the synth, there's always only one...

Okay, admittedly, I'm off on a tangent but, clearly, Scott would not want to play the same cards in 'Prometheus' that he did in 'Alien' so David is probably not the only bad guy. 

One thing is sure -- somehow, the Company got word of what the crew of the Prometheus discovered but didn't get a specimen. This is why they, the Company, arranged for a second attempt to retrieve the weaponized organism -- they sent the Nostromo. On board, a last-minute substitution, was Ash, who was instructed to 'Bring back alien life form. Crew expendable'. Clearly, the Company felt there was potential value in the newly discovered organism, and they had to have been informed by someone on the Prometheus. How this plays out will be one of the cooler elements of the movie.

Back to what we 'know'. These shots have bothered me.

The crew explore the ship (or tunnels) without helmets. Up till now I've just ignored it. You have to give a director a little wiggle room with stuff like this. For practical and aesthetic reasons the helmets have to come off, so a convenient plot device allowing that doesn't ruffle my feathers too much. But, we're not talking just any director. Ridley Scott takes great care with tech aspects, both concerning camera/editing choices and decisions regarding the story/script, so there has to be more here than just a convenience factor.

Why would there be oxygen in the HS or tunnel system? A difficult wrinkle to explain. We have to rely on pure logic: There is breathable air because the Space Jockeys have a respiratory system that requires oxygen just like ours. 

Now, we're getting somewhere. 

The SJ breathe air like that found on Earth. They have a map of our planet. They, presumably, were en route to Earth when an accident occurred which killed the crew of the horseshoe ship. The evidence supports this much. What does that indicate? 

Here's another image that's bothered me.

Okay, why would that bother me. It's another Space Jockey. Not really. This individual is not the same as the one we've come to know from 'Alien'. Look at its features. They're softer. This 'person' also looks smaller than ole SJ. Well, a species from another planet can have any physiology whatsoever, but in science fiction you have to relate everything to a framework of things we understand. As such, we can ask 'What kind of individual has softer features and is smaller than another member of its own species'? A child. Sure, but why would a child be on a ship like this one? Why bring a child on a dangerous mission, especially if it has a military element? No. No children on the HS. This is a female. A Space Jockette. (Apologies, but I felt like inventing the term, albeit in a dated style). 

Above SJ is a woman. She is on the ship because...? Well, they aren't going to Earth to see the sights. The SJ were on their way to our planet to colonize it. And, all those pods? The device of choice to exterminate any indigenous population that might be a threat. 

Two problems with that. 1) Why not just bomb the human population of Earth? That would be easier than using parasitic biological weapons. And, 2) In what way would the human population (thousands or hundreds of thousands of years ago) represent a threat to an advanced military force from another planet?

First, you wouldn't want to use bombs. You'd have to carpet bomb most of the planet to get rid of all the humans. That would ruin your new home. You also wouldn't want to use more conventional methods like guns. That would require a huge invading army and, as history shows, you'd never succeed. The Resistance would fight back forever. 

As to the second point, a human population, if allowed to remain on Earth, would be a threat in two ways. They would want space and need natural resources. The SJ are not interested in sharing. They would want the planet all to themselves. So, they would not allow humans to remain. The other threat humans pose wouldn't be immediate but, when it arose, it would be serious. Humans would, eventually, develop effective weapons and amass armies. We would, certainly, decide to take back the planet at some point. The SJ would know this.

All things considered, it would be far more efficient to eliminate the human race altogether and to do so with the proper weaponry. That's why the SJ chose to use the creatures in the pods. Of course, that solution creates its own problems. What do you do with all the toothy monsters running around afterward? Who knows. Kill them with laser blasters, make them into slaves, wait for them to die which, by design, might only take a couple weeks. Whatever.

All the above falls into place because of the two new stills we got yesterday. We had elements that hinted at plot before but critical pieces of the puzzle were missing. The map of Earth found on the alien ship is pretty solid evidence and makes everything else click into place. It's a pretty damn good story and I can't help but feel Ridley Scott has, if any of the above is true, created a worthy prequel to 'Alien'.

But, there are more questions. Here's a problem. At about the 10 second mark of this trailer this image appears drawn on a cave wall.

The trailer goes on with other depictions and artwork from various ancient Earth cultures showing people pointing at or worshiping a six-starred formation in the sky. It turns out the formation is a guide and the graphics, once decoded, are an invitation. Discovering this invitation is the inciting incident which leads the Prometheus to the HS, the SJ, and the tunnels and pods. 

It's fair to conclude people, humans that is, were taught what the star formation represented and the beings that taught them would have been Space Jockeys. So, why did the SJ visit Earth thousands of years ago? One answer suggests itself: To survey the planet and its inhabitants. To see whether the place would make a good home and find out how many, if any, species might present a problem and need to be eliminated. During such survey missions the SJ would have presented themselves to us as friends from afar here to meet and greet new neighbors. They would have pointed out the constellation they came from and men would have depicted such encounters in artwork. The whole time, though, the SJ would have been sizing us up. Wicked indeed, Mr. Scott.

This in turn, however, raises another question. If all the above were the case why wait thousands of years to take over the planet? Why allow humans to grow in population and develop technology that would enable us to defend ourselves? Answer: The SJ didn't wait. They embarked on the first mission to overtake Earth thousands of years ago but ran into problems, and the HS (found by the Prometheus) spent all those years hovering in the same spot after an alien escaped its pod and killed the SJ crew. The horseshoe ship with its dead crew represents the beginning and end of the invasion of Earth.


Well, why then didn't the SJ send another ship thousands of years ago? I don't know. I'll look forward to finding out how much, if anything, of the above is true and what Ridley Scott and writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof cooked up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Notice in the cave painting that the man pointing at the stars is very tall. He is one of those big tall blue spacejockies.

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