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Did Ridley Scott Just Ruin The Mystery Of ‘Prometheus’ & Kill Its Sequel?

Did Ridley Scott Just Ruin The Mystery Of 'Prometheus' & Kill Its Sequel?

From: Abrams, J.J.
Sent: Tuesday June 05, 2012 4:06 PM
To: Lindelof, Damon
Subject: DUDE!

Umm, did you read this fucking piece?
http://www.movies.com/movie-news/ridley-scott-prometheus-interview/8232 You might wanna tell your boy to keep a lid on shit.
– JJ

We realize that this interview is a little old — but we’re just catching up to it — and at any rate, it seems everyone wants to keep talking about “Prometheus,” most of all Ridley Scott. Before we continue we should say there will be spoilers in case you haven’t seen the film yet, so no whining if you read past this point and the movie is ruined for you.

So, depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on, “Prometheus” either explained too much or didn’t explain enough, but either way, the film introduced some grand ideas about creation, religion and where humanity fits in the scope of the vast universe of the film. There have been two big question marks about the film: what’s the deal with the strange opening sequence in which an Engineer drinks a mystery cup of tea (or whatever) and subsequently disintegrates? And secondly, what did humanity do to cause our creators to want to destroy to us? While this has led to many interesting theories and debates, Ridley Scott has gone ahead and ruined them for you, and as a result, taken some of the shine off “Prometheus” in the process.

So first, let’s get to that opening scene. “…[the] sequence at the beginning of the film that is fundamentally creation. It’s a donation, in the sense that the weight and the construction of the DNA of those aliens is way beyond what we can possibly imagine,” Scott said. Adding that the planet isn’t necessarily Earth, he says, “No, it doesn’t have to be. That could be anywhere. That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself. If you parallel that idea with other sacrificial elements in history – which are clearly illustrated with the Mayans and the Incas – he would live for one year as a prince, and at the end of that year, he would be taken and donated to the gods in hopes of improving what might happen next year, be it with crops or weather, et cetera.”

With that bit now nice and explained, let’s get to the bigger question — what did we do to make God/our creators angry? Well, if you theorized that it was because we crucified Jesus, you win! Confirming that at one point the script explicitly spelled this out, Scott says that was the direction they were taking with the story — at least at first. “We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose,” he admits. “But if you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, ‘Let’s send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it.’ Guess what? They crucified him.”  

So in short: Jesus was an Engineer, we fucked it up by killing him, our creators got mad and then hatched a really, really long and elaborate plan to kill us off. So in a weird way, “The Passion Of The Christ” could also be viewed as part of the “Alien” universe…. if you really think about it…. Or, after that, the Engineers simply abandoned humanity, we evolved, and they got pissed all over again when we came knocking on their door. But it pretty much fits in line with what Lindelof said during press rounds for the film: “I’m all for ambiguity, but if we didn’t know the answer to that one, the audience would have every right to string us up. Yes. There is an answer. One that is hinted at within the goalposts of ‘Prometheus.’ I’ll bet if I asked you to take a guess you wouldn’t be far off.”

While Lindelof has inspired anger in many quarters for being too oblique, we give him credit for at least erring on the side of contemplative mystery rather than spelling things out. Because what happens when it’s all put down in black and white? It loses much of its power. The best films allow the questions to remain open, with the filmmakers allowing the audience to bring their own interpretations to it — but Scott has ensured that won’t happen by spelling it out. And Scott acknowledges the door was intentionally left open for a followup that would continue in this spiritual vein. But note, the Engineers aren’t Gods. At least not directly.

“Well, from the very beginning, I was working from a premise that lent itself to a sequel. I really don’t want to meet God in the first one. I want to leave it open to [Noomi Rapace’s character, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw] saying, ‘I don’t want to go back to where I came from. I want to go where they came from’, ” he explains. He adds: “I always had it in there that the God-like creature that you will see actually is not so nice, and is certainly not God.” 

So what are they? “In a funny kind of way, if you look at the Engineers, they’re tall and elegant … they are dark angels. If you look at [John Milton’s] ‘Paradise Lost,’ the guys who have the best time in the story are the dark angels, not God,” he adds. So boil it all down, and humanity was the offspring of some dark/rogue angels? That would seem to be the gist of it, and we guess that’s where a “Prometheus 2”  would go if/when that should ever happen.

But can there really be a sequel at this point? The big mystery at the end of “Prometheus” is, “Why?” Lindelof has already teased that, “Now ‘Prometheus’ is ready to go off in its own direction on its own entirely different tangent that is not going to be reliant on the things we’ve seen a thousand times before.” And that’s fine, although it seems to us that the core driving force of the discovery of the “dark angels” makes it all kind of moot. Perhaps they were banished themselves for attempting to create life? And maybe humanity is a reminder of their folly? Again, a good theory, but do we want it explained away in another movie? Probably not.

“Prometheus: Guess What, Jesus Was An Alien!” is in theaters now and bonus: here’s a pic of an Elderly Engineer from that opening scene that was deleted from the film (via Prometheus Forum). Update: Almost 10 Engineers appeared in that opening sequence.

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