Friday, June 22, 2012
Prometheus (Definitely Unbound): A Lengthy Summary
Fair warning, this post will be spoilerific. I'll write my reactions to the film in a second post.
-------------------------SPOILERS LIVE HERE----------------------
First, the movie went in a different direction than I suspected, and left me with a few questions. Not many, incidentally, but enough. A quick summary of important bits:
SUMMARY (You can skip below if you've seen the movie, the next bold section is the reaction piece)
First, the opening scene. An "Engineer", the humanoid alien species introduced and featured in this film, drinks what I will label "alien soup" and falls into a body of water. The black goo is shown to break down his DNA, to the point where we can see parts of his body break off as they get carried down a waterfall. Then, due the the alien soup, his broken strands of DNA begin to recombine, incorporating water molecules. A spaceship overhead leaves.
That is the creation of human kind (and possibly other Terran species, I suppose) -- the Engineers are shown later to have the same DNA as us. The alien soup breaks things down and changes them, causing them to adapt. Why did they do this? Why create human kind, or any species for that matter? No explanation is given.
Eventually, a ship (Prometheus) and crew selected/funded by the Weyland corporation arrives on a planet references in several cave paintings found all over the Earth, from different periods in time. The crew has the three important elements of an Alien series crew: an Android, a survive-at-all-costs female lead, and fodder for the enemy. The characters are fairly diverse, though not much is done with them in terms of development. Admittedly, the movie moves at a fairly slow pace as it is, so slowing down more to make us really care about the characters would be difficult. They do well with the main roles and are successful in making you like David, the android, more than most of the human crew.
Fairly early on, it is made obvious that Peter Weyland, the founder of the Weyland corporation, is alive (and in stasis) on the ship. As far as most of the crew knows, he's been dead for some time (they having just traveled for two years in stasis themselves). He comes in to play later, and I'll have more on him then.
Just after breaching atmosphere on the only planet in the system similar to earth, the crew locates structures/edifices that wouldn't be found in nature. They investigate one and find a series of caverns, covered in alien writings. David is able to read and understand them because he has been training to learn/break down ancient languages, which the male scientist and female lead's love interest theorizes were based on the language of the aliens. They discover holographic recordings of several Engineers fleeing, one stumbling and being decapitated by a door. The body is found, the door is opened, and the chamber beyond is revealed.
It is a chamber full of vase like objects, all of which contain the alien soup. Female lead bags the decapitated head, her love interest becomes bitter that they have apparently found more ruins instead of the creators, and David secretly takes on of the vases. The alien soup is seen to start issuing from one of the vases due to proximity of living people (or the change in air pressure, or David touching one, possibly). The goop falls to the dirt where mealworm looking bugs were seen crawling moments prior. A storm picks up and the crew has to leave quickly, leaving the nerdy botanist and the gruff geologist behind.
Back on the ship, the head is studied. It becomes apparent that the outer layer is actually a helmet which, once removed, reveals a relatively humanoid face. I'd post a picture, but will refrain from doing so for those who might stumble upon here. During this time, David studies the vase. He takes a drop of the goop onto his finger and places it in a drink he gives the the love interest. Later, the love interest and female lead hook up, after a short discussion about his bitterness that anything can create life (as opposed to an omnipotent being) and her sadness at not being able to create life (being barren).
The two members left behind wander the caverns, finding a large pile of Engineer bodies, some of which appearing to have had something explode out of their chest. They eventually find their way to the alien soup cavern (they had left the first time out of fear and hence were separated from the group for the rushed departure). The cavern has changed -- there is black goop all over the floor. Eventually, several fleshy, pale, snake/lamprey like things begin poking their heads out of the goop (these are the mutated mealworm things, supposedly). The botanist tries to get friendly and gets attacked in return. His arm is crushed boa constrictor-like. The geologist gets a spray of acid to his helmet when trying to cut it off the botanist (this showing the start of xenomorph acid blood, probably because of the materials in the dirt). Geo's face/helmet melts and he falls in a puddle of goop. Bot isn't so lucky -- the snake/lamprey crawls through a cut in his suit, caused by the acid, and ends up ramming itself down his throat. Graphically. This image WILL give me nightmares.
Storm ends, crew comes back. They find the botanist's -- the snake/lamprey launches itself out of Bot's mouth at the same time that the love interest is found to be infected with something making him very sick. They run back to the ship but aren't allowed on -- Weyland Corporation's representative (apparent heir to the company) refuses to allow the sick man on (reminiscent of the original Alien film). Sick man, knowing he is dying, approaches and asks to be killed. He is obliged, helped along with the use of a flamethrower. Female lead breaks down and whites out.
She comes to in the med lab, with David asking some questions, including if she had been intimate with her love interest recently. Doing a scan, he find her to be about three months pregnant, which, of course, is impossible -- she is barren and they had only had sex about ten hours prior (she wasn't pregnant prior to stasis). David remarks that that's probably accurate, it isn't a normal fetus. She freaks out, but he sedates her. When a medical team comes in to move her to stasis, she knocks them unconscious and runs to a rare auto-doc machine she found in the Weyland rep's private quarters earlier in the movie.
What follows is the most graphic Cesarean Section clip I have ever seen, performed in no time flat by the machine. It removes the fetus and begins to staple her up. The fetus pops, and a horrible, fleshy, monstrosity is revealed (it looks like Cthulhu's head without any eyes). She manages to squirm past it while it attempts to free itself from the machine. She runs away, blood stained and all, into another section of the private quarters.
Here, we meet Peter Weyland, an old man hoping the Engineers can save him. David had found a stasis pod in the caverns while the others were looking for the missing crew. Peter is being assisted by folks we hadn't seen before, people I assume were also probably androids (though there's no mention of this and I could just be wrong). He plans to meet with the Engineer and ask for help -- he only has a few days to live but thinks their creators can save him.
Meanwhile, the acid-face geologist's camera shows him to be outside the ship. Several crew members go to check this out and find that the body has been deformed and reanimated. The zombie Geo attacks and kills/maims several crew members before being run over and burned. It is notable the Geo is able to crawl up walls and is super strong, attributes shared by the xenomorphs in the other films.
Female lead, David, Weyland and co head to the Engineer's life pod. They wake him up. David speaks with him and, in return, has his head ripped off. Weyland gets punched in the face and goes down. The attendants are killed off. Female lead books it. She did learn from David, however, that the caverns were part of a ship that was carrying the alien soup back to Earth, apparently to destroy humankind and start over.
While she's running, the hidden spaceship begins to reveal itself and take off, course set for Earth. Female lead informs the captain of the Prometheus what's going on. The captain decides to kamikaze into the alien ship. The Weyland exec, Weyland's daughter, apparently, is given a chance to escape in an escape pod while her private section is also jettisoned. The kamikaze attack works, destroying the Prometheus and bringing the alien ship down.
The alien ship ends up crushing Weyland's daughter and almost kills the female lead. She, running out of oxygen, runs to the ejected exec quarters. She gets there, grabs oxygen tanks, and then is brought back to the auto-doc room due to strange sounds issuing forth from there. She is horrified to find that the creature taken from her womb is still alive (she decontaminated the room early) and has grown much larger.
Just then, David's head warns her (over the suit's mic), that the Engineer is coming for her. As soon as he finishes the warning, we see the Engineer burst into the room and hit her, preparing to kill her. She releases the lock on the auto-doc room and the now-full-fledged Cthulhu looking thing attacks him. Female lead runs away again while the two aliens fight it out. The Engineer loses when Cthulhu rams a snake/lamprey appendage down his throat. When the two fall still, it is obvious that Cthulhu is a much larger prototype to the face-huggers from the Alien series.
David-head convinces female lead to come help him -- he can pilot one of the other ships that are undoubtedly in the other edifices in the area. She agrees and goes to help him. Face to face, she tells him she has no intention of going to Earth; instead, she'll take the ship to the Engineer homeworld to get some answers. Shortly after, they take off.
The final scene focuses on the Engineer's corpse. A large, proto-xenomorph erupts from his chest. It looks like a cross between the monsters in the Alien films and the Engineer -- it's not at full xenomporph physiology yet, but the banana shaped head, extra mouth, etc... are all easily distinguishable.
That's it for the summary post, sorry it's so long (and I cut a bunch of story elements out, too...)