Boy is Prometheus getting a lot of shit for unanswered questions. And only about half of them are legitimate gripes (in my opinion). Any good movie will have larger unanswered questions. Was Deckard a replicant? Was Cobb dreaming at the end? Why does popcorn cost $7? I think the larger discussion points are what make a movie enjoyable, and what might seem like a plot hole is really just something mysterious designed to capture your imagination. That being said, there is some stupid shit in some movies. For example, flying around the Earth really fast opposite its rotation would neither cause it to spin backwards nor would it cause time to reverse. Stupid shit. So here are (just some of) the stupid questions from Prometheus and also (some of) the smart ones. Needless to say, spoilers abound.
Bad Questions (the kind that are just confusing and don’t make sense):
Are these people really scientists? They have ZERO quarantine protocol. They bring an alien head onto the ship in open air. They carry an alien container around in an Old Navy duffel bag. They take their helmets off with no regard for alien diseases.
Seriously, are they really scientists? The geologist who is in charge of the mapping bots GETS LOST, despite communications with the ship where they have the full map and location beacons. AND, honestly, the tunnels are NOT that complex. And the other guy wanting to PET a nasty looking alien snake? No.
Isn’t this an unexplored ALIEN planet?! They arrive on an alien planet and no one really cares that much. Pretty sure you would land and spend days or weeks studying from the ship, mapping, recording, etc. The geologist doesn’t even get rock samples. Was there a time jump I missed?
“What the fuck happened to your stomach?” Shaw shows up with her stomach stapled and no one even bats an eye. Are they too busy clipping Weyland’s toe nails?
Why was Weyland’s presence a secret? Sure, keep that from stockholders, I guess, but why surprise everyone else?
Why were the crew uninformed strangers? Why not move that orientation scene to before the flight?
Good Questions (the kind that get you to think and discuss):
What’s with the Black Goo? Do we need to know what it is exactly? I agree they maybe could have had better logic for how it affects people but in my mind the goo is more like an alien delivery system (akin to a syringe or a pill). In the opening scene it’s a way to disseminate DNA (through what seemed to be a ritual—certainly they could think of a way to do this that didn’t require sacrifice) and on the ship it holds a biological weapon. I don’t think the goo was the same in both cases. Just a delivery system for DNA transformation.
So what’s with the Weapon Goo? How does it work? Ok, this isn’t very clear cut. What the movie shows: it touches an organism and then changes that organism into a mindless embryo implanter (it turns the worm into a gross snake, it turns the geologist into Attacky von Crabbenheimer). Boyfriend guy never gets far enough to turn completely, but his sperm did get changed, and little wormies come out of his eyeball. The worms were probably a bad call as they’re just confusing. I’ll concede that. Maybe he just imagined that. I don’t know. After you implant an embryo, that alien is more like the xenomorphs we know, taking on properties of its host.
Was that Earth in the beginning? Ridley Scott has said that it might be, and it might not be. It’s not important because it’s simply an example of what the Engineers did on Earth to create life.
Why didn’t humans show up for hundreds of millions of years after the “ritual”? In the prologue that guy dissolves and his DNA gets changed and scattered. I don’t think he was seeding human life, I think he was seeding life in general. As a sci-fi nerd, I’ve read about how on other planets, if there were aliens, they might not even have DNA and if they did it wouldn’t be anything like on Earth DNA. Remember on Earth flies and humans share a whopping 60% of DNA. I think that’s also why later the thing says “DNA MATCH” when obviously humans and the “Engineers” are not even remotely the same species (humans and chimps, which are pretty similar, share 98% of their DNA). I think it was saying match to Earth-based DNA. Or at least that’s how I choose to interpret it because I like the movie.
Why destroy your creation? First, alien motives—who knows. Second, who says they were going to Earth to wipe out life? Maybe they go check a planet and if it’s gone to shit, they wipe out and start over. Maybe they decided human’s were shit creations and wanted to turn them all into badass alien xenomorphs. Maybe it’s part of the ritual. Ultimately it’s not necessary for the story to work. It’s a detail that’s fun to discuss after the fact.
Why did David poison Holloway? I think David’s objective was to get as firm a grasp on the situation as possible as quickly as possible before waking up Weyland. He hadn’t found an Engineer yet, and the Black Goo was a big question mark. Having no directive to protect human life, he used Holloway (who was kind of a dick to him) as a really easy test subject.
Wait, if the Engineer is dead, who’s the Space Jockey in Alien? David said there were many other ships. Is it not possible that there are other Engineers/Space Jockeys in other ships in cryo-sleep? Or maybe it was a ship on the way from the home planet to the weapons factory known as LV-223. And maybe it wasn’t even a ship with Black Goo at all. Maybe it was transporting fully-formed xenomorphs (or a different species). Hence all the eggs instead of the Goo containers. It isn’t like they said this would dovetail with Alien at all. In fact the creators pretty firmly said this wasn’t an Alien movie, which, while clearly not true gives them a lot of leeway in terms of the xenomorphs. It’s like wondering why the Ewoks don’t look more like Chewbacca.
Is that Shaw’s ship they find in Alien on LV-426? Wasn’t the Space Jockey “fossilized”? Alien doesn’t take place THAT much after Prometheus. It might have been, it might not have been. I’m not sure they look all that closely at the Space Jockey to determine if he was fossilized or if they just mistook his space suit and mask (which is pretty bone-like) for fossilization. Again, it could be another ship, especially since they would hopefully not hijack a ship with an Engineer/Space Jockey on board. Also, see above. Prometheus doesn’t necessarily lead to Alien, it’s just the same universe, with the same races.
What did David say to the Engineer? Because clearly, not pleased.
So anyway, that’s just some of the questions the movie raised, good and bad. What questions did you have?
What did you think of the movie? I really liked it. I thought it was a beautifully shot science fiction movie with some questionable character decisions and a regrettable lack of common sense. But ultimately, the tension, production design, and story won me over.
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