[SOM #44]

Special Extended Edition: This version of the podcast now includes my final analysis at the end (around the 1.44 mark), answering many of the questions raised by the film by examining the original script by John Spaihts. This is available to view on YouTube with a ton of visual aid by searching for “Digital Gonzo: Prometheus Final Analysis”.

33 years after the original film, the director that started off the series returns to the same universe to start a new one. Ridley Scott’s PROMETHEUS is arguably the most anticipated prequel to be released since The Phantom Menace, but is that word even an apt description of this film, considering what happens and what doesn’t? You could make a case that it serves as a remake as well. What’s certain is that after only a few days of release and before it’s even out in the USA, this film has caused a storm of negative and lukewarm responses, and a backlash of equally vociferous defense.

I am joined at the helm of the bad ship Prometheus by Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse, Sharon Shaw of Gonzo Planet, Matt Ramsey of DorkTunes and James Perkins of Geek Wad. This time there is opposition and a clash of opinion as we set out to get a balanced yet impassioned view on the movie. Spoilers abound from the start so be sure to watch it before listening.

Prometheus: Final Analysis

This is two things.

Firstly it’s a video epilogue to the Digital Gonzo podcast, episode #80 where along with Joshua Garrity of Cane & Rinse, Sharon Shaw of DorkCast, Matt Ramsey of DorkTunes and James Perkins of Geek Wad I reviewed Prometheus. Since then I read through the *original* script for ALIEN ENGINEERS and that has explained far more about the film than any review. In this video I break down what was in that screenplay for you guys and examine the movie this could have been (and in retrospect thankfully wasn’t).

Once you know that stuff, you’ll probably be less confused too, which is always good.

The second thing this is, is a first go at adopting the style of the fantastic series of internet lectures on the video games industry, Extra Credits on Penny Arcade TV. The artwork is provided by that show’s creator, my good friend Dan Floyd himself and this serves as both a try-out and an homage.



Author: Alex Shaw

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  1. I wanted to love this movie and was ultimately justified in keeping my expectations low. Ridley Scott

    may be a visionary director, but ‘Alien’ was written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, with significant

    contributions from producers David Giler and Walter Hill, as well as H.R. Giger’s inspired art design.

    Filmmaking is a collaborative process, not just of the people involved, but of the time period. It is

    alchemy, a fleeting moment of providence not easily recaptured, proven time and again by the likes of

    ‘Predators’ and the ‘Star Wars’ prequels.

    ‘Prometheus’ had the potential to be truly great science fiction in the literary sense of dealing with

    Big Questions. It is all right there in the viral marketing: The myth of Prometheus taking fire from the

    Gods and giving it to Man. The central theme of this movie is clear enough: “What happens when Man meets

    the Gods?”

    This theme is embodied by two characters, David and Elizabeth Shaw.

    David is an artificial construct that arguably becomes more than the sum of his parts. In the form of a

    man but lacking in certain fundamental aspects of humanity, he has the misfortune of knowing his own

    arrogant and eminently flawed creators. On this epic voyage straight out of a Greek drama, he will

    discover a sense of wonder and destiny.

    The opposite of David is Shaw, an educated woman with a deeply personal religious inspiration. This is

    remarkable enough, as scientists in movies are typically portrayed as militantly skeptical at best and

    cartoonishly blasphemous as worst. But Shaw never stops to consider that the Gods might be angry with

    having fire taken from them.

    David finds faith and Shaw loses it. The story needed to be about them, but kept getting sidetracked by

    subplots and CGI monsters.

    Regarding the Engineers themselves, it was my interpretation that the one living specimen the crew

    awakened became aggressive because it was never his people’s intention to create a species that could

    reach out to them as equals. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, which Shaw holds dear, Man is purposely

    created in God’s image. It was not so in Greek mythology.

    There are a couple different versions, but it mostly goes like this:

    Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus did not fight with the Titans and against the Olympians, so they

    were spared imprisonment and instead given tasks. Prometheus sculpted Man out of clay, into which Athena

    breathed life. Epimetheus assigned traits to all the mortal creatures of the Earth — cunning and

    strength, fur and wings, et cetera. But when he got to Man, he found that he had run out of positive

    traits to give, so Prometheus gifted us the ability to be civilized as the Gods are.

    In order to establish rule over Man, Zeus decreed that we must pay tribute, but Prometheus tricked him.

    Given the choice between an ugly ox’s stomach (secretly containing nutritious meat) or glistening fat

    (concealing useless bones), Zeus picked the later, thereby allowing Man to keep for themselves that which

    would be more useful.

    Angered, Zeus hide from Man the knowledge of fire, which is when Prometheus stole it back. For his

    crime, Prometheus was chained to a rock and cursed to have an eagle tear out his liver, over and over for

    eternity. To punish Man, Zeus and Hephaestus created a stunningly beautiful mortal — the first Woman,

    Pandora — and gave to her a jar (not a box) which she was forbidden to open.

    I am sure you know how the next part goes. If David could be seen as the titular Prometheus, the agent

    between Man and Gods, whom gets torn apart for his troubles, then Shaw is definitely Pandora, whom opens

    the jar and unwittingly releases evil.

    I do think the setting of ‘Alien’ is expansive enough to be explored without slavishly cleaving to the

    source material. Earlier entries in the franchise left a number of mysteries to be discerned, yet still

    managed to tell cohesive and self-contained stories of their own. Not so much with ‘Prometheus’. In the

    hands of more capable script writers, this movie could have formed a lasting identity of its own.

    Instead, it may forever be known as another prequel that nobody asked for.

  2. You definitely need to come on the forum with stuff like this. It needs to be read. I’ve got your Iron Man Essays geared up for the next show. Consider writing something about The Matrix after that (I’ll be covering them in December)

    • Oh, The Matrix series is pretty simple. Reloaded and Revolutions should have been one movie. =P

      But yeah, I can write something, if you like.

  3. Oh and make sure you check out My Final Analysis on Prometheus, which is also view-able on Gonzo Planet.

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