The Prometheus trailer just came out today (see long and short versions below the jump). It looks like this film will be the Millennial movie; it is chock-a-block with 2012 conspiracy theories, and set in the Alien continuity. Ridley Scott's Alien prequel - including new designs from H. R. Giger - could be the space opera sci-fi film with a heavyweight story that Avatar should have been.
Boomer director Scott at his best is a true visionary; he has a sense of grandeur, history and social truths that persist over time. His new film incorporates mysteries of ancient civilizations with slick futuristic designs. In a recent interview, he anticipated an anti-tech backlash as part of the natural pattern of human behaviour. At the same time, he has an uncanny appreciation of the vast potential of technology and anything we can harness to that technology - be it human destiny, diseases, androids - or aliens. The story is set in 2085, 30 years prior to Alien, and is being hailed an equally-weighty successor to Blade Runner and Alien.
Screenwriter Damon Lindelof, confirmed that travelling into the future is equivalent to travelling into humanity's deep past: "[The film] covers a vast expanse of time, past, present and future. ... Space exploration in the future is going to evolve into this idea that it's not just about going out there and finding planets to build colonies. It also has this inherent idea that the further we go out, the more we learn about ourselves. The characters in this movie are preoccupied by the idea: what are our origins?"
Scott draws on another Millennial trope, the sharp juxtaposition of religion and science. He plays on the hazy pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology about aliens founding civilization on Earth, which was popularized in the 1960s and which the Internet has solidified into pseudofact:
Even by today's jaded, marketing-weary standards, Scott's viral campaign for this flick is unusually clever. Aside from Weyland's 2023 TED talk, the Prometheus promotion includes a fictional corporate Website, where information and hints about the story are being continually released. These virals include, today, a fictional corporate video of the unboxing of Weyland's first android, played by Michael Fassbender (this video is also below the jump, featuring Guy Pearce's smoothly egotistical mega-tech-corp-boss narration). The android video was meta-marketed at the SF comics convention, WonderCon, this weekend.The film would explore the nature, origin, and "staggering civilization" of the alien race of the space jockey, as well as the beings' fictional anthropogenic role in the origins of humanity on Earth. Such ideas were "partially" inspired by Erich von Däniken's writings about ancient astronauts. Scott told the Hollywood Reporter, "NASA and the Vatican agree that [it is] almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way... That’s what we’re looking at (in the film), at some of Erich von Däniken’s ideas of how did we humans come about." Scott's prequel ... would also focus on terraforming and the fictitious Weyland Industries before its merger with the Yutani Corporation. Scott furthered that the original Zeta II Reticuli planetary system would be part of the prequel story; and that the plot would also entail "technologically feasible" approaches and applications towards "near faster-than-light travel" which would play a key role. "Time dilation and the effects of essentially de-materializing and re-materializing" also factored in the drafts. Elaborating more, the director commented in an interview that "the film will be really tough, really nasty. It's the dark side of the moon. We are talking about gods and engineers. Engineers of space. And were the aliens designed as a form of biological warfare? Or biology that would go in and clean up a planet?" He later added, "The cast find an establishment which is not what they expected it to be, it’s a civilization but what we find in it is very uncivilized behaviour."
I am not sure why it has taken so long to bring out a science fiction film of this calibre, given the progress made with CGI over the past ten years. For example, why hasn't Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy been filmed? At any rate, the standard is almost certainly set. Now, will someone please give Sean Young a role in the Prometheus sequel?
WonderCon android promotion. Video Source: Youtube.
Short Prometheus trailer (2012). Video Source: 20th Century Fox via Youtube.