Greatest Movie Series
Alien (1979) | Aliens (1986) | Alien 3 (1992) | Alien Resurrection (1997) | Prometheus (2012)
Film Plot Summary
The initial sequence was of a lone, muscle-bound, humanoid, pale-white alien (Engineer) at the top of a gigantic waterfall. It sighted a large spaceship disc hovering above him, then disrobed its cloak. The extra-terrestrial creature ceremonially and ritualistically drank a viscuous black goo-liquid from an opened urn, which caused the alien to retch, grunt and contort.
An interior molecular transformation occurred before the alien died, then fell and disintegrated or dissolved in the waterfall. [Later revealed, the gardener-alien, a life-giver, was apparently creating life on primordial Earth - self-sacrificially seeding Earth with his own DNA.]
The film opened 4 years earlier in the year 2089 with the discovery of prehistoric cave paintings, about 35,000 years old on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, by archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), with her boyfriend Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). The cave paintings depicted various figures, including a tall human figure pointing to a pattern or constellation of stars (star-diagrams were showing the way for humans to locate their Engineers). The Scottish pictogram was the "same configuration" as those in many other different and separated cultures showing men worshipping giant beings pointing to the stars. Shaw noted: "I think they want us to come and find them."
Late in the year of 2093, the Weyland Corporation (with the logo "Building Better Worlds") sent a monstrous, advanced space vehicle named Prometheus (with holographic displays) and a crew of 17 on a deep-space mission to a destination undisclosed. Before waking from cryosleep after 2 years, 4 months, 18 days, 36 hours and 15 minutes, the spaceship's crew was monitored by the ship's robotic android David (Michael Fassbender), who amused himself by walking around the ship, riding a BMX bicycle, bouncing a basketball and making impossible hoop shots, taking language lessons, watching Lawrence of Arabia and imitating Peter O'Toole's hairstyle.
The expedition was led by Drs. Shaw and Holloway, and funded with a trillion dollars by the Weyland Corporation. During a briefing conducted by Weyland's bitchy, autocratic executive Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the group watched a hologram of a very elderly Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), with a recorded message he had made in the year 2091. (He asserted: "I have spent my entire lifetime contemplating the questions: Where do we come from? What is our purpose? What happens when we die?...The Titan Prometheus wanted to give mankind equal footing with the gods, and for that, he was cast from Olympus. Well, my friends, the time has finally come for his return.")
The group were informed that the cave paintings from many cultures had directed (or invited) their way to a star system far beyond Earth, where they were now about to land on the planet's sole, life-sustaining moon (LV-223) in order to explore its ruins. It was believed that the directional signs to the planet and its moon in the cave paintings had been left by alien "Engineers" - those who designed, engineered or created humanity on Earth. The planet where they were landing was where the Engineers had come from.
After landing and suiting up, they entered a large hollow, domed rock structure which they mapped with robotic 'pups,' and discovered it had breathable air and water - evidence of terraforming. David accidentally triggered a projected recording - images of humanoid aliens running at them, and they found the body of one large alien Engineer (similar to the "Space Jockey" in Alien), decapitated by a doorway with its helmeted head on the other side. It had been dead for 2,000 years. David saw large metal vases contained contaminating (DNA-destroying) black slime with squirming snake-like creatures, and put one into his pack. Two of the crew's fearful scientists (including Millburn (Rafe Spall) and geologist Fifield (Sean Harris)) decided to return to the ship after the latter told Shaw: "Congratulations on meeting your maker." However, they became stranded in the cave-like structure, as the rest of the group returned to the ship.
Upon investigation of the retrieved alien head-skull, they realized it was actually a helmet which they pried off to reveal the head underneath. An experiment to revive it led to its implosion, as David commented: "Mortal after all." They conjectured that it belonged to the body of one of the alien Engineers (with pale skin like the humanoid in the film's opening), with sample DNA that matched human DNA ("Their genetic material predates ours. We come from them"). Shaw exclaimed: "It's us. It's everything. What killed them?" Had their mission to 'meet their maker' and get answers (such as "Why they even made us in the first place") been a failure?
The first of many twists was revealed:
David caused Charlie to become infected and seriously ill by dunking some of the slime from the vase into Charlie's drink. Meanwhile, snake creatures emerged from the vases, attacked both of the stranded scientists (Millburn's body were found there during a second trip). Examining further in a control room during the return trip, David saw a hologram of the Engineers plotting courses through the stars and different planets, one of them being Earth. He also found a hypersleep chamber with pods, one of which contained the last-remaining, still-alive Engineer. Soon after, Charlie self-sacrificially asked to be exterminated by Vickers' flamethrower in order to stem the infection of the others, although he had already infected Shaw by having sex with her.
It was suggested by David to heroine Dr. Shaw, with an accelerated three-months pregnancy, that she be put in cryostasis and returned to Earth (Weyland's evil plan was to bring the monster home!). She wanted it out and conducted a self-inflicted caesarean-abortion in an automated, robotic surgery med-pod machine. She delivered a nasty-looking, coiled-up, octopus-like creature that she was able to gas in the chamber after she was sewed up. Meanwhile, a contaminated Fifield attempted to gain access to the ship, and was eventually prevented from entering by another flamethrower.
Dr. Shaw explained how wrong they were: "This place isn't what we thought it was. They aren't what we thought they were. I was wrong. We were so wrong." The Engineers were actually making bio-weapons of mass destruction on the far-away moon. Engineers were warriors - not creators, in the process of venturing to Earth to destroy it with their monstrous creations, before they were stopped by their own escaped black goo in the vases. Unbelievably, Dr. Shaw was still curious, however, about what the last remaining Engineer had to say - an answer to why they were heading to Earth.
Weyland was awakened, then transported by David (with Dr. Shaw) into the rock structure, assured of the belief that the Engineer would save him from death. Another twist was revealed:
Weyland's group entered the bridge's control room where David had earlier located the sole surviving Engineer ("a superior species"). David bluntly explained why the Engineers were planning a trip to Earth: "Sometimes to create, one must first destroy." Dr. Shaw screamed out questions, including why the Engineers hated them so much.
During the resultant, catastrophic finale:
The film ended in the year 2094, as she continued onward - but not to Earth ("I don't want to go back to where we came from. I want to go where they came from"). She was on a determined search for the alien home planet in one of the alien's other ships, to find out why they wanted to destroy humankind ("They created us. Then they tried to kill us. They changed their minds. I deserve to know why"):
In the conclusion, inside the remains of the lifeboat, was the appearance of an embryonic version of the Xenomorph Alien from the exploding chest of the dead Engineer. After the final credits was this logo:
BUILDING BETTER WORLDS SINCE
10. 11. 12
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
Director Ridley Scott's science-fiction film was a long-awaited prequel to the series of Alien films, including Scott's own first film in the franchise in 1979.
Plot Summary: (condensed) The Creators of Humanity on the Distant Planet of LV-223, Named Engineers, Were Found to Be Warriors - Who Were Making Bio-Weapons of Mass Destruction, And Were Planning to Destroy Earth. They Were Stopped By Their Own Escaped Black Goo Stored In Thousands of Vases. Only Expedition Leader Dr. Shaw and David's Robotic Head Survived, Now On a Continuing Mission to Locate the Homeland of the Engineers To Find Out Their Motivation For Destroying Earth.
With a production budget of $130 million, with box-office revenues of $126.4 million (domestic), and $403.4 million (worldwide).
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