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Prometheus: The Alien prequel trailer is up. Scary.
December 25, 2011 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Prometheus trailer: a dose of holy damn scary

Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender. What the hell it is actually about is unclear, though it is linked to the Alien franchise. Previously. Also previously.
posted by angrycat (136 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
According to that Wikipedia link, its not an Alien prequel. That's just where the idea came from.

Looks good though.
posted by mannequito at 12:44 PM on December 25, 2011


Reading the stuff about "aliens that created humans", etc, etc, etc makes me want to roll my eyes out of my head. Seriously? We're going for the most ridiculous "I'm not smart enough to figure out how the world actually works so I'm going to say aliens did it?" route?

Fuck.
posted by daq at 12:45 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The little Alien inside me is quivering.
posted by troll at 12:47 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Compare this trailer to the original Alien trailer. Lots of similarities, huh? Unfortunately, where the Alien trailer had a more menacing ambiance and gave the suspense time to build up, the Prometheus trailer says too much, too loud. Still better than most Hollywood trailers, though.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:48 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It might have been a good trailer but they use the "bwooom - bwooom - bwooom" sound track that is in every trailer now, ever since they used it in Inception

It was cool in Inception but if you use the same sound track in every trailer, maybe just changing the timber or something... it's just not cool anymore.

So yeah I mean it looked cool but the cliche'd soundtrack really distracted me.

posted by delmoi at 12:55 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's not a direct prequel, but it's obviously set in the same universe. There's several Weyland Corp. logos in the trailer, and of course the space jockey.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:56 PM on December 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


delmoi, I knew that sounded very familiar but taking the exact same sample? Damn, that's just lazy.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:58 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone did some serious analysis of the trailer over on Reddit.
posted by sisquoc15 at 1:00 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure if it's exactly the same sample, but it's very similar.

It's probably not in the movie, I would bet someone in the marketing department just put it in the trailer because it's the in thing.
posted by delmoi at 1:00 PM on December 25, 2011


Bleeding Cool also did a look at the trailer.
posted by permafrost at 1:01 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


taking the exact same sample? Damn, that's just lazy.

See also: "Credit Racket," the last track on Laurie Anderson's "Home of the Brave," ca. 1986.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:02 PM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Looks pretty fucking awesome/scary. Can't wait.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on December 25, 2011


What else can I say?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:20 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


why is everyone linking to reddit all of a sudden

this is unnerving!
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:21 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I prefer these sort of aliens ...
posted by philip-random at 1:21 PM on December 25, 2011


Yo Prometheus trailer is pretty good and imma let you finish but the Alien trailer is the best trailer of all time.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:21 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ridley Scott doing a movie in the Alien universe? I'll be there opening night.
posted by octothorpe at 1:23 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It also has Idris Elba. There's been tongue-in-cheek speculation around the interwebs whether he'll live through the movie.

According to IMDb, Michael Fassbender and Ridley Scott have been "arguing" publicly about whether it's actually a prequel or whether it's even intended to be in the same universe as the other Alien films. I think this statement probably applies: "There may of course be some misdirection on part of the film makers to help highten interest in the film." It should be expected that if this film is successful, it will continue into a franchise of it's own, perhaps branching off initially and then eventually returning to Alien source.

I will never forget how I felt when I saw the Alien trailer for the first time. And then how I felt when I saw That Scene. I can hardly wait for Prometheus.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:25 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even better with YouTube's snowfall feature enabled.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:27 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


so wait...WE turn into THEM? that doesn't seem to make them very...i dunno...ALIEN.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:33 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like Ridley Scott's movies have been pretty damn bad lately. I still want to this to be good, though. Maybe he'll get his mojo back and then follow up with a killer Blade Runner film (that he has also suggested he'll film).
posted by selfnoise at 1:40 PM on December 25, 2011


Oh man. I've been waiting for Bilbo to meet up with the Space Jockey for so long. There and Back Again, with an Egg in My Tummy.
posted by benzenedream at 1:46 PM on December 25, 2011 [21 favorites]


If that Reddit analysis is even halfway on the mark, I'm going to just stop, cold turkey, any reading about or viewing of trailers before seeing films from here on out. Because if that analysis is true, then the entire meta narrative of the film is in the trailer, and fuck that, I want to be surprised and delighted.

Something has gone wrong with trailers and marketing -- they got too good, and the movies crossed some line from just movies to super-media experiences. And there's nothing wrong with that, it's just that I can catch up with all of that later. I think I want my movies to be movies first.

I want to walk before I run, because walking is fun, too.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and if Idris Elba lives through this movie, I will eat a bug. The crosshairs on the audience surrogate black guy that does something heroic/athletic/sacrificial have rarely been this clear.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:50 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe he'll get his mojo back and then follow up with a killer Blade Runner film (that he has also suggested he'll film).

Prequel: Blade Walk/Jog
posted by jimmythefish at 1:54 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blade Amble
posted by nathancaswell at 1:55 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blade Walker! Bladespotters! Look who's Blade Crawling, too!
posted by sexyrobot at 1:57 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


re: benzenedream
Alien vs Pooh
posted by contrarian at 2:01 PM on December 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Spoiler: The black guy dies first
posted by Renoroc at 2:03 PM on December 25, 2011


It is most definitely a prequel to Alien. Besides the aping of the original trailer it features explicit visual references to settings we've seen before (Space Jockey gun) along with some characters analyzing a Space Jockey head.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 2:06 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


wait, that was an ALIEN in that first movie? i thought John Hurt was just really, reaally constipated...
posted by sexyrobot at 2:10 PM on December 25, 2011


Any prequel/sequel connection to an established franchise is an instant -1 to Desire To Watch for me by now.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:10 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, as long as Prometheans comes out in 2016 and features some Mean Green Marines, snappy dialogue and a shitload of explosions, I'll be happy.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:28 PM on December 25, 2011 [15 favorites]



Reading the stuff about "aliens that created humans", etc, etc, etc makes me want to roll my eyes out of my head. Seriously? We're going for the most ridiculous "I'm not smart enough to figure out how the world actually works so I'm going to say aliens did it?" route?



HHGTTG 2 - The Golgafrinchans "Wake up"

bwooom - bwooom - bwooom
posted by edgeways at 2:45 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


i heard he even wrote a book about it: Turtle-Heading Through the Sternum; the Importance of a High-Fiber Diet.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:46 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


io9 did a breakdown of the trailer too.
posted by homunculus at 2:47 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


"See also:'Credit Racket' the last track on Laurie Anderson's "Home of the Brave," ca. 1986."

I happen to have that right here, as a longtime fan of Laurie Anderson....

...it's not as bassy, but the recording is of a live performance, so it might have had as much bass. It's close, but she uses variations of that basic sound repeatedly in the show and it's clearly taken from a certain kind of alarm. (The Credit Racket portion isn't available on YouTube, but you can hear this sound used near the beginning of the movie, at 5:41, right before her version of Excellent Birds, which she co-wrote with Peter Gabriel.)

This more recent sound is, I'm sure, also derived from the same general alarm sound. Maybe, though, through some intermediate evolution outside that context.

I'm more interested in a particular soundtrack/sound-effect that's being used in movies a lot recently—but I can't recall even the most recent film I heard it in (just within the last few weeks) and it's impossible to Google, it seems. It's a reversed, dropping low-frequency thing that is pretty darn spooky and tension-inducing. It's also very cool. But it's showing up all over the place, which is a bit annoying. Does anyone know what I'm referring to?

Speaking of Home of the Brave, a few years after that movie was made, I became friends with a guy who had been a PA on the film (during the period when he'd been a grad student at the NYU film school). (Oh, BTW, for the other johnnies out there, he was a johnnie, had gone on to NYU, then came back to SJC as the, um, second career services guy.)

Anyway, being a huge Anderson and Burroughs fan, I was greatly impressed and asked him what they were like. He replied, "honestly, all I can remember about them and working on the film was getting people sandwiches". The glamorous life of a PA.

But back to this post, it makes me think that it's been a long time since Alien, and I find that I'm very, very excited about this film. I actually preferred Alien over Aliens, preferring the emphasis on horror and fear over the more action-oriented Aliens. But this looks pretty action-oriented.

Still, I'm not much of a fan of horror (I mean, the funny thing about horror is that the people who are into it are into all these films that seem to me to be pretty schlocky while, in contrast, I do have an interest in a very few horror films, almost always foreign, that are not so formulaic and slashery—though some can be very violent in a more upsetting, less-voyeuristic way) but I do really like an occasional film like Alien. Especially a film like Alien, considering that I'm also a SF fan and so combining SF and horror is a really good combo for my sensibilities. But only when it's not schlocky and when it's good.

Everything about the original Alien film was fresh and interesting and creative at the time. It's been so long, and so many people are young enough that they've only known a movie world after Alien, but there were no Action Grrl characters before Ripley in this context, the Giger design was completely unfamiliar to popular audiences, there hadn't been a deeply frightening and moody science-fiction film like this before. And, dammit, there should be more stuff that's fresh like this film was. But, also, I'd be happy with a lot more films which aren't fresh, but just tread this territory but do it well.

I dunno. This looks pretty good to me and it's suddenly become one of my more anticipated movie releases in a long time. I guess that means I'm going to be bitterly disappointed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:54 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


What the hell it is actually about is unclear

Good. The trailer looks fine and is more than enough to get me into the theater. But I'll be sure to avoid the frame-by-frame dissections and stop paying attention to this movie's advance hype for the next six months. I'm sure I'll enjoy it more that way.
posted by mediareport at 3:08 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey, as long as Prometheans comes out in 2016

Followed by Prometheans vs. Predators in 2020.
posted by homunculus at 3:11 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just don't think it's plausible that humans master space travel before fire.
posted by No-sword at 3:29 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't hear about this without thinking of Jay Sherman's student film.

"Oh no. Promutheus!" "Prometheus!!" FIN
posted by yellowbinder at 3:32 PM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Homage, Ripoffs, and Coincidences did a small write-up on Ships Piercing the Atmosphere.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:47 PM on December 25, 2011


Don't be ridiculous, Idris Elba is far too ridiculously hot to die first. Surely he will just have his shirt ripped off dramatically.
posted by elizardbits at 4:46 PM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just don't think it's plausible that humans master space travel before fire.

You have clearly never had to walk a 70 year old classics scholar with two PhD's and a Masters through uploading a video to youtube. I promise you, it is infinitely plausible.
posted by elizardbits at 4:48 PM on December 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've always loved the mystery behind the character of the Space Jockey as introduced in Alien. There's so little there - really just a few minutes of screen time from the original Alien - but it's just enough to hook you with all these ear worm questions.
posted by kbanas at 5:35 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Still, I'm not much of a fan of horror (I mean, the funny thing about horror is that the people who are into it are into all these films that seem to me to be pretty schlocky while, in contrast, I do have an interest in a very few horror films, almost always foreign, that are not so formulaic and slashery—though some can be very violent in a more upsetting, less-voyeuristic way)
cool, thanks for the info
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:53 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The whole "humans as an engineered species" bit fits in with the backstory of the predator/alien universe. Supposedly, in addition to the hunting, the predators were also race creating geneticists who created the alien to have something worthwhile to hunt. Of course, if you're creating a life form that requires several stages to reach maturity, one of which includes gestating in a host body, why not design the alien to pair up with that other thing you've already made? Would it be a good story? Maybe not, but it wouldn't be going against the central tenets of the world.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:56 PM on December 25, 2011


I've always loved the mystery behind the character of the Space Jockey as introduced in Alien. There's so little there - really just a few minutes of screen time from the original Alien - but it's just enough to hook you with all these ear worm questions.

I agree. It makes me wish there was a forget-the-last-two-hours pill I could take after watching this Prometheus movie, just in case it is awful and ruins the space jockey character for me.
posted by orme at 5:58 PM on December 25, 2011


For the Blade Runner sequel, I propose "On Bladen Pond."
posted by zippy at 6:08 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


wait, wait...is it Bladebusters 2?
posted by sexyrobot at 6:25 PM on December 25, 2011


so why would Scott lie about Prometheus being a prequel? it just can't be an artistic choice. there has to be some legal or marketing reason for this charade.
posted by liza at 6:32 PM on December 25, 2011


It's a marketing thing, surely. He and/or Fox know that there are as many people who will roll their eyes at another Alien film as there are who will be on board with it. Plus, a prequel brings with it the assumption that the film will lead to an inevitable end - probably dovetailing into the original Alien film. Both of those assumptions can affect how people will see the film - and the denial of the connection has at least led to another kind of discussion.

Personally, I'm happier that we're being left in the dark - even if it's clear that we're at least Alien-universe adjacent, if not a direct prequel.
posted by crossoverman at 6:36 PM on December 25, 2011


Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron,...

I'm in. Whatever it's about.
posted by odinsdream at 6:50 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


And personally, I'm hoping that Prometheus ignores the whole AvP trainwreck, which was a nice bit of goofy comic-book marketing fun that should have been left there.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:52 PM on December 25, 2011


Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron,...

I'm in. Whatever it's about.


Idris Motherfucking Elba.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:00 PM on December 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm quite impressed by the cagey way they're marketing the film - the confused messages about how it may or may not tie into the Alien story is just way of having their cake and eating it, which is fine by me. As a lifelong fan of (half of) the franchise, I crave answers to the central mystery of the jockeys and the xenomorph's origin, but at the same time know I'll only be disappointed if that wish is ever fulfilled.

How cool would it be to see the series evolve into something as vast as the Cthulhu mythos, an ever-widening collective fiction which different writers can delve into and add their own stuff over the decades. The audience could pick and choose which works they consider canon, and the franchise, rather than being constricted into a linear series, could become more like a web of stories with subjective degrees of overlap. I'm confident this would herald an amazing new age of infinitely-profitable awesomeness, largely because I have chosen to disregard the crushing realities of Sturgeon's law and invidious copyright lockdowns that ensure it will never, ever happen.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:18 PM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Idris Motherfucking Elba.

Whatever else happens in this movie, I'm so hoping that there is a member of the ship's crew named Wallace and that at some point someone asks Elba's character about his whereabouts.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:27 PM on December 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


And also hopefully remonstrate with Weyland-Yutani for taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:50 PM on December 25, 2011


This is a movie, rather than an historical documentary, yes? The ability to suspend disbelief is a feature rather than a bug. Considering the state of reality at this time, I could use some decent fantastical drek to ease my burden, even if it's for a mere 101 minutes or so. A tip of the hat for all who might have an endless supply of joy in life. Quibble away over the lack of science in science fiction. This looks like just the sort of thing to help make up for my lack of drunken stupors and chemical escape hatches most sane people have
posted by Redhush at 7:53 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The fact that Anne Hathaway was even considered for a role in this was almost enough to ruin it.
And:

Idris effing Elba.
posted by docpops at 8:31 PM on December 25, 2011


The much overlooked adaptation: Gummi Alien.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 9:14 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe he'll get his mojo back and then follow up with a killer Blade Runner film

He'll do that when he gets around to re-re-re-releasing his "final" Director's Cut. I'm betting he has at least one more left in him before he's done fucking with it.

The whole "humans as an engineered species" bit fits in with the backstory of the predator/alien universe. Supposedly, in addition to the hunting, the predators were also race creating geneticists who created the alien to have something worthwhile to hunt.

I can't think of a more glorious 'fuck you' to the fans.

I'm hoping that Prometheus ignores the whole AvP trainwreck, which was a nice bit of goofy comic-book marketing fun that should have been left there.

Especially since the comics didn't need any marketing, and in the end they were still a crap-ton better,
posted by P.o.B. at 9:23 PM on December 25, 2011


Nobody's mentioned Noomi Goddamn Rapace yet, so I will. Hopefully she had more than the one character in her.
posted by dhartung at 9:56 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Come on, people. Theron fills all posssible hotness requirements, anything more is like they're poking fun at marathoners while standing near the finish line.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:10 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe Elba and Theron will have a naked push-up competition to prove humanity's fitness to the Space Jockeys.
posted by homunculus at 10:30 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kandarp Von Bontee, I'm with you on that, but one reason it took so long for AvP to come out was all of the ridiculous copyright involved. It needed something like twenty producers to represent all of the interests, and, well, it sucked, horribly, mostly as a result of all of those interests being far too involved with the movie.

I'd love to see filmmakers from major studios (with the budgets they get) have half the freedom as the fan-made films. Then we could get things like a proper Alien v Predator, or a decent version of Justice League. Or a shit ton of other films. Imagine if Fincher got to do whatever he wanted with an Alien movie, instead of the constraints that forced Alien 3 (still an underrated masterpiece, if you ask me)?
posted by Ghidorah at 10:45 PM on December 25, 2011


So I had a class in High School called The Philosophy Of Science, and it was awesome. We were graded mostly on our midterms and finals and we go to pick what these things would e. The catch, we had to submit what they would be to Dr. Jones., the teacher. So my midterm project is a comic book history of opiates, it's about 6 pages and I like it and so does everyone, but for my final, I said I wanted to do a breakdown of how the hell the Xenomorph from Alien could have existed and Dr. Jones says yes but I would have to (like everyone else ) present the final as a presentation to the class.

This is what I came up with: The Xenomorph is clearly a constructed entity, but one designed for a multi-speices, long range space faring civilization. It is a Macro Virus, able to infect and reproduce within many hosts and also lay dormant for untold years in very hostile environments. It adapts quickly to local conditions and is well specialized for the rigors of space travel. It's draw backs are that it is too good. As a Macrovirus, it kills off any hosts before it can spread too far, leaving dead worlds like LV-40 and the Space Jockey. But, thanks to it's neat little biological tricks that I had to detail in great depth (the immortality of virii cells and such) it can leave awful little eggs all over the place and just wait for a few enviroment to appear.

I got an A on the presentation, also for figuring out how the acid blood would work.
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


PG13, so they can market it to the kids you know....$$$

I'll wait for the reviews to come in before I get too excited. I want to like this though.
posted by dibblda at 11:39 PM on December 25, 2011


My conclusion was wither the Xenomorph was designed as a weapon or was the the result of natural selection in a multi-speices, space-racing civilization, a lifeform that evolved to exploit the idea of long dormant travel.
posted by The Whelk at 11:49 PM on December 25, 2011


Apparently quite a lot of it was filmed on Iceland.

Looking forward to it in a big, big way.
posted by flippant at 12:17 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ivan Fyodorovich: "Still, I'm not much of a fan of horror (I mean, the funny thing about horror is that the people who are into it are into all these films that seem to me to be pretty schlocky while, in contrast, I do have an interest in a very few horror films, almost always foreign, that are not so formulaic and slashery—though some can be very violent in a more upsetting, less-voyeuristic way) but I do really like an occasional film like Alien. Especially a film like Alien, considering that I'm also a SF fan and so combining SF and horror is a really good combo for my sensibilities. But only when it's not schlocky and when it's good. "

Well, I for one, enjoy horror a great deal and, if I was as schlocky as you suggest, I suspect I would have been hit with the Big Blue Banhammer by no
posted by Samizdata at 12:52 AM on December 26, 2011


P.o.B.: "He'll do that when he gets around to re-re-re-releasing his "final" Director's Cut. I'm betting he has at least one more left in him before he's done fucking with it."

People are already worried as hell about Prometheus sucking, why break their hearts with such completely improbable fantasy?

(BTW, yes, I own copies of every existing version of Blade Runner I could find on DVD and could dork out endlessly on them. And, ummmm, Sean Young as Rachel... That hair...)
posted by Samizdata at 12:55 AM on December 26, 2011


Well, crap. I blew the punchline two posts up, damn it! Why do you people post comments I find interesting in inconvient order?
posted by Samizdata at 12:56 AM on December 26, 2011


My conclusion was wither the Xenomorph was designed as a weapon or was the the result of natural selection in a multi-speices, space-racing civilization, a lifeform that evolved to exploit the idea of long dormant travel.

What would prevent the Xenomorph from turning on the civilization that created it? It's indiscriminately violent. Are you assuming a sort of Zerg model, where the species are similar enough to form an interspecial social structure? Considering the wide dispersion (ie lots of time and colonial isolation) of the Xenomorph, couldn't it plausibly evolve away from the group? Its social apparatus would wither like a vestigial organ after enough disuse and selection. Granted, their lifespans are indefinitely long, so generational genetic turnover is sporadic (I don't know how eusociality plays into this), but astronomical time scales and episodes of violent contact provide ample wiggle-room for evolution. If it were a weapon, it could be designed for genetic stasis to prevent drift--or, I suppose, if it were a natural being, the entire civilization could be genetically "frozen" ad-hoc during periods of separation.

Either way, if the purpose of such a "macro virus" in such a civilization is to eradicate native planetary life to make room for expansion, why does it only attack fauna? Atmospheric makeup (temperature and composition) is largely of function of flora. Presumably, this civilization is going to want to reproduce the conditions of its home planet, so a macro virus should also be capable of planetary engineering.

Who knows, maybe there's a specialized Xenomorph that can exude gas for eons.
posted by troll at 1:01 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Under the "engineered by Predators" theory, they developed the alien because they were looking for a more interesting hunt, having already hunted or killed everything worth hunting or killing.

Yes, I've read AvP novels. I'm not proud.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:09 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Either way, if the purpose of such a "macro virus" in such a civilization is to eradicate native planetary life to make room for expansion, why does it only attack fauna? Atmospheric makeup (temperature and composition) is largely of function of flora. Presumably, this civilization is going to want to reproduce the conditions of its home planet, so a macro virus should also be capable of planetary engineering.

In my head the Xenomorph was like Planetary Herpes, a nasty bug that really liked things that traveled in space and replicated aggressively and ad hoc when it found a suitable host If it went and terraformed places to be more friendly, well then it's the Mycon and boring. I liked the idea of a large scale Virus kinda thing that really doesn't care if it's going to go big, it's gonna sit here on a rock until someone is stupid enough to look at it. It has a really specific niche and it is going to exploit it.
posted by The Whelk at 1:26 AM on December 26, 2011


I remember one of the writers for Alien saying that, in an earlier script's backstory, the Xenomorph's full adult form was actually quite calm and civilized. The toothy juvenile form which we see is merely a phase, and in the Xenomorph's own culture, they let that phase do its thing under highly controlled conditions, such as by having the facehugger attach itself to a cowlike creature and letting the juvenile eat and eat and eat until it becomes, I assume, something more like the Tony Randall Gremlin.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:45 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Whelk - how does the acid blood work?
posted by zia at 4:50 AM on December 26, 2011


The Whelk - how does the acid blood work?
He's saving that bit for the sequel-paper -- getting funding is a bitch, these days.
posted by jpolchlopek at 5:55 AM on December 26, 2011


I'm also a fan of Alien 3, which comes closest to matching the apocalyptic "we're totally fucked by something we don't/can't understand" survival horror tone of the original. Which is what I'm hoping Prometheus will deliver.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:59 AM on December 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the idea of Alien 3 was quite sound - the concept of restricting the terror to one creature in a closed environment while also providing a valid reason for not having weapons.

Having most of the cast bald and English however made absolutely no sense at all, unless Fincher was deliberately out to confuse the audience. Also, a lot of the dialogue is terrible and the only interesting characters are swiftly removed from the plot early on.

Prometheus looks interesting simply because a) it's Ridley Scott and b) he's taking the story in a completely left-field direction that hadn't even occurred to the makers of the subsequent sequels - the very fact that there were 2 alien cultures in the first film.

Also, I'm sure part of the distancing themselves from any talk of prequel or relation to the Alien franchise is also bolstered by the fact that Scott has been very clear that the Xenomorph itself will not be appearing in the film. The minute you attach the "Alien" name to the film itself then audiences will expect to see you-know-who.
posted by panboi at 8:37 AM on December 26, 2011


Explaining the Xenomorph: What does the Xenomorph eat?

We are never shown this in any film. We presume they eat their prey, but are never shown this. In fact, in Aliens, it appears that most of the colonists are captured alive for the purpose of implanting eggs. Moreover, in the first movie, the Alien goes from egg to facehugger to chestburster to adult in a rapid amount of time without appearing to ingest very much at all. Even if we assume that the chestburster is a tapeworm-like parasite, John Hurt alone couldn't provide the calories to grow to adulthood and still survive without any obvious side-effects, besides his stated, rather normal, level of hunger. Besides, if the chestburster is a tapeworm, how is the host feeding with the facehugger attached?

But, let's say the Xenomorph is like a wasp, which eats its host during or after gestation. Again, this is belied by the visual evidence -- It doesn't eat John Hurt, they don't eat (much) of the colonist hosts, it doesn't eat the dog from Alien 3.

All right, let's say the Xenomorph eats some of its prey. Again, we run into the problem of calories, as in, there's just not enough to explain what we see. In the novelistation of Alien, Ripley finds Dallas alive, seemingly implanted with a chest-burster, and Brett cocooned and also possibly implanted. Where is this Alien getting the calories to do all of this? Breaking into the ship's stores? Wouldn't Newt, the colonists, the Marines and the prisoners on Fury 161 all have noticed this and used it to their advantage?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:50 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


then it's the Mycon and boring

NERD ALERT
posted by nathancaswell at 9:00 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where is this Alien getting the calories to do all of this?

My nonserious guess: the Xenomorph is filled with a dense, energy rich mass which draws from the electrical impulses of pain and stress from its host, victims, and general ambience. This energy is then converted into mass.

Alternatively, the Xenomorphs are semi-Lovecraftian beasties who derive their energy, and therefore mass, from an extraplanar dimension which we can never see or visit. The Xenomorphs have been engineered by explorers from this dimension who would never have any means otherwise of exploring our universe. Of course, since they had originally only ever had any interest in exploring the highly-advanced Space Jockey race, the project has since been terminated, and so the connection to external intelligence has been shut off ages ago. This leaves the Xenomorphs totally unmoored, simply running willy-nilly through the cosmos for no particular reason at all, and this is the chief attribute they share with us.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:06 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


ah RE: Acid Blood. I said something like their "blood" isn't a nutrient delivery system, it's more like they're huge batteries and born with a large reserve energy supply, since the M.O of all the Xenomorphs is to reproduce as quickly as possible or go dormant, I made comparisons to Luna moths and the like, flying gonads with no digestive system.


It just struck me I got class credit for writing fan fiction.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell, you're assuming the thing is biological in the Earthly sense. There is a theory that xenos are biomechanical, i.e. some kind of silicon-based "organism" that could very well feed on external energy sources such as electromagnetism (very handy for long term spacefaring). They may even eat inorganic materials, which may offer some explanation as to the remodelling of and embedding in the architecture of their nesting environments.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:13 AM on December 26, 2011


The Whelk, seeing the Xenomorphs as batteries, and the blood as battery acid, is one of the more graceful ideas I've seen in a long time. I am golf-clapping right now.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:19 AM on December 26, 2011


The Anchorpoint Essays are but one fine resource for xenonerdery.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:26 AM on December 26, 2011


I'm sorry, but both the inorganic food and the biochemical battery theories cannot stand - thermodynamics beats biochemistry any day of the week. In the first case the inorganic food should contain sufficient energy density and be significantly reactive to be quickly digested - if such a thing existed, we would be running our cars on it by now. For the battery, you only have the initial energy to work with, i.e. whatever calories the facehugger scavenges out of the host, so it's even weaker than a "conventional" predator.

I would rather go all out and suggest biologically catalyzed cold fusion, if you can engineer this kind of creature surely including a suitable nano-membrane-thingy to keep it running would be a piece of cake. The huge head superstructure would be a good place to put it, the critter not having much in the way of brains otherwise.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:33 AM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Xenomorphs are powered by the same violations of physics that underly the FTL drives in the Weyland-Yutani universe. Also a wizard did it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:48 AM on December 26, 2011


Racist.
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 AM on December 26, 2011


I can't help but think that the mystique and WTFness of the Xenomorphs allow the movies to be better.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:50 AM on December 26, 2011


I adore the Alien films-- even the last one-- for what they say about women's fears of childbirth and children (work with me here) and I'll certainly go and see Prometheus. On the other hand, after seeing Alien in 1978, my knees were trembling when I left the theatre, and I actually needed my boyfriend's arm to lean on in order to walk. The movie was fucking scary and its visual language was new and terribly effective (the soundtrack, too, with that subliminal panicked heartbeat).
posted by jokeefe at 11:09 AM on December 26, 2011


I adore the Alien films-- even the last one-- for what they say about women's fears of childbirth and children (work with me here)

This reading is not a stretch at all. Not even remotely.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:18 AM on December 26, 2011


i like the interpretation that it's a vietnam movie
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:29 AM on December 26, 2011


The Vietnam reading works pretty well for Aliens, Alien not so much.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:50 AM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it's all an allegory for the Bush presidency.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2011


Re: Acid Blood

If you really want to nerd out go read this: Colonial Marine Technical Reference. They don't give any final answers, but they have this awesome overheard conversation between corporate scientists about the whole acid blood thing, they speculate about liquid teflon buffers etc.

And the conservation of energy crowd is totally right here. The films show no plausible way for the creatures to fuel their metabolism, and who cares. Somehow I have this irrepressible desire to read vast amounts of confusing babble about unknowable things. At times I've poured over the Warhammer 40K reference books even though I've never played any of them. There's something about that sense of the creeping infinite expanse...
posted by Chekhovian at 12:41 PM on December 26, 2011


This reading is not a stretch at all. Not even remotely.

Yeah, I could go on about it for a good hour or two, actually. It's where anything that could be described as subversive in the Alien films lies.
posted by jokeefe at 12:49 PM on December 26, 2011


I'm actually reminded that in high school, I wrote an essay on the mother vs. mother conflict of the directors cut of Aliens. I'd signed up for a composition course (required to get into one of the universities I'd applied to) and was pretty excited to be taking a writing course. Instead, it turned out to be an easy credit, taught by someone who'd decided to be a teacher because high school had been such fun, then found out it was really hard work, and seemed to be doing as much as possible to avoid said work. This kind of translated to giving us things to do, but not really 'teaching' or 'trying to get us to learn' in any meaningful ways. Seriously, Fridays were reading days, where we brought books to class and read. The goal was to finish two books in a semester, of any sort.

Anyway, yeah, 18 pages on Ripley and the alien queen as competing mothers, and Newt as the surrogate daughter Ripley had adopted because, in this terrifying world she finds herself in, her own daughter has died of old age. Looking back, I'm sure it was a pretty snotty thing to do, writing such a long paper for a teacher who'd most likely never seen Aliens, let alone the director's cut. Part of me wonders if they actually read it at all.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:05 PM on December 26, 2011


So yeah I mean it looked cool but the cliche'd soundtrack really distracted me.

Film soundtracks are often one of the last production elements to be created and approved by the director and studio. For this reason, early trailers, created before the soundtrack is done, often use a relatively common piece of music that creates a specific mood. In the '90's, Carmina Burana's O Fortuna was used very frequently -- its use can be traced back to 1989's Glory, which not only used the song in its trailer but James Horner actually pretty much incorporated it into the movie's soundtrack.

The original Alien trailer, as mentioned, used that heavy bass sound. As did the movie's soundtrack. So there's a bit of a callback to the original Scott production there.
posted by zarq at 6:11 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recall O Fortuna from 1991's The Doors, and that one scene, all by itself, pretty much caused me to give up on Oliver Stone. His use of Barber's Adagio in conjunction with Elias's death scene in Platoon is the sort of thing that I'll allow exactly once and only once from a director. O Fortuna in The Doors told me that now that Stone was successful, there would be no restraining his tendency toward overwrought melodrama.

Both those pieces of music are among the most rhetorically powerful pieces of music, ever. As a filmmaker, you need a damn good excuse to use either of them, or else you're just being lazy.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:21 PM on December 26, 2011


In the '90's, Carmina Burana's O Fortuna was used very frequently -- its use can be traced back to 1989's Glory, which not only used the song in its trailer but James Horner actually pretty much incorporated it into the movie's soundtrack.

Actually, its use in film soundtracks can be traced back to the 1981 film Excalibur.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:25 PM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it was very notable there. I'm sure I believed at the time that it was composed for the film.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:26 PM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, its use in film soundtracks can be traced back to the 1981 film Excalibur.

Ah! I didn't know it went back that far. Thanks for pointing that out. I learned something! :)
posted by zarq at 7:31 PM on December 26, 2011


I first saw Excalibur in a movie room at a science fiction convention in Detroit. It was the first time I'd heard the Carminative Burana, but it helped in that the tater attractive nerdish woman next to me could sing along with the music and was able to tell me all about who wrote it and what the words meant. It was pretty awesome. I miss movie rooms. Stupid prohibition about public viewings.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:14 PM on December 26, 2011


I'm sure I believed at the time that it was composed for the film.

It was a perfect fit, as was Wagner's Death of Siegfried.
posted by homunculus at 10:16 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Explaining the Xenomorph: What does the Xenomorph eat?

One word: plastics.

But really, that's a minor issue beside the fact that we havefreaking FTL drives in 2080. The only logical answer is we managed to deduce artificial gravity and FTL drives from the remains of the deactivated Skynet (Skynet of course was originally created as part of a defense against Predator incursions). In fact the FTL drive is probably the result of unsuccessful attempts to duplicate Skynet's time travel system. This of course also explains why in 2080 we have sentient androids.
posted by happyroach at 10:38 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stupid, stupid auto correct: Carmina Burana, not Carminative Burana, and rather attractive, not tater attractive. Stupid phone.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:06 AM on December 27, 2011


Skynet of course was originally created as part of a defense against Predator incursions

Wait, was there some excellent cross over fan fiction* I missed?

*(Only if non Buffy related, actually non-anything whedon-verse related)
posted by Chekhovian at 12:37 PM on December 27, 2011


"Spoiler: The black guy dies first"

Yes, but not in the way you'd expect.

SPOILER: Ur trgf rngra ol n funex.
posted by Eideteker at 6:03 AM on December 28, 2011


Explaining the Xenomorph: What does the Xenomorph eat?

Pretty sure there's a scene in the Alan Dean Foster novelisation where the crew of the Nostromo see the results of a raid on their food store by the alien (lot of tin can's peeled open like bananas)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:20 AM on December 28, 2011


Oh and I'm assuming Promethus will be a dog so the let down won't be as bad as it was with Alien 3 - everything that came after was worse, of course, but that was the hardest fall from the highs of the sublime Aliens and especially Alien (of course The Greatest Film Ever Made.)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:24 AM on December 28, 2011


Alien Resurrection gets a pass for some really strong performances and set pieces as well as keeping in the sex/body horror stuff that 3 threw out and is really the undulating slimy backbone of the series.
posted by The Whelk at 10:34 AM on December 28, 2011


It's a mess, but it's a mess with some good ideas, but I could just be reacting to how bad 3 was set up.
posted by The Whelk at 10:34 AM on December 28, 2011


Alien Resurrection lost it's pass when they decided to use the shittiest ending possible. I remember having high hopes for it because I loved City of Lost Children and Delicatessen so much. I now realize Marc Caro was the other half of the team responsible for those and he wasn't there for Alien Resurrection. Amelie is great, but so is Chungking Express and you have to admit the similarities there.
Alien 3 wasn't the most fantastic thing, but it is a solid movie made in the likeness of Alien.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:09 AM on December 28, 2011


Alien Resurrection was a totally fun B-movie got ruined midway by painfully self-aware Joss Whedon dialog ("You're the new asshole model..." - ugh) and then the craptacular WHAT IF THERE WAS A HYBRID trope.
posted by Rat Spatula at 11:54 AM on December 28, 2011


OK, I just read the wikipedia entry for Promutheus (I can't unhear that), and I'm not really psyched about a movie where one of the guys behind LOST (spoiler: They're all dead, and with no credit offered to Ambrose Bierce), goes "Dude, what if ALIENS made US?"

Seriously, read his blurb on the sidebar here. At best, we get a Matrix-level philosophy lesson and/or examination of human origins. And Scott (famous for misreading PKD?) has a quote that's not much better for instilling hope: ""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..." Ugh. No, just no.

I am kind of excited about this: '"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."' Because a lot of popular sci-fi (esp. in films) seems to think if we don't make it to a StarTrek-like utopia, we'll never make it offworld (heck, even the Predators have this sort of lofty code of honor); it's always nice to see a big-budget production holding a mirror up to human society. No, spacefaring civilizations that are corrupt, venal, and imperfect aren't exactly new, but I like specifically the focus on the idea that when we get to that level, things will very likely be much the same way they are now (only faster!). There's plenty to be said about the current state of society, and I hope some of that makes it into the film (albeit not too heavyhanded now, Hollywood).

It'll probably be visually stunning, and better than whatever drek it's up against. I'll probably see it with friends if I'm not busy when they're going (meaning I probably *won't* just go see it on my own).
posted by Eideteker at 12:31 PM on December 28, 2011


I am very, very excited by this film despite the sure knowledge that it will be a let down.

Also I hope it's got a little more up its sleeve than "space elephants made us" - since they've telegraphed it so clearly.

Also I hope it has Shoggoths.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on December 28, 2011


Alien Resurrection: To sort of quote HR Geiger, they took his beautiful alien and literally covered it in shit.

And as for the Newborn, well you can blame Jeunet for adding the eyes and nose to make it more human (ie rubbish)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2011


It was the first time I'd heard the Carminative Burana, but it helped in that the tater attractive nerdish woman next to me could sing along with the music and was able to tell me all about who wrote it and what the words meant.

I'm going to ask you a question. Please think carefully about your answer: What did you mean to type instead of "tater attractive" ?
posted by odinsdream at 1:21 PM on December 28, 2011


Wasn;t the Newborn entirely absent from the Whedon script?

I'd pay good money to see his proto-Firefly space pirate movie with all the Aliens junk scraped off.
posted by Artw at 1:34 PM on December 28, 2011


"Alien Resurrection was a totally fun B-movie got ruined midway by painfully self-aware Joss Whedon dialog..."

I have to defend Whedon a bit here. Here's what he's said about the film:
It wasn't a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending; it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong they could possibly do. That's actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking. Because everything they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from it. And people assume that if I hated it then they'd changed the script...but it wasn't so much they changed it, they executed it in such a ghastly fashion they rendered it unwatchable.
In some DVD commentary somewhere, I recall Whedon discussing how Jeunet changed something on the day of the filming making it somehow nonsensical and and which then required some other script rewrites to make it work. Whedon asked Jeunet what he had in mind to solve the inconsistency, and Jeunet replied that Whedon should just figure something out, he's the screenwriter and that's his job. Whedon then went into the bathroom and punched something.

Alien Resurrection is a very flawed movie, but there's a good movie in there somewhere wanting to come out. City of Lost Children is one of my favorite movies, I had high hopes for his version of Alien, too. But then, I felt the same way about Fincher's.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:40 PM on December 28, 2011


Wasn;t the Newborn entirely absent from the Whedon script?

It's there but it's kinda giant leech/mosquito bloodsucking thing.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:57 PM on December 28, 2011


There's some fun bits in the mush that is Alien Resurrection. TBH I'm more surprised to see recent attempts to redeem Alien 3 - Come on, it's Alien but brown and more bald and less good.
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on December 28, 2011


Resurection pissed me off on several levels. They killed off the best characters first (how the hell does Michael Cole, of "Caw, Caw! Bang! Fuck, I'm dead!" fame die first?), the android plot was tired before it started, and pretty much any halfway decent looking action scene either didn't work, or directly made things worse for the characters.

But the primary sin? The guns made absolutely no sense. The rifles they carried? Which one did which? Huh? In a franchise that included Aliens, which has some of the greatest gun porn ever done in an SF film, having characters carrying almost identical guns which all seem the same, but all do different things, and seemingly change functions according to plot demands? Gah.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:18 PM on December 28, 2011


The holdout guns on arm braces were pretty cool...

Other than that, yeah, generic sci-fi guns made with vacuum cleaner parts.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on December 28, 2011


Alien: Resurrection guns
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on December 28, 2011


Also I hope it has Shoggoths.

I was thinking the same thing about The Hobbit.
posted by philip-random at 4:04 PM on December 28, 2011


Well I hope it has songs, I love songs in my monster movies
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:09 PM on December 28, 2011


They said the lines but they said them all wrong.

Point me to a Joss Whedon joint where the characters speak like people who are not high-school theater enthusiasts with soft packs of Camels in their black trenchcoat pockets on their third round of coffee refills at Denny's, and I may have some sympathy.
posted by Rat Spatula at 4:18 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The holdout guns on arm braces were pretty cool...

Definitely. Again, another badass character wasted so the least interesting characters could survive? Meh.

And did you notice that the picture for each of the variants of the rifle on the imfdb page is the same? It's a flamethrower, a grenade launcher, and an assault rifle (with no noticeable ammunition source) all in one. I'd imagine it can wax floors and goes great on dessert as well.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:18 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


They call it "The Ripley".
posted by Artw at 4:19 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those underwater scenes in A4 are good fun.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:26 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


TBH I'm more surprised to see recent attempts to redeem Alien 3 - Come on, it's Alien but brown and more bald and less good.

I won't reiterate my points about A3 too much, other than to say that the ensemble cut is a much better movie and that the key difference between Alien and A3 is that Alien is, plotwise, a standard horror movie with SurvivorGirl while A3 is deeply tragic and fuck-you grim.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:12 PM on December 29, 2011


Point me to a Joss Whedon joint where the characters speak like people who are not high-school theater enthusiasts with soft packs of Camels in their black trenchcoat pockets on their third round of coffee refills at Denny's, and I may have some sympathy.


CUNCEL THE THREAD, Rat Spatula takes it
posted by nathancaswell at 8:16 PM on December 29, 2011


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