It’s been ten years since the gorgeous, indulgent, and confusing Prometheus graced our silver screens. In the decade since the film’s release, much ink has been spilled and time spent pondering what it all meant. There were thoughtful moral questions and stunning imagery between bizarre plot holes, religious allegories and grotesque death. Prometheus, which is currently streaming for free on Prime Video, deserves another trip down the rabbit hole. Here are all the theories that still monopolize our time.
Screenshot of the official trailer
Everyone dies, and everyone has an idea of the afterlife. It’s what you choose to believe that matters most. David eavesdrops on the dreams Elizabeth Shaw has in her cryogenic sleep of a pleasant memory of her father where he explains what death means to different people. This central thought matters most in the cinematic world of Alien and Prometheus. Life requires sacrifice. This sacrifice is the certainty of death. Without it, life is meaningless and good people forget their morality. Think of the continued reincarnation of the rich and powerful in Altered Carbon or the harvesting of organs in Logan’s Run. This is why the question of whether or not David has a soul is important. Peter Weyland tells everyone that David is the closest thing he has to a son and simultaneously says he has no merit or understanding as a living being. A curious dichotomy plays out later when the Engineer beheads David.
The alien, at first, who we know as the Engineer, drinks from the orb and disintegrates into a black goo goo before falling down the waterfall. He is called an engineer of sacrifice. That should be the end of the story, but who he was and why he did what he did remains perplexing for viewers. Humans advance for knowledge and proliferation. Shaw says the same to David when she admits she needs to know why engineers hate us. For him, life is the essential, not the answers.
David drops black slime from an alien orb into Charlie’s drink because he wants to create new life. He is curious about what might happen and uninterested in Chalie’s survival as a single life doesn’t matter. Shaw and Charlie believe that mankind evolved not because of Darwinism but because engineers repeatedly intervened for unknown reasons. These are all key things to remember when analyzing Prometheus.
Engineers and gods have a lot in common.
Religion is a delicate thing. It can be a source of comfort, understanding and morality, but sometimes it has a darker side. Guilt, fear, and retribution are hallmarks of many religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and paganism. Like the gods, engineers are no different. Although we don’t know why they chose to destroy what they built, they are clearly angry with us. Like the great flood and Sodom and Gemorrah in the Old Testament, they took steps to eradicate us. Another interesting parallel is that Shaw, who couldn’t have a baby on Earth and created an alien one, wants to destroy his spawn just like Engineers want to destroy theirs.
What if our tunnel vision is wrong? And if evolution demands sacrifice, and although the black slime kills Charlie, that may not be the intention. Great care is shown, illuminating what the goo does in certain circumstances. We only think the Engineers are heading to Earth with a weapon because Janek said so. He sees mass quantities as a payload of destruction when it could be the means to our next step in human progress. Considering how angry the surviving engineer is with Weyland, this is doubtful. They will destroy us.
Perhaps the biggest clue is in the title itself. The story of the Greek titan Prometheus is horrifying. The Titan gave fire to the Earthlings, which angered the gods who wanted to keep it for themselves. To punish him, they condemned him to live eternity in chains while an eagle devoured his liver. His liver grew back again and again, ensuring that his pain would never end. With that in mind, engineers might be powerless to create life, help it evolve, and then doom it for destruction. This is why they kept coming back to Earth. They can no more help themselves than we can help interfere with other ecosystems.
Why do engineers want to kill us?
Each time they changed things up, however, they brought us a little closer to the end. The mural on the hidden chamber wall contains an image of Prometheus. Her body is open, but her face is serene. Sacrifice is necessary and revered. There is another fresco which represents the Xenomorphs. If the Engineers are our creators, then the Xenomorphs are our destroyers. They are the harbingers of death. Their sole purpose is to consume, to survive, and to outlast everyone else.
If you believe Janek’s theory and the engineers want us to leave, then say why? What could we have done 2000 years ago to so irritate a superior race of humanoids who created us from themselves? There is really only one event significant enough to qualify, and it involves Jesus Christ. If engineers are gods, then Jesus could have been some kind of ambassador. When Jesus was crucified, the engineers took it as a sign that we no longer value life. Ridley said so in a mind-blowing interview on movie.com.
Jesus could have been a last ditch effort to get us to change our ways of waging war. We fight with spears, swords and armor regardless of who or what else is hurt. This is further proven by the surviving engineer’s loving gaze on David just before dismantling him. For him, David was our child. He was our life attempt, and just like the Engineer’s stupid experiment, it didn’t end well.
Screenshot of the official trailer
What Destroyed Engineers in Prometheus?
It’s hard to understand how a civilization so young, millions of miles away, could do something that would destroy buff, virtuous engineers. The answer may well lie in the biology already present on the planet. He reacts differently to everything he comes into contact with. He does not respond to David because he is an android devoid of emotion or morality. For the Xenomorphs, it is violent and barbaric because they are wild and predatory.
When the goo infects humans, it makes monsters out of all of us in our hearts. Selfish humans and our need to survive do the thing that ultimately leads to engineers and our own demise. When we first enter the chamber, the mud begins to change. It’s no surprise that the first creatures we find look like snakes. Stupid humans with our pride and thirst for knowledge are drawn to the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Something is happening to slime containment on LV-223. Engineers were very careful to protect themselves from contamination. Obviously, it’s because the goo irrevocably alters the DNA. What they didn’t take into account, however, was that something was already there. When the goo encountered the life form already on the planet and possibly one of the engineers who wasn’t as sacrificial, it turned into a dangerous slime that our crew comes into contact with.
The mural on the wall seems to indicate that the Engineers had already encountered the Xenomorphs. Was it a myth or a superstition that stemmed from fact, or had the Engineers seen the creation of Xenomorphs probably by ourselves on other planets? This could be why they were so determined to destroy us all. When humans take a wrong turn, the result is always xenomorphs. So essentially engineers are the creators of both the modern xenomorph and humans by allowing us to interact.
At the end of Prometheus, despite everything I enjoyed, I’m left with one big question. Given the agonizing way the Engineer is seeding our planet, why not use a nicer way. I can think of at least one much nicer way to drop your DNA into the waterfall.
Tracy Palm Tree
As the editor of Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the editor.
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus Message Explained – After 10 Years We Finally Got It appeared first on Signal Horizon.