Prometheus: Prequel or Not?

To me, being surrounded by the terrifying echoing of aliens and tortured humans, combined with the feelings of those around me hushed in complete silence, jumping in their seats, spoke a thousand words in regards to the Alien quadrilogy. This same feeling was sadly not present when I sat down to watch Prometheus.

As the credits rolled up the wide cinema screen, I sat confused and wasn’t quite sure how to feel about what I had seen. Alien was such a remarkable film that even before its release a lot was expected from Prometheus. It felt a lot slower in the action and more of a concentration on character development, following the theme of existential questioning, than on the specific alien species and the typical jump scare horror that left spectators on the edge of their seats in the previous films. Whereas in the other Alien films the aliens were terrifying and intimidating, those featured in Prometheus seemed more grotesque and visually uncomfortable to watch.

The hype of a new release is always what sways the public into seeing certain films; the hysteria for Prometheus was intense and exciting, with everybody talking about how epic it was going to be. With the first Alien, which was pretty impressive in itself and extremely hard to beat, being made in 1979 it was thought that the technology of the present day would make Prometheus epic in comparison. Then people began writing reviews about their experiences and it all just went downhill; it seemed to be a sour disappointment all round really. Either that or just pure confusion.

I felt that possibly viewers were expecting some sense of being able to answer questions raised in the other Alien movies, but this film only created more for me personally, leaving me in confusion as to whether it was actually considered a prequel or whether there would be a Prometheus 2 to follow. The ending was left wide open for all to question what will occur, and I was expecting some form of closure which I didn’t feel the film reached. The appeal of Alien and Aliens were that they were intensely thrilling and scary whereas Prometheus opened too many questions and left them unanswered, which results in unsure mixed reactions.

Although I felt the film wasn’t necessarily strong considering the Alien quadrilogy, one thing that I felt was extremely effective was the soundtrack used. The music was introduced as almost a relaxation moment for the audience to feel safe from any bursting aliens and also to emphasise the tragic beauty of the characters’ surroundings. This made the silences extremely tense and resulted in jolting the audience with shocking scary moments and uncertainty of what they are seeing. These stingers used throughout the film were the only resemblance I felt with the previous Alien films.

Despite visually interesting parts throughout the film and the soundtrack, I felt disappointed in the film and the lack of closure which I went in believing I would accomplish. Hearing people discussing Prometheus was interesting as it seems most people felt quite disappointed and let down by the content and the visuals. I think the problem is that the spectators went into the film thinking the Alien quadrilogy everyone has grown to appreciate and love would be concluded and linked into a big circle, leaving them with thrilling understanding of what the films were really about.

Is Prometheus a prequel or not? Will anybody ever know? Well, it certainly felt like it was trying to achieve the prequel effect but I’m not quite sure that it was realised on the level it was supposed to be.

Stephanie Vivian

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