Book Review - Prometheus: The Art of the Film
Prometheus: The Art of the Film, the coffee table art book for director Ridley Scott’s Prometheus epic science-fiction feature, is a “visual companion” more than a “making of” volume.
As production designer Arthur Max explains, Prometheus is a not-quite-a-prequel to Scott’s classic Alien (1979), about the discovery by the human crew of the interstellar tug Nostromo of the wreck of an ancient alien spaceship containing a deadly biological lifeform, on the distant planetoid LV-426. The vaguely-backplotted Alien gave rise to many questions, which Scott felt could be answered in a new film with no direct connection to Alien.
Prometheus, released on June 8, 2012, begins with a scene of a huge humanoid on primordial Earth disintegrating himself so that his DNA will eventually evolve into humanity. In 2089 A.D., archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a 35,000-year-old star map on the Isle of Skye that they feel proves the extraterrestrial origin of mankind. Elderly mega-rich industrialist Sir Peter Weyland offers his corporate resources to construct an exploratory spaceship, the Prometheus, to investigate the location on the star map that they hope will lead to these “Engineers”. In 2093 Prometheus, with a crew of about a dozen in cryogenic suspension watched over by the android David (Michael Fassbender) reach the planet labeled LV-223. They find a lifeless world with several spaceships of the Engineers, including one with the pilot still aboard near a huge artificial Pyramid. Over the course of the film, the Pyramid proves to contain numerous active deadly lifeforms (including a prototype of the later Alien) which they theorize are biological weapons of the Engineers. The one Engineer proves to be still alive and attacks them. To keep the Engineer from returning to Earth and releasing his deadly cargo there, the Prometheus crashes into it. The film ends with Shaw and the decapitated but still active head of David, the only survivors, preparing to leave on one of the other Engineer ships to search for the Engineers’ origins and learn why they are hostile to humans.
(This answers several of the questions raised by Alien, such as how the Weyland Corporation, the owner of the Nostromo, already knew about the “face-huggers” and wants a specimen.)