"They went looking for our beginning. What they found could be our end," states the film's tagline. I first discovered Prometheus last fall as a giant cardboard stand-up with a sort of 3-D effect in the lobby of a movie theatre. A monolith, I studied it and learned its purpose, promotion, as I'd remained oblivious about many goings on in popular culture for some time. My ignorance extended even to the mostly beloved (minus Alien Resurrection and the AVP films) franchise birthed by screenwriters Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett by director Ridley Scott two years before my birth.
Then Prometheus lured me in with an awesome trailer aired in theatres before The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In me was created a sense of fright, awe, and fascination. The taglines, sometimes appearing in the trailers, are also fantastically engaging, leading to awesome speculation about the film's plot and making a sci-fi geek like me nearly wet myself with anticipation for what would be discovered in this film and its ties to the earlier Scott film. In the trailer is the derelict ship from the first two Alien films and a similar eerie noise or musical note--I don't even know which--reminiscent of the original Alien trailer. Fucking A, I was psyched!
I was so hooked and began anticipating a movie like I hadn't in a few years, maybe since The Dark Knight. The trailer touches on nostalgia for the 1979 film and connects with my childhood memories of watching the first two and then three films and scaring the shit out of myself. Even if the movies were being aired on Fox Five during a Sunday afternoon in 198?, I was dreadfully frightened and afraid of what may have lurked in the shadows. I remember delaying sledding on one winter day because I wanted to finish watching Alien rather than playing with my friends, that Sunday. Oh, the days before I could find what I wanted the internet, DVDs, or even VHS, the instant gratification that comes so easily, but the marketing campaign for this movie took that away and made me wait and made my interest grow and grow as I was near-bursting from the inside with anticipation.
Then there was the viral Ted Talk from the year 2023:
As if the teaser trailer wasn't enough, my beloved avenue of scholarly learning, TED, was in on the promotion, with fantastic references to Greek mythology and David Lean's masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia, which I would later find out had an even bigger role to play in the promotion of the film and ultimately within the film itself. How the hell could this movie begin to take place so soon? 2023? No.
Weeks ago I bore witness to another magnificent trailer in theatres, revealing more than the first and bringing the senses of wonder, nostalgia, awe, and fear even higher:
"We were so wrong," says a regretful and panicked Dr. Shaw. I say, goddamn, what the hell is gonna happen in this movie?
More nostalgia: cylinders reminiscent of the alien eggs in the derelict in the 1979 film, imagery of what looks like the queen alien that I don't even think I caught the first time I saw the trailer, and though I only saw it in my late teens or early twenties and it made a huge impression on, the allusion to 1962's Lawrence of Arabia, "Big things have small beginnings", after the juxtaposition of amazing action and intensely delivered dialogue, this Prometheus is a must see. Must see, maybe even at a midnight showing in IMAX in 3-D.
Is this how the Alien saga begins, at the end of the 21st century, in an attempt to find the origins of humankind and its prominence on Earth and perhaps in the universe?
Stay tuned for Part II!