Hello Again, My Gooey Friends: On Loving ‘Alien’ and Seeing ‘Prometheus’
I was fascinated by how forbidding and adult these films seemed. They felt infinitely more cynical — to my pubescent mind, “realistic” — than the Star Wars and Star Trek films that had consumed my attention a couple of years before. It was like hearing a Ramones record after years of listening to The Monkees. When Salon’s Matt Zoller Seitz compiled his ten “Movies That Really Understand Work” a few years ago, he put Alien at No. 1. Its characters’ utterly logical lack of awareness that they were living in The Future, coupled with H.R. Giger’s creepy, heavily sexualized creature and environmental designs (and, obviously, the fact that its emergent hero was a woman, 20 years before Buffy), assured the film a long afterlife.
So I can hardly overstate the anticipation I felt last week walking into Prometheus, which opens today.
It’s been well over a year since its makers first planted, then batted their eyelashes and skirted, the question of whether or how much this big-budget 3-D epic is connected to Alien. The first trailer gave away months ago that the picture is at least set in the same grim future Alien was, wherein interstellar truck drivers are terrorized by parasites with acid for blood — and that’s just the Weyland-Yutani Corporation’s board of directors. In space no one can hear you scream, and no one would lift a finger to help you if they could.