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Let's see. There's the original Alien (Ridley Scott), Alien 2 (James Cameron), and the very elegiac Alien 3, directed my David Fincher. Alien Resurrection followed (Jean-Pierre Jeanet), but they had to clone Ripley in order to continue the mythology.
Then Alien vs. Predator came along, with not Ripley connection whatsoever, and then Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, again with no Ripley, who is essentially the glue that holds the mythology together. These movies don't count - why? Because Prometheus, that's why. Ridley friggen Scott has come along to make Prometheus, which is an extreme prequel to the whole mess.
This movie looks so damn beautiful and honest I just want to curl up and revert to my childhood. Apparently it's gory and claustrophobic, but whatever. The youngsters on the internet aren't bothered by gore, trust me; they watch the real thing while they eat their noodles and keep porn on another tab.
I'm not the sort of guy who has contacts in the film biz (not even here in Vancouver), but I can look at the title, the hints the director is dropping, and the general feel of the trailer, to give you an inkling of what this movie might be about.
Prometheus was a greek Titan, and there are many myths about him. He tricked Zeus, and stole fire from Him to give to humanity. He is also credited for creating the human race out of clay (and misapplying the genitals and giving cause to homosexuality, according to one Roman comedy writer), and in some instances he gave empirical knowledge to humanity as well. In some ways, he is similar to the biblical snake in the Garden of Eden, because he gave self-awareness, in other way Zeus is a tyrant and Prometheus saved us all by giving us life and sentience. Either way, Prometheus was a brash, tricky figure who liked to mess with great powers.
So how does with figure into Ridley Scott's Prometheus? Well, we're probably Prometheus, and the Aliens are the deadly knowledge we attempt to steal. Or, we're the knowledge, the infection, and somehow we were set free to wreak havoc, and the Aliens are the Eagle who as punishment eats out Prometheus's liver.
The myth of Pandora's Box in in the Promethean myth as well. She came from Zeus in retaliation for the theft of fire, and her opened box released disease and death. But that's too simple.
I hope there's more. I hope it isn't the Aliens-are-the-great-secret-that-we-try-to-exploit-for-profit-and-we-will-pay-for-our-folly-by-being-eviscerated-and-turned-into-egg-incubators schtick that has been so prevalent in all the other movies. I hope there's some great origin story a la Battlestar Galactica that Ridley Scott thinks up.
I think there might be. In the brief glimpses in the trailer that I can see, I can see ancient and impossible structures on the planet the protagonists are exploring. I can see origin and intelligence there, and maybe something that hints at our own origins as well. But the structures in the trailer, the alien design so famously conceptualized by HR Geiger, look so very Lovecraftian.
We call it Lovecraftian, because Lovecraft himself was the first writer to dedicate his life to the prospect of impossibly ancient things that dwell in the far cosmos and spell our doom. But if you read Jules Verne, HG Wells, or basic greek mythology, you can see the places where Lovecraft went before he began to write.
We're afraid of the unknown, that there just might be God out there, or perhaps even more than one god. We're afraid of horrors that we might discover, and our greatest fear is that we cannot help but continue to look for them. Horror is what killed the curious cat.