Comic Con 2011 Report: PROMETHEUS

Some great footage, some small insights into Ridley Scott’s ALIEN prequel.

Sir Ridley Scott beamed in to Comic Con 2011 live from Iceland, where he’s finishing up the final days of shooting Prometheus, a film Fox keeps calling an ‘original science fiction epic’ that spins off from Alien. He dropped some interesting info about the film, but the real show was the presentation of footage.

What we saw was disconnected and fragmented, but atmospheric and beautiful. The design looks to be exactly midway between Alien - there’s a spaceship dining area that seems to be right off the Nostromo - and Blade Runner and every movie Blade Runner inspired. People wear huge retro bubble space helmets, and there’s some guy in a very 80s light up visor that is cool as hell.

But the big question: what is this movie? It’s without a doubt related to Alien, not just having the film’s DNA, as Scott has said. We saw a scene of people walking through what appeared to be an egg chamber like in the first film, but the eggs were cylindrical, and almost looked like vases. There was a shot of a platform that looks an awful lot like the Space Jockey platform from the first film, minus a Space Jockey. There’s also a lot of biomechanical looking stuff, all kinds of Giger-esque hallways.

We saw some of Michael Fassbender, who Scott confirmed is playing an android - including a shot of him crying. We see him taking a slimy thing out of one of the vase/eggs, looking at a drop of blood on his finger. Is it is his own? The alien’s? There was also footage of Charlize Theron doing naked push ups, and maybe in LeeLoo-esque rags (I’m not sure it was her), possibly being set on fire by a flamethrower.

The footage presentation ended with the Prometheus logo, burning in just like the original Alien logo.

So what the heck? Scott wouldn’t really say what the heck relationship Prometheus has to Alien, but he promised we would understand:

One big question [from the first film] was unanswered in any ALIEN film. That question is the only DNA from the original ALIEN. In the last few minutes of the movie you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

From what I saw, it could really be worth the wait.

Scott is shooting in native 3D, and he says that he’ll never go back to 2D.

I’ll never work without 3D again, even for small dialogue scenes. 3D opens up the universe even in a small dialogue scene.

He also addressed whether he would be taking Prometheus into a heavily digital FX direction:

Doug Trumbull once said to me ‘If you can do it live, do it live.’ That was 29 yrs ago. Even though we have remarkable digital capabilities I still say do it live. It’s cheaper.

That’s great news, and what we saw in the footage was all real, giant sets. Old fashioned in the best way.

Finally, the question arose of the film’s rating. As of now, Fox considers this a PG-13 release. Scott isn’t quite convinced.

I make sure to have both [PG-13 and R] options. At the end of the day Tom[Rothman] and I will both look at it in that big theater at Fox and we’ll decide which is best.

We’re rooting for the R, of course. Always.

More than ever this seems like an Alien prequel, probably the story of the Space Jockey in some fashion. I’m not sure why they’re so afraid of letting us know that, but whatever - the footage looks great, and I’m highly convinced.