Am I the only one who feels that as a prequel to Alien, the timeline just doesn't quite match up? So this film takes place 2093 while Alien was supposed to take place 2122, a 29 year difference. The creature seen at the end of this film is referred to as a "Proto-Xenomorph" implying it was the first. Whereas the ship in Alien was stated to have been there a long time, with the pilot's remains having fossilized. However that ship was designed to carry the now fully formed Xenomorph eggs. There just doesn't seem to be nearly the amount of time between the films to have the results we saw.
It's not meant to be a prequel, it's meant to be a separate story that takes place in the same fictional universe.
The creature at the end was not the first Xenomorph, it was one of the same type of creature from which the Xenomorphs had evolved (the painting that they see in that room where all the jars of black goo are found shows a Xenomorph, implying that they did exist prior to the events of this film), the planet upon which Prometheus takes place is also not the same planet upon which Alien takes place, so it's entirely possible that a similar process occurred on the planet in Alien as the planet in Prometheus but began a lot sooner (allowing time for the Space Jockey to fossilize.)
It's also possible that the system of tunnels shown in Prometheus was a facility for producing the black goo (which seemed to just be a general mutagen) and the ship shown in Alien was a from facility specifically for producing facehuggers (for some reason); maybe one facility didn't need time to develop into the other because they were both different to begin with because they had been designed for different purposes.
I assumed that the term proto-alien meant that it was literary a prototype, an untested weapon (the testing ground was going to be humanity) that was later developed further. Basically, the squid guys are to aliens as muskets are to automatic rifles.
Upon my first viewing of the film, I had arrived at a conclusion that perhaps the black goo isn't what gave rise to the Xenomorphs, but the other way around. Perhaps the Engineers had developed a way to isolate the rapidly-changing DNA in a Xenomorph and then weaponize it (they are masters of organic technology, so this might not be such a stretch for them.) This would explain why it is so virulent, and why, when mixed with the DNA of actual living organisms, it does derive a xenomorph-esque organism after a few recombinations. The logic behind doing this is sound, too; the black goo, while extremely dangerous, would be a lot easier to handle than a cluster of volatile Xenomorph eggs.
So the black goo turns Charlie into a human petri-dish but turns Fifield into a rampaging murder-monster? Why the variation?
Presumably because part of its effectiveness as a weapon is that it's unpredictable. When a weapon is completely predictable you can develop countermeasures, when a primary aspect of it is "What the fuck is it doing now?!" you're too busy dealing with the chaos to come up with countermeasures.
Weyland's mind is going.
I know Weyland was desperate at that point of his life, but wasn't his plan void of all logic? I mean, if the Engineers created life on earth, the lifespan of all living beings is part of their designs. Since they give no free tickets to their creations and obviously expect them to fend for themselves, logically they want for us alone to find a way to beat our own mortality. Why would they give it for free?
Peter Weyland was clearly an egomaniac, I wouldn't put it past him to have the delusional belief that the Engineers would deem him worthy of immortality for...some reason.
The extended conversation (found in the deleted scenes) between the Engineer , David and Weyland makes that pretty clear. Weyland says that since he created David, he and the the Engineer are the same: gods. And gods can't die. Of course, the Engineer didn't agree.
If the full opening scene with the Elder Engineer does appear in a Director's Cut (making it canon), that woule mean the Engineers, while obviously long lived, do age. Unless that guy voluntarily allowed himself to get old (why?), then even the Engineers don't possess the secret to eternal life, much less to revert the effects of aging. Of course, Weyland had no way of knowing this.
Well, think about it like this. You're an extremely old man. You know you're probably not going to live much longer, and you are scared. Suddenly you hear about this discovery of "Engineers", or beings who supposedly created mankind, and hey, if these things created mankind and understand it perhaps they can extend your lifestyle. It's a faint hope, yes, but what do you have to lose? If you're wrong, than you're going to die either way, but on the other hand this is probably the only Hope Spot you're ever going to get.
I guess the one trillion dollars they spent building the ship would have afforded for eternal life if applied in bio-tech. But apparently Weyland waited until he was too old to wait for it.
That's something that struck me odd. Peter Weyland died at 104 years old. Pretty damn old, sure, but not impossibly old. You'd think that a person with such levels of superscience and unlimited funds at his disposal would have invested heavily in life extension and ways to combat senescence.
Y'know it strikes me suddenly... Weyland apparently has the technology to enter cold sleep but to stay conscious enough to communicate with the outside world via David's dream-viewer thingy. In other words... he already has a solution providing him with effective immortality. Did he just forget about this? Because that suddenly changes the mission from "about to die, take what I can get", to having a very specific idea that the Engineers must be able to do something in particular, that makes it worth throwing this non-physical-immortality away.
If you had to choose between living in a perfectly serviceable iron lung (where you could kinda-sorta still interact with the rest of the world) or finding a cure for your illness even if it was a long shot, which would you really take? If you say "the iron lung" you're probably not really considering just what that would be like.
There's also the fact you're basically trapped in a box, half-conscious, completely vulnerable. Weyland might have considered this as a way to "eternal life", as he could continue to control his company, but what if Vickers said "Screw this" and pulled the plug on him? Or David went crazy(well, crazier) and took over the industry while claiming to be following his orders. Weyland wants true immortality and possibly rejuvenation, so cold-sleep is just a secondary measure to extend his life, not the final goal.
Prometheus vs. Predator
Does Prometheus invalidate the Av P films as non-canon? Peter Weyland is obviously not Charles Weyland, and both men are allegedly the founders of the company in their respective films.
I think so, seeing as the Xenomorphs are only just created in the film.
I guess you missed the carving on the wall depicting a Xenomorph in the Engineer's WMD storage chamber
No. I saw it. But there's no proof that's supposed to (from a Engineer standpoint) be a Xenomorph. When you live in a world made by H.R. Giger, everything looks xenomorphy.
I think Prometheus also invalidates all the other Alien films as non-canon. But guessing from Scott's statements, that was the whole point. Having Damon Lindelof writing the script sure isn't helping the coherency either.
uhm, how does the film invalidates all the other entries in the franchise?
I don't think he means the entire Alien series. I'm sure Prometheus doesn't serve as a reboot, Ridley has stated this film is not directly related to the Alien series - he wanted it to be separate. Though, I do believe that Ridley is not particularly fond of the crossover series. Then again, Ridley did lie about the ending...
There is a video on Youtube where a fan asks Scott what does he think of Av P. While his reply was a lot less direct than Cameron's own take on the matter (by Scott's admission, he was working for Fox at the moment, so he had to be careful with his words), as you guess he certainly isn't fond of those spin-offs.
Lets just say that the AVP movies are in a separate universe, and a separate canon, since there are tons of comic series, and video games, obviously all in separate universes, the AVP movies get enough hate as it is, being extremely underrated.
No, I don't think so. Did you see the decorative sculptures in Weyland's room? One of them catched my attention - it strongly resembled a Predator mask. I know Scott isn't fond of the Av P spinoffs, but I think that it's too early to say that he has invalidated them.
Not sure of what are you reffering to. I tired to search for such a mask on the blu-ray, and found nothing. Shaw has a mask hanging on her room, but it's clearly something unrelated. Plus, like the other guy mentioned the Weyland in this movie is a different character than the Weyland in AVP, so those films certainly don't fit int he canon and at best are an alternate continuity.
Considering the movie's issues, lukewarm reception and far from stellar box office the producers would rather consider Prometheus non canon instead of the original movies.
The FIRST Facehugger?
The first facehugger was a giant squid born from a woman who got intimate with a man suffering from a worm infection that could potentially have turned him into a zombie.
I don't think that was necessarily meant to be the first facehugger, I've heard it referred to as "the Star Fish."
No. The guy didn't have a worm infection. The worms in his eye were just a result of the black sludge mutating his flesh. Ultimately it would have more likely dissolved him into a pile of goo, like the Engineer from the opening. The guy who became a zombie was infected after dying from acid blood.
It's a bit more disturbing than that. Fifield's faceplate got hit by the acid, and it melted onto his face - obviously burning him quite badly, but if he died, it would probably have been from suffocation. Then he falls face-first into the black goo, which is likely how he gets infected.
I think different canisters contained different black goop with varying effects. Since none of the characters are capable of reading the labels, they wouldn't know which canisters do what, other than all being bio-weapons. Some could mutate life, some could impregnate life with other life, some could dissolve flesh.
I don't think different canisters have different effects. They probably have different effects based on the host they're in. Holloway was beginning to exhibit the same effects as Fifield; increased strength, same skin condition, the change in their eyes. The crew was just lucky enough that Holloway was still sane and was aware of what was happening to him. We see what the goo finally does to humans when Fifield returns.
Yeah, it's doubtful that thing was the FIRST facehugger, considering the wall carving of the Xenomorph in the wall chamber. It's most likely that the contents of that specific jar was engineered to produce xenomorphs and all related byproducts.
And considering that in the first Alien movie the engineer the crew of the Nostromo finds has already been Fossilized for SEVERAL THOUSAND YEARS!!! and Prometheus only goes back 29 years from the first Alien movie, so obviously the Aliens have been around for a very long time, but they do seem to be the eventual form of what happens when the Black Goo goes far enough.
The Nostromo crew assumed the age simply out of observation, I don't recall any scientific tests being made. The fact that we know that the creature was wearing a biomechanical suit (so the hardened, apparently fossilized "flesh" wasn't really flesh) throws off that estimate.
Very Young Old Ship
So is the film trying to imply this is the origin of the Alien Ship from ALIEN or not? It really looked like it was trying to, even to the point of making the ship crash in a similar position, but the ALIENS mentions the planet/moon the ship was discovered on was LV-426 while the planet/moon in the film is LV-223. Then there's the discontinuity with the way the rest of the ship looks(the jars vs. the massive egg cargo bays) and the fact the Engineer who get chestbursted appears to die in the lifeboat and is pretty much torn open by it, as opposed to the rather small hole in his chest from ALIEN.
The movie is a reboot, not necessarily in direct canon with the original movies. However, the way I took it was that there were a number of ships there, all intended for different worlds (possibly one for each of the 6 worlds in the cave painting message). The crew of the one intended for Earth (the scene with David watching the recording of the Engineers in the control room) was slaughtered before they could take off, but the ship heading for LV-426 could have already left, landed, and killed all life on the world. Remember, in the original Alien, there was an Engineer dead in the control chair with his chest busted out, whereas in this movie the only living Engineer left the ship and died in the Prometheus life pod to the proto-facehugger, so if this were intended to be canon, it is clearly NOT the same ship.
One can possibly understand directing one of the ships to Earth, by why LV-426. It's a rock, remember?
Word of God states it's not the same ship or the same planet as the original Alien.
And just to clarify, Prometheus is indeed set in the same universe with Alien. There just are many of those ships out there.
Indeed, and when you think about it, it makes sense: there was clearly a xenomorph outbreak on LV-223 2,000 years ago (as can be seen from the holograms, and the scene with all the Engineers with their chests' cracked open), so I think it's obvious that the Engineer from 426 was initially trying to escape 223, but obviously was infected in transit and crash-landed on 426.
Running From the Giant Donut
Vickers and Shaw are frantically running away from the rolling Engineer ship, for an extended distance. Shaw trips and falls, and Vickers quite sensibly keeps running. Shaw rolls a couple of times to the side (probably no more than a few meters), and lives. Vickers keeps running, and is crushed, apparently unaware of the fact that a 90 degree turn and a handful of steps would have taken her away from an object rolling IN A STRAIGHT LINE.
You tend to make stupid decisions when you're disorientated from being in a shuttle crash and fleeing in blind terror.
So, if a train comes speeding towards someone, they would run straight along its tracks? I'm not asking for cold straight thinking, at least try to run diagonally.
Also, take in account that Vickers is repeatedly shown to be the most balanced and cold-thinking person in that crew.
When you encounter a train you will know that it will follow its tracks. When you are running from a gigantic, irregular, circular object that just fell from the sky with your back turned to it while wearing an impractical helmet, that limits both your ability to turn your head and possibly also to hear, it is kind of difficult to calculate the falling-direction of said object. For all Vickers knew she might as well be running diagonally. Also Shaw was hit by the ship anyways.
The fact that Vickers panicked and made an irrational decision proves she's not an android. David would have been able to instantly calculate the trajectory of the ship (like he did when playing basketbike) and move out of the way.
"What was that black goo?"
So... let's get this straight. The black liquid is a bioweapon the Engineers made that mutates indigenous life forms into monstrosities with corrosive blood, and the Xenomorphs were spawned when a human contaminated by this bioweapon impregnated a sterile woman?
It's likely some sort of biological nanotech that is able to analyze the host's genetic structure and produce a fitting monstrosity (worms become hammerpedes, humans become zombies, mouth-rape makes xenomorphs). It makes a hell of a lot more sense than trying to explain it via pure biological evolution (which takes a really long time).
The starfish alien and the xenomorph-like creature that comes out of the Enginneer are just more bioweapons from the same type of factory. They are not the same. The facehuggers were likely a separate bioweapon.
The Facehugger/Xenomorph is a mutation that results from a very persistent bio-weapon that can adapt and evolve, and was able to pass through (and kill) 3-4 host organisms prior to taking that form. It's like a next evolutionary step of the black liquid; the Xenomorph has also shown an ability to mutate further when the situation requires it.
However there is clearly a sculpture of the Xenomorph on the wall in the jar chamber. The Xenomorph shown in the film cannot just be an unpredicted evolution from moving through several host organisms, the bioweapon must have been planned to create a creature of that approximate appearance for it to be on the wall.
It's unlikely that the creatures from the previous movies were created within the context of this film. They just had gone through a similar evolution while infecting the Space Jockeys. Indeed, it's likely that the sculpture is some kind of warning of what comes to pass if an Engineer gets infected with it.
Here is a hypothesis on what the liquid does. Being put in the containers is the ready-to-deploy state/method of delivery for this substance, sort of like an armed bomb stuck to the belly of military aircraft (of course, keeping devices of mass destruction with safety off and armed on home base makes our makers spectacularly idiotic). All this I deduct from the fact that thousands of containers in the armoury did not react to human presence in any way - surely they must have been shells without "fissionable material". The material attacks its own container, trying to get itself some action. It reacts with WHATEVER it comes in contact with from organic and synthetic materials, including artwork. From the above I think it's a sensible proposition that the eggs on LV-426 are the same containers that over a period of time mutated into an half-organic preservation system with "spidery black goo on legs" inside. The point of such a mutation has an obvious advantage: now-crusty goo gains the ability of movement instead of just being a cute little puddle of horror. Then it winds down into stasis with a biological beeper that would go off whenever anything that sex can be had with is in close vicinity. The DNA for this new form can of course carry over into an egg-laying xenmorph, par example. Also, nothing like the bluish light that served to suppress violent reaction from the shells-turned-eggs was operational on the ship the Prometheus crew found. Oops.
I don't think the goo reacts with non-organic material. Or at least, it's not the goo that eats the artwork. The artwork started to dissolve shortly after the door was opened the first time, which messed with the atmosphere of the room. The goo began seeping from the jars around this time too, and only collected in large amounts much later. It's possible the sudden atmospheric shift, or whatever it was specifically, loosened the seal on 2,000 year old containers. The containers in the cargo hold of the ship didn't undergo any sudden change in atmosphere, and it's possible they were sealed more securely in the way they were held. The reason I don't think the goo would do anything to the containers is because it shows no affect on David, who comes in contact with the goo and suffers no ill effects. Also, the containers don't seem to just be filled with goo, but rather some sort of organic weapon that itself contains the goo, as seen by the canister that David freezes and takes back to the ship and opens himself.
On another note, what's with the head? Some kind of Big Brother?
Liam Neeson. The Engineers are, like, all big Liam Neeson fans. And why not?
Best theory I've heard so far.
What with the Engineers being the imperialistic jerkasses that they are, it is perfectly plausible that it is their God. Their Divine Emperor, maybe.
This was explained in cut material for the movie. First, the black goo takes a creature and uses that as a template. Then it infects other animals and over the course of generations turns them into the template creature. This occurs twice in the film. First that Engineer uses himself as a template to turn life on earth into Engineer like cratures. A cut scene actually would have shown a bunch of apes drinking the water he dissolved in showing that the Engineers did not in fact create all life on earth, they just wanted to make apes like them. The black goo on th planet was templated with a xenomorph so after a few generations we end up with something that looks like a xenomorph.
"Speak to him, David."
What the fuck did David say to the Engineer?
"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"
Probably just what Weyland told him to say. The Engineer just didn't care to listen.
"I blew into your space flute." Just kidding. There were subtitles originally but Ridley wanted them out. I suppose we won't know until it's released on DVD/Blu-Ray.
According to Dr. Anil Biltoo, who worked on the film as a linguistics consultant, David said: "This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life."
That would fit in with the explanation that the reason the Engineer lashed out was because Weyland essentially deified it, which angered the Engineer.
Yummy Yummy Yummy, I Got Squid in My Tummy
Why the hell didn't Elizabeth tell anyone else about the monstrosity she cut out of herself? If you were infected by an alien parasite that you had to forcibly remove, it seems logical to tell others about it, or at least, try to make sure it's dead, rather then just abandoning it and staggering around the ship, never telling anyone about it.
Because she thought the decontamination was enough to kill it, and it certainly didn't move a muscle when she left. She thought it was dead until the end of the film, when she returned to the medbay.
Then it's a shame she probably wasn't in the best state of mind to make logical decisions, what with her being doped up on painkillers and anaesthetics and all.
She isn't the only one to hold her tongue. She is never shown to reveal the alien she removed from herself, or the presence of Peter Weyland on the ship to anyone. Nor does the Captain reveal to her the attack of the mutated Fifield that killed several crew members, even though they have a scene shortly after both these events. I would suspect a deleted scene or it is just to be assumed by the viewer.
Because there's no one to tell that would pay attention. She KO'd the medical crew that came by to pick her up and freeze her, and from that point on (while she had the surgery done, pumped herself full of painkillers, and stumbled around randomly through the Prometheus) she didn't even find another crew member until she ran into Weyland and his entourage, and they had their own priorities to attend to. Meanwhile, the medical crew just forgot all about her and her attack. Even David is only mildly surprised she's joining them, and isn't the least bit curious about the whereabouts of the parasite.
Yes. This is her introduction to the same corporate paranoia that later befalls the crews of the Nostromo, Sulaco, etc.
Because Vickers had already demonstrated that she was willing to order anyone infected by the pathogen killed to prevent the contagion from spreading. So far as Beth knew, she'd be tossed off the ship or burned alive if the boss found out she'd been exposed so intimately. David hadn't told anyone why she was "ill" any more than he'd admitted to having infected her boyfriend, probably because he knew the outraged crew would deactivate him if they found out about it.
"What was that black goo" 2
The properties of the black liquid seem really inconsistent. In one shot we see worms in the jar chamber (where the heck did they come from, anyway?), and later, they seem to be coated by the liquid, apparently turning them into the pale cobra things. Yet, when humans are touched by the liquid, they become massively sick and die, only to come back as zombies. Is this supposed to be a weapon, or something meant to make creatures evolve?
Maybe it reacted differently to humans because they have DNA that's almost identical to the Engineers.
The effects are random, just like genetics in Real Life. Additionally, the circumstances were different: Holloway drank just a drop of it when David sneaked it into his drink, whereas Fifield got his face covered in it while he was getting killed by his melting helmet. And that's not even touching on the subject of Shaw and the Engineer.
The black liquid wasn't what was responsible for the changes, but just a carrier for the actual bioweapon. Remember that David broke something off the ice-like substance that was in the pot. That was the actual bio-weapon and what he put in the drink. The pale cobra thing was one bio-weapon, the sexually transmitted-squid alien another.
Are you sure? It looked to me like he broke off a seal off the thing inside the canister. Unless I forgot something, the liquid surrounding this looks more like a preservation liquid than the goo's darker, more viscous slime. It's shown pretty clearly that David pulls a drop of black goo from the thing inside the canister and holds it on his finger (it only looks kind of different because it's reflecting the halogen lights). It's then made pretty clear that he intentionally picks up the glass without using that finger, and later dips the finger into the drink; rather than dropping something into it. If this black goo was different to the black slime the worms were swimming in, it should probably have been made more clear.
Not entirely sure, but that was what it looked like to me (I'd have to see the movie again). However, it would be weird for it to be the same, since he needed to do something with the ice-like substance inside the jar for this, while that wasn't neccesary for the jars inside the ship.
I don't understand why everyone's so confused about this of all things. Really, given all aspects in the film, the black liquid seems the most straightforward. It's just a general mutagen that turns whatever organics it finds into mosntrous versions of themselves. Worms become hammerpedes, humans become zombies, and so on. It's really not that difficult.
"Is David a secret asshole?"
Why, in heaven's name, did David intentionally infect Holloway with the black fluid? Was he deliberately trying to kill him? Was he curious about the effects of the black liquid, and wanting to see what it would do? Or was there some other cryptic reason that we don't know about?
Most likely "to see what would happen". Don't forget that conversation he had with Holloway earlier where he asks "Why did you make us?" and Holloway responds "Because we could".
My impression was that David gave Weyland an update on the situation, and Weyland told him to dose somebody with the liquid and see what it did. Given that the only Engineer they had found at that time was dead right outside the chamber (apparently due to a malfunctioning door), it is not unreasonable to think he was running for whatever was inside the chamber. Keep in mind that Weyland could literally count his remaining days on his hands - and he was clearly unbalanced by impending death. As to why it was Holloway... there was some pretty big foreshadowing about David having a Stalker with a Crush attachment to Shaw. Given an open ended command like, "Dose somebody with it and see what happens," I'd be suprised if he picked somebody OTHER than Holloway.
Just before David infects Holloway, Vickers confronts him and tosses him against a wall. At the end of the confrontation he asks if she would like a cup of tea. I saw this first as his (ineffective) way to get in the good graces of Vickers, and (effective) way of ending the conversation. Some have posited that he was at that moment considering infecting Vickers, but fell back to Holloway only when that failed. There is good reason to think he had better motive to infect Holloway, but is an interesting thought.
My friends and I figured David must have been testing the viability of the liquid. David expressed way too much knowledge of the Engineer's ship like understanding that the "writing" was a control panel and already knowing the sequence to open the doors and turn on the hologram recordings.
Despite all the statements to the contrary, David really does have emotions. His curiosity about the black liquid and his anger and resentment at repeatedly being reminded he "has no soul" came to a head with Holloway's drunken ramblings, and he decided to use Holloway as his test subject.
Going further on your point, I think he did have emotions, just the emotions of someone highly detached and treated as less than a person. He was probably in love with Dr. Shaw. The way he watched her dreams, the way he spoke with her in scenes together, and his attempts to make himself look more attractive like the character in the movie he was watching all show a being trying to grasp what it is to be human and attractive. It gets even more implied, when David gives the virus to Dr. Holloway. He could've given it to anyone else, but he chose Holloway for two reasons: First, he was the most recent person to call his lack of humanity to attention, second, Holloway would undoubtedly have sex with Dr. Shaw. Assuming David doesn't have genetic material, let alone genitalia, this was the only way for David to create life, or reproduce in the only way that would be possible for him. Think about the reaction to Shaw's "pregnancy" he seems pleasantly surprised and doesn't want Shaw to terminate it.
I saw his reaction being more on the "My, what a fascinating development in my black-goo experiment!" side. Later, he's not upset that Shaw removed the squid-fetus (he's maybe even a little impressed), because he doesn't need it anymore now that they've found a still-living Engineer.
That's assuming Shaw was the only person whose dreams David's been eavesdropping on. His conversation with Holloway suggests David had a suspiciously-keen insight into how his intended guinea pig thinks, allowing him to ask "permission" to experiment on the man without Holloway ever suspecting what he was "agreeing" to. Most likely, David's been spying on every sleeper's dreams over the past two years, both as a diversion for his information-hungry processors and as lessons on how to better interact with, and manipulate, his human associates.
Interesting interpretation there on David and his emotions. Personally I felt like he had a sort of crush on Shaw, but the relationship ultimately reminded me of that of a mother and a child given the theme of the film. David has Weyland as a "father" but doesn't Weylend doesn't see him as much nor does he really give him respect. David almost seems proud when Weyland describes him as his son but immediately frowns when he's said to have no soul. Shaw was the only person to simulate him in way a child would desire from a mother. Also, another on the infection scene: David is program to serve humans. The humans he's serving are scientists. He approaches Holloway, who treated him the worse, and ask how far would he willing to go in the name of science. Since Holloway says he would be willing to do whatever it takes, David gets his confirmation and infects Holloway because his programming sees it as helping the humans he's serving. I agree he seemed jealous, but not from a romantic standpoint, but more rather less competition for attention from Shaw. I didn't get the feeling that he wanted to keep the alien foetus, but that he didn't want to draw attention to himself for being the one responsible.
David's actions actually do make a lot more sense if he sees Shaw as a sort of mother figure. Rather than being in love with Shaw, he wants her attention like a child wants their parent's, and is inherently jealous of Holloway for stealing that attention away. The way he acts when she tells him not to do things is pretty much how a petulant child would act: do it anyway and say, "Whoops, sorry." If he does have some sort of romantic feeling for her it's more than likely a precocious crush that's more about having her attention than anything else.
I always understood it as David taking orders from Weylend. When Vickers confronts David, he tells her that they should "try harder". I'm pretty sure David has moral programming that prevents him from directly harming humans, David does ask Holloway what would he do in order to gain results, and Holloway responds "whatever it takes". David needed a guinea pig for his experiment, though personally, I felt like David wasn't aware of the results it would have on him.
You know, I just don't get David's character in general. At first he seems to be Stalker with a Crush, but then he makes that cold comment to Shaw later on; "I didn't think you had it in you". He clearly knew it was going to kill her, why would he let it if he had a crush? It just doesn't add up. I mean, I guess you could say he didn't really want to kill her, and might have been trying to buy time with the cryogenic bit so he could figure out how to extract it safely (before Shaw got her badass degree by doing it herself), but that still seems an awfully cruel thing to say to someone you supposedly love.
My interpretation of David’s character is that he has been programmed to mimic human emotions and facial expressions in order to make humans feel more comfortable (and we see that he goes thorough a lot of effort to appear “normal”), but he really doesn’t have a sense of right and wrong from a human standpoint. This leads him to say really inappropriate things (like “didn’t think you had it in you” and “I watched your dreams”) with a creepy placid smile on his face, which makes him even MORE CREEPY. So, he was impressed with Dr. Shaw’s sudden badassery, but didn’t realize he had said anything inappropriate until he saw her reaction (or... maybe he’s just messing with her head. The ambiguity of his motives really adds to the creepy atmosphere).
Easy Peasy C-Section
How can Shaw be running around after a self-administered hysterectomy? I don't care if this is the future and she's doped up on pain killers, how can she be doing that?
It wasn't a hysterectomy, it was a cesarean section (c-section.) A hysterectomy is the removal of the entire uterus, whereas a c-section only removes what's inside the uterus (usually a baby.) Shaw didn't cut out her uterus, just the thing that was growing in it. Considering her "strong survival instinct" and the accompanying adrenaline rush and the no doubt really good drugs she was taking, it's not really that absurd. And notice how she winces and groans in pain every so often, particularly when something hits her abdomen.
It still makes very little sense for her to be running, jumping, smashing into the edge of the opening launch platform, and doing all sorts of things that should have by all rights burst her stapled-shut injury like a water balloon. Anesthetics and adrenaline are one thing, but tissue doesn't heal that fast, much less within the space of, what? An hour or two at most between the c-section and the starship launch.
Ok, so the machine stapled the incision back together, fine. Unfortunately, it didn't do the same to the uterus, Shaw's running around the rest of the movie dying from internal bleeding from a split-wide-open uterus that was never properly closed!!
Similarly Shaw is throwing up after being unfrozen but Vickers is in her cell doing aerobics. Yes, we get it, Vickers is a no-nonsense ice princess but the physical shock David mentions should still have an effect.
Presumably, Vickers has been on space voyages before and is likely used to the effects of stasis. Shaw is not.
Seconded. Shaw and Holloway are the only two onboard who have never experienced cryosleep before. We see Shaw vomiting and Holloway looking really shaky, while the rest of the crew is a little groggy, but generally ok. Vickers probably feels groggy as well, but she just powers through it, like everything else. I think it’s supposed to be a defining character moment.
It is completely absurd. I suppose some people here are merely theorizing, so allow me to illuminate this with some personal experience: your abdominal muscles are antagonistic with the muscles of the back and spine. One doesn't work without the other. So any time you bend to pick something up, take a step, or lean forward to get out of bed both sets of muscles have to work. I had abdominal surgery that required what amounted to half a Cesarian (a laparotomy) and let me tell you - it takes months to be able to do anything involving the use of your abdominal muscles afterwards. First few days all you'll be able to do is lay on your back. Anything as minor as sneezing or coughing results in excruciating pain. And that was with only cutting the abdominal muscles on one side of the stomach, and some excellent pain-killers. I don't care how futuristic those staples or spray were. And they were cosmetic by the way, muscle tissue has to be sutured internally and no-one in their right mind staples skin to muscle that they need to heal, unless you want it to stay that way. She'd have been laid out for the rest of the film, and walking maybe in a couple of days at best. If someone hit her in the stomach after that, she wouldn't have been wincing, she'd have been out cold, most likely in shock. There couldn't have been any tumbling, rolling, running or anything even close. This is a clear case of handwaving it as "bandaids heal everything" and "it's scifi so anything goes, stupid". It would have been fine if we were shown some futuristic procedure implying accelerated healing or something of that nature, but all she got wasa bunch of staples that wouldn't hold anything except her skin together. Nothing to close up the uterus, nothing to pull the muscles back together. On top of that the entire procedure is done without narcosis, and it's not even clear if the spray was topical anesthetic or just an antiseptic. More nails in the coffin.
The stuff she kept injecting herself with likely also accelerates natural healing. No way she'd need to dose herself with painkillers that often, and no way she could do so without passing out/overdosing.
You don't "accelerate natural healing" from being carved open like a turkey and start jumping around within the hour. She's not Wolverine. Unless it miraculously healed every layer of tissue nigh-instantaneously, any "sci-fi acceleration" of her body's healing should've taken at least some time, considering the magnitude of the procedure, instead of immediately walking away from the medical pod and stumbling around the ship. And if they DID have miraculous, instant-healing available, then it tosses into question every other medical issue plaguing the ship's crew and passengers.
She's still pretty clearly in bad shape for the rest of the movie and half the things she does after were do or die. And I don't think it was within the hour either, she found Weyland pretty fast but then she would have had to wait for him to be ready which could have taken quite a while. All I said above was that she was likely injecting herself with suff to heal faster, not that she was fully fixed or that she'd be in perfect condition to do these things. For all we know she's suffered major internal injuies and will die in the next movie.
For future reference, the Med-Pod does state "initiating anaesthetic" right before it sprays on the fake tan, and since we heard no injection sound (which could've implied off-screen anaesthetic shot), it was either in the air or the brown dye itself (which could be a micture of therapeutic substances for all we know). And regarding the medicines: how do you know they can't heal injuries as fast as Wolverine? We've seen him suffer much worse injuries than Shaw and do entire fight scenes through them, all through virtue of magical genetics. We accepted it easily enough for X-Men on a flimsier basis, we can certainly do it here on a stronger one. Also, considering that the Med-Pod administered its own anaesthetic, we don't know what those shots she was taking were actually doing. They could have been doing anything from anaesthesia to stemming her blood loss to both those things and more, or something completely different altogether. Yes, it's bad that the scene was really vague, but that doesn't prevent it from theoretically working.
This troper simply assumed that since Weyland had invented all sorts of nanites/nanobots, Shaw just injected plenty of those into herself and they stitched her up from the inside. It makes more sense than the idea of shooting up future-morphine and then bouncing around like an action hero immediately afterwards.
Why did the Engineers on the ship decide to go into cold sleep? Yes, there was an outbreak, but the ship was clearly isolated, and suffered no damage. It was all ready to go with few minutes of preparation, and it only needed one, single pilot, and they had three. So why quit it for 2,000 years, when they could have flown off whenever they liked?
Maybe that one pilot's shift hadn't started yet?
David said that only one of the engineers was actually alive (I'm guessing the ones in the other chambers were dead or the other chambers were empty), maybe more than one was required to pilot the ship?
It's probably a safety protocol. They had an outbreak and went into the safety of the hibernation pods. There, they would await either the natural extinction of the weapon or a team to cleans the outbreak and revive them. It would explain why the recorded everything so that a future team would know what happened.
How did the captain make the amazing leap from "OK, one of my crew is dead with a burst helmet for unexplained reasons (and we left him behind untouched, so we never knew why,) another was infected by an unknown agent and became suicidal, and a third one was also infected and possibly as suicidal as the second, so they are probably the same thing. Both of them were burned to death and we don't know what caused their infection. It could be anything on this entirely unfamiliar planet with unknown alien structures whose purpose has never, ever, ever been explained to us," to "Oh my god they're making weapons of mass destruction!" Even if he's actually right, none of the information HE has (in fact, none of the information anyone has, except possibly David) can possibly lead to that conclusion. For that matter, how did Shaw reach HER conclusion about the Engineers coming to Earth to kill us instead of just coming to Earth for whatever mysterious purpose they might have? All she knows is that something infected Holloway, he impregnated her, and lo, alien fetus. She's never told about the black sludge, for all she knows it's just Engineer soda cans or starship fuel, and she's never told David gave it to Holloway either. Again, we're privy to all this info, but none of the characters are and they still make this miraculously accurate assumptions.
Because all of that requires childishly simple ability to make conclusions about facts at hand? Fact: an isolated facility on an otherwise uninhabited planet contains highly virulent contagion. Conclusion: the planet is empty either because the cotagion killed everything (but that would leave signs that aren't present in atmosphere), or because it was created for the purpose of creating and/or studying the contagion. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to jump to the conclusion of a military facility. Second fact: they are going to Earth with a cargo full of canisters containing the said highly virulent contagion, which is well known at this point. How on earth would you conclude that they are intended to do anything but spread the the content of those canisters? Especially since the pilot of the ship just butchered all the people he made contact with. This is basic, elementary deduction, for crying out loud!
As the ship's captain, he has no idea whatsoever that the black goo is anything but "unknown black substance." He never sees it affect anyone. No one he talks to has ever seen it affect anyone. When he finds a dead crewman, he's surprised, implying that either he didn't check the video logs of his demise or there ARE no video logs of his demise (same for the zombified one) so he can't tell that the goo had anything to do with it. When first encountering it, people go "don't touch it, we don't know what it is" and the only one who studies it is David, who brought it on board in secret and keeps all his experiments and findings to himself. As far as the source of infection goes, is STILL unknown —their scanners analyze the composition of the atmosphere, but since they're never shown scanning for airborne microbes they could've easily believed he caught something off the air. Shaw herself says that they've all been exposed because they've all been walking around without helmets, so she, at least, believes that the infection agent is airborne. As captain, if I were to stick to the facts I (or my crew) know and have access to, I'd be FAR more inclined to think that it was the Engineer skull and helmet which contained a contagious agent, because that's the only foreign substance that anyone has been in direct contact with, AND especially since the first (known) infection was in close proximity with it and the experiment could have caused the skull, skin, or tissues to release something before it was being shoved behind a clean shield. That the installation is a "military facility" OR that it "was created for the purpose of creating or studying the substance" are also huge leaps of logic because, again, they don't know what the ooze is, what it does, or what its purpose is, and never spend even one second trying to figure it out, so again as far as they know it could be ink or fuel or just rations of food gone bad. Also, the pilot's rampage on the crew happened long after the captain and Shaw had reached their conclusions.
Shaw didn't believe it was an airborned agent, she was just saying that to stop David from taking her cross. The leaps of logic really aren't that huge.
No, she didn't. She delivered the "we've been exposed" line while still on the mission to recover the two missing crewmen, while she was trying to figure out what happened to Holloway. Which was long, long before David took her cross.
Also, this being an alien planet and facility, that straightforward logic is questionable. Why military facility? Why not a tailing dump, a medical research site, hell, a pet cemetery? As for why they are heading for Earth with this cargo, who knows? Maybe with the right approach they are going to use the virus to finally defeat head cold or something.
He made a guess that was, apparently, right.
Yes...? That's the premise of the Headscratcher. We know he made a guess, and we assume (because Word of God says so, even if the movie doesn't) that it's a military production facility. But how did he MAKE the guess?
Let's see... huge, hidden high tech facility. All the staff seem to be wearing an uniform. The facility has a storage of deadly WMDS. Dunno about you, but I too would take the guess that it is somewhat related to a military force.
First, the planet has a single artificial structure and is basically lifeless. They found a dead alien whose head later exploded because of some unknown chemical in his brain(Let's assume, for the sake of argument, Janek pays attention to what's going on inside the ship or asked Shaw or Ford about it offscreen, you know, like a captain is supposed to do in foreign world, so he knows A) they found a dead alien and B) they found some containers with black stuff coming out of it). Before he went to sleep and left Millburn and Fifield alone, he did notice to the holocaust-like pile of dead Engineers that looked like to be trying to escape from something, and got noticeably suspicious. Later, they found Millburn dead in the same room with that black goo all around the ground, and some creepy alien snake bursting out of his mouth, followed by Holloway becoming infected with something and having to be incinerated. Then, hours later, Fifield appears, looking almost exactly like Holloway did before he died, only a monster and starts killing everyone before having to be shot, run over and burned. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out that since the planet has only one alien building with lots of dead aliens inside, some black goo in containers, and two of your crew became infected and one turned into a monster, that this is a military testing base of WM Ds, possibly Super Soldier projects and whatnot. He also knows these Engineers supposedly created mankind, so mutagens isn't such a farfetched idea. He just pieced it together and told Shaw what he deduced.
It couldn't have been their home-world, or we'd see a lot more signs of civilization... and the line between "medical research facility akin to our CDC" and "mass bioweapon production facility" is a blurry one.
If the Space Jockeys started life (not humans but life itself) on earth—why would there be cave-paintings of a star map some billion years later?
The film implies they (or at least one) stuck around for a bit before leaving, "engineering" human civilization: maybe they waited for it to hit a certain point, then left, giving them the codes to follow along. Failing that, maybe they left and came back for a visit, as hypothesized in the below answers.
Why point humans to a military facility than? The one where humans weren't exactly welcome.
Presumably they didn't. The humans just wrote down where the aliens went. Remember, they could probably understand the aliens (David knows the alien's writing by studying their languages) and just overheard them.
There is also the possibility that it was within their original plans to welcome Humans once our civilization progressed enough to find them, but those plans eventually changed.
Why would they later visit Earth and paint a star map—if they just wanted to destroy life on Earth?
Maybe only a few, or maybe just one, wanted humans to evolve whilst the others were against it.
Maybe they're naturally arrogant, cruel, and warlike; "human nature" is often accused of being that way and we did come from them...
Maybe they see the creation and the destruction of life as a religious calling. They do build their bio-weapons facilities like temples and set up their armories like shrines.
Maybe they wanted to pit their best creations (humans and xenomorphs) against each other.
Their version of a Pokemon battle.
Maybe they are just Dicks
Maybe the Engineers have different factions, and biological warfare is just how they roll. Earth was the weapon of one group and the Xenomorphs a more advanced weapon used to target Earth by another group.
Maybe they changed their minds.
Maybe it's a sport: seed life, then destroy it. Like hunting.
Maybe the star system was a threat. "Worship me and follow my teaching or a I'll open a can of whoop-ass from *here*."
A bit of WMG: the Engineer at the beginning of the movie could have been part of a different faction than the ones that the film shows. It would fit with the theme of Creation vs. Darwin, one faction creates life and the other wants to destroy the other's creation due to ideological differences. Then again it would seem that life on Earth was also the result of the Black Goo dissolving and mutating Engineer DNA, so make of that what you will.
Makes sense given the name of the movie "Prometheus". The creation of humans upset the other gods and attempted to set things right.
Yeah, and then one faction gave humans a map to the other faction's bio-weapons facility.
Maybe two thousand years ago humanity killed a divine figure which had been sent by their makers to watch over them.
Nah, he probably wanted to kill them.
Also, I think the Bible would have made at least some allusion to the fact that Jesus was ten feet tall. That seems like an important detail to just sorta leave out.
This is assuming that the Engineers we see are all pale from lack of sunlight and that their lack of body-hair is by design (like military haircuts). If those qualities were also universal for Engineers, well, then I guess we end up with a giant bald albino Jesus.
Maybe the messiah was a Engineer-human hybrid. Ridley did play around with the idea of their benevolent messenger being killed off by humans.
Benevolent? Don't think so. Nothing in their behaviour indicated anything like that (including the creation of humans).
Maybe the one seen at the beginning was some sort of famous exile. Socrates of the Engineers, given no real clothes or weapons, just a poison to kill himself with rather than die a slow death if he wished it. Except it's not a poison, it's capable of allowing DNA to be broken apart. Interacting with the water and certain substances there instead threw the whole primordial soup together in a new way that created life on Earth. Later convicts were dropped off and found the smaller populations of humans that went undetected by the Engineer ships. They were worshipped as gods and tried to guide humanity to their own ends. Some of them could have been ex-military and spread to the other convicts knowledge of a military outpost on a certain star system. The convicts were simply too short-lived to get humanity to the level of civiliation where they would be able to take the engineers to the stars, go to that star system, and grab a bunch of military hardware laying around for the exiled Engineers' revenge. This same substance that messes with DNA and allows new configurations later reacts with local worms on the planet and turns them into the cobra-like things, including the ability to grow back cut off parts that is popularly believed about worms, but wrong. The reaction of the acid, dying human, possible engineer remains, and black goop caused a different, zombifying effect in the geologist (whose enlarged cranium somewhat resembled those of the Engineers). In Holloway, one thing it did was react with his sperm, which then entered Shaw, and developed into the fetus without using her DNA in any way.
Maybe Earth is their chosen petri dish and, having gotten what they wanted from their study they wanted to wipe it clean and start over.
Maybe whatever catastrophe that some speculate killed their civilization left them looking for a new homeworld, and Earth is a perfect biosphere.
Why would they need extremely dangerous biological and chemical weapons to destroy life on Earth? They could easily make do with something that only posed a threat to humans—and not to themselves too.
Maybe the Engineers weren't trying to destroy humanity, maybe they were just trying to modify it and turn it into something else, that black goo did kill some living things, but it also caused others to mutate. Maybe life on Earth is just one big on-going experiment being conducted by the Engineers and introducing that mutigen was meant to be the next phase in the experiment. Dr. Shaw said that they were trying to destroy humanity but if there's one thing we've learned about Dr. Shaw it's that she's capable of being wrong.
Not very easy, since we're more or less biologically identical to them down to the genetic level.
Then I (personally) would use a weapon that kills people instead of a weapon that turns its victims into something far more omni-lethal.
Well, humans have done some pretty dumb things throughout history, so we can assume these guys probably had the same didn't-think-it-through idea.
This was my theory: It's a bioweapon constructed for the sole purpose of 1) Taking an entire species and sacrificing it to make a better, highly-evolved, more lethal species, or 2) A Bioweapon that quickly and reliably destroys all life on a planet by making it all kill each other. There's more evidence for this second one because of the self-destructive nature of the Xenomorph lifecycle. They get a host to make a new Xenomorph, kill that host, rendering it useless, and then proceed to kill everything else in the area with extreme prejudice until there is nothing else to host more Xenomorphs. Then, presumably, the Xenomorph just waits there and dies, and bam, no more living things. And all it takes is a single vial of black goo!
But the xenomorphs does NOT die. They go into hibernation until something living comes along. The place is contaminated for evah!
I thought it was obvious: we were the test subjects for their bio-weapons. We are genetically close to them, so anything that affects us would probably affect them in a similar way.
If they wanted to kill all humans—why didn't they do it while people were cavemen and a without means to defend themselves? Why wait?
It's established in the movie that the Engineers/Space Jockeys were all in their equivalent of Hyper-Sleep if they weren't dead. I don't remember if it mentioned how long ago the holograms were recorded but they may have been killed or forced to sleep, but they may have been in such a state since shortly after humans evolved. Waiting for something to wake them...
He was asleep for 'only' 2,000 years... long after human evolution.
The Engineers planning to destroy earth had their project interrupted 2,000 years ago. All the contacts alluded to in earth's archeological records predate 2,000 years. So perhaps the Engineers, or one faction of them, changed their minds? They didn't decide that they wanted to destroy humans until shortly before 2,000 years ago.
I assumed they didn't want to destroy humanity. We were just there for their weapons test. I think I'm going to make a WMG out of this.
"Is David a secret asshole?" 2
Why did David infect the crew in the first place? He's smart enough to know it's probably dangerous, and I doubt he was ordered to poison his own team, what with the boss being on board the ship too.
Partly because he doesn't like Holloway due to being enamoured by Shaw but also because he was testing the life preserving qualities of the liquid so that it might benefit Weyland which was his true purpose on the ship.
Possibly because he was simply curious as to what would happen. He did sort of sneakily ask Holloway's permission before infecting him, but his moral ethics concerning Holloway's health and safety didn't really extend beyond that. Given his comments to Shaw regarding Weyland, his concern for his "father's" safety is unlikely to be very great either.
For all we know, he said something incredibly provocative to the engineer instead of what Weyland wanted him to say. Hell, it's possible David was beyond anyone's control from the very beginning and he was just doing stuff out of curiosity the whole time. Curiosity seems to be his one defining emotion since he was constantly studying during the trip from Earth.
A problem arises here though, that Davids like him are not capable of ending a human life, they're programmed to not kill another person. So it's unlikely he could have killed Halloway intentionally and instead was conducting an excessively curious but not malevolent experiment.
Bishop was incapable of harming humans or letting them be harmed. Davids, or at least the prototype David from this film, probably don't have such inhibitions hard-wired into them; certainly Ash wasn't inhibited from breaking the Third Law.
I highly doubt that Weyland, who obviously didn't want to die, would create a robot that was capable of killing him. I'm pretty sure that David wasn't necessarily aware of what the liquid is or what it would do. Thus, he conducts a experiment on the person who dislikes the most, Holloway, for being the one who mistreats him the most ("Oops, I forgot you're not a real boy" David immediately frowns at this statement). He's designed to serve humans, who in this case happen to be scientists who are willing to do anything for an answer. So by infecting Holloway with the mystery goop , he attempts to give the humans he's serving an answer, and by doing so, he's fulfilling his duty to serve humans. It's a combination of his programming and unintentional emotions.
Same poster as the above here; tldr version: due to David's programming, he's able to harm humans on the basis that it benefits the humans he's serving.
Being programmed not to harm Weyland isn't necessarily the same as being programmed not to hurt anyone. Most likely, Weyland's own orders could override any other dictates which David was designed to heed.
Babies Grow Bigger Every Hour
How did the giant facehugger actually grow to that size? When we last saw it, it was the size of an infant, so where did it get enough food to grow that big if it was locked in that sterile room?
I believe that we saw a few medical personnel that didn't go with Weyland to speak with the Engineer. It's possible that while they were gone, these other personnel walked into the chamber and got attacked by the facehugger, which it then ate and grew in size.
That would explain the missing crew members whose deaths we don't see.
The typical form of the Xenomorphs was probably created by chance. The mutagen warps living things and even spawns them on its own, but you never know what the resulting monstrosity will look like in advance. The only thing you can be sure off is that it will try to kill you or wants to impregnate you. Probably both.
Due to the nature of the machine it might have had blood for transfusions. The facehugger might have even been able to use the drugs or even anything else in the room as food.
Log excerpts in the Colonial Marines Technical Manual ask the very same question about Xenomorph biology and how it's able to grow/molt so quickly with such a limited food supply/mass gaining source.
Life Before Life
If the Engineer specifically created human life on earth, then why are human cells so similar to plant life already existing on Earth? Also, if there were animals already living on Earth, why is their biology structure so similar to that of the Space Jockeys if they evolved on separate planets?
Ridley Scott's stated that that Engineer at the beginning started all life. This creates problems of its own, of course.
He may have meant all life on Earth.
Well as far as the movie showed, there was no life on Earth prior to the Engineer doing that seeding thing, so I took it as they were planting the genetic material for everything to eventually evolve from.
In the beginning of the film, the planet is full of grass and plants, which are alive.
And the cells seen reacting to the dead Engineer's dispersed DNA have an obvious nucleus inside, which means they're not ancestral to bacteria either. Indeed, from the way they were dividing, it's more likely that the DNA found its way into some fish eggs, possibly an ancestor of tetrapods.
We don't know if the Engineer actually understood what David said, or if it was just gibberish to him.
It's not implausible that a multiplanetary civilization advanced thousands of years beyond ours, might not have settled on a "Standard" version of language that, no matter what else, would not change, allowing individuals from multiple planets in distant star systems to be able to communicate no matter what evolutions of languages had occurred on their own home planets. And also, for them, two thousand years may not be a particularly long time in the grand scheme of things. Or they just adopted a historical "primitive" tongue to communicate with all their seeded planets.
Sleepy Engineers 2
Just how did the Engineer survive that long anyway, it's clearly been shown that facehuggers can breach hypersleep chambers. More over, why did he immediately set the ship to take off? Wouldn't it make more sense to...i don't know check the ship to make sure the things that murdered everyone in it were really dead, or at least make sure the new arrivals didn't trigger a new outbreak. Lastly how did he know they were from Earth? All he could tell in the few seconds before he started killing was that they weren't Engineers.
Can't speak to the other plot holes, but Earth as a destination is easy enough to explain. When David activated the machinery the one planet he selected was Earth. This would have been recorded as the last destination selected.
Anatomically modern humans have existed for 200,000 years, and the Engineer has only been in hypersleep for 2,000 years. Since the Engineers adopted their Kill All Humans policy before the surviving Engineer went into hypersleep, he'd most definitely know what humans looked like and try to kill the first ones he saw.
Tons of Toys, and They Still Get Lost
Why did the geologist and other guy get stuck in the caves? They specifically said they were heading back to the ship, and the large truck transport was gone when everyone else raced the sandstorm. Even if we assume the truck had its own driver, that truck left with six people behind on the assumption that they'd find the two buggies, which are designed for two each, and no notification. And, it's not like the two that got left behind couldn't get directions. The ship has a detailed map of the facility and trackers built into the suits.
The ship assumed they could find their own way out when they left Team Shaw, and their attention was focused on Team Shaw anyway. Team I'm Not Here to Make Friends got lost. By the time they all realized what had happened, the sandstorm had already trapped them.
But they were on a trillion-dollar expedition to an alien world. You'd think they'd make sure idiotic things like 'we just never noticed two scientists got lost and forgotten inside an alien structure' happen. It's not a picnic at the lake, where people can just wander off, is it?
One of them was stoned off his ass, the other was in a panic because he saw a dead alien.
Fifield was the one who first panicked at the dead alien, and he didn't get stoned until later that evening (Milburn was freaked by it too, but not as much.) And even if he HAD spent the entire recon stoned, that doesn't excuse Mission Control (the guys following everybody's trackers on the map aboard the Prometheus, and were neither stoned nor afraid nor in a hurry) losing track of them before the storm hit.
Poor Abandoned Proto-Baby...
So, how is the proto-xenomorph supposed to survive now? There is, like, no one left on the planet for it to prey upon.
Why should it survive? There's no particular plot-purpose it should fulfill. But most creations of the Engineers seem incredibly resilient, capable of hibernating for thousands of years or more, in the absence of nutrition.
There are worms in the soil, mutated or not. There are probably food stores on both crashed ships as well as in the pyramids. There are plenty of corpses to feed on. Life finds a way.
There are theories that that's an Alien Queen (it has the same shell-like head and starts out at the size of a full-grown drone xenomorph.) Maybe it'll just lay a bunch of eggs for the next squishy explorers to find, like in the first movie.
We've Found Our Grandpas
"This body's been dead about 2,000 years! And hey, this looks like human DNA! Because human life began only 2,000 years ago, this means we found our ancestors!" Please tell me I heard something wrong.
Did they ever actually say that in the film? Because chimp DNA looks like human DNA too and chimps are still around. How long the body has been dead is not important, it was deduced that the Engineers were the ancestors of the human race because they were a part of a species that had been around longer then the human race and their DNA was very similar.
Yes, they very specifically said that Engineer DNA was 100% match with human DNA. Which makes no sense, see a question below about how there's no "universal" sample of "human DNA."
Wait, did they ever say it was human DNA they compared it to? Considering the fact that they are supposed to be the ancestors of all life (which wouldn't really make that much sense, but whatever) they compared the DNA against the known genes of every lifeform on the surface of planet Earth.
Yes, they very specifically said that Engineer DNA was 100% match with human DNA.
None of the characters said that and a computer simply said "DNA match."
Well either the Engineers existed first, or 2,000 years ago a bunch of humans suddenly became majorly technologically advanced and traveled into space.
Or were brought into space as laborers, test subjects, and/or cannon fodder by a race we haven't seen yet, which is a lot more plausible than the conclusions everybody jumped to.
Basically, you find creatures that are genetically identical to humans from a distant planet that's location was revealed by ancient cave paintings. Since humans are genetically native to Earth, that must mean that the Engineers have been in the business for a long time. The age of the bodies is completely inconsequential; did you forget that they expected to find live Engineers?
Don't Forget To Write
Why was no message sent home? I assume sense they have FTL travel they have FTL communications. So why when they knew everything was going bad did they not at least send a message with all their records saying. "Look out for this ship. Shoot on sight"
Maybe they don't have any kind of FTL communications. We don't know the mechanics of the FTL flight, so it's possible that sending such messages without a ship to carry them is simply not possible. They didn't have any FTL communications in the original Alien either, so why should they have them here?
Has any film in the franchise displayed FTL communication? I don't think it has or at the very least Ripley would have sent off a distress signal/asked for advice in the original Alien, instead they trusted an on-board computer and a robot to be "the company" representative.
A Violent Parental Reunion
So the Engineer that David spoke to wasn't exactly willing to answer his questions. What exactly makes Shaw think that the Engineers on their home planet will be any more forthcoming?
Faith. That was kind of the point. And from a more pragmatic point of view, maybe a cargo hold full of biosphere-destroying superweapons will give some incentive for the Engineers to be slightly more diplomatic.
Big Things are Big, and Things
While it's a neat tag line and a memorable line for the trailer, what DID David mean by "Big things have small beginnings" when spoken in the actual movie? He has no idea how "big" the results of his little test will be, or if there will be any results at all. And he wasn't even there when the ultimate outcome presented itself...
I think he was just assuming that the outcome would be something significant, besides, in any experiment just beginning is the first step on the road to "big things" even if your initial efforts wind up not producing any results.
I thought he was talking about the origin of humanity.
He was also quoting Lawrence of Arabia, which he had been shown watching earlier on in the film.
The Robot Replacement Has Begun
If androids exist that are capable of doing everything a human could (better than a human could do it) why did the Weyland corporation even bother sending a crew of humans into space? Why didn't they just train a bunch of Davids to do all of the things that the crew was meant to do and send them instead? It seemed unnecessary for them to risk human lives, especially when involving humans just increased the possibility of error in what was already a very delicate, unpredictable situation.
David was a phenomenally expensive prototype, which is why Weyland refers to him as a son. Weyland was dying and so he needed to get to the alien planet as fast as he could. It was only by the time of the first Alien film that Weyland could mass produce androids. And humans are cheaper than robots.
Also, unsuspecting human employees are potential test subjects for medical Lost Technology, in the event they found the Engineers' planet but nobody was home. Remember, Weyland was only concerned with prolonging one human life, not human life in general.
But the viral advertising suggests that David was an 8th generation model and that Weyland industries did mass produce previous models.
The 8th generation model robot, not necessarily 8th generation android. Most likely, generations 1 through 7 didn't look human enough to pass.
Also, from the confrontational scene between David and Vickers, you can infer that David is Weyland's personal butler, performing the actions that Weyland physically cannot.
A personal butler is called a valet; also, a butler cares for a whole household/family, which he emphatically did not.
Given everything we've seen about this company so far... I very, very much doubt that any of the executives think human lives are more important than David units. Human lives are Weyland's cheapest resource: you can get more of them for free!
Lifeboat Back to the Surface
What did Vickers hope to accomplish by jettisoning herself out of the Prometheus onto the planet's surface rather than taking her life boat into space? Did she not have time? Did she hope to accomplish something? Either way she doesn't do anything important after that decision. Well, except die.
She had no other choice. It takes an enormous amount of thrust to reach orbit from the Earth's surface, and the moon had similar gravity. There's no reason to think that the tiny lifeboat could actually reach space from that altitude. On the other hand, it was explicitly stated to be well-stocked for emergencies; she presumably planned to wait it out on the surface.
Janek jettisoned the lifeboat right before the Prometheus took off. Vickers didn't get into the small one-person escape pod until after the ship took off, and launched the pod before Prometheus rammed the Jockey ship. After the escape pod landed, Vickers was trying to get to the lifeboat.
How Dare You Call Darwinism "Darwinism"!
In a good example of Hollywood Science, why would a biologist refer to evolution as Darwinism, which is a pejorative used by anti-evolution types who pretty much never get a degree in Biology.
Along that same line, why is the creation of life and evolution treated as the same subject in this movie? The study of how life began is entirely separate from the study of how life developed. While it's possible for aliens to have seeded life, even that idea is separate from figuring out how we wound up with so many different species of related organisms, like bacteria, fungi, animals, and plants, on Earth.
What makes you think that Darwinism is a pejorative term? That's the name I was given for it when I was taught about it in school, I still hear the term used by scientists who support evolution theory in documentaries and such and that actually is the name for Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.
That just says that some people use it as a pejorative term, not that it is a pejorative term.
Oh, so the fact that it's just used as a pejorative makes it so much better. Have a gay (happy, gets lots of straight sex) old time, smoke a fag (slang for cigarette) and maybe burn a whole load of faggots (load of sticks). It's ok because the words have only been used negatively when they aren't actually meant to be.
The thing is, if you said that people would still know what you meant. Especially in England, where fag means cigarette before homosexual and faggots can also be any number of (often disgusting) meat-based mincey type things. Although that second one might well apply more up North. Maybe you should try to get less angry over a single line in a film, no?
But it is the actual name for Darwin's theory of natural selection, calling something by it name is not pejorative. If we can't ever say it's name then how the hell are we supposed to ever talk about it?
That's not its name. It's called "evolution" or "natural selection" depending which aspect you want to emphasize. No scientist calls it "Darwinism". If your grade school teachers claimed differently, they were wrong. Heaven knows it wouldn't be the first mistake schoolteachers ever made about science (or history for that matter), lots of things are routinely said in high-school science classes that are oversimplified at best and just plain wrong at worst.
I before E except after C. At first we see it as oversimplified due to the exceptions; then, once we realise it's wrong over half the time, we wonder why we ever conceived of the rule, it's just weird.
Darwin's theory of natural selection is NEVER referred to as "evolution", in fact the belief that Darwin discovered evolution is a common misconception and to lump the theory of natural selection together with a evolution theory is a major oversimplification (though there is overlap between the two.)
"Darwinism" is pejorative in the United States, but in Britain it is not, and is in fact commonly used. So maybe the scientist who says it is British, or after the 2080's the term isn't pejorative anymore because the anti-evolution faction in the US dies out by 2050?
Darwinism is a set of movements and concepts related to ideas of transmutation of species or of evolution, including some ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin The meaning of "Darwinism" has changed over time, and varies depending on who is using the term. In the United States, the term "Darwinism" is often used by creationists as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as atheistic naturalism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a short hand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, evolution by natural selection.
The phrase was something like "You're going against three centuries of Darwinism". Substituting in "evolution" there sounds a bit strange, since it would sound like he was talking about the process rather than the science.
How about "You're going against three centuries of accumulated evidence for the theory of evolution and abiogenesis." or even "You're going against the very foundation of my area of expertise, the essential basis of all of biology." The English language is vast, with many words you can put together in all kinds of ways to achieve the same meaning you were going for.
He was speaking idiomatically while he chilled out with his girlfriend.
And presumably had not ever been called a "Darwinist" as an insult on the internet and for some reason taken a disproportionate amount of offense to the term, so saw no reason to avoid it.
This Looks Like a Job For the Botanist
Why was such a limited team sent to investigate possible aliens? There are aliens in space and you send archeologists instead of more biologists, anthropologists, linguists, and a full time security detail? At least the linguist mess can be passed off as Weyland relying on David for his own personal benefit of the mission, but he had to realize that a better research team would be needed to make some actual money off the trillion-dollar venture. Supposing he did come back, just the one guy immortal because his archeologists couldn't figure out an advanced alien healing device, the waste of money on the entire thing would probably convince the board to fire him, then have security detain him, and a proper research team put him under the knife to try to gain something from the entire expensive mess.
I'm not knocking archeologists here, either. It's just that certain fields are only good at certain things. You wouldn't send a historian into a crashed alien ship to study their propulsion systems. They were expecting to find live Engineers, not dead humans. They could have brought the two for their importance to the entire thing, but they just weren't suited to head up the expedition.
It's sort of suggested the Peter Weyland had gone a little crazy in his old age and wasn't making decisions based on practical reasoning, but rather on superstition, wishful thinking and his desperation to prolong his own life.
There was no guarantee that they'd find aliens. I view it as the board trying to salvage the mission their CEO forced them into, by slipping in people useful for non-lifeform planet research. Of course, the lack of safety precautions are pretty fridge logic'ed.
It's alive! It's alive!
Why would the scientists on the expedition try to revive a detached alien head? Even if they could jump-start the brain, it's unlikely it remembers enough of anything to provide any knowledge to them, and it lacks vocal chords to even talk, which is something they should realize because they found it decapitated by watching a recording of it getting decapitated. Instead, they jumpstarted a brain and lost a chance to study some of the alien physiology. You know, because they never bother checking out how the bodies are different from their own after they realize their DNA is 100-hundred percent the same but the two species look entirely different.
They have the technology for David to observe peoples' dreams. Presumably they'd intended to capture a record of the brain's electrical activity in that way, rather than physically questioning the head.
If Weyland had been told all that, why wouldn't he have thought to have David check out the bodies for enhancements they made to give themselves such physically perfect bodies (enhanced strength and perfect abs)?
They didn't jumpstart the brain. They tried to fool the cells in the head into thinking the body was still alive so they could study the cellular development.
Actually, they specifically said they were trying to trick the nervous system into thinking it was alive. Since the Engineer's spinal cord was basically gone, this could only refer to the brain. So there were trying to jumpstart the brain, actually.
Which would have given them valuable insight into how the brain worked... how neurons fired and all that nonsense. If it worked almost or exactly like a human brain, all the more evidence for their theory.
A Spaceship with NO Weapons?
I know that the Prometheus isn't designed to a warship, but why didn't it have any sort of defensive mechanism? It seems odd to me, they're traveling into unknown territory, it might be helpful to have something that was capable of at least protecting the ship as a whole.
Hell, when the captain told the pilots to fire up the ion engines, they said something about doing that in atmo being potentially dangerous. I thought they were going to use them as improvised weapons, obviating the need to kamikaze the ship.
You could argue that Weyland Corp. was expecting (or at least hoping) to find aliens, but even if they did, what would they do with a big ship-to-ship cannon? Either there are hostile aliens, in which case the Prometheus would be destroyed with or without a cannon, or there are friendly aliens, in which case they won't need the cannon (and it might provoke friendly aliens into hostility), or there are no aliens at all, in which case the cannon is again useless. Space travel is extremely expensive: every extra pound costs thousands of dollars. Besides, do we know that humans have developed viable space weaponry? Given the limited scope of the weapons aboard the Prometheus (a couple of short-range flamethrowers, some pistols, and maybe a rifle or three), it's safe to say that they expected any resistance to consist of minor threats like alien wildlife and the like (which, again, might not even exist). Bringing any major weaponry on a surveying expedition would be foolish and expensive.
They were in a mission to find incredibly advanced aliens who were already incredibly advanced millions of years before humanity even existed. Not only would it be foolish to assume that we could hope to match their weapons, but the Promethus having them could lead to a potentially catastrophic misuderstanding. Plus, they assumes that the Aliens weren't hostile, since an invitation to visit them was left.
Among other things, if you want to be realistic... dedicated weapons on a spaceship make no sense at all, for two reasons: 1) they offer no defensive capability whatsoever because no amount of point defenses are going to stop a fuckoff great rock from carving your ship in two if someone flings one at you; and 2) reversing that, any heavy object flung at a high speed will destroy whatever you hit with it, so you don't need a gun if you have pretty much any kind of object launcher. Since there's no possible way to defend in space combat, a scientific mission needs no weapons because it is impossible to use a weapon for "protection" at all; you'd only bring them if you're explicitly setting out to be the aggressor.
Extremely minor one here - The silica sandstorm (or whatever it was) was sufficiently intense to completely cut off the Prometheus from the Installation, throw one of the crew some distance, and full of particulate matter... yet not sufficiently worrisome to warrant closing the Bridge window shields? Wouldn't there be a concern about scratching the transparent surface (thus reducing later piloting maneuvers), something puncturing the window seals, or possibly even throwing something into and outright cracking or shattering one of the windows?
Apparently not. And you'll note that the windows were just fine.
Why Don't You Just Bomb Them?
If the Engineers intended to wipe out humanity circa 2,000 years ago, why would they have gone to the trouble of engineering a sentient—if not sapient—biological weapon to do so, when they could have, say, simply resorted to orbital bombardment? After all, we've only had flight technology for roughly 100 years, and we've only had spaceflight technology for roughly 50 years. 2,000 years ago, the Engineers could have wiped Earth off the star maps with total impunity, and they wouldn't have lost the facility on LV-233.
Maybe the Engineers weren't trying to destroy humanity, maybe they were just trying to modify it and turn it into something else, that black goo did kill some living things, but it also caused others to mutate. Maybe life on Earth is just one big on-going experiment being conducted by the Engineers and introducing that mutigen was meant to be the next phase in the experiment. Dr. Shaw said that they were trying to destroy humanity but if there's one thing we've learned about Dr. Shaw it's that she's capable of being wrong.
Perhaps they didn't want to overly damage the flora-related biosphere?
It seems to me that they wanted to wipe out all of Earth's biosphere, down to bugs and bacteria. They were going to be thorough. Also, their technology is bent towards the organic solutions. If it's a choice between a big explosion and a devastating bioweapon, it's more natural for them to select the latter.
And then there's the option that they only needed humans to breed the xenomorph aliens, which they would then in turn use as bio-weapons (Not a fan of the Alien universe, but I think they were used as such against the predator race, correct me if I'm wrong)
Then They'll Just Send 008
So one Engineer ship sent to Earth failed. Why didn't they send another one?
I assume that's something we'll find out in the sequel.
I have two theories on that: either their sense of time is so unlike ours that 2,000 years didn't seem like a meaningful delay, or they were struggling with some problem of their own, if not indeed driven extinct by it, and this problem might have something to do with their destructive intents.
Given that both the Engineer ships from Alien and Prometheus had their crews wiped out, with neither being salvaged, neutralized, or even investigated by their fellow-Engineers, it's possible that some sort of mass sabotage was launched against their military and/or their entire civilization 2,000 years ago. It'd be one hell of a coincidence for two spacecraft carrying the same WMDs to be left abandoned on two different planets, otherwise. Certainly it'd explain why none of their vessels ever made it through to Earth to wipe us out.
Here's a development of that theory... the Engineers went the way of the Klingon gods. If we assume that Predator still takes place in the same universe even if the Av P movies aren't canon to this, then it's quite likely the Engineers created the Yautja as well. The Yautja got sick of these big pale jerks telling them what to do and decided to go on a nice big hunt. By the point of Prometheus, what few Engineers are alive may simply be constantly running and hiding from Yautja hunting parties.
Off on a Journey With No Food or Pod
It's just occurred to me that Shaw and David set off in a second Engineer ship to find some form of creator/higher power at the end of the film... yet they have no real target (unless the holographic map provides a planet of origin), no stasis pod for the most likely long journey and no food/water/sustenance. Oh, and if it's the same as the first ship, there's likely to be a whole room ful of vase-eggs and black goo. I can't see them surviving for too long
The Engineers, who are identical to humans, would stock their spaceships with food and water for long space journeys. Shaw can eat whatever the Engineers left on board for their own crew members, which would likely be preserved for a long time, them being an advanced race.
If you remember when Shaw and Holloway go to see Vickers for the first time, David explains to them that the lifeboat is outfitted with food, medicine, and anything necessary for surviving in an emergency. Shaw goes back to the lifeboat near the end of the film for air and is seen dumping many canisters from the shelves into her bag. I'm guessing that the viewer is supposed to infer that this is the substance that David mentions earlier. Seeing as the film takes place in the future, the food is probably designed to remain edible for quite some time and you wouldn't need much of it to survive off of it. As for the jars containing the liquid, Shaw mentions that the murals were changing due to change in the atmosphere, which triggered the containers leaking, so she knows not to go there. Also, the other storage containers were sealed. As for the issue of time, on the bridges of the ships there were the stasis chambers that the Engineers were using that functioning for 2,000 years, David probably knows how to use them. As for David fucking things up once again, I remember in an interview, one of the writers said David is genuinely curious as to where Shaw's journey takes and is free and willing to aid her now that Weyland is no longer available to program him.
Also it's already been confirmed that there is going to be a sequel. Seems to hint that David and Shaw manage to find their destination, and boy, does it seem unpleasant. 
A minor one, but I'm not sure if the worms were naturally in the soil of the planet or were they carried onto it by the crew? They look like just regular earthworms that you would see on, well, Earth. (If they were natural, I guess there would be probably be more of the mutated worms, but we only see two of them.)
They were presumably native to the planet, since they're a bit big for the crew to accidently bring them along. The fact that they look like the worms you see on Earth could be connected to the fact that the Engineers created life on Earth, or just aresult of convergent evolution. It's also possible that there were many more worms and we only see the two.
I consider it likely that they were ordinary earthworms, brought there by the Engineers to test the black sludge's effects on Terrestial lifeforms.
Another minor one, where did David get a full-sized ladder from and where did it go?
We do know from the "Happy Birthday" teaser that he's capable of actions that humans might find... distressing.
You can buy telescoping ladders from Amazon.com for a couple hundred dollars.
If the Engineers are responsible for the creation of all life on Earth, then why would humans be the ones whose DNA matches theirs?
Why would we not be the ones? It takes pretty long journey to go from single-celled organisms to a specific goal through exploitation of carefully manipulated natural evolution. Exactly what was the point of the exercise is left a mystery, but what would a Cosmic Horror Story be without those?
Because even if the Engineers could manipulate the course of evolution to produce something that superficially resembled them, there's absolutely no reason the genes that direct the growth of such a body form would be the same. And it would mean that the untold millions of other living or extinct species that evolved on Earth had all somehow been "defective", not to resemble Engineers.
So what exactly did the Engineers create? One of the scientists asks whether 300 years of Darwinism is nonsense and that's never really answered. If they created all life, when exactly did they do that and how did humans evolve to be "100%" exactly the same genetically as the Engineers? Did they create all modern species and then fabricate evidence of evolution?
Judging from the evidence at hand, they indeed created the life on this planet, and then proceeded to guide it to eventually produce their own image. Basically, Intelligent Design, a concept hypothetically possible, but completely unproven in Real Life.
Were the suits they filmed in actually airtight?
I doubt it. It would have cost the film more to buy them concentrated oxygen tanks and breathing equipment.
Almost certainly no, there is no reason to do that, especially when they spend so much time without the helmet anyway.
If the Engineers really created all life on Earth then what about the dinosaurs? Were the Engineers simply sitting around watching them for hundreds of millions of years? Did they suddenly decide to wipe them out and then wait tens of millions more years for humans? Where do all the cousins of Homo sapiens fit into this? Why suddenly just leave the planet altogether?
There was no indication of when the engineers arrived on Earth and it's obvious they did not seed all life in the first place. They merely seeded their own genetic code into Earth's ecosystem which must have led to primitive mammals evolving towards apes and eventually a humanoid shape.
What was the probe actually detecting every hour as a life sign? The alien in cryosleep two sealed rooms away? The snake-like creatures that would be running back and forth for no apparent reason?
Probably the frozen Engineer since it was right outside the door to the bridge that David later opens.
This is a minor one, but on two separate occasions David is shown dying his roots. Not his whole head, just his roots. Wouldn't this imply that his hair grows? Why would an android have hair that grows?
Regarding the decapitated Engineer: Why was an archaeologist allowed to run riot with medical equipment? I mean, how did she even know the Engineer had a locus coeruleus, or even what one was for that matter? And why did no one, especially the medic who assisted Shaw (Kate Dickie), consider how wildly unethical it is to temporarily revive a decapitated person, who would probably be in great pain if conscious, for your own amusement?
"I can't create life."
Okay, bit of a minor one here: What's up with the whole thing with Shaw being unable to have kids? I mean, we already have a few methods of dealing with infertility or other complications, so wouldn't it really be a bit of a non-issue by 2094?
I'm pretty she means she can't get pregnant through natural means. And since she and Holloway were young and scientists, they probably didn't want to deal with children or even the prospect of having them until they were older.
Her infertility is brought up purposefully. She's clearly interested in having children. You'd think in a world where you can freeze people for two years with little to no repercussions (Shaw gets sick but Vickers is doing freakin' push-ups) or program a surgery in seconds or create things like David or make any of the darn technology they use, fertility would be a non-issue.
But not all fertility issues are the sort of thing that can be treated with, say, IVF or similar treatments — there are chromosomal conditions that make it impossible to get and remain pregnant, for instance, or (if you want to go for maximum thematic misery) Shaw's own body overreacting to such hostile foreign bodies as her own eggs, or Holloway's sperm, and basically going TEAR OUT EVERYTHING. Maybe she had ovarian or uterine cancer, or had chosen sterilization as a young woman and regretted it as a slightly older one. There's no one set cause behind infertility — while future medical options are probably better for a fairly well-off young cis woman, it seems safe to say that medicine hasn't cured literally everything.
She could have religious convictions against having it fixed, assuming that was just her lot in life.
Or, as is often in real life, she and Holloway couldn't afford fertility treatments. Scientists don’t make much money, especially at the beginning of their careers (also consider the load of grad school loans they’re probably paying off for a dose of reality).
Air-tight = Fire-proof?
The suits the team wears are specially designed to handle alien atmospheres, but aren't fireproof? Why would they not have fireproof suits, if not only to allow the writers to immolate a character?
Fireproof does not mean whatever's inside doesn't catch on fire because the inside of the suit reaches combustion point (admittedly, unlikely with a modern flamethrower.) If he doesn't roast alive, he's most definitely boiled alive...
The person in the suit would catch fire, but the suit itself wouldn't. That's not what happened though.
More to the point, why the hell don't the helmet cameras record footage? You know, so the crew could SEE WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THE GUYS TRAPPED DOWN THERE before going off to get eaten by hammerpedes.
Presumably it's being recorded on the ship's computer. They hadn't actually realized that something was up with the two until the main team found them, IIRC.
In which case, nobody bothered to watch the recordings after losing contact, which is probably worse.
No Girls Allowed!
While obviously it was intended as foreshadowing, what good is building a medical pod that's only calibrated for men? Further, Noomi Rapace is a pretty tiny woman, and she didn't have very much room to spare in there.
This troper assumed that the medical pod had been bought along in case Peter Weyland needed it when he woke up...not sure about why it was so small.
Yes, we assume that "foreshadowing for the Weyland reveal" was the foremost reason (although it's weird to stick it in that scene, when the primary concern is Shaw's predicament and Weyland shows up two minutes later...) but the troper above seems to know that already. However, the only possible explanation for a surgical pod to be "calibrated for men only" that occurs to me is "limited storage." As in, its programming and memory banks are too small to load female data on it. Which is a huge bit of Fridge Horror because it means that Shaw's abdominal cavity and skin were stapled shut, but the pod had no idea what to do with her womb and just stapled the whole thing together. Ouch.
Going by the logic that the writers put forth, the pod is calibrated for men and is tasked with removing a foreign object from her abdominal cavity. Men don't have a uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries, so logically the autodoc would consider all of these objects foreign to a male body. Unless Shaw couldn't get pregnant because she lacked all of those things to begin with, the autodoc should have removed all of them, not just the "embryo".
There's no reason it wouldn't be able to tell what was natural and what was foreign in her body. It's not programmed to perform female specific operations, that doesn't mean it can't recognise a female patient or that it would reject working on one, just have to work within it's established programming. For example, it wouldn't be able to give her a mammogram but could likely search a specific area on her body for cancerous growths.
The pod was programmed for men, no other explanation given. I seriously doubt (and it wasn't shown) that the pod analyzes the patient's gender, so it would treat them as male by default. Within that framework any female reproductive organs would be "foreign" within a male body, as those are known developmental abnormalities.
Maybe it was just lacking the programming for dealing with specific women's issues (like a c-section), but can otherwise operate normally on a female body for general issues (and thus carry out muuch or less the same operation as "removal of foreign body"), else it could have just refused to operate on a body for which it wasn't programmed for.
Since the pod knows that c-section is a female-specific operation, it most likely can tell the difference between male and female patients. That and as we have seen, the autodoc didn't remove anything but the squid from Shaw, so all internal organs she had are still in place.
Shaw is in awe of the autodoc stating that there were only a select few even made, meaning these things are rare, not standard issue and, most importantly, not perfect. It's highly likely that while the technology exists to create one of these things, they may not yet be at a state where they can make one that is able to scan for gender and then be able to perform surgery based on gender.
In addition to all of that, Weyland is shown favouring the created, artificial male child (David) over the natural-born female child (Vickers). He may have a mysogynistic streak which might lead him, in the interests of saving production time and/or capital, to simply skip out on any treatment that's for women only, assuming that Weyland Industries built the autodoc. After all, despite being in Vickers' chambers, it's for Weyland's personal use, so why bother giving in and treating the ladies?
It's also possible that the autodoc was programmed to prioritize the most threatening medical issue on the patient in the pod. Kind of like how it would fix a life threatening injury before a cosmetic one. Ergo, it would probably go for the thing that was completely 100% alien to human physiology rather than something just not in human males, ex. a uterus and ovaries. Or Elizabeth Shaw was able to just use a pre-set program to remove malignant masses from the abdomen, which seems like a procedure that the pod should be able to do for someone as elderly/diseased as Weyland appeared to be.
I think this is along the right lines, sort of. The Med-Pod should be able to recognise all the different organs of the body, and whilst uteri are abnormal in men, there already exists at least one condition (Persistent Müllerian duct syndrome, or PMDS) in which XY males develop them (complete w/fallopian tubes), so it should be able to recognise female sexual organs in men too as "natural", if undesirable, features. Perhaps if Shaw had asked for a full physical, it'd have informed her of her unusual presence of a womb (since it would assume her to be male), and offer her a hysterectomy (as is offered to current PMDS sufferers), but she'd already pre-set it to focus on penetrating injuries, specifically foreign bodies, and a womb (despite being an abnormal development in a supposedly XY male) does not count as a foreign body, much less a penetrating injury. The alien foetus, however, would be truly unknown to the Med-Pod, so it would see the whole organism as a foreign body, and hence remove it whilst leaving the womb intact, which it did. At least, that's the only reasonable explanation I can think of as to why this situation would play out as such in-verse. In reality, I think the Med-Pod scene was originally much more coherently written, but got tweaked in the many rewrites the script went through and got weird in the process; I don't think the original writers could answer some of these question at this point, tbh.
Since the autodoc is in Vicker’s private quarters (and the general crew was not made aware of its existence), I think the audience is supposed to assume it belongs to Vickers, and is for her personal use. So when Shaw later finds out that it’s only calibrated for a man, it’s a “Wait—What?” moment. One scary self-administered C-section later, and we discover that Weyland is still alive, and on the ship.
On reflection, I don't think the Med-Pod was constructed for male-only use. In the blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot where Shaw is attempting to select an appropriate surgery with the Med-Pod interface, the screen shows an option titled "Instrum_Calib". I think that it's pretty clear that this is an "instrument calibration" option. As such, I don't think Med-Pods are specifically constructed with such innate gender divisions. Rather, I think the point of the calibration is to calibrate the machine to a specific owner's body, maybe multiple, even, so that when those owners required medical assistance the machine would be able to be a better autodoc for them, since it knows the body of its patient better, like how G Ps keeps their patients' medical histories on file for future reference when treating them. As such, I think that Weyland had the Med-Pod calibrated specifically for his use, for potentially better treatment if he needed it. The machine would therefore have been assuming Weyland was asking for the procedure, and so the machine's whole error message was it's way of saying, "you can't have this procedure, Mr. Weyland; you're a man". If Shaw had more time, she probably could have re-calibrated it for her own use too (or instead), and had her c-section done properly, but she probably figured she didn't have enough time (which she probs didn't), and so improvised.
That said, if the machines were pre-set for specific genders (which I doubt, due to the manual calibration option), this wouldn't be necessarily illogical. There may be some gender-specific procedures that require specialised equipment, and the Med-Pod doesn't have unlimited physical storage space for all that equipment. It might have been considered more efficient just to make gender-specific versions. Or perhaps they just thought it would sell more Med-Pods to have special versions for each gender. Who Knows?
Pregnant with a virus
"Hey Shaw, you're three months pregnant." Wait, what? David, you're either cruel as hell because you know she's infertile, or you're terrible at your job. Having a foreign body (a mutated sperm from Holloway which didn't fertilize anything, and therefore didn't impregnate Shaw) grow to a large size doesn't make her any KIND of pregnant, much less give the impression that she's carried it for three months (for starters, there would be a plethora of hormonal changes, not just a lump in her belly.) Or, what, do you think that a child with a distended belly due to a three foot-long intestinal worm is also x-months pregnant?
She conceived it after having sex with Doctor Halloway, who's DNA was in the process of being mutated by the black goo. It was the result of the combining of his mutated sperm with her egg, so technically it wasn't a foreign body and she was pregnant.
What egg? She's sterile, remember?
Being unable to conceive doesn't necessarily mean that your body doesn't produce eggs, it could just mean that something is preventing them from being fertilized, something that the mutated sperm was clearly able to by-pass.
"I didn't sign up for this."
So let me get this straight: with the exception of two people, a team of scientists are sent into space, spend two years in cryo sleep...and only AFTER that are they informed of what THE MISSION'S PURPOSE IS. How did the recruitment process work? "Hey, this is Bill at Weyland Enterprises. We've been looking at your Linked In profile and we think you'd be perfect for this project of ours. No I'm sorry, the nature of the project is classified, we can only tell you the exact details on site. Where is "the site"? Oh, several thousand light years away, the journey requires 2 years of cryosleep. We do pay extremely well thou...hello?" Maybe this is why the characters act so stupidly: they're the only ones who fell for this.
What's shocking about that? That's virtually the exact pitch they used to recruit the lead in Aliens Vs Predator, so Weyland has clearly had some success with it in that other canon. Anyway, given the bet the pilots made and the fact that they brought a geologist and biologists, most of them probably just assumed it was some newly discovered planetary mining site that Weyland wanted to develop before his rivals learned about it.
Travelling to Antarctica on a badly explained pitch is risky yet still survivable in case something bad happens, especially if you have experience in survival and hazardous environments like said lead. Here, you're asked to spend two years of your life on a journey and have no means of return other than the one your employers provide (at least Antarctica has some human presence). For reasons UNKNOWN.
The scene where Milburn first tries to talk to Fifield actually answers this question pretty handily. Some of them are in it for the money (one would expect they were promised to be paid very well because of the nature of the expedition), and others are in it because this is their life's work, and the expedition seems like a fantastic opportunity. Notice how everyone is relatively young, especially for their field of study. A lot of them probably thought about what they could gain from the whole thing rather than what they might lose.
Of all the outlandish ideas in this film, I actually accept that explanation. I think most of the crew were offered something along the lines of 'here's a job offer, it's secret, you'll get two jillion dollars now and another fifteen when we get back, you don't want to know what will happen if you breach the non-disclosure-agreement, now jump in those sleep pods buddy!'. I assume that in the movie universe, Earth is crap-sacky enough and space travel cool enough to make that deal interesting. Look at all the people in 2013 who said they would take a one way trip to Mars for a laugh.
Additionally, it's likely that Weyland was looking for little-known people who would get him where he wanted without asking questions. Remember in both Alien and Aliens, the Weyland-Yutani corporation prioritized getting an alien specimen over the lives of those involved in the operation, both times using the simple cover of a "rescue mission". In the case of Alien, Ash's programming reveals that the crew were "expendable", and in Aliens we find out that Burke had planned to not only impregnate Ripley and Newt but murder any surviving marines by sabotaging their cryo chambers. Theoretically Peter Weyland could have done the same thing here, disguising the true purpose of the expedition (the faint possibility of extending his life) as a "geological expedition" on some new planet. Of course, by the time Shaw explained that they were there because of an ancient star map, they were already at the planet and thus everyone present had no real choice but to go along with it since they couldn't exactly turn back.
100% Medically Accurate!
How are the Engineers and Human's DNA a 100% match, when they're all depicted as 10ft albinos?
And what human sample were they compared to? There's no such thing as "human DNA" but "a human's DNA." No two humans share the same DNA unless they're twins.
It's possible some contamination occured since the crew had been walking around with their helmets off the whole time they interacted with it. It already seemed contaminated by the black goo so it may have been mutating already or maybe they simply sampled their own DNA on/in the head by accident, they only run the one test after all.
Also, one may argue that what the machine did was just a rapid scan of the nucleotic DNA, maybe not recognizing some of the "mithocondriae" of the Engineers as such, and thus ignoring them... not to mention that we do not really know how much "sideway" information could really be involved in the transmission of life... This would still give you a high match, while allowing for a very different cellular metabolysm. Anyway, it would be nice if someone noted the discrepancy and concocted any such theory on screen. But, for this to happen, I fear the writers should have consulted a byochemist, who would have pointed out the fact that any two human are not "100%" matching and that a "99.87%" was probably high enough...
Maybe the 100% thing meant that all known variations of human genes had a match in the aliens' DNA, rather than meaning that the DNA was actually the exact same? So, they had all the DNA we had, plus a little more.
Among humans on this planet Earth people come in plenty of different variations. There are dark skin and light skin, various eyelid types, subtle differences in escophagus; there are even populations who are very tall and very short. And there are albinos, although on this planet they don't form a population on their own. So yes, it's perfectly possible for the Engineer DNA to be 100% match with the humanity, and still offer enough leeway for the relatively minor cosmetic differences. In fact, there would be leeway for much more than that, and tests could still give a 100% match.
Or they never, ever said anything about a 100% match and we should stop nitpicking at hallucinations.
Er, yes they did. They overlaid a readout of the Engineer's DNA over a human sample and it was a perfect match (they even said so). What I think they meant was that the Engineers possessed the same genes as us (not necessarily the same alleles, however), which allows them to look like 10 ft. albinos and still have the same DNA (in a manner of speaking) as us.
All of that being said, just because their genetic structure appears to have the same layout doesn't mean there isn't some sort of genetic variation using the same materials. At our most basic level, the DNA of an Asian midget is the same as a 9 ft tall African-American with gigantism. On top of that, there's barely a few percent differences between humans and apes, yet the two look nothing alike. It's very easily possible that the base pairs in the Engineer DNA exists in the same quantities as in human DNA, similar double helix, just different variations in the genes affecting physical shape.
Leave David Alone
How fucking stupid are these people, to not see the parallels between how the Engineers are treating them and how they treat David? They say to his face that he has no soul or feelings! They completely dismiss him when he as good as says that they've treated him so badly, he'd love to see them all dead! If you have something that can think and respond like a person you treat it like a person just in case, this is basic shit.
Proportionately, that's kind of like comparing stepping on an ant to Nazi German's invasion of Poland. Most importantly, they don't know why the Engies hated humans.
But it's the exact same kind of thinking. Someone with the slightest bit of common sense would see how they're treating David and have a damn good idea of how the Engineers will treat them and why.
The Engineers were never telling humans to their face they had no souls in all their history, David is a machine that doesn't share even 1% of their DNA, he isn't supposed to have feelings, and only 3 people mistreat him. However obvious, it's a narrative device only the audience is meant to see. Like ominous music in a slasher film, it doesn't actually exist for the characters to notice no matter how loud it gets.
"Yet falls in love with a clearly dangerous alien snake..."
Why did Millburn decide to get up close and personal with the (to use my friend's description) alien penis snake? Wouldn't any decent scientist have thought "Wow, an entirely new creature on an alien planet! Fascinating! But since I don't have the first idea of what it's capable of, and it's just possible that it might be responsible for the piles of dead Engineers lying around the place, I'll observe from a safe distance"?
Not necessarily. I really, really take issue with the frequent contention that "top-notch scientist" necessarily means "incapable of doing stupid things". That's why we have the For Science! trope with a sizable Real Life section. And, as you'll recall, Fifeld was doing everything but physically dragging Millburn away to get him to stop, and he probably didn't want to make any sudden moves.
Its one thing to do that, this is different though. This is someone going against everything that he has done before (including previous characterization) to do something so absolutely stupid no human would ever do it especially one trained enough in biology to be chosen for a dangerous field mission on another planet.
Real life scientists have injected themselves and their children with jellyfish venom, stuck their heads into particle accelerators, and stuff like this. And in Jack Barnes case, that was after years of research.
It bothers me so much that he goes forth with it when the phallic cobra is acting so obviously hostile — making itself bigger, opening its headflaps and hissing — and he's shown to be rather cowardly before. Also, what's his reluctance in dealing with the corpses before? He's a biologist! That's why he's in this mission!
He could've talked himself into being brave the next time something creepy came up in order to make up for his "cowardice" earlier, and overcompensated.
It's basically this, mixed in with his desire to impress Fifield, whom Milburn appears to think is cool, or something. It's more obvious if you watch the deleted scenes. Also, the original script by John Spaiths included a line that basically said "I'm not afraid because our suits are made to protect us from shit like this". He didn't realise the snake would be so strong, and thought he was totally protected. He was essentially doing the xenomorphic equivalent of tapping against the glass of a lion's pen in a zoo to make it be more interesting.
On my second viewing of the movie, the impression I got was pretty much that of the above poster (he's wearing what amounts to armour, the snake looks relatively small, and he wants to look like less of a wimp in front of Fifield), with two other points: since he's a biologist, the discovery of actual alien life is the biggest moment of his career (and pretty huge for biology in general, too), so naturally he's extremely excited. The second is that, after the encounter with the dead Engineers, the sight of the snake has to be a massive relief to him because it's just a snake. An animal on an alien world is one thing, but a race of what are basically the creator gods of humanity, which are now dead, has a lot of existential horror built into it (hence his disgust and fear at the sight of their corpses), considering all the religious themes going through the film.
No Further Engineer Check Ups
Why haven't the engineers checked up on their military outpost in the 2,000 years since things went pear-shaped? They obviously have some kind of civilisation, so why don't they have systems to keep track of their assets like the enormous cache of WMDs they left behind for any schmuck in a spaceship to chance upon? And speaking of which, why didn't they follow up on their "exterminate humanity" order? Did they not care to scout Earth even once to see if the job was done? If so, they are ridiculously guilty of extreme Bond Villain Stupidity.
Although I haven't seen the movie, why do we assume that Engineer society and civilization is perfectly unified? This might have been the work of a renegade faction that was operating in secret but ended up blowing its wad with this operation.
Seeding planets with their DNA is done by robed, ritual sacrifice. The containers are laid out before a giant idol, surrounded by a mural of what looks like a religion involving Xenomorphs. The Engineers never display any firearms or other weapons, even in recordings. Especially given the goal may not be extermination, there is no guarantee it was a military operation in the first place.
Gotta Run to Kill All Humans
Considering the state of the outpost as the Prometheus crew find it, the last surviving engineer would have known the black goo had gotten loose since it wiped out his comrades. Upon being re-awoken, why does he make no effort to check the containment status of the ship's cargo and the possible infestation of creatures like the hammerpedes? Why is "take off and blitz Earth" his first and only priority? Heck, why doesn't he break for lunch first, since he hasn't eaten in 2,000 years? Doesn't he at least need to pee? Or does his biosuit take care of bodily functions?
If we assume the reason why the Engineers wanted to kill humans in the first place is that they feared the human race would advance too far, and be able to challenger the Engineers themselves, then the actions of the surviving Engineer make sense. Consider his situation of the Engineer when he wakes up: the first thing he sees is a bunch of humans, from which he can deduce humanity is now capable of intergalactic space travel (something which they couldn't do 2,000 years ago, when the Engineer went to sleep). That means the humans a ship of their own on the planet, possibly some weapons too. Now, the Engineer quickly observes the humans that have come to meet them. They are clearly at odds with each other, one of them even punches another to the stomach. Then one of the humans speaks in the Engineer's tongue and tells him that the reason they are here is because this old geezer wants to live forever, instead of accepting that he'll die of natural causes. From this the Engineer deduces humans have become what the Engineers feared they would: a selfish and violent race, which is now capable of challenging their makers. Also, the Engineer guesses that if the humans were smart enough to wake him up from his cryosleep, it’s quite possible they have figured out (or will figure out) what the cargo of the ship is and where it was supposed to fly. Because of this the Engineer knows he can't be doing any long-term observation on the humans, since the others on the planet might be able to stop him flying to Earth. (Of course The Engineer could’ve been wrong, and the humans hadn’t figured out the purpose of the ship, but better err on the side of caution, right?) So, considering the options he has, he decides his best chance is the element of surprise: kill the humans and try to get his ship to air as soon as possible, before the humans can stop him. And the thing is, the Engineer is absolutely right in his deductions: the humans did figure out what the purpose of the ship was, and they do try to stop him, and succeed in that… But that was only because not ‘’all’’ humans are as selfish as the Engineers thought, some of them are capable of sacrificing themselves for the greater good.
Also primitive, bickering mutants driven by greed have broken into your WMD stockpile. They have displayed the ability to find and reach your home world, and the weapons are problematic enough without being lobbed by a swarm of angry space monkeys. That tends to call for an immediate solution.
Except, those primitive mutants speak to me in my mother tongue, they have the technology now to reach my world, and they outnumber me. Before I start trying to kill them off with my bare hands, I'd at least try and assess their strength. After all, they might be able to kill me with a weapon I don't even know. Those Engies must be even more arrogant, stupid and illogical than humans.
Well, they are humans, really. But more to the point, he properly did assess their strength, didn't he? He killed the only one who could fly the ship first and used the element of surprise to eliminate the rest.
Vickers Is The Vasquez
What was the point of the character of Vickers? Charlize Theron is clearly the best known actor in the movie, and the way she's introduced as a Bad Ass makes one assume she will become an Action Hero who will survive the whole ordeal, but then she ends up staying in the background for the most of the movie, and finally she's crushed by the ship while the true hero turns out to be Shaw. The only plot-important thing she does is torch Holloway, but that action could've easily been scripted to some other character, like Captain Janek. So why was Vickers in the movie, and why was Theron cast to play her?
The plot needed someone besides David who was in on the secret, and it was unlikely that Weyland Inc would send the expedition without oversight.
Vickers was needed as a thematic counterpoint to Shaw, Holloway, and her father. She isn't important to the actual sequence of events that makes up the pot, but the movie did need someone to vocally contrast the believers' obsessions and poorly-founded ideas.
You thought Vickers was going to be the survivor? Oh, honey, didn't you hear? The Vasquez Always Dies. Shaw was more wholesome and womanly (even after her male c-section), so Vickers had to go.
How is Vickers a Vasquez? Just because she does a few push-ups and flames poor Holloway to death? She's a cold, selfish person and obvioulsy Ridley Scott used her to divert attention from Shaw being the Final Girl.
Vasques Always Dies = tougher female is preferentially offed over the more feminine, and Vickers was definitely less feminine. Indeed, let us count the ways:
—- Vickers appears is clearly a career bitch, and seems to enjoy casual sex. Shaw, on the other hand, tries to balance a committed relationship with her work in spite of her infertility.
—- Whilst Shaw was chundering her frail little guts up after stasis, Vickers was doing push-ups
—- Vickers has the emotional strength to torch Holloway; Shaw's judgement, on the other hand, was clouded by emotion (not that the latter isn't natural given their relationship, but it's still more feminine).
—- Vickers threw David up against a wall, much more violent, masculine bahviour than anything observed in Shaw.
—- She's particularly cold in her demeanour, hence Janek's joke that she's a robot in disguise.
—- She carries herself in a noticeably authoritative, masculine way
It's conclusive: Shaw is depicted as less tough than Vickers. It doesn't matter why they did it (to distract from Shaw being the final girl, for example), because it doesn't change the fact that Vickers is still the more competent, masculine female main character (The Vasquez), and she still died, why? Because the Vasques Always Dies. Whether or not you find her likeable is an entirely different matter.
And another thing: Vickers may be cold, but if you think Vickers is selfish then you clealy haven't been paying attention to the film. Consider the following:
—- Despite being loathed by her father, she still seems to care a lot for him, obviously demonstrated by the scene where she tries to nuzzle him before he goes to meet the Engineer, but also more subtly, I think, in the way that she effectively dropped out of the CEO race to accompany said ailing father who hates her, and convince him to drop his intolerance of his own mortality before it kills him, and to abort this ridiculous quest for eternal life. She even expresses contempt for such power struggles. If she was that selfish and rotten she would have just let her dad fly off to LV-223, and concentrated on securing her otherwise inevitable position as Weyland CEO.
—- She denies Holloway entrance to the Prometheus in the interest of the rest of the crew, and rightly so: she'd already watched the crew find Milburn dead (w/Fifield missing) and found evidence of potentially hostile lifeforms that they don't understand (the snake that jumped out of Milburn's throat), not to mention the fact that she already knows that the place was inhabited once but is now only filled with dead bodies of the previous residents (one of whom she observed being blown up by an unknown ailment before her own eyes). Things were clearly spiralling out of control at the time, and there was a very real possibility that Holloway's unknown ailment could present a danger to the entire crew. For all she knew, Holloway might have been going the way of Milburn, complete with potentially contagious alien snake breaking out of his suit and spreading the disease. She was taking decisive action to protect everyone. And she didn't even want to torch him at first, she just wanted him to stay outside for the time being. Her dialogue and hesitation prior to immolation show that she didn't really want to use it, and it was only at Holloway's insistence that she torched him. If it weren't for Vickers, they might have all been killed (well, killed sooner, anyway)
—- She never does anything that endangers the other crew members for her own sake, which is more than can be said for several other characters.
Just because Vickers is a bit of a dick, doesn't make her selfish.
Prometheus Has Landed
The method that Prometheus used to find a landing site seems obscenely slipshod. A reasonable method would be, say, using radar to map the planet and then look for potential landing sites from the radar data. Instead, they decided to enter the atmosphere, fly around at an altitude better suited for a sightseeing aircraft than a vessel supposed exploring a whole planet, and hope to stumble onto something. The fact that they actually succeed at stumbling onto something indicates either that the planet is littered with unexplored Engineer sites or the Prometheus crew is the (un)luckiest group of people in human history. Worse, for all we (or the crew) know, there is a peaceful city of Amish Engineers just over the next hill that would have told them not to go to the old black sludge facility.
It's been awhile since I've seen the movie, but it's possible that they couldn't get a good scan on the planet through an unfamilar atmosphere and decided to do it the old fashioned way.
"Amish Engineers" is the best thing I've read on this page. For reals.
Definitely No Girls Allowed!
So, why does one only program a medical pod to only perform "male surgeries"? Did they run out of disk space and were too cheap to pay for the 32G version instead of 16G? Joke aside, what does one gain by overspecializing this machine, especially when it can perform a c-section anyway?
There were only a dozen of them made, so they were probably custom designed for their super-rich owners. It probably originally belonged to Weyland. Of course there's some Truth in Television, albeit on a lesser scale, where the smartphone app Siri seemed to have a pro-life political agenda when it wouldn't provide information on abortion clinics. In reality, the programmers were all men and women-specific queries honestly never crossed their mind. Maybe the programmers of the medical pod were similarly oblivious and that's what the producers of the movie were poking fun at.
Apparently not. And I doubt they'd have all the equipment needed to perform a C-section if they were that oblivious. From a Doylist point of view, the reason for that is to create (gratuitous) tension and foreshadow Weyland stowing in the ship, but from a Watsonian view, it just makes no damn sense to take a machine limited like that in a trip to another galaxy.
Looking at it from Weyland's perspective, there's only one person on the ship who's worth a machine like that, and it's himself. The rest of the crew have their own medical facilities (the only reason Shaw can't use these, and has to resort to Weyland's, is that the medical personnel are trying to put her back in stasis) and the pod is exclusively meant for Weyland's own use, which is why it's kept in Vickers' quarters away from the rest. Like the second poster said, I imagine each individual pod can be calibrated to its owner, who would have to be among the super-rich and want such a service for themselves.
The pods can probably be re-calibrated as needed for other patients, and can be overridden and used anyway in an emergency. Presumably, under circumstances other than I-need-an-alien-cut-out-of-me-right-away they would have had a medical professional tweaking the settings before using it. The pod is not intelligent, and doesn't understand what's happening around it, so it's going to issue a warning when it's being used non-optimally even if it's not the best time for it.
One of the defining characteristics of a "Caesarian Section" is the survival of the fetus as well. The pod is no doubt capable of identifying female anatomy, especially in "manual mode" (it's not "calibrated" for women i.e. no autonomous procedures installed), and could handle removing something from Shaw's uterus safely once she input the appropriate procedural steps. She's really looking for the Caesarian equivalent of a D&C anyway, so doesn't need any post-natal care or neonatal support.
Only Sane Vickers?
Why is Vickers considered to be the Only Sane Man on the front page? She kills Holloway not out of adherence to quarantine protocol (like Ripley tried to), but because of an irrational fear of contagion. Note that when Shaw contacted the ship and requested the doors be opened, she specifically asked for quarantine failsafe to be implemented. Vickers, in fact, subverted protocol and took matters into her own hand. In any case, since when does quarantine mean "kill the infected bastard" or even "leave the infected bastard to die"? Quarantine is about isolation (to prevent further contamination), observation and eventually, hopefully, treatment. All Vickers hears over the comm is that Holloway is sick and she suits up, picks up a flamethrower and gets ready to burn him to death. Look at the expression on her face when she does this. She is terrified, not determined. She is not doing this out of rational calculation, but out of panicked fear. Later on, she tries to ignore Shaw when she tells Janek that the Engineer is going to travel to Earth to destroy it and is incredulous when Janek overrides her. At no point in the film (except the very beginning) is she acting intelligently and rationally.
Holloway didn't just have the sniffles. Whatever he was infected with was acting extremely quickly, had an unknown infection vector, and was about to do some very horrible things to him. There's nothing irrational about her fear of him being contagious.
Burning humans alive tends to horrify just anyone. It would be a problem if Vickers wasn't terrified by killing Halloway in one of most gruesome ways.
And what exactly she was suppose to do? "Yes, Holloway, come here, have a dinner with the crew, how do you feel with your unknown, alien disease that we can all get and then maybe carry to our home", so we can land in Alien-esque lack of quarantine? That kind of thinking is the fastest way to get an epidemy. Of unknown disease. With no real way to cure it. Not to mention that Holloway's state was deteriorating by the second. But yeah, you can be easily labelled as sociopath, because you employ rational thinking into emotional situation. And rationallity in case of unknown, potentially uncurable diseases of unknow way of spreading says "burn the fucker".
Scary Dogmatic Creators
Why do the Engineers want to wipe out humanity anyway? Seriously did I miss a scene because I sure as hell couldn't work it out.
Scroll up because we've already been asking this. Long story short: like many things in the film, we can only guess.
The entire ending speech is based around the fact that the protagonist doesn't know why. That's why she sets off for the Engineer homeworld to find out.
Yeah, the sequel hook pretty much hangs on finding why they went hostile against earth.
The entire movie is based around the fact that the protagonists don't understand anything about the Engineers. The real horror in the movie isn't the black goo, it's that our creators are incomprehensible beings who decided to create and destroy us for reasons that may be not only completely alien to us, but also undercut out notions of significance in the universe.
If LV-223 is in the same star system as LV-426, why didn't the Prometheus pick up the signal from the derelict Engineer ship that the Nostromo picked up?
Not only that, but if the derelict crashed on LV-426 several thousands years ago, and had been broadcasting a signal ever since, they why didn't the Engineer base (whoch had only been out of comission for 2000 years) send a salvage mission?
Star map to nowhere
Why did the Engineers leave a star map to humans which pointed the way to a planet where their only presence was a vessel carrying biological weapons (and that one had arrived afterwards)? They spread their genetic material on Earth millions of years ago, and they visited the planet within the last ten thousand years, so obviously they were in it for the long haul. But they pointed towards a star system where there was nothing for humans to discover!
Not sure what do you mean by that "only a vessel" bit, LV-223 had a gigantic Engineer base on it's surface, and the spaceship stationed there wasn't even the only one. Their original plan was to leave those clues so one day, when humanity developed sufficently, we could find them. Plus it makes sense that the point of first meeting wouldn't be on their own planet. Thing is, 2,000 years ago things changed for whatever reason, and their plans for earth and humanity become hostile.
The point is that the planet the star maps pointed to was not the Engineers' homeworld, but only an outpost. The Engineers' homeworld is where Shaw goes at the end of the movie.