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Dissecting Trailers: “Prometheus” vs. “Alien”

by on January 3, 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!

A week or so ago (last year), the teaser for Ridley Scott’s new sci-fi movie Prometheus was released and immediately I noticed, as I’m sure many of you did, that it bears more than a slight resemblance to a teaser for one of Scott’s most iconic films: Thelma & Louise. Just kidding: Alien. While at one point this project was to be a distinct prequel to the earlier film, Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts’ script is supposed to be a wholly original story. But that didn’t stop them from doing a near remake of the 1979 trailer. Let’s check it out.

First, Alien.

Now, Prometheus.

-The most obvious similarity is how the title slowly fades into view, one piece of letter at a time. This is still one of the most indelible images from both the trailer and the film itself.

-The two also seem to take place, if not in the same world, in the same type of world. Alien ushered in the idea of blue-collar workers in space, which perpetuated many science fiction films to follow.

-Both trailers show space as a dark and ominous void and the people and machinery in it to be tired and somewhat run down. The ships aren’t sleek or modern, but are hulking and geometric, clearly built for function and not for style.

-We also see that the space suits are almost identical in both films.

-At about the 30 second mark of the Prometheus trailer, you can see someone shining a flashlight on what appear to be metal pegs or markers lining the area in front of the mysterious stone face; This is another very clear allusion to the earlier film, with its rows of alien eggs ready to open.

-We get the repeated images of people’s faces writhing in agony as something bad happens to them.

-The interiors of the two ships also look very similar, as does the use of what I can assume are suspended animation pods.

In fact, the only thing that isn’t the same is the extensive use of CGI in Prometheus, which obviously they couldn’t do in 1979. I’m quite looking forward to this movie, as I hope it will be a return to form for both Ridley Scott and properly scary science fiction.

-Kanderson can always hear you scream, even in space. Follow him on TWITTER