Ridley Scott’s Prometheus Gets the Treatment

(So T of V just got hold of the actual original treatment for Ridley Scott’s would-be magnum opus Prometheus. A treatment, in film-making terms, is the written outline of a proposed project that hits upon the highlights of a movie in hopes of getting a studio to pony up the big bucks to produce it. If you saw Prometheus, and were a bit perplexed by it, maybe this behind the scenes look at what they were thinking prior to making it will help you come to some understanding.

But will it answer the biggest question of all: Why would someone allot upwards of $150 million dollars to make this?) prometheus poster

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus: A Treatment

We begin on a grungy mountain top. Could be an alien world, could be our earth of the past, or even a future earth, who the fuck knows? But there’s this alien dude there who is translucently pale, jacked with muscles, with no discernible secondary sexual characteristics. We haven’t officially settled on a final name for this alien race, but let’s call them “fungineers” for now. Our fungineer ceremoniously takes a sip of some black, gooey tea. It does not agree with him; his body starts breaking up and his strands of DNA break. Then he falls off the mountain into a river and his corpse dissolves into the molecules of the water.

Here’s the cool bit: we showed you the fungineer dude’s DNA crumbling and now we show you his DNA loose and merging with the water molecules (or something), completely creating a new DNA strand and therefore LIFE! We think. Who the fuck knows?

prometheus scene

Aaaaaaahhhhhh! Hits the spot—hey! Uh-oh, did I bring the black goo instead of coffee? Shit….

After this prologue we go to Scotland in the 2080s. Two lovey-dovey scientists (who we haven’t named yet, so let’s just call them Dumb and Dumber) have found some cave paintings that depict some really tall dude tossing some balls in the air. Dumb in particular gets super happy. She’s sure its a depiction of a fungineer.

Next we cut to the spaceship Prometheus with its human crew of seventeen in deep space. The crew are all in hypersleep except for David. David is an aryan robot who enjoys Lawrence of Arabia, basketball trick shots, and SPYING ON DUMB’S DREAMS. David seems fixated on her. It’s either creepy or romantic. Who the fuck knows?

david and shaw

Creepy watching worked in that Twilight movie, why not here?

Soon enough we’ve reached our destination: a grungy satellite world. David wakes the crew and is very attentive to Dumb. This makes Dumber jealous and he treats David with rudeness and sarcasm from then on. Not smart, probably, but that’s why he’s Dumber.

The crew assembles on the ship’s basketball court to watch a holographic video of an ancient guy called Weyland who owns everything in the universe and funded the trillion dollar mission of Prometheus. He tells them he’s dead now (so why are they even listening to him?) and introduces Dumb and Dumber. Even though Dumb is very passionate about whatever the fuck they have come out into deep space to find, the crew reacts like they’d rather stay asleep and that is pretty much their attitude for the rest of our film. Clever, huh? The mission leader, a blond ice-queen called Vickers yells at everybody and the meeting ends.

prometheus crew

Even though we’re getting very well paid to be here, we don’t want to be here.

Soon enough, the intrepid crew land on the moon and send out the away team, Dumb and Dumber in the lead. David goes, too. There’s also a medical doctor, a geologist/cartographer, and a biologist. Vickers and the nominal captain of the ship stay behind because they don’t do shit. The away team bitches and moans the whole time. Weyland’s trillion dollar investment in this mission may not have bought the very best crew available, but that’s fine—they’re all going to die anyway. That’s what they’re for.

ridley scott directing shaw

Go that way, I think.

The team bumbles into a labyrinth of caves which the geologist maps in minute detail with digital spheres. A bit later, they discover that the atmosphere has become breathable! Without much resistance, everyone removes their space helmet and tosses it on the floor. (No one, except David, realizes they have actually wandered into a spaceship with an artificial environment until much later.)

Do they find fungineers? Pfffttt! What fun would that be at this point? No, they find vases of the black gooey tea from the prologue! They find statuary! Dumb insists that no one touch anything, which they all proceed to do anyway, especially David. If there’s something touchable, it gets fucking touched. (David even scrapes off a drop of the black goo and tucks it away since it looks so highly collectable and so not dangerous.)This scientific method of slapping at everything finally results in them playing a holographic video back. In the video, large dudes are running out of a chamber. They must have been either fleeing the black gooey tea or a screening of Alien vs. Predator. Ha ha. Our movie’s going to be way better than that!

Next to the very chamber the large dudes were escaping, Dumb finds a large dude body. It’s gotta be a dead fungineer! The geologist and biologist (who was probably there to examine, like, alien biology) freak out about the body, yell at Dumb, and head back for the Prometheus. David touches something that opens the big door near the corpse and they find the detached head! Dumb stuffs it into her scientist purse and they are all called back to the ship because “a storm’s a’comin’ “.

david touching stuff

David, we said don’t touch any—David? David! Goddammit!

Dumb gets her people and the head safely back to the ship, but what about the guys who wandered off? They are lost in the cave! That’s right, despite the detailed GPS uploaded to their computer and available on their suit controls, these two guys get lost! Just one of the ways Prometheus builds up tension and suspense in completely natural ways. But back to those two in a bit.

On the ship, Dumb and the doctor examine their new head while David watches. (Dumber has wandered off in a depressed funk for some reason.) First, they shoot electricity through the head, causing the facial muscles to come to life and twitch! Then, Dumb tosses the head into a microwave where it explodes. Oh, well.

prometheus scene

Should we preserve this for detailed study, or—fuck it, let’s blow it up!

David slips away and finds a morose Dumber in the ship’s bar. They trade insults, then David mixes Dumber a strong drink. (Yeah, strong with the drop of black goo David brought back!) Even though the robot clearly has a stinky finger dipped in the drink, Dumber takes it and drains it. Why has David spiked Dumber with the alien stuff? Out of irritation? Curiosity? Who the fuck knows?

After a while, a drunken, goo-filled Dumber lumbers into the cabin he shares with Dumb. She is still thrilled at the thought of the miraculous things they may find. He is filled with depression and thinks the mission is a failure. Dumber then insults and offends Dumb with some very insensitive comments. Naturally, they make love.

janek and vickers

If you can’t be with the one you love…love the one you’re with!

The Captain, meanwhile, is communicating with his two lost crewmembers. He has a full digital map on the ship’s computer of the caves and can precisely pinpoint the pair’s location. Instead of guiding them back to the ship, though, he just mocks them. Then he tells them a strange life form is headed their way and good night. He’s in a hurry because he has a booty call to make with another strange life form: Vickers.

Back in the caves, the strange life form is come upon; it’s a long, vicious-looking white snake. The two guys who were afraid of their own shadows a little while ago don’t run the hell away; oh contrare! the biologist falls instantly in love with it and reaches out to pet his new friend. The alien adorably chews its way into his suit so it can snuggle with him by jamming its body down his throat. Also, when the geologist tries to slice the snake’s body, acid sprays from it and burns right through his helmet and his face. prometheus snakey worm Ah, they’ll probably be fine. Next morning the group returns to the caves to look for their wayward sons. What they find are two bodies. Shit, those dudes died. The snakey alien bursts out of the biologist’s body just to say hello, momentarily reminding us of another film we once saw that we can’t remember the name of. Dumber, like the diva he is, can’t stand not being the center of attention and swoons. It’s evident that the black goo is not sitting well with him; his skin is getting seriously bad all of a sudden. By the time they get back to the Prometheus they’re all sick of him and Vickers burns him up with a flamethrower. Dumb grieves for a minute, but we’re way too busy to dwell on this. Shit is coming to a head.

A bit later, Dumb is getting a routine physical from David. He tells her, congratulations, you’re pregnant. Then he knocks her out for the good of the baby because he’s fully pro-life, even life created by an infusion of black alien goo.

prometheus c-section

Yeah, it’s going to be all right…

A few minutes later, Dumb wakes up and punches her way out of the lab. She makes her way to Vickers’ lifepod which contains a handy automated surgical machine and enters “withdrawal”, otherwise known as an emergency C-section. The twelve-hour old fetus is torn from her body in no time and her abdomen gets stapled shut. Dangled cutely on a pair of forceps, her alien baby (that looks like an octopus crossed with a vagina, or an octopussy, if you will) tries to eat her face off. Dumb manages to escape the pod and leaves the pissed-off abortion hissing and writhing by itself with no thought of arranging daycare for it. We fully expect most people’s eyes to be closed during this entire sequence, it’s disturbing and awful–I mean, visceral and exciting. Yeah.

During this section, our geologist made it back to the ship! The alien’s acid-blood has transformed him into a super-powered zombie. He manages to even kill several very expendable crewmembers before being incinerated with the flamethrower by the captain who, huzzah! has finally done something besides Vickers.

Dumb has been wandering the ship as all this hoohah has been going down. She finally finds the very section of the ship that no one was supposed to find, yet is not locked or sealed off. Inside the cabin is David and an ancient guy called Weyland. Wait, Weyland is alive?!? Oh my God, right? What a revelation and twist!

engineer and weyland

I’ve come for the immortality special, please.

Basically the whole mission only exists because Weyland thinks the fungineers are going to give him the secret of immortality. David has been following the big boss’ agenda all along. Sandwiched in here is a quick scene between Vickers and Weyland. Twist number two! He’s her father. Will anyone care at this point? Who the fuck knows? Despite the physical trauma she has just undergone, Dumb suits up to go with Weyland back to the caves (and the fungineer ship, though she still doesn’t know it’s a ship.)

Once they’ve gotten back there, sans helmets of course, David takes them to a room he discovered when he was walking around on his own. It looks a lot like a hypersleep chamber, hmm? One of the capsules even has a sleeping dude in it! They wake him up so Weyland can ask him for immortality and whatever. The fungineer, groggy at first, turns out to be a grumpy morning person. He kills Weyland and rips David’s head off. Dumb makes a run for it. How are those surgical staples holding up? Who the fuck knows?

benedict cumberbatch

I’d have been a lovely David.

(Dude! What are you doing here? Not everything is about you. GOD!)

On her way back out to the surface, the fungineer fires up the ship. “OH JESUS!” Dumb finally realizes. “THAT’S A SHIP!” She radios Prometheus that the alien will head for earth and unleash those thousands of vases of the killer black goo and destroy all life there. The captain decides to ram the fungineer ship with the Prometheus to bring it down, while secretly wishing a trillion dollars could have bought him just a couple of missiles—but oh, well. Gallantly, he ejects Vickers and her lifepod before he goes out in a blaze of glory.

The Prometheus is completely destroyed, but the bulk of the alien ship is still intact. Disabled, though. As it falls back to the ground, Dumb and Vickers frantically run to avoid being crushed under it: Dumb actually falls down and successfully rolls over a couple times to avoid the wreckage, but Vickers runs in a straight line for about a mile and gets flattened. She apparently forgot her “stop, drop and roll” training.

Well, now Dumb’s all alone, right? Not exactly, no. She gets a call from David’s detached head (still functional, thank you), who calmly tells her the alien is fully pissed at her and is coming her way. Probably not to negotiate a peaceful resolution. Dumb has nowhere to go but the lifepod.

prometheus fight

That’s some serious creature porn right there…

The fungineer chases Dumb all the way back to the medical room with the surgical machine. While luring him in, she gets the dude to open the door. Remember what we left in there? OCTOPUSSY! The baby she yanked out of her uterus has grown a bit in the last couple hours. It now is about thrice the size of the full-grown fungineer and has little trouble octopussying him to death.

Dumb staggers around outside till she gets another call from David’s head. He kind of apologizes for all the awful shit he has done, then dangles a peace offering: he knows where the fungineers’ home world is. She goes back, tucks David’s head into her scientist purse, and makes for another ship. Yeah, there are more ships! I know, convenient!

david's head

I ain’t got no b—-nevermind!

Not for revenge, but just because she wants to ask them why, Dumb and her robot head take off and set their coordinates for the fungineer planet. But not before sending a message to earth saying no one else should come to this place. Will that warning work? Who the fuck knows? Maybe the sequel will answer those questions!

But before we go:

Our epilogue takes us back to the lifepod and the corpse of the fungineer. Soon enough, something bursts out of him to remind us once more of another movie we saw that we liked a lot.

prometheus alien

Looks kind of like…something….huh?

Thanks for reading, and we’ll need about $150 million. Appreciate you!

(And there you have it. Of course, the movie got made and the rest is history. Prometheus 2: Paradise will inflict itself on us in 2016. Can’t wait to get my hands on that treatment.) prometheus trio

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5 thoughts on “Ridley Scott’s Prometheus Gets the Treatment

    • They made money! The movie was a hit, though not as big as they would have liked. And it did well overseas, so a sequel is going to happen. I kind of hope its as flawed and crazy as this one…

  1. I know I’ve seen bits of this film but I guess I just zoned out. Thanks for the précis if I watch it again I’ll re-read this post first 🙂 it mustn’t have been fast paced or scary or I’d have remembered more.

    • Yes it was neither fast-paced nor scary. I think you’d remember the “operation” scene if you saw it. That bit was pretty disturbing. But, overall, Prometheus was a comedy. Whether that was intentional or not, I can’t really tell you…

  2. Funny recap.
    I didn’t like either. Another puzzler was how everyone suddenly decided the big baldie was going to fly off in his ship and destroy the earth? How do they know he wasn’t just going to the shops.

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