In the world of science fiction, fandom can be a tricky thing. Everyone is always right and do their best to convince to someone otherwise. It’s very much like politics, except much more friendly (usually). That brings us to Prometheus. Want to get an Alien fan going? Bring up this movie. You’ll either get a rant about how much they love it or why it’s so bad it might bring on the plagues that destroy mankind. It’s incredibly flawed, but the world it opened up was worth the price of admission for me.
I was eager to dive into the blu-ray, as the Alien movies are one of the few where I ingest all of the special features . The behind the scenes stuff is just fantastic, there is so much to learn if you’re interested. But in terms of the actual movie, nothing frustrated me more than watching the deleted and alternate scenes. Prometheus had the potential to be so much more without most of the cuts. Would it make up for the character and script faults? No. But is it a much better movie? Yes. I’ve always wanted to examine them in a bit more detail, with Alien : Covenant on the horizon I think now is a good time as any. There are over a dozen to sort through, so I am going to try to keep it brief where I can.
“Arrival of the Engineers”
In the theatrical cut, we see one Engineer sacrificing himself to begin a new world. With the alternate take, there is a group of Engineers with him. There appears to be Elder Engineers with him, whom hand over the accelerant. Editor Pietro Scalia and Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Stammers felt it gave away some of the mystery and added to the run time. On the other hand, I felt this introduction was much better. While it was mysterious, it still left the audience in a state of confusion. This alternate take seems to set the world up more, showing what the Engineers were, getting a glimpse into their hierarchy. By the end of the film, nothing is ruined by showing this.
“Tis The Season”
In the extended scene of Christmas morning, we get a little more bantering between Vickers and Janek. I’m sure this was cut for time constraints, but I think this little bit of dialogue helps. Character and dialogue were not the strengths of this movie, and moments like this help to make everything more relatable. Here we get a glimpse into Vickers and Janek both acting like Company employees, but Janek’s insistence of putting up a Christmas tree set’s something off in her. Idris Elba was severely under-utilized in this movie.
“Our First Alien”
Few scenes in the Alien franchise are as mocked as when Biologist Millburn greets the obviously dangerous Hammerpede as if it’s some cute and cuddly kitten begging to be adopted. As they are exploring the pyramid, Millburn excitedly comes across a small life-form. As he never cataloged anything like this before, David observes “Our first alien”. Fifield of course mocks Millburn for actually being useful during the mission. What I like about this deleted scene: It shows Millburn isn’t a complete idiot and adds some discovery to the proceedings. A tad more character development that helps for later on. The “our first alien” line is probably not needed, but other than that this is a cool scene that gives more insight into a character.
This was a neat little scene. Millburn discovers some shedded skin on the ground, which seems awful familiar to the audience. Perhaps a hint as to what killed the Engineers? It certainly SEEMS like remnants of a xenomorph, which I thought was neat. Had this been included it might’ve led the audience on that there were aliens in this, when indeed there were not. While a fun little tidbit, I think not including was this OK.
“We’re Not Alone Anymore”
Excellent scene! After returning to the ship from the storm, Shaw gives a speech about creation. It’s a tale she heard from a woman in Africa and it plays off rather well. There is some tension between her and Holloway as well. During the commentary they reveal this was left out because they didn’t want the crew to feel more unified. While I see their point, I think this would’ve been great to see as it shows these characters are indeed vulnerable.
A drunk Holloway and Shaw argue over what they discovered and it’s importance. Like the previous scene, there is more tension between the two than in the movie. Perhaps not including this shows they had a more tender and “normal” relationship, but I think this scene plays out better. The end was a bit cheesy, as the fight turns into love making immediately. Leave the part out and it’s a worthwhile addition to the movie, but the original is sufficient as well.
Not much going on here honestly. It’s a briefly extended scene from the morning after as Holloway discovers all is not right in his world. Nothing to see here, move along.
Another brief scene here, but I’m all for more Vickers and David dialogue. In a transitional scene as Vickers is off to defend the ship while David is exploring, they exchange some words and that’s it. Their relationship had lots of potential for intrigue, and every little bit helps.
“Janek Fills Vickers In”
I absolutely LOVE this scene. Janek visits Vickers after she is forced to kill Holloway. He tells a story about his background, that helps to understand what happened on LV-223. This scene does a tremendous job showing that Vickers has some humanity (We can argue if she’s human or not later) and gives us a nice back story for Janek. Yet again, more character moments that the movie desperately needed. The commentary reveals this was cut due to that it slowed the pace down towards the end. There is a valid point to that, but this scene needed to be in the movie.
“A King Has His Reign”
I enjoyed this scene in the original, the hate Vickers has for her father oozes out of her words. This version plays a bit longer, as she says her good byes to Peter Weyland. It was far more uncomfortable as she lays into him about what she wanted him from life and could not wait to see her father fail. Vickers had always known she wasn’t the ideal child. This was her victory. Great stuff.
Why, why, why Ridley Scott did you change this? “Keeping it more realistic” was his reasoning for it and I could not disagree more. This original version is fantastic. Instead of a mutant-zombie Fifield, we get to see a morphed Fifield. Instead of looking like he was a bit by something, he looks changed from the black goo. He looks as if he was in a partial transformation into an alien. It paints a far more terrifying picture as to what the Engineers were doing. I have a feeling something along these lines will be revisited in Alien Covenant. Not including this was a missed opportunity.
“The Engineer Speaks”
I really wanted this in the final cut of the movie, and it sure sounded like the commentary wanted the same thing. Again back to the reasoning of that it ruined some of the mystery. But it does the opposite, it adds to it. We can try argue as to what is he saying? What type of language is he using? Hearing the Engineer speak was awesome, and I feel keeping it in rewards the audience and the characters that went on the journey with us.
This is the hat trick, three scenes in a row that the movie sorely needed. Shaw’s final battle with the Engineer was abrupt and devoid of much suspense. This extended cut plays much better, showcasing many things at once : Helps show just how terrified Shaw is, what happened to her embryo and the sheer awesomeness of the Engineer. There is a group moment of it touching the chandelier and studying the video of the little girl playing violin. Excellent showdown between Shaw and the Engineer as well.
This was cut because it references the Engineer speaking, it didn’t make sense to keep it in the final release. David reveals to Shaw that the Engineer mentioned “Paradise” before he went on his rampage. As we know by now, that was the original title of the sequel to Prometheus. Paradise is more than likely a reference to the Engineer’s home planet, which is what leads us into Covenant. Had they stuck with the Engineer speaking, this is probably makes it into the movie.
OK, is everyone still with me? As we can now see, Prometheus had the potential to be a different movie then what we ended up getting. As a whole, this doesn’t erase all of the wrongs. It’s probably still a divisive movie in the end, but I think a bit less so with different decisions made in regards to these scenes. A good portion of these scenes, give Prometheus a bit more soul. It might never feel like a true Alien movie, but it’s a shame what could’ve been. I keep hoping that we are able to see a Director’s/Extended Cut with these scenes fused in. Until then, stay frosty everyone…