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Old 04-16-2013, 01:09 PM
wei ji wei ji is offline
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What is director Ridley Scott doing with homages in 'Prometheus?'

In the 2012 movie, "Prometheus," characters seem to be paying indirect homage to movies of the past. Some of these are clear and obvious, as when character "David" makes repeated references to David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia." David himself, as an android, references Scott's "Alien" film (considered a prequel to "Prometheus"), in which an android had a major role in the plot. David is subtly hostile to humans in "Prometheus" and constantly questions them, just as "Roy Batty" is looking for answers from his creator, Dr. Tyrell, in Scott's 1982 film "Blade Runner," and, Tyrell not having satisfactory answers, Roy kills him.

However, a number of more subtle references appear to be made by the actors during "Prometheus" that pay nearly undetectable homage to particular moments both in other Scott films and perhaps unrelated films in which those actors themselves played.

I've detected three "suspicious" examples.

In the scene where David is in the early stages of exploring the pyramid, he finds a group of runes on a stone wall and, running a finger through one of them, discovers a viscous medium apparently teeming with life. He holds his fingers to his nose, pulls them away quickly making a face, and again slowly sniffs the material. This perfectly repeats character "Leon's" sniffing of the colloidal artificial eye material in the genetic eye designer's lab scene in "Blade Runner."

In the scene in "Prometheus" where Fifield, the geologist, gets nose to nose with Shaw in the pyramid confrontation over the fact that he is a geologist and has no interest in "giant dead bodies," there is an echo of an earlier memorable film moment of the actor playing Fifield, Sean Harris. In "Harry Brown," Harris plays a drug addict and gun seller who gets obnoxiously close into the face of Harry Brown, played by Michael Caine, a memorable and chilling moment beautifully played. Without considering this homage, it is hard to explain why the director would have included an "in your face" scene with a woman here.

Finally, in the scene where David brings a fresh bottle of champagne to scientist Charlie Holloway, and is offered a drink by Holloway, who addresses him as "pal," there is some echo of the scene in "Blade Runner" where character Bryant, Deckard's former boss, invites him to have a drink in his office, addressing him as "pal."

Perhaps I'm over-interpreting here, or perhaps Scott and cast demonstrate unconsciously the theory of writer Albert Camus that artists constantly repeat and reinterpret only a few themes and images that obsess them.

On the other hand, a subtle and interesting play on scene-within-a-scene seems to be going on here.

Any thoughts on this or further examples noted in "Prometheus?"
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:18 PM
stegon66 stegon66 is offline
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Now I have to rewatch it.

I have heard that the character of Elizabeth Shaw is an homage to the same-named character from the old Doctor Who series.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:10 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Prometheus is a prequel to Alien, not the other way around.

Last edited by Miller; 04-16-2013 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:44 PM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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The connections to Blade Runner were/are almost more explicit, as noted in some of the Bluray extras. And the translation of one line of dialogue, according to the film's linguist—"This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life."—seems to harken back to Blade Runner as well. ("I want...more life, father."*)

Prometheus in a way, works better if you see it not as a semi-prequel to Alien, but as a semi-sequel to Blade Runner.




*Or "fucker," depending on cut.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:43 AM
astro astro is offline
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Glad you're getting something out of it. I have rarely had movies for which the anticipation was so high and the payoff so meager. I can hardly believe that Ridley Scott thought this mess was good enough to be shown. My respect for his directorial prowess went down 90% after seeing this movie. Million dollar effects and 10 dollar writing.

Half in the Bag review Prometheus
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:30 PM
wei ji wei ji is offline
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Yes, "prequel" is the wrong term. I meant that the film "Alien" came out first in chronological order, so we brong our experience of "Alien" to our viewing of "Prometheus." Somewhat confusing, I know.

Interesting idea that "Blade Runner" is the real source of homage. Exactly right on "I want more life." Only this time it is the human being, not the android, in need of it.

I'll have to look up the "Dr. Who" series, but it makes sense that another reference of some sort is at work.

Yes, Ridley Scott seems to make sloppy movies. Read the history of "Blade Runner." I like his stuff, but you are right that he is more style than craft, it seems.
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:36 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is online now
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I doubt Ridley Scott is paying homage to his own films (I assume you are aware he directed Alien and Blade Runner).

Prometheus is no so much a litteral prequel as it is a film that takes place in the same universe as the Alien series. So obviously he incorporates a lot of elements and themes from the original Alien / Aliens films - the style of the Engineers / Space Jockey ship, Peter Weyland of what will become the Weyland-Yutani company, artificial humans and whatnot.

Blade Runner could possibly take place in the same universe as the Aliens films, although it is based off of a Phillip K Dick story. There are also artificial humans, off-world colonies and similar technolgies. It has a similar tone and style of a dark, clunky, worn down, blue-collar, industrial future. IOW, late 80s/90s sci fy. But since the stories never intersect, what does it matter?

Incidently the film "Soldier" also takes place in the same universe as Blade Runner, or at the very least pays homage. A "spinner" flying car is seen in the background of some junkyard. Also Russle's character is indicated on a computer screen as having served in the battles of Tannhauser Gate and Shoulder of Orion (which are Blade Runner references) and qualified on the "USMC Smartgun" and "M41A pulse rifle" from Alien. OTOH, he's also indicated as a receipient of the "[Snake] Plissken Medal" and the "McCaffrey Fire Award" (Backdraft), qualified on the "DOOM MKIV BFG", and having participated in the "War Of Perdition's Flames" (Star Trek II). So maybe they just put a bunch of random shit in there.
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:13 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Incidently the film "Soldier" also takes place in the same universe as Blade Runner, or at the very least pays homage. A "spinner" flying car is seen in the background of some junkyard. Also Russle's character is indicated on a computer screen as having served in the battles of Tannhauser Gate and Shoulder of Orion (which are Blade Runner references) and qualified on the "USMC Smartgun" and "M41A pulse rifle" from Alien. OTOH, he's also indicated as a receipient of the "[Snake] Plissken Medal" and the "McCaffrey Fire Award" (Backdraft), qualified on the "DOOM MKIV BFG", and having participated in the "War Of Perdition's Flames" (Star Trek II). So maybe they just put a bunch of random shit in there.
Soldier and Blade Runner share a screenwriter. He designed Soldier to fit into Blade Runner's world. The rest of those references are just a bonus.
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