Is “Engineer”really our creator? My thoughts on the opening scene of the sci-fi epic Prometheus
So here it is – after year-long anticipation, this epic space journey, a symbol of Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi labeled “Prequel to Alien”, has finally come under the scrutiny of the classic sci-fi horror movie fans. Before its June 8th release in the U.S., 20th Century Fox has done an excellent job at social media campaign for this summer blockbuster, creating mysteries around the movie and provoking people’s curiosity with one after another trailers and projects. It’s very clever of the studio to have linked the movie with Alien, one of the best sci-fi movies of all time which spawned three more sequels and two cross-overs, making fans eager to find out the answers in this prequel. And it turned out to be a great one with solid acting, compelling story, and especially magnificent visual effects – never has 3-D technology been put to such a high level. However, as the movie ends, more questions are left unanswered and a strong hint at a sequel is shown at the end. With so many open questions raised by the movie, I just want to share some thoughts on the opening scene.
At the beginning of Prometheus, an “Engineer” (let’s call him P) comes to a waterfall, gulps down a vial of mysterious liquid, which breaks down his body and further his DNA into the water. There are already discussions about this scene online, arguing that it took place on Earth and that the race of “Engineer” is the creator of human race (the feature of DNA link breaking down is a strong hint). This is a theory that I personally strongly agree with. But on a further guess, I think it also answers the very question that Dr. Elizabeth Shaw asked throughout the movie – Why did they create us and then one day just change their mind and want to destroy our race? Because the creation of human race on Earth was never the intention of the race of “Engineer”! They were actually opposing the idea of creating a race similar to their own. P in the opening scene was just a dissident in his race – he stole the potion from his planet, secretly traveled to Earth behind their back in a private spaceship (notice the difference from the official ring-shaped ones), and sacrificed himself to the rise of a new race – HUMAN. His race, feeling betrayed, then found out about his outrageous behavior and its outcome, and set out to Earth to wipe us off from the surface of the planet. So to human race, that very “Engineer” P was our creator, not the entire race – he was our Prometheus, sacrificed himself to give life to a brand new intelligent species.
This is just my theory on the opening scene of the movie. Prometheus might not be a game-changer in the genre, and although it’s not as eerie as and has fewer scary shots than the original, it is a must see for all the Alien and sci-fi fans, and those who are only interested in the 3D effects. Already I’m expecting a sequel and can’t wait to see how Ridley is going to unravel the mysteries on the origin of humanity.
UPDATE: There are people asking me questions about the paintings regarding my interpretation of the opening scene – If P was the only Engineer responsible for our creation, how do you explain those paintings across different cultures around the world in such a large time-span? And why did those paintings implicate the location of his planet that might lead to our destruction?
OK, on the universality of the paintings, P is not the only dissident. He may be the leader of a secret organization behind this entire Human Creation Project, and the memberships are passed down generation to generation to the most trusted successors. Every once in a while they would send out some people to Earth to check on us and paint those paintings until one day a traitor sold them (and us) out. As to the purpose of the paintings – they are not even an invitation at all! They are a warning, telling people not to go anywhere near that planet! Maybe there’s something missing that Dr. Shaw and her crew misread the signal, or maybe it’s the different thinking mechanisms between Engineers and Humans. While it looked to Engineers those paintings were an obvious warning, it looked to us more like an invitation to explore that solar system. In other words, we have developed HUMANITY along the way which Engineers do not possess, and CURIOSITY is one of the most prominent features.