Getting Anxious About 'Prometheus'

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A new extended international trailer for Ridley Scott's upcoming Alien sorta prequel Prometheus (it seems to take place far enough in the past that it's, like, a paleo prequel?) has been released, and in it we see far more revealing footage than we've seen before. Namely we see aliens. And they have us a little worried.

Specifically that little computery viper thing that pops up and looks at that one guy before jumping into his skin. Sure, it's a creature similar to the face-huggers in Alien, as these are at least loosely connected mythologies, but we hope it's not too similar. And we hope there aren't too many computer-animated alien ghouls running around ruining all the grim, existential, furturist outerspace foreboding. (Which is really what made Alien scary.) That would mar the experience, and it's suddenly really important that this thing be a good movie.

Why is that? Have you sensed that too? For whatever reason, there are some pretty high expectations attached to this movie, even though the last two films in the primary Alien franchise (we're not counting AVP, for obvious reasons) weren't terribly good (at least nowhere as good as the first two). Maybe it's all the secretiveness surrounding the movie, all the withholding of even the simplest of plot details, that has masterfully ginned up excitement about something we hardly know anything about, the same way Inception did a couple years ago. Or maybe we all love Alien more than we realized and we're eager for another chapter in the story. Whatever the reason, it feels like this movie suddenly has some pretty big expectations to live up to, ones that certainly demand more than a story about creepy fluke-like aliens.

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Comfortingly, the story does seem bigger than that. So far the most exciting thing we've seen of the film is something in this new trailer: Two distinct glimpses of figures similar to the "Space Jockey," the big fossilized corpse in the chair with the burst-open chest who is discovered in the beginning of Alien. In fact, we see someone or something strapping themselves into that very same chair, or at least one very much like it. A connection to that long-tantalizing mystery alone has us clamoring to see the movie, and guessing that the end of Prometheus will somehow hauntingly set up the beginning of Alien. So we're all for that. It's just the getting to that point that makes us a bit apprehensive.

The cast is great, the moments from the various trailers we've seen involving claustrophobic spaceship hallways and loud klaxons are nice unnerving callbacks, and the concept, what little we know of it anyway, certainly seems intriguing. And yet the more actual footage we see, the more specific the story gets, the more doubt starts to creep in. Or if not doubt exactly, certainly some fanboy nerd nerves. It's been a long time since a genuinely good outer space science fiction movie was made — Danny Boyle's Sunshine came close at times — and we'd like this to be the one to break recent bad tradition. So, we're sorry to put all this weight on you, enormous studio movie. But it's just what's happening. You'd better be good, or else we'll... still see you but be disappointed about it.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.