Now we know who to blame for Prometheus
If you were reading this blog a few months back, chances are you would be aware of the textual yowl of existential agony that was my disappointment with the long-anticipated Prometheus.
Ridley Scott's sort-of Alien prequel turned out to be one of the summer's most underwhelming - or at least disappointing - of all the big-ticket releases: riddled with plot holes, cursed with silly dialogue, and not really recognisably of the "Alienverse" it couldn't seem to decide whether it was a part of or not.
To refresh your memory, at the time I said:
"So who's at fault here? My instinct is to look to Damon "Lost" Lindelof's script rewrite. Thanks to the Pentagon-level security/secrecy that surrounded the production from the word go, we will likely never be able to see Jon Spaihts' original drafts, but based on various interviews with the screenwriter (as well as knowledge of some of his other unproduced but very impressive scripts), the guy knows enough about sci-fi that had Prometheus been penned solely by him, it likely wouldn't have ended up Swiss cheesed full of plot holes you could drive the Nostromo through."
At the time, of course, it was mere speculation based on little more than the fact I am not a huge fan of Lindelof's work, and conversely, was very impressed by Spaihts'.
But thanks to aforementioned tightly-held production secrets, I just assumed we'd never be able to confirm or deny whose fault Prometheus' suckiness was.
Badass Digest today posted a link to the PDF of Spaihts' script (Alien: Engineers), and breathlessly noted, "This is the movie Prometheus should have been. Look upon it and despair. Especially if you're Damon Lindelof."
So are they right?
Uh, that's a big fat YES. Spaihts' script (yes, I'm a fast reader) is terrific, connected to the Alienverse (blue-collar workers in space) while still breathing new life into the existing franchise. His dialogue is smart, the characters are rich, and you don't come away from it feeling like you just paid to be punched in the face.
Plus Spaihts' descriptive passages are a pleasure to read:
They are men - and yet not men. Their skin is snow-white. Their features heavy and classical - as if Rodin’s Thinker had risen from his seat. Their smooth heads are earless and hairless. Their glittering eyes entirely black.
(I should also note that if you found yourself longing for a chest-burster moment during the film, there's a love scene in Spaihts' script that should make your day.)
If you're still smarting from the disappointment of Prometheus, I highly recommend putting the original score on and settling down to read Spaihts' script.
Imagining what could have been is close enough to seeing it, right?