Black liquid, Dark liquid, Engineer alien, Engineer xenomorph, Hammerpede, Infected Fifield, Millburn attacked, Millburn snake in the throat, Minipede, Mutant Fifield, Prometheus creatures, Space Jockey alien, Space Jockey Exoskeleton, Space Jockey xenomorph, The Prometheus snakes
Sadly this is the clearest image I can find of an Engineer so here’s a description: they are 7 or 8 feet tall, incredibly ripped, with white – almost chalky – skin, big dark glossy eyes and bald heads.
What we know about them: their DNA matches our own; they have the ability to create and consume a black liquid which breaks their bodies down to a cellular level; the ‘Space Jockey exoskeleton’ is actually a suit and helmet which they wear; the one living Engineer that the crew of the Prometheus discover is hostile toward humans and the android David (ripping off the android’s head and killing several others); their race is thousands of years old.
What is speculated by the characters: they are terraformers; they created the human race; they want to destroy the human race; the black liquid on board their ships is a weapon which they intended to take to Earth and use against humans.
My speculation: I think there may well be a large element of ‘cockroach perspective’ taking place in this film. We don’t understand the technology these creatures use or what it is for – although the crew and particularly Elizabeth Shaw are eager to speculate and some pretty big conclusions. To my mind, these humans play with fire and suffer the consequences of their own arrogance and carelessness. The Engineer when it awakes crushes the pesky humans like bugs – the crew assume that these creatures are hostile to us and want to destroy us. The crew don’t understand the holograms they witness – what they are, why the are triggered or what they really signify – were the Engineers really heading for Earth, or did Earth appear on the image because David triggered it? Are the Engineers specifically hostile towards us or do they simply not care? Are we just bugs to be crushed?
The black liquid
If we follow the Prometheus allegory then the black liquid is: the fire of the gods.
It appears at the beginning of the film that the Engineer is using his own cells to create life on a planet (presumably Earth) by drinking a black liquid which disintegrates his body at a cellular level. The black liquid which later oozes from the urns aboard the Engineer’s ship looks very similar to this substance. This creates the hammerpedes, changes Holloway and mutates Fifield and by extension creates the giant facehugger.
Is this liquid really a weapon? I doubt it as its purpose seems to be related more to the terraforming activities of the Engineers, rather than being a straightforward method of destruction. It’s an organic compound which appears to alter things at a genetic level. Letting the humans an fool around with it is like letting a baby play around with a shotgun.
And this is the result:
Holloway in lots of pain and slowly mutating into something else? He doesn’t appear to be breaking down like the Engineer at the beginning of the film. Is that because this is a different liquid? Because he had such a small dose? Because he is human? Don’t know and we don’t even come close to finding out. I really wanted to see what would happen to Holloway but Meredith ‘spoil-sport’ Vickers blowtorches him before we get the chance to find out. From what we could see it seemed as though Holloway was undergoing a similar process to the Engineer: black veins, grey skin, etc.
I didn’t come up with that name. I was calling them butterfly-cobras. The name comes from a track on the Prometheus soundtrack. What are they? Well, when the crew of the Prometheus first enter the chamber we see some small worm creatures wiggling around on the floor – and this is BEFORE the urns start spewing black goo. Next time we see them is when Fifield and Millburn return to the urn-room. Now you would have thought the little worm things got infected by the black goo and then became big snake things, right? Well…no, because Holloway has a tiny, tiny, tiny version of the worm thing floating about in his eye.
See? So how did the mini-hammerpede get in his eye?! He is infected by a spot of black goo from the urn by David – that urn was sealed when David removed it from the room. So where did the minipede come from?
The hammerpedes are very aggressive. One breaks Milburn’s arm, rips through his space suit and shoots down his throats. Not sure why.
Here’s the Hammerpede shooting down Millburn’s throat. Funnily enough – he doesn’t survive this. The Hammerpede doesn’t seem to do anything other than kill him and then lurk in his throat for the next unsuspecting victim. These things also bleed acid – as Fifield finds out when he tries to chop it off Millburn’s arm and subsequently ends up face down in the dark liquid. Which brings me nicely on to….
I’m not sure what’s more scary: mutant Fifield, or the prospect of a punk revival in 2089.
Mutant Fifield turns up at the Prometheus looking pretty dead, with his feet over his shoulders in a sort of crab like posture. He then leaps up and starts trying to kill people, breaking stuff and generally being very aggressive. He has super-strength and a very bloated and pointed head (anyone remember Theme Hospital? They had a machine for Bloaty-Head). Anyway…mutant Fifield gets blowtorched by Janek and his appearance on screen is very short lived and feels a bit pointless. Although he does remind me a little bit of this guy…
Ok so he isn’t a ‘creature’ so much as an exploding prop but the entire sequence with the head is very peculiar.
Shaw risks life and limb to bring the head back to the ship. Then they discover that the ‘Space-Jockey exoskeleton’ is just a helmet. The head underneath is thousands of years old but very well preserved. They notice some cellular changes on the top of his head and decide that it would be a good idea to apply some energy to his brain. This sequence made NO SENSE to me whatsoever. Why shoving a probe into a decomposing head was meant to achieve anything is beyond me. Seeing the poor creature reanimated for a few seconds, only to start seeping puss and then explode was rather harrowing and made Shaw look like an uncaring bitch. What the hell were they expecting this to achieve? A putrefied head explodes once they start jabbing currents of energy through it: what a surprise!
Let’s get one thing straight: the thing Shaw pulls out of her womb does not look like the traditional facehugger we all know and love. It looks a bit like a squid quite frankly and has a texture rather like the Hammerpedes. Here’s the closest image of him I can find:
Anyway, Squid-Facehugger gets chopped out of Elizabeth and blasted with decontamination spray. But it doesn’t stop there! Oh no, because it wasn’t destroyed and when Shaw scrambles into Vicker’s escape pod at the end of the film we discover it has grown into Giant Facehugger who subsequently wrestles the Engineer to the floor, opens up its folds to reveal a big mouth with rows of sharp pointy teeth and proceeds to shove its proboscis down the Engineer’s throat.
And as a result, in the final scene of the film, we get this little fella.
The Prometheus or Engineer Xenomorph is different from the traditional Xenomorph in a few ways.
Most notably his pointy head and the extending mouth: which is more fleshy and frankly more pink than anything we have seen before. Whether or not you like the Prometheus Xenomorph is entirely up to your personal taste but I was a little underwhelmed. It’s different but only in the sense that it isn’t really as good as the original. It reminded me a bit of the skeksis from dark crystal. I like it because it is different but it doesn’t seem Geiger enough – it’s too animalistic and not alien enough. But it isn’t the human turd alien from Alien: Resurrection so I’m not complaining. Too much. This Alien appears to bypass the Chestburster phase – unless of course, that is the Chestburster phase. Because if you think about it, it did come from a VERY big Facehugger and it had a VERY big host – so I’m guessing this xenomorph is going to get considerably bigger. But anyway, it gracelessly head-butts its way out of the engineer – looking all the world like a shark bursting out of its stomach, screaming to show off its pink mouth – and that’s your lot.