Giant Heads – Gazing Over a Buried Empire…6,080 Views4 RepliesAdd A Reply
‘Pyramid – Core Chamber: The vast central chamber of the pyramid. An immense space. Holloway walks in, his flashlight searching. Watts hurries after. The others follow, rovers tagging along. A colossal structure stands in the center of the chamber, convoluted and strange. A mechanism. Chasms yawn in the floor all around it, their depths lost in darkness.’ -- Alien: Engineers, by Jon Spaihts.
In the original script by Spaihts the ampule room did not appear. Instead the Magellan crew find the pyramid’s atmospheric processor. Damon Lindelof’s Prometheus script removed the air processor and replaced the sequence with the ampule room.
The monolithic head, once rumoured to be the pilot of the Juggernaut ship, seems to testify some sort of blank, terrible power. Whether it signifies a god, a particular Engineer, or the Engineer race as a whole, we don’t know. In the film it silently looms over the ampules in a chamber described as both a vault and a chapel.
The head is inscribed with glyphs on its front and sides. One idea thrown around production was to have the Engineers bearing facial tribal tattoos. The glyphs on the giant head resemble the alien language inscribed on the structure’s walls, doorways and on the deadly ampules.
/Ethiopian statue of Benito Mussolini, and the Engineers’ ‘God-Head’. Testaments to power and worship. Mussolini was gunned down, hoisted to the girder of a garage, and his corpse pelted, shot, and spat on. As Percy Shelley wrote in his poem Ozymandias, great and terrible leaders die, and the monuments to their reign topple and crumble, left to gaze over a buried empire. The legacy of the Engineers has fared no better./
One of the chamber’s more interesting elements is the Alien mural that lies at the far end of the vault, behind the Engineer head.
'Another set that I worked on was known as the ‘Head Room.’ This was a ceremonial room that contained hundreds of ampules beneath a giant sculpture of an Engineer’s head. Julian Caldrow did an amazing job of working out all of the details for this environment and created the set drawings. The final set was built at full scale and was incredible to walk on. I also sculpted an altar area for this set that paid homage to Giger – it is a relief sculpture hanging from the wall and has the impression of an alien form with flowing structures surrounding it. There are a lot of easter eggs in this sculpture – including several hidden Giger motifs that were not used in the original film.’ -- Steven Messing, i09.com, 2012.
Holloway notices a small altar before the Alien mural. Atop this altar is a jade crystal – in the film’s trailers the crystal does not appear. Instead, a bowl like the one the Sacrificial Engineer drinks from in the film’s opening takes its place.
The mural’s significance is not revealed in Prometheus, but Steven Messing mused that “[The Engineers are] a lot about sacrifice, so in my mind there was an Engineer [in the past] who sacrificed himself to this virus and it created this horrific creature. This being, that was gonna eradicate planets, was like a parasite that would destroy the planet and then [the Engineers] could start over and rebirth it. And they kind of worshipped it and you see this relief sculpture where it’s almost a religious sculpture.”
The Steven Messing comments explain a lot...
I wish they'd left the sacrafice bowl in there and not that stupid crystal, the crystal served no purpose.
Imagine for a moment if the team took the bowl and took it back to the ship for examination and opened it, unleashing an airborne version of the pathogen (Kinda like the plants in Covenant), that would've been cool.
AdamPD - Interesting comment!
In the opening scene of the Prometheus (when the Sacrificial Engineer drinks from the cup) the goo behaves like an airborne weapon: flies (and moves) in the air similarly to the Motes in Covenant. (But the goo and the motes are not the same thing.)
@AdamPD "I wish they'd left the sacrafice bowl in there and not that stupid crystal, the crystal served no purpose."
If it served no purpose, I don't think they would have put it there. If you look closely there are dark veins in the crystal, and it appears to be broken. Some have theorized that this contained the original form of the pathogen, which is why it holds center place on an altar at the foot of the mural.
Ridley and Lindelof have hinted that the Engineers did not make it, so they may have stolen or found it. It goes back to the whole 'Prometheus stole fire from from Mount Olympus and was punished for it' thing.