Liz Shaw Removes the Foreign Object in Prometheus
Of all the pictures on this list, Prometheus is probably the most divisive. We Got This Covered has hosted both sides of the argument over its quality but this particular article will focus on one scene that is generally regarded as a solid piece of work.
When Dr. Elizabeth Shaw discovers that she is “pregnant” with something that “is not a conventional fetus,” she fights off the sedatives given to her by morally ambiguous android David and staggers her way to the med-pod. After figuring out a way to get the male-configured pod to work with her, Liz struggles to extract the increasingly active monster before it tears her apart from the inside out.
The ensuing scene is a serious contender for the most disturbing moment in the entire Alien series. From the twisted pregnancy imagery to the claustrophobic med-pod to the proto-chestburster writhing about in the claw’s grasp after Shaw is able to remove it, everything about the sequence is the stuff of nightmares. And it is incredibly effective.
Its violence recalls the original Alien’s own chestburster while taking it in a dramatically different direction. Rather than become an unsuspecting victim of the chestburster, Shaw is aware of its existence and actively fights against it at every turn. The violence, while very similar to Alien’s is played differently.
Rather than a sudden, surprise violation, Prometheus draws out the violence, and makes it a personal battle for Shaw, rather than using her as a catalyst for the rest of the crew’s fight. In so doing it gives Shaw a chance to shine as a worthy predecessor/successor to Ellen Ripley and further muddies the waters regarding the actions and intentions of the Engineers. Whatever the reputation Prometheus acquires in the coming years, this scene at least displays a masterful understanding of the power violence can have when it is used well.
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