The Netflix Sci-Fi Thriller Blockbuster That’s A Secret Christmas Movie

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

This is the time of year when film nerds engage in their favorite holiday tradition: endlessly debating whether certain movies should count as holiday films or not. Traditionally, this debate centers on whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not, but we’ve got a revelation for film fans that will hit you harder than Hans Gruber hit the Nakatomi Plaza parking lot. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is a Christmas movie, and if you’re ready to ring in the holidays with murder and mayhem (still better than dinner with the in-laws), you can stream the film on Netflix today.

Prometheus Is A Prequel Story

Prometheus is, of course, the prequel to Ridley Scott’s original 1979 Alien film. Thanks to the success of James Cameron’s sequel Aliens, many over the years have associated this franchise with badass Colonial Marines fighting ravenous xenomorphs. Prometheus was Ridley Scott’s chance to bring the franchise back to its spooky roots while exploring and expanding the lore of the aliens that he helped make famous. 

What Makes It A Christmas Movie

With that being said, let’s jump right into it: what, exactly, makes Prometheus a Christmas movie? For one thing, we have a scene where a captain played by Idris Elba sets up a tiny Christmas tree in order to celebrate the holiday. Let’s be honest: being set around the holidays is the beginning and end of the argument for Die Hard being a Christmas movie. If you already buy into that argument, then you need to accept that Prometheus is just as valid a film to watch while you count down to Christmas.

Other Christmas Elements

Aside from that very explicit inclusion of a Christmas tree, most of what makes Prometheus a fitting holiday film comes from its thematic elements. As the streaming service Max argued three years ago, the film includes explicit elements of faith, like Elizabeth Shaw wearing her father’s cross to denote her Christian faith (a faith renewed by the discovery that aliens might have created life on Earth).

Christmas films don’t necessarily have to have religious elements, but since so many do (including It’s A Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown Christmas), the Christian elements of Prometheus help it feel at times like a holiday film (albeit a very unconventional one).

The Aliens In Prometheus

There are other surface-level Christian elements in Prometheus: as Max argues, the film’s plot about locating a distant planet full of intelligent alien life means that strictly speaking, we are watching a movie about wise men following a star. Considering that Ridley Scott toyed with the idea of making Jesus Christ a deceased member of the aliens they are seeking in the film, the wise men angle may not be so crazy.  And while it’s not exactly a spiritual scene, Prometheus does feature the infertile Elizabeth Shaw getting impregnated by a squid-like monster…it may not be Sunday School material, but a miraculous pregnancy is a miraculous pregnancy.

Blockbuster Status

We doubt these thematic Christmas elements played a big part in the film’s success, but Prometheus ended up being a big hit. It grossed $403.4 million against a budget of no more than $130 million and has a 73 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it’s “certified fresh.”

This effectively justified Ridley Scott’s plans to create a prequel to one of the greatest science fiction franchises ever made and justified 20th Century Fox’s plans to not simply reboot this universe as they had planned. The fact that the movie looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous is a bonus and helps make this one Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Stream Prometheus On Netflix

There you have it: while we doubt that Prometheus will ever knock Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 off its throne as the best holiday horror film, we’re certainly going to start watching it each year as part of our Christmas tradition. If you’re sick of the usual holiday fair, try convincing the family to watch Prometheus on Netflix today. You can always lead with a simple question: why watch a movie about one person’s wonderful life when you can watch a movie about several people’s wonderful deaths?