I liked Prometheus a lot and gave it 4/5 stars in my review, but there’s no getting around it: The plot of Prometheus is almost identical to the plot of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Both movies are about a starship crew journeying to a distant part of the galaxy in search of humanity’s creator. Both movies tell the story of what happens when that crew finds him, and he’s nothing at all like what they expect.
But the similarities between Prometheus and Star Trek V are far greater than just that of a similar premise. Take a closer look at both films and you’ll discover that in a lot of ways they’re nearly identical. Follow along as we break down just a few examples.
WARNING! Spoilers for Prometheus follow. Stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet!
The subtext of both Prometheus and Star Trek V involves questioning the value of faith and belief. Both movies have their crews led by scientists who have abandoned logic in favor of blind belief. In Prometheus the crew is led through the stars to their creator by Elizbaeth Shaw, a scientist who “believes” without evidence that they’ve been invited by their creator to come for a visit. In Star Trek V the crew of the Enterprise is led across the galaxy to their creator by a Vulcan scientist who has abandoned logic for emotion, and in the process now pursues faith in an all powerful creator.
How do you introduce new characters? If you’re Prometheus or Star Trek V you meet them in some sort of remote location. In Prometheus we’re introduced to faith-scientist Elizabeth Shaw hanging out in a remote area of Scotland digging through sand and stone. In Star Trek V we’re introduced to faith-driven Vulcan Sybok hanging out in a remote area on a crummy planet named Nimbus III, where he encounters a man digging in the sand.
Some of the sets they use are even, believe it or not, pretty similar. In Prometheus they land their ship on a barren stretch of land, a short distance away from a strange structure which almost seems like it might be a temple. They must travel from their ship to the structure to look for God.In Star Trek V, oddly enough, they do pretty much the same thing. The Enterprise sends down a shuttle which lands on a barren stretch of land, a short distance away from a strange structure which almost seems like it might be a temple. In Trek the structure looks more like a giant Stonehenge than anything and in Prometheus the structure is a giant rock dome, but aside from these differences the setting is the same.
You Can’t Trust Your Crew
Both Prometheus and Star Trek V end up exploring plot devices which involve crew betrayal. In Prometheus everyone seems to have their own agenda and no one really follows the orders of the ship’s Captain or their employer Meredith Vickers. In particular David betrays everyone by poisoning one of the scientists. In Star Trek V the usually loyal crew of the Enterprise mutinies and betrays its captain in order to follow the blind beliefs of Sybok. In particular Spock refuses to shoot Sybok and turns the ship over to him.
A Frantic Race To Get Back On The Ship
Both movies involve a scene in which the crew races back to the ship aboard a vehicle, and must make it inside before they’re destroyed. In Prometheus this happens as the result of an approaching storm, and the Prometheus team drives back to the ship at a frantic pace in ground vehicles (one of which looks sort of like a Star Trek shuttle on wheels). They careen straight into the cargo bay and arrive just in time, making it inside before the storm can destroy them. In Star Trek V this happens when approaching Klingons threaten to blow them up and so the crew must race back to the Enterprise aboard a shuttle. They careen straight into the shuttle bay, making inside just before they Klingons can fire.
You Have An Audience
In both movies while part of the crew goes out looking for God, the rest stays back on the ship to take care of business. But in both cases, everyone knows what’s going on. In Prometheus the crew back at the ship watches everything their exploration team does through a series of complex video cameras and sensors. In Star Trek V the crew back on the Enterprise watches everything Captain Kirk, Sybok, Spock, and McCoy do because God takes over their viewscreen and magically focuses it on whatever those four do.
God Is Evil
The big, surprise discovery in both movies is that God exists… and he wants us dead. In Prometheus our creator is a powerful alien who wakes up and starts killing everyone. He intends to escape the planet where we awaken him and set out into the galaxy to wipe out humanity. In Star Trek V our creator is revealed to be a powerful alien who when discovered, starts trying to kill everyone. He intends to escape the planet where the crew of the Enterprise finds him and set out into the galaxy to begin his reign of terror.
In the end, to stop the vengeful alien god-creature from escaping his planet and attacking humanity, someone must sacrifice themselves. In Prometheus it’s Captain Janek and the crew of the Prometheus who have to die. They launch their ship at the alien spacecraft, colliding with it and sending them all to their death. In Star Trek V the Vulcan Sybok throws himself at the alien creature and wrestles with it, keeping it busy by engaging in a suicidal mind-meld.