Prometheus/Anti-metheus…

Ok, so it’s important to note that, when it comes to movies, I’m a pretty cheap date. Superpowers, futuristic technology and explosions are good enough for me, and if there are lots of superpowers, lots of futuristic technology and lots of explosions, not only am I sold, but I may even cry tears of happiness.

Nonetheless, I was really looking forward to Prometheus, and not just because it was “this year’s must see sci-fi thriller”, but because it was being sold as a possible prequel to Alien.

I loved the Alien movie franchise as a teen. And Ripley. Mostly Ripley.

This wasn’t Alien.

Spoilers begin here.

Let me start by saying that this movie was visually stunning and the technology was just awesome. With that said, the characters and backstories were all shallow, choppy and underdeveloped. All, that is, except for that of David, the (to some extent) antagonist android. I’ll elucidate further on my attraction to David, but first I must lambast.

Lazy science!!!

A WHITE alien comes to Earth to either seed human life or all life? Really? If it’s all life, then why the hell was the alien able to breathe the atmosphere that – as it was established they required – without the single celled organisms that, billions of years ago, created the oxygen through metabolising the molecules in the atmosphere and oceans?

If it was only the humans they created, then why didn’t they make this more clear and why was it a White/Arian? In the real world, white skin was selected for when early humans migrated from the tropics of Africa into the higher latitudes in order to absorb more UV light in a shorter time, so that adequate amounts of Vitamin D could be produced. Dark skin is selected for in the tropics because the melanin that creates the dark colour filters out UV light, because too much UV creates skin cancer and too much Vitamin D is also bad.

I’m inclined to believe that it was the latter – i.e. that aliens just created humans – (the premise that the Prometheus travelled to this distant planet after early human cultures artistically depicted giant aliens pointing to the constellation they invariably travelled to), but even then, the alien apparently creates humanity and early humans carry some sort of memory of the giant alien and where it launched from, but later cultures don’t share this memory. Is that right?

Nonetheless, the theme of direct creationism, albeit via design, is implicit in the movie. As is the Judeo-Christian undertone of a benevolent creator who turns capricious and decides to kill everything for no reason. And speaking of Christian undertones, the captain of the ship who sacrifices himself on Christmas day to save humanity? C’mon!!

There were some really silly religiously motivated exchanges too (badly paraphrased):
“I guess you should throw away your cross.”
“Why?”
“Well, it’s obvious we weren’t created by gods.”
“But who created the engineers?”

And at the end, Elizabeth Shaw, after having seen her partner die; taught a voice controlled autonomous medical machine how to remove the alien from her abdominal cavity (and yanked out the umbilicus attached to her); gone back into the alien installation to meet the alien after having invasive surgery; escaped the alien and sprinted back to her ship; leaping across chasms, that would’ve torn her stapled stomach open, to tell the captain of the expedition team to destroy the alien ship; sprinting from the falling debris and rolling ship, which is seemingly intent on crushing her; narrowly making it back to the life-boat with 30 seconds of O2; narrowly escaping the squid monster and the alien, again; after all that, the thing that steels her resolve is her Christian cross… that David, for some unknowable reason, placed in his utility belt after changing into his environment suit.

Lastly, while I loved the technology, I do have a few niggling gripes; ion drives don’t travel faster than light, so the two year journey would’ve been immensely longer; the gravity on the ship had no observable explanation; the voice controlled autonomous medical pod was purchased by Meredith Vickers, a woman, but the pod was not configured for women; the flame thrower worked too efficiently for an atmosphere with four times the CO2 of Earth.

Awesome Android!!

While the crew were in their deep sleep, David learned the root of all human languages, taught himself basketball and how to comb his hair like Laurence Olivier. His philosophically charged wit and snark make him my favourite character by a very wide margin, even despite his homicidal tendencies.

My three favourite exchanges in the film were all due to this completely relatable character.

Third favourite: old looking Guy Pearce is attacked by the “engineer” and is dying, says, “there’s nothing”, to which David replies, “I know, have a nice journey.”

Second favourite: Holloway tells David that he doesn’t need to breathe, so wearing an environment suit would be pointless. David responds by saying that humans made him this way (i.e. restrained him to such a frame) because they’re fickle and scared of things that are more capable/better than themselves. As such, he must wear the environment suit so as to maintain the illusion that he is not a trillion times more awesome… even though he is.

Favourite: Holloway is drunk and dishevelled at the pool table and David enters to antagonise him and dose him with the “weaponised evolution.” In this exchange David is curious why Holloway is so disappointed at not being able to meet the “engineers.”

David: “Why did you make me?”
Holloway: “Because we could.”

David then, covertly, asks Holloway whether he was expecting a different answer to the same question. David then tells Holloway that he knows his creators and is pretty unimpressed.

So, what more can I say?

The film was pretty darn enjoyable, albeit fairly frustrating in parts. I dare say that if I had only a limited understanding of the biological evolution, and they’d spent more time working on the plot and storyline and less time working in out-of-place sex scenes and vagina-aliens, I would’ve been singing their praises.

I did leave the film feeling a little disappointed, but I am buoyed by the possibility of a sequel where David and Elizabeth Shaw hunt down the aliens to find out WTF they were thinking. Hell, it may even be a great opportunity to answer the questions raised by the lazy science in this movie.

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About jakefw

My Religious Status Atheist, Secular, Anti-Theist, Pirate Lover. About Me: I'm so funny and intelligent that when I make jokes, people simultaneously laugh and get smarter... it's an enigma, like clothing on a playboy playmate - see what I did there? I'm a writer - currently for prolific blog www.rustylime.com. I'm a poet - this is a lie. I'm a fighter - more with my tongue than anything... take that however you want... ladies. I'm an intellectual - e=Mc2... apparently. I am well educated - I have degrees in both Fahrenheit and Celsius... some day I will rate in Kelvin. My blood type is O- - But I like to think of myself as a positive kind of guy. I was abducted by aliens at an early age - Bloody immigrants... always trying to take our jobs... and our children! I love the theatre - I've always loved sterile environments where operations take place. I am not an Animal lover - I prefer Beaker, that 'meep' sound he makes is hilarious. I am a science literacy proponent - people need to know how to blow shit up using household chemicals like nitrocellulose and ear wax! I deny evolution - while my cousin might look like an ape, she most assuredly isn't! I am a climate change skeptic - man was never meant to wear underpants! I love religion - But it's at that stage in it's life where it's getting really expensive to take care of it... I think it's time we took it behind the barn and put a cap in it's arse. I hate intolerance - I especially hate intolerant people, I hate them in the face! Thats me, if you want to know more, don't hesitate to procrastinate on sending me an email to ask questions about me and my pet Burrito named Dog! Age: Old enough to pretend I didn't hear the question, young enough to emotively storm out of the room because you asked! Why am I here: When a man and a woman love each other very much, they have 'intercourse' and if they love each other enough, the man won't 'pull out' and they'll make a baby. On this occasion, the baby was named 'Jake', and he's just great! The religion I left: Christian, Catholic Why I left My religion: disillusionment with church, doubts about god communicating to pastor, doubts about god communicating at all, contradiction between concept of "free will" and concept of omniscience god with will, "free will" doesn't make sense since desires not under our control, inability to view god as anything more than a sadistic tyrant, contradiction between bible's claim of god's love and existence of hell, doubting bible led to crumbling away of any firm belief structure, Also why I left my religion: Priest and pastor could not answer questions on quantum physics... made me question everything! Twitter: http://twitter.com/_Modus_Operandi
  • lol m.

    ” taught himself basketball and how to comb his hair like Laurence Olivier.”

    Small correction: he teaches himself how to comb his hair like Lawrence of Arabia, not Olivier. And his name is David, just like the director of Lawrence of Arabia.

  • Alex

    Whilst nit-picking, I thought the pod had been brought for old-man Weyland, thus not being problematic that Meredith had it.

  • ullrich fischer

    Another great episode. Thanks guys. One small quibble: “Cockadoodledoo-you!” somehow doesn’t have the emotional impact of “fuck you!” … just saying.

    My wife and I almost simultaneously came up with what we’re going to do with the leap-second: Make love. We’re old, so that involves basically touching pinkies to each other.