Tag Archives: Prometheus
***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS***
By now, hopefully you had a chance to read my scathing review of PROMETHEUS that I posted yesterday. While I thought it was a beautiful film, I think I was pretty clear in my extreme disappointment of the overall experience. Well after doing some research, I decided this is actually one of the best movies EVER made! Okay, not really- but I did find some very fascinating research that could have made this quite a story- perhaps even a great story.
If you have seen the movie, you know one of the major criticisms is why did the Engineers turn on mankind? If they created us, why are they planning on our destruction? A fan called Cavalorn, posted an amazing theory on his site (http://cavalorn.livejournal.com/584135.html) that helps bridge the gap on the original DNA of the Prometheus story. This is an excerpt:
From the Engineers’ perspective, so long as humans retained that notion of self-sacrifice as central, we weren’t entirely beyond redemption. But we went and screwed it all up, and the film hints at when, if not why: the Engineers at the base died two thousand years ago. That suggests that the event that turned them against us and led to the huge piles of dead Engineers lying about was one and the same event. We did something very, very bad, and somehow the consequences of that dreadful act accompanied the Engineers back to LV-223 and massacred them.
If you have uneasy suspicions about what ‘a bad thing approximately 2,000 years ago’ might be, then let me reassure you that you are right. An astonishing excerpt from the Movies.com interview with Ridley Scott:
Movies.com: We had heard it was scripted that the Engineers were targeting our planet for destruction because we had crucified one of their representatives, and that Jesus Christ might have been an alien. Was that ever considered?
Ridley Scott: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, “Let’s send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it.” Guess what? They crucified him.
Yeah. The reason the Engineers don’t like us any more is that they made us a Space Jesus, and we broke him. Reader, that’s not me pulling wild ideas out of my arse. That’s RIDLEY SCOTT.
What a mind blowing idea. Jesus was an alien, attempting to ‘save’ the creation but is crucified instead. There is no denying all the creation/sacrifice/God/Christian symbolism in the movie. For instance, in the temple room, there is this distinct alien relief prominently displayed. This was confusing since the ‘alien’ that we know and love had yet to manifest to the viewer yet. But perhaps this was a symbol from the engineers, that their ultimate weapon was going to take revenge on mankind for their fallen brethren. Jesus’s crucifixion will bring the crucifixion of our existence at the hands (or claws) of the aliens.
Cavalorn goes on to explain what was up with the ‘black goo’- another confusing plot point for most. It seemed to infect some, transform others, cause birth, and death. Was it bad story telling or was there more. He writes:
The black slime reacts to the nature and intent of the being that wields it, and the humans in the film didn’t even know that they WERE wielding it. That’s why it remained completely inert in David’s presence, and why he needed a human proxy in order to use the stuff to create anything. The black goo could read no emotion or intent from him, because he was an android.
Shaw’s comment when the urn chamber is entered – ‘we’ve changed the atmosphere in the room’ – is deceptively informative. The psychic atmosphere has changed, because humans – tainted, Space Jesus-killing humans – are present. The slime begins to engender new life, drawing not from a self-sacrificing Engineer but from human hunger for knowledge, for more life, for more everything. Little wonder, then, that it takes serpent-like form. The symbolism of a corrupting serpent, turning men into beasts, is pretty unmistakeable.
A goo that reflects the sin nature of man? It’s like a magnifying glass for what was inside. Sounds preposterous but is a fascinating theory.
With all this said, it makes more sense why the newly awoken space jockey at the end started ripping off heads and killing the human crew immediately. Humans had caused the destruction of the Engineer’s race when they lost control of the doomsday weapon meant for Earth- the alien.
Slap a beard on this guy above and you got your self ‘Space Jesus’- at least an albino one. I know this is about the most absurd thing thing you have ever read. Believe me, this is about the most absurd thing I have ever written. If Ridley Scott attempted this screenplay, it probably would have bombed at a galactic level- or it could have been the greatest story ever told. Even as a person of faith, I wouldn’t have found offense with this ‘revisionist’ historical take on the person of Jesus. It just comes down to how much science do you want in your fiction? I prefer bold original stories, not the predictable and safe one we got in Prometheus. Cavalorn’s theory might not have ultimately made a better movie but it certainly would have been the most talked about movie in decades and probably in the decades to come. Personally, I think Ridley Scott could have used a controversial movie like this potential could have been. At 74, he is too old to play it safe.
While I didn’t appreciate Prometheus, I could recognize the elements of real genius at a DNA level. A bigger story was there but will have to stay buried in the tomb- perhaps to be resurrected by another some day… Your thoughts???
***Beware of spoilers***
Three decades ago, I remember a moment in our family history that would have a profound impact on me- the purchase of our very first VHS player (which weighed 100 lb and costs $1000!). Our first movie was Alien (1979). I was way to young to be watching something so horrific but it probably helps explain my present day scarred nerd psyche. Besides impacting my geek development, Ridley Scott’s vision of ‘Jaws in space’ not only launched an enormous franchise but also influenced a generations of filmmakers to remind us that no one can hear you scream in space. So I was eager to see if after a 30-year absence from outer space if Scott could re-capture some well needed magic, not only for the franchise but for his own waning career.
Within the first 5 minutes, we witness the inception of life by what appears to be a benevolent alien who sacrifices himself (and his DNA) to help spark life on Earth. The eerie and beautiful scene reassures us that the 30-year wait would be worth it. The first act of Prometheus continues the promise as Scott crafts a world that not only harkens to his original Alien but also modernizes it with some truly wonderful vast alien landscapes and claustrophobic ship interiors. Scott’s world building is impressive and early on, it seems he hasn’t missed a beat. We have clearly entered an era where CGI and practical effects are indistinguishable. Some amazing stuff here- however this is where the praises end and the criticisms begins.
Regardless of the mesmerizing visuals and the rich environment, Prometheus is deeply flawed. The main failure of Prometheus can be summed up in one word- motive. The hefty cast introduces so many significant motivations yet none of them get resolved- or even attempted to get resolved. If you just ask yourself “What does this character want?”, you would be hard pressed for an answer. Prometheus thinks it’s much smarter than it is by setting up all these complex characters. Scott wants there to be conflicting parallel stories about creation, intelligent design, and faith but sadly sacrifices those interesting themes for the all too familiar chase sequences down strobe light filled hallways. Because the motivations are muddled, the deaths feel cold and empty. By the end of the film, you realize that Scott only needed 2 characters to get us to the end, the others are just bait. All these problems coupled with a lot of fragmented action scenes really created a jarring experience. The sci-fi/horror elements, while visually competent, were also filled with a lot of head scratching logic- don’t get me started on how quickly Dr Shaw bounces back from the ‘gut-wrenching’ cesarean section scene. Geez. This Lindelof script felt like it was baked for 30 minutes- certainly not 30 years.
To me, one of the few highlights of Prometheus is Michael Fassbender. His portrayal of the synthetic servant David would have caused former Star Trek A.I., Brent Spiner, to shed a fake tear. David is precise, charming, and slightly creepy, everything you need from someone caught in a ethically compromising situation. The problem is that while he is close, David is not at the center of this movie. Scott should have made this a movie about him. With there being so much heavy themes about creation/creator, wouldn’t it have been perfectly ironic that the person who discovers the meaning of life ends up not being a real person at all but a machine? I digress.
There are a lot of themes that could be discussed here but honestly, I don’t think it’s deserved. Prometheus frivolously throws out any lofty topics for discussion in lieu of gross out horror-porn moments. And of course Ridley gives you the obligatory pre-alien cameo at the end, which was just a huge nod to the audience. The only thing it was missing was Nick Fury appearing and offing the alien a spot on the Avengers.
Aliens 1 & 2 were smartly crafted films with well-orchestrated action and horror. Prometheus has none of this. Like the bowels of the alien spacecraft, it’s beautiful and atmospheric but ultimately hollow and empty inside. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a ‘bad’ film but it fell way short on my expectations and the potential of what it could have been- the resurgence of a one-of-kind franchise as well as Ridley Scott mediocre 2nd act career.
I give it a 2.5 Babbles out of 5
Easily the most hyped panel at WonderCon this year, Prometheus is building up to be potentially the best movie of 2012. At it’s panel, Director Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender all avoided using the words ‘Alien prequel’- however this trailer seems to spell that out pretty clearly. I guess Scott is trying to keep it a mystery as long as possible. Prometheus brings Scott back into the sci-fi genre after a two decades absence (Blade Runner). I can’t wait.
Anyone who has any appreciation for film has to give Ridley Scott his due. In addition to have a really cool name, he has had a profound influence in Hollywood. Most famous for Alien, he has also directed other well-known films such as Thelma and Louise, Legend, Gladiator (like it or not) and Black Hawk Down. In addition to this, he has produced or had his hand in numerous other ventures in film and television, which leads us to one of his most famous and most misunderstood films: Blade Runner.
While not commercially successful, Blade Runner was a very influential film. A futuristic film noir, this movie had a profound impact on many future film makers and science fiction writers. I am not going to go into detail about this, that’s a whole different post, but I did want to establish Blade Runner’s place in film history, because he is making another one.
It has yet to be determined if it will be a prequel or sequel of just another story set in that world, but I of the mindset (whatever that is worth) that this is a very bad idea.
First of all, I hate to say it, but his last few movies really have not been very good. So what makes us think that Blade Runner, a movie most people didn’t like to begin, will be better? Furthermore, Blade Runner was such a unique and influential movie that it would really be impossible to replicate (little inside joke there.) It came out at the right time and right place and had the right effect. Anything else just won’t live up to Blade Runners name. I really hate to see an influential work be run into the ground by a bad follow up.
I will give you an example, actually two or three. Take Terminator 1 and 2. A great, creative, franchise now being reduced to Terminator Salvation. Another example is the Aliens and Predator crossover films. The first couple of films for each franchise were amazing, and now it’s become a joke. The ultimate example is Star Wars Episodes 1-3 and everything after. George Lucas created arguably the greatest movie franchise ever, and then ran it into the ground. (Same with Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
That’s my main problem. Sometimes greatness can’t, or won’t, leave well enough alone. This is why I am also nervous about Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, an Alien prequel. I hate to see him drag his reputation into the mud. I have higher hopes for Prometheus though, because the Alien world is a lot easier to create and sell then the world of Blade Runner, but my fingers are still crossed on it. Whether Prometheus successfully carries the Aliens franchise torch (get it?) remains to be seen, but I am sure Blade Runner won’t.