Sunday, February 1, 2015
SPOILER ALERT! The plot will be discussed.
Prometheus – someone who definitely was caught between a rock and a hard place. This film has its problems, too. I didn't really connect with the characters. The idea that we are descended from aliens was explored previously in books (Chariots of the Gods), TV (the X-Files), and film (2001: A Space Odyssey). There are some plot questions: Why do the aliens need to disintegrate one of their kind to alter the gene pool at the dawn of man instead of just adding the DNA to the environment? Why are there cave drawings of the aliens pointing us to a world that is not really their own, but which may be a weapons development planet? If you have answers, please let me know.
However, there is an interesting theme here, namely, the old Greek warning against hubris (excessive pride). The Titan Prometheus stole fire from the Gods to give it to humans – obviously a presumptuous act – for which he was tortured by being bound to a rock and having a bird tear at his liver. Here, the spacecraft in the film is named after him. He is referenced in the movie by one of the scientists, who basically says the ancient thief's time has come. This statement implies scientists want to find divine powers and make them their own. So, they go off to the planet to find our extraterrestrial parents. However, we discover that our otherworldly ancestors are not to be admired. They have a serious God-complex. They have a large sculpture of themselves, not of God, in their cave, indicating they worship themselves. They intervene in other worlds and create life and then decide to destroy it. Why? The film leaves it open – but it could be that they are just emotionally detached scientists, too (although technologically advanced ones), conducting experiments, which, in the end, destroys them.
The android in the film is called David, who admires the movie Lawrence of Arabia because
Lawrence is able to
tolerate pain. How does he do it? The secret is "not minding" – what
a good line for a cold hearted robot. Lawrence
also fashioned himself somewhat of a god, intervening in another culture's
world. David asks one of the scientists on the ship why create something
(ironic, since humans made him and he is thus questioning his own creation). The
scientist responds by saying, basically, because he can. It appears the apple
does not fall far from the tree. David, the unfeeling robot, the offspring of
humans, also performs experiments without concern for the individuals involved,
spiking the drink of one of the scientists with deadly mutating goo, which
leads to Noomie Repace's character becoming impregnated with the prototype of
the creature in the Alien films (Ridley Scott is the director here, too). She
cannot give birth to a human baby. She can only gestate a monster, indicating
that her science creates abominations when ego outweighs good judgment. It is
interesting to note that it is the nonhuman David who takes her crucifix, which
symbolizes her deference to a power greater than her own, which at the end she
takes back, her original belief having been vindicated. But, aren't all of the
Alien films about overweening pride? Don't they all say that things would have
been fine if we hadn't gone where we shouldn't have intervened, and awakened
the sleeping dragons?
However, Repace's character goes off with David at the end to seek the beings that seeded the earth with their DNA. She hopes to find out why they wanted to destroy us. David asks what's the difference. She says she is human and he is a robot, and she needs to know. Hasn't she learned anything from what has transpired? Or, is it, despite the possible hazardous consequences for the quest for knowledge, it is in our nature to keep exploring for answers?
Next week’s movie is Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound.