I wrote this email a week or so ago, a bit more detailed discussion of my fairly vague Prometheus review inside:
You talked about how the idea of meeting one's creator is the main interesting idea in this movie that isn't really expanded upon, however I don't really think it is told in such a way that it's "debating" the point of creation by a God or gods as much as its pigeon holing Ridley Scott's belief system into it. Now I don't really have any large amount of disrespect for Ridley Scott but he has pretty much made every one of his movies bash you over the head with some philosophical point or other for 10 or more years, the initial Alien not really having that issue became an excellent picture. This movie if you look at it as just an Alien clone doesn't really hold up as there's so many somewhat random weird things going on alongside the most sympathetic character being an Android. But the movie isn't about that, it's about this absurdly elaborate construction of the Ontological argument for the existence of God.
Someone asks a question "What created God?" and you wind up with this infinite loop of creation, the ontological argument simply posits that there had to be an initial force at some point in the creation loop; everything we know and understand is finite therefore the universe must be finite in some respects save this force oft identified as God. Michael Fassbender's character is essentially the central portion of this and he introduces the other primary plot point by saying "Doesn't everyone want to kill their parents?" On its surface this a throw away line, one level deeper and it reflects his motivations, but looking at the movie as a whole under this guise is really where you start to pick up on it. Androids are created by humans and want to destroy them, humans are created by titans lets call them, but humans are completely retarded in this movie so instead of wanting to kill everyone but themselves they just want to have peace and happiness, doesn't that work out great? Titans create humans because the dude on the waterfall (theorized to be a rogue) turns himself into primordial soup on the isle of skye.
Rest of the titans don't like this so they create Pandora's Box, the mother of all pathogens. Black goo. What the hell does black goo do? Well its hard to say, I don't think it genetically traces directly to Xenomorphs. If ingested black goo deconstructs and reconstructs your DNA and you turn into a zombie (weird Irish geologist guy who's the most prolific murderer in the movie, 4-5 kills in like 30 seconds), if the black goo soupifies on its own it becomes the penis monster. If you are fucked by a zombie as a human THEN your baby turns into a hydra octopus giant face hugger thing which if it then impregnates the only Titan around becomes a (very small somehow) Alien, and maybe aliens propagate themselves after that asexually, who the fuck knows. Everyone wants to kill every other race except retarded humans.
Okay what I just explained sounds really fucking stupid as a plot for a movie, however I would have to guess this is how Ridley Scott views the eternal cycle atheism that he embraces. Something created us then got destroyed by us or vice versa and this led to creating other shit because people were idiots and wanted more biological weapons, and this goes on continually until the end of time. It's fairly interesting philosophically. Of course the movie doesn't make the point very well, if I were an undecided person and had weak faiths I don't think Prometheus would inspire me to doubt the existence of God, even looking at it through this lens. No I think I'd just realize how weird and bizarre Ridley Scott's argument becomes if it is drawn to its logical conclusions, which kinda sorta happens in the movie.
I wrote a spoiler free rendition of this on my blog here: fcdisbad.blogspot.com But it's nice to articulate it to someone who has actually seen the movie. I'm probably going to write 31 movie reviews in July out of boredom and having shitloads of DvDs, but I tend to write brief reviews, 4-5 paragraphs so they don't become too much of a wall of text; though it depends on the movie and what I have to say about it.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Prometheus is a mildly amusing addition to the Science Fiction genre. At its core there is the potential for an exceptional, excellent movie but it kind of falls short. Now the primary reason for this is because of our kindly neighborhood director Ridley Scott. At some point, ten, fifteen years ago Mr. Scott decided to stop making movies for the sake of making movies and instead embeds severe some might say ham-fisted philosophical points into his films. The major point in this film is essentially the Ontological argument for the existence of God, or some derivation of it.
Ridley Scott is a renowned atheist, but he isn’t the dickish/retarded sort that just says herf derf there is no God. Clearly this man has put in the effort and thinks about it daily as it is lambasted in Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and now Prometheus. This may seem bizarre for a Science Fiction movie to revolve around God but, that’s precisely what happens here. Man discovers a potential creative being in hieroglyphs and somehow finds the constellation that all the various histories have in common. They send a ship there for at best nebulous reasons and so advances the plot.
But at some point the plot pretty much solely becomes about the question “What created God?” and the Ontological argument basically counters this by saying that there had to be some initial force and that particular force is identified as God. It’s not as philosophically invincible as say, Determinism, but it’s not the worst argument out there. Michael Fassbender plays an Android in this film akin to Alien and is absolutely fantastic. Most of what he says is hugely symbolic but pretty much everything he says is well written; the same can not be said for the rest of the cast.
Anywho there’s one line in particular, “Doesn’t everyone want to kill their parents?” Seems sort of like a throwaway but I picked up on it instantly, as every created being wants to destroy their creator in some bizarre infinite loop of creation and destruction, perhaps Mr. Scott’s outview on how civilization begins and ends. An interesting method he could have used to purvey this argument better was to make the Greek and Roman symbolism much heavier as their myths fit in much better with the weirdness of the plot; but really all you get on that front is the title of the ship and the film. Of course maybe a better title would be “Aliens of various species.” Somehow this movie does look to be doing fairly well at the box office, but if it was advertised as directly linking to Alien instead of being like Alien could it have sold better? One wonders.
I realize this isn’t much on the review front, but people have approached their reviews in the wrong sort of way. If you look at Prometheus as a single cohesive plot it doesn’t really hold up all that well and becomes a mediocre movie, but if you look at the obvious philosophical argument that is being utilized it becomes much more interesting. Plot aside the film has a fantastic cast and solid acting performances throughout to go alongside excellent CG and practical effects. Fassbender is the biggest strength the movie has and I guess I’d say the meaninglessness of Charlize Theron’s character is the biggest weakness.