Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prometheus/Ridley Scott

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.

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