Prometheus (2012): Still Searching

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. ” — Ecclesiastes 1:9


We went to see Prometheus on Fathers Day. That’s a ‘family movie’ for us. Literal meaning: son taking father to the theatre, mom gladly tagged along as chaperone.

The quote above was what came to mind as I left the theatre. Haven’t I seen them all somewhere before? The whole idea of advanced ancient civilizations, as one blogger mentioned von Daniken (Chariots of the Gods), or the enemy inside (literally), or a robot watching old films to be informed of the human way (Wall-E). O wait, maybe there are plenty of CGI techniques that are new and that my amateur and non-technical eyes could not pick out. And the fact that I chose not to watch the 3D version means I’d missed out a lot of technical extravaganza.

Let’s just pick up where I left off.

I watched the very first, Ridley Scott’s Alien, in the theatre… that was 1979. In one notorious cinematic moment, the alien bursts out from within a human belly. That’s quite original I think, shocking scene at that time. So there incubates the subsequent alien offshoots, not only in movies, but I’ve read something like that too, unexpectedly, in the book The Astronaut’s Wife.

Prometheus is the latest version of Ridley Scott’s Alien. At the start we see a couple of archeologists/scientists discovering some ancient cave paintings pointing to a star map that they think could be invitation for them to find out the origin of human life. Following their instinct, they are put to cryo sleep and waken up in the year 2093 on the space exploration vessel Prometheus heading towards those stars.

Prometheus is a space ship purely for scientific discovery. It is also privately funded by Weyland (unrecognizable Guy Pearce) for his own agenda, to find the means to eternal life. Heading the ship’s operation is hard-nosed Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Unfortunately, her character seems unnecessary except to deliver a few trite dialogues.

Leading the scientific team is Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, most aptly played by Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth… obvious name derivation). She has a chance to demonstrate her Dragon Tattoo Girl agility in combat, in resourcefulness, in quick thinking, and in acting. She’s a ‘believer’, wearing a cross necklace, always searching for the truth, despite the discovery that her Maker could be a creator-turned-terminator. She wants to know why.

In contrast, there’s David, an android/robot programmed to offer objective and unemotional info in all areas from scientific data to the various scopes of human civilization, icily played by Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre, Shame, A Dangerous Method…) In a short exchange, David asks Elizabeth why she needs to know the reason for her Maker turning against its own creation. Elizabeth gives the answer: because I’m human and you’re just a robot.

So the search lands them on the moon LV 223 where they find some humanoid creatures with much more advanced technology. But who made them? Soon they see their dangerous predicament as some organic matter inside these ‘engineers’ are still alive and can turn agressive and powerful. Spectacular warfares ensue and lives lost as a result. And I should stop here to avoid giving away any more spoilers.

The movie ends with the idea that the search continues, and so will its sequels…

I’m not a fan of the Sci-Fi/futuristic genre. But I’m glad in the year 2093, these things remain: Chopin’s music, classic films, Christmas, and human’s search for their Maker.

~ ~ ~ Ripples