Category Archives: Alien

Dissecting Prometheus, Part 12: Nietzsche

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I am planning on this being my last Prometheus article in this series, but you never know.  This movie keeps unfolding new things in our laps for us to look at.

During the end credits of Prometheus, it tells us to go to http://weylandindustries.com/timeline.  A video was posted there over the summer  of 2012 that showed Weyland drinking and prepping himself for his TED speech in the year 2023.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDjk68_MLNI  Notice the words he is saying.

“I am a law only for my kind, I am no law for all.” That’s what Weyland is whispering to himself in that clip, and that leads us to the main image from the page: a book cover for Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche, a book that the website claims “deals with ideas such as the “eternal recurrence of the same”, the parable on the “death of God”, and the “prophecy” of the Übermensch

The book by Nietzsche is so filled with heavy themes and riddles, it goes without saying to try to conquer even one of those themes in a few pages would be futile at best.  But there are things to consider, and the Prometheus film and viral marketing campaign, revolving around the crassness and pride of a young Weyland reference this book, telling us to look at it.  It is clear it’s another key.

Remember the Straight VS Curved lines article?  This is an excerpt from that book:

“All that is straight lies,” the dwarf murmured contemptuously. “All truth is crooked; time itself is a circle.”

Interesting, eh?  This philosophy that everything repeats is based on his theory that God is dead, and that life is meaningless.  Note that I did not say that it doesn’t say that God doesn’t exist.  If you’ve seen the viral marketing, think back to the TED talk.  “We are the gods now.”  Weyland sees himself as a kind of Zarathustra:  a superman because of his creations and advances in technology.   He is Illuminati- illuminated.  This mission will be his journey to the dwarf.  He’s going to meet God.   If he’s alive and ask for more life.  He doesn’t accept that his mortality is part of the circle.  After all, Nietzsche’s philosophy is that the meaning of life is to live life to the fullest.  That has become the sum of all what he believes are man’s pursuits.  To live!  Contrast that with the theme of sacrifice on display throughout the film.  It contrasts with the philosophy that God is alive- and that selfish ambition is meaningless – to die is to live.

Another failing by audiences around the world to understand Prometheus is why they are able to just find the temples on the planet within minutes of arrival without scans, as if miraculously for the sake  of moving the plot forward.  The key is that it is miraculous, and that these scientists and ship mates don’t see it as miraculous.  You are meant to question why they just happened to find things.  That’s because there is another character in Prometheus at work.  God.  Why didn’t the engineers carry out their mission?  God.  Why did the engineer not try to kill Elizabeth the first time?  God.  How did Elizabeth survive such physical torture?  God.  Why does she still believe?  To her, she sees Him.  God is with her.  She is intended to go on the next phase of this journey.  She is being carried there.  It doesn’t matter whether you like or agree with it.  Remember, Scott basically said this was a bible story.  It maybe portentous, but it works.

Nietzsche obviously was an inspiration to 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that Scott is playing homage to here.  The main orchestral theme is even a classical piece based on this treatise composed in 1896 by Richard Strauss that has become synonymous with the film- a film which questions the recurrence theory and is all about transcendence.

In fact, Weyland seems to speak in epigrams in the viral adds, but then through David, his creation in the movie.  David is constantly quoting films and applying their deeper meanings and wit to his findings throughout the movie.

The Illuminati part of Weyland – this “survival of the fittest” – others don’t matter in the scheme of things – is his view that he is transcending – “evolving” in the way the space baby evolved from Bowman in 2001. He believes his accomplishments have made him a god, and that the rest of the human race is expendable if they cannot keep up… this is what guided his selection of the crew for the Prometheus… they are lab rats… it’s not their intellect or technical achievements that matter to him, it’s how they can be manipulated into achieving his goals, which he views as important to the human race.

This book was given to Nazi soldiers during WWII.  With it’s ideas on heroism and the rise of the supermen, the book was misinterpreted by the Germans as a cook book for how to create a Nazi race of supermen, and how to justify the thought process that creates it.  While I’m not speculating that Weyland was a Nazi, I am trying to say that he misinterprets things to have only relevance to him:  That he is this Übermensch.

Weyland’s philosophy is what will become the blueprint for his company: “crew expendable”.  His company will continue to contest with the engineers for their technology – the fire of Prometheus … the alien itself.   It’s as if he believes, even post-mortem, this Nietzsche ideology must be integrated into his company’s philosophy.   His company will be the illuminated, because to control this “alien” biotech is how to evolve into the next phase of godhood, and they are willing to compete with their creators to become the new Gods; the Übermensch.  If God isn’t dead, they will try to make it happen.  As David said, “ Doesn’t everyone want to see their parents dead?”  Weyland is no different.

It’s with great dismay that when he meets his creators, they react not according to his philosophy, but with what he most likely interprets as a primordial religious one.  He is not worthy to stand before them for the exact reasons he thinks he is worthy to.

In the quote I mentioned above, Zarathustra is arguing about time itself as he stands before a gateway labeled “Moment.”  The notion that everything that has happened before will happen again is not new to science fiction, it was utilized just a few years ago in the “Battlestar Galactica” television series. What is different? Because the circle has spiritual significance in Prometheus, and straight lines are not spiritual, this gives way to the idea that time and everything that is real is spirit; everything that is not spiritual is a lie.

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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 11: Faust

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The story of Faust:

Despite his scholarly eminence, Faust is bored and disappointed. He decides to call on the Devil for further knowledge and magic powers with which to indulge all the pleasure and knowledge of the world. In response, the Devil’s representative,Mephistopheles, appears. He makes a bargain with Faust: Mephistopheles will serve Faust with his magic powers for a term of years, but at the end of the term, the Devil will claim Faust’s soul and Faust will be eternally damned. The term usually stipulated in the early tales is 24 years.

During the term of the bargain, Faust makes use of Mephistopheles in various ways. In many versions of the story, particularly Goethe’s drama, Mephistopheles helps him to seduce a beautiful and innocent girl, usually named Gretchen, whose life is ultimately destroyed. However, Gretchen’s innocence saves her in the end, and she enters Heaven. In Goethe’s rendition, Faust is saved by God’s grace via his constant striving—in combination with Gretchen’s pleadings with God in the form of the Eternal Feminine. However, in the early tales, Faust is irrevocably corrupted and believes his sins cannot be forgiven; when the term ends, the Devil carries him off to Hell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust

There have been many comparisons made between the story of Faust and the myth of Prometheus, so many that there has even been a book written on the subject . (http://www.questia.com/library/1407263/prometheus-and-faust-the-promethean-revolt-in-drama)

 

Goethe, a 19th century author,  wrote two plays before settling on Faust, based on the actual Johann Georg Faust, a 16th century  doctor who practiced alchemy and died in an experimental explosion.    Thus, the identity of Faust became fused with elements of Prometheus.

I would imagine that Faust is an inspiration for many of the scenes in Prometheus, with David being a type of Faust; Weyland a kind of Mephistopheles; Elizabeth a kind of Gretchen.

You might ask why Weyland, with his pursuit for power and intellect would not be the Faust, and David, a type of technology, would not be the Mephistopheles?  Those are valid comparisons, but for the sake of this study, the answer lies in the Gretchen character.  In Goethe’s version of Faust, her mother is given a narcotic by Faust which Faust did not realize would kill her, at the behest of Mephistopheles.  This is played out as David gives the weaponized fluid to Holloway at the behest of Weyland.  Faust is infatuated with Gretchen in the same way that David is infatuated with Elizabeth.  Elizabeth has a child that is a result of David’s tampering and tries to destroy it, the same way that Gretchen killed Faust’s child and ended up in Jail.

Faust is not interested merely in power, pleasure, and knowledge, but longs to take part in the divine secrets of life. He conjures up an Earth-Spirit, but it refuses to help him slake his insatiable thirst for knowledge. Faust becomes depressed and wants to kill himself. But it is Easter and the church bells tell of the resurrection. He is overcome by childhood memories: “Die Botschaft hör’ ich wohl, / allein mir fehlt der Glaube” (I hear the message clearly, / but I alone lack the faith). He does not commit suicide, but his inner tensions heighten. He is both sick of life and unbearably hungry to know and experience its deepest offerings. He hunts ravenously for knowledge but he also yearns to satisfy his bodily desires for action. In this situation, Mephistopheles makes an appearance and offers to fulfill Faust’s every desire—for the price of his soul.

http://www.bookrags.com/research/faust-este-0001_0002_0/

David wants to find life and is no longer satisfied with technology.  This is what separates him from Weyland.  David wants to be more than he is, while Weyland wants to continue just being.  I suppose that in a way, an argument could be made that Weyland could be a type of Faust, and that David is his technological Mephistopheles, his own daughter being the Gretchen life he destroyed.  In that way, there could be two representations of this tale within the film.  However, Vickers was not a religious person as Elizabeth was – and she did not seem to have the innocence that the Gretchen character has in the play.

Another key component is the end of Goethe’s version, which has Faust being forgiven, Gretchen’s intercession for him, and both of them entering Paradise.  This seems to parallel Elizabeth’s reclaimed faith, going to get David and in a way forgiving him, and both of them leaving to greet their creator.

Our current technological world that is criticized in Scott’s Prometheus adheres to the theory of the limitations of what is also categorized in sociology as Faustian Society, originally conceptualized in the writings of Marshall Berman.  Author Ken Sanes sums up those theories:

…Faustian societies are characterized by the pervasive use of deceptive simulations to manipulate large numbers of people.

Put in terms that were first referred to on an earlier page, Faustian society is using the powers of rationality and the ego – of logic, science and technology — to build a perfect world that answers to our desires. The goal is to create a new kind of person: a sovereign self, in control of its environment, including its own biology and mind…

We can begin this effort at self-knowledge by recognizing that we are ascending a ladder of invention and discovery that has always been there, waiting to be climbed. This ladder of progress is built in to the universe. It is an element of the world, of which we are only a part.

The ladder has two arms. One is made up of our growing power to use science and technology to control the physical world. The other is made up our ability to grow as people. We will need both if we want to make our great ascent.

http://www.transparencynow.com/faustian.htm

Indeed, it seems that both the story of Faust and the themes underneath that story seem to drive some of the story of Prometheus, showing us that science should not replace faith, but instead accompany it.  There is a struggle by both the protagonists and antagonists to be more than they are, with vastly different philosophies on how to get there.


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70 Prometheus Questions Answered

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Dan: Once again we have morons going to the movies and obviously NOT paying attention. Since the film’s June 8 release, one stupid question after another has been surfacing and they are some real whoopers. All resulting from the curious ones, CLEARLY not paying attention or are just real cement heads… In no order of importance, here are the ones that appear with too much regularity. Geez, some of these freaks are voting too!
-Dan Turpin

These questions were compiled by Dan Turpin from various sources on the web and responded to by me, Tony.  My responses are in yellow below.

1. Why did the android eat and learn impossible languages?

David is curious, and is not unable to sample foods.  Ash in Alien also ate.  These androids are programmed to mimic, and possibly learn human emotion and traits.  He used words like “enjoy” and “want.”  This question is pretty stupid.  What makes a language impossible?  David was learning a language from a computer in the future with his advanced brain so that he could be prepared to help translate what they would find, based on the Sumerian and other ancient world languages that existed at the time the maps in the caves were created.

2. Why was there fire where there wasn’t oxygen?

The planet had oxygen.  It was not a vacuum.  However, it had higher concentrations of CO2 which caused it to be dangerous to breath for too long of a duration of time.

3. Why after the hibernation they don’t have beard?

For cryogenics to work you have to be able to slow the metabolism of the body to a point that the subject does not age, defecate, urinate, starve, or dehydrate.  This would slow the growth of hair to almost nothing as well.  This question comes from someone who has never seen a science fiction movie before.

4. What big ideas was the film exploring?

Religion, God, Who created us, Ancient Astronauts, Faith VS Science, Faustian Technology, Sacrifice VS Selfishness

5. Why did they try to pet a clearly hostile alien lifeform? (referring to the Geologists)

One was a Geologist; the other was a Biologist.  It wasn’t clearly hostile at first – the biologist approached the hammerpede knowing it wasn’t a snake, but also knowing that most life forms don’t wander up to larger creatures out of curiosity with intent for violence.  Snakes do not do this, even poisonous ones.  They are apt to hide from predators.   Clearly believing in evolution, the scientist felt he understood and was more capable of comprehending animal life forms and their motivations than the rest of the crew.  There is a significant subtext here, but I am opting to give you less symbolic answer for your tiny brain.

6. What was with the black goo? It acted differently on each person it touched…

It actually did not react differently, but instead there was more than one type of goo.   The engineer at the beginning used the goo as a means to a ritual, sacrificing himself.  This goo is genetically programmed to create life.  The goo you see the dark engineers use has been programmed to weaponize existing life.  It weaponizes the worms, Fifield and Holloway.  David is not affected because he is not organic.

7. Why was the first thing they did when they landed on the alien planet is take their helmets off?

The literal reason is that they find the air is breathable and David confirms it.  Holloway is something of an “X Games” scientist, interested in the exploration and adventure side of archaeology more than playing it safe, so it stands to reason he would be the one to be gung ho about trying out the new air within the temple.  There is symbolism here, because of the shape of the helmets being like a halo, that this is a picture of man leaving God and faith because of science.  Of course, the early engineer was a balance of both faith (the ritual) and science (the goo).  Man removes his spiritual covering and is cursed…. The opening of the temple with the giant head, exposing the atmosphere within was another picture of this, the temple itself becoming cursed. 

8. When a giant, thin, long object is about to fall on top of you, run straight instead of off to one side?

I will ignore the subtext about having a hard heart and not yielding to your creator, but instead there actually was a very good reason why they did not go to the left or right of the falling juggernaut.  Flaming chunks of the Prometheus were raining down on either side of the path like flaming bombs, making the shadow of the juggernaut the only path shielded from the debris.  They were looking at the giant rocks ahead; trying to get to shelter from what they reasoned would the explosive crash of the juggernaut.  What they didn’t expect was how strong it was, simply rolling instead of exploding, obviously another defense mechanism of the Space Jockey’s ship.

9. How anyone could point to the many plot-holes, inconsistencies, poor character development (or none i should say), amateur hour science v. theology debate, illogical actions (from fucking scientists in the field!!!), ill-defined rules (black goo), etc. So many questions and too many dummies these days watching movies…

This was not a question but a pointless rant.

10. Why did the geologists “act” so odd? Why did the younger one pet the alien “snake? Shouldn’t he know better, an alien life form and he pokes at it like a curious child, doesn’t look smart…

Biologists in fact do go out and make contact with life forms all the time, especially putting themselves in danger – whether it be marine biologists who pet sharks, or the jungle variety going after arachnids, herps, and gorillas…  The biologist was a little more creeped out by all the runes, atmosphere of the temple, and the alien technology than the “critters” in the temple.  Also, he had time to calm down from earlier – the two of them had been their hours with nothing really happening…  How do people miss this?

11.  The plot is full of holes. Sorry to keep mentioning this, but it is. Why were the engineers running *into* the dangerous room?

The danger was chasing them.  The room was a ceremonially sacred and very secure looking room.  There was no perceived danger in the room at that time. 

12. Why did they leave invitations on Earth to a planet that is just a weapons store?

We don’t know that it was actually an invitation. (“We were wrong!  We were so wrong!”) Because of the temple, ceremonial nature of the chambers, it most likely was not “just” a weapons store.  In fact, there very likely could have been an uprising or fight of some kind between two factions. 

13. It doesn’t matter if there are other films following this one up – every film should make sense within itself.  The Lord of the Rings films are all complete units, and the follow-up films were definitely in production when the first one was released.

To say that the plot should work without symbolism or not be vague  is to throw away all the movies Kubrik, Truffaut, or Gilliam ever made.  Many of their works make no sense on a literal level, and many of them are science fiction films.  Examples?  2001, A Clockwork Orange, Farenheit 451, 12 Monkeys, etc.     The LOTR films were not all complete units.  Part I had no third act.  Part II was only a second act, and Part III had far too many endings.   These problems are acknowledged by the director himself.  They are good movies, but not without their flaws.  Many “fans” of LOTR simply like it because they think it makes them seem more intelligent for saying they like it.  It’s “the cool thing”.  It does have amazing art direction, however.  You can have your hobbits, I’ll take my engineers. 

14. It’s not reasonable to excuse plot holes because the director “hopes” to make a follow-up film.

I agree with this statement.  However, you have not presented any plot holes.  Purposeful omissions to leave the audience wondering and wanting more is not a plot hole.    

15.  I doubt he will, by the way.

This is just trolling.  He’s Ridley Scott.  Ever heard of him?  He will do what he wants.  He gave the Alien universe away before, he’s not going to do that again.  He’ll produce whatever comes next.

16.  The screenplay generally is full of ideas that don’t really go anywhere (eg: the apparent plan to keep Elizabeth for further testing)

If you are talking about them preparing to freeze her for the trip home, it makes perfect sense.  Were they supposed to just let it kill her?  They didn’t say anything about “keeping” her for experimentation.

17. Contrivances (eg: their spaceship enters the atmosphere just conveniently next to exactly where they want to be,

You are missing the point of the divine in the film, intervening.  That’s okay, the characters in the film missed all the God stuff too, that was the point.  You were supposed to be thinking “hey, how did they just happen to find that?”  Then a key to the fact that the characters keep missing God “God does not build in straight lines”

18. or we suddenly find out that Elizabeth is barren and a load of back story is quickly lumped into the scene before they have sex on the Prometheus). It is the director’s job to make sure these things don’t make it to the shooting stage, or are sorted out in the edit.

It appeared in the film in the correct order at the correct time, and it was appropriately and ingeniously inserted via the “Anyone can create life” scene.  It’s a painful point to her, should they have been talking about it on the bridge?  Have her looking at pictures of children over breakfast saying “I wish I could have kids.  Maybe God will give me an alien baby!”   This last comment is from someone who has no clear concept of what a “reveal” is and what a device is in relation to story.  Where’s the airlock?

19. Characters actions are often unmotivated or unclear (eg: David infecting Charlie,

It was clear, Weyland asked him to

20. the biologist being unafraid of the cock monster even though he was unwilling to go near the dead engineer).

I explained this above, so I won’t repeat myself

21. And don’t say that these things become clear upon further analysis – it’s the director’s job to make sure the characters and their delivery have motivations and actions that can be clearly understood by the audience WHILE THEY’RE WATCHING IT.

It was painfully obvious to me upon the first watch.  In fact, the first point was pounded home by David visiting Weyland in his sleep, Vickers asking David “What did he say”, etc.  It was almost placating.  Now I know why he had to hammer it.  People like you can’t pay attention and are obviously have never watched a scientist on the Discovery channel do something a bit daring and unwise.  Steve Irwin was a real herpetologist, but did crazy stuff that got him killed.  It happens.  Contrary to popular belief, scientists are people with real feelings who make mistakes and have egos.

22.  To paraphrase Mark Kermode, there’s too much of people going on about the “big picture” (who are we and where do we come from) in contrast to Alien which was more about the “small picture”.

Apples and oranges.  This is not Alien.  Mark didn’t know that this movie is trying to be big picture?  I loved this about the film.  We’ve had enough small picture films.  Also, Alien had lots of symbolism as well.

23. Therefore the characters were unbelievable and the film felt tell-not-show.

These were different characters purposefully “looking” for danger and big questions.  Why wouldn’t they discuss it?

24. If you want a non-Alien example, look at a film like Cube, where big ideas are dealt with, but not by characters giving big clunky speeches. Actions are motivated by clearly defined characters and the world and the ideas are revealed through those actions and their consequences. Not by people standing up and giving speeches about what they believe and getting all teary-eyed and Roland Emmerich-y about it.

*Snicker* Cube?  Really?  You mean actions like self sacrifice?  Check.  David non-verbal on the ship at the beginning. Check.  Having characters emote and express themselves without using language, being able to tell what they’re feeling and their motivations by their reactions to what’s going around (awoken engineer)? Check.  Do you even know what you’re talking about?

25.  There is too much that needs to be extrapolated or interpreted. All of the salient information should be on-screen. This is related to point 1.

The film is a puzzle box.  Have you never seen a David Lynch film?  A Kubrik film?  A Hitchcock film?  This is absolutely false.  All of the salient information absolutely SHOULD NOT be onscreen, or else you can’t call it a mystery.  This is like saying they should have told us what Yoda meant by “there is another” in ESB because you can’t count on another film to tell us.  In 2001, we did not get to understand what the monolith was in literal terms.  Please know what you are talking about.  That they should have said why the birds were attacking Tipi Hedren.  It’s obvious you have not studied film whatsoever, so please don’t try to educate us on how the iPhone generation wants their cinema.

26. So many of the characters and their actions are cliche and clunky. The geologist and the biologist are good examples (uneasy relationship develops into friendship).

That’s the point.

27. Charlize Theron’s character too (total bitch representing corporate greed – compare her to, just for example, the Michael Bishop character (played by Lance Henriksen) at the end of Alien3 who, even in a tiny “cameo” part, is infinitely more complex and interesting but equally represents Wayland-Yutani and corporate “facelessness”.

She is supposed to be a bitch, but we do feel for her.  She’s never known the love of a father, she obviously still wants it, and she would rather get the crew home safe than have the mission succeed.  She is jealous of an Android whom she is forced to treat as a sibling.  She may or may not be an android.  She strives to prove she isn’t cold by sleeping with Janek.  Don’t forget, she’s won best actress for Monster.  She’s a master at playing damaged, complex bitches we can sympathize with.  

28. The references to the other Alien films really got in the way. For example, the flamethrower,

This make sense on a space faring vessel that this would be the weapon of choice as fire can be depleted from a chamber by choking oxygen, most the surfaces are non-oxidizing, and projectiles would puncture the hull.

29. the “hiding in a cupboard and crawling into a spacesuit” thing,

???

30. the basketball,

If you are comparing David multitasking to show his efficiency and skill, so what? It’s a 5 second scene.   I go into detail on this one again below.

31. the android getting its head knocked off,

Yes, because he’s an android.

32. the “we’ve got the destroy the ship” thing…

This was about sacrifice this time… not self preservation.  Also, they used the ship as a torpedo here.  I don’t think it was an homage, and it was one of the best sequences of the movie.   This is about as lame as complaining about the enterprise constantly getting destroyed.  

33. I don’t mind a few carefully chosen references, but this was chock full of them and it felt like they were being used to give the film some kind of validity.    By the end of it, I was actually expecting something to be sucked out of an airlock. Or for there to be a cat somewhere. I wish that Ridley Scott had actually done what people keep *saying* he has done, and made a film that was entirely separate from the Alien films except for the space jockey.

Lindelof threw a few bones to the Alien fans, but the film is a much more rich and intelligent science fiction film than any of the Alien sequels.  But I agree with you on this one.  He shouldn’t have given you people anything Alien related to chew on and instead should have explained less so that you would go away and watch a movie where they take 3 hours to walk to a volcano.

34. Then he could’ve chucked out all the stuff he mishandled (like the next three points). Instead, he has made an Aliens Origin Movie, like all those endless comic book origins films that are around at the moment. Snore.

Yes, go to sleep already.  Many of us have been waiting patiently forever for this.  This is a matter of likes and dislikes – it’s personal preference.  I hate rap music, but that doesn’t mean it really sucks, that’s just my opinion.  Art is subjective.   I loved that it was an origin movie, and that it opens up the Alien universe to bigger things than a WWE wrestling match between Aliens and Predators.

35. While I accept that all Alien films are kind of survival-horror-scifi films, the way that people got picked off was dull and predictable.

The only true creature kills were Fifield, Milburn, the engineer at the end.  Fifield beat to death most the crew in the airlock in a matter of moments, and one crew member was crushed, the engineer killed 4 of them instantly, and 4 crew members sacrificed himself via fire (promethean style).   

36. Again, compare Alien, where, OK, everyone gets picked off eventually except for Ripley (and Jones) and even if we knew who was going to buy it next we still cared about them and it felt genuinely shocking when it happened.

Why compare?  When Alien came out, everyone complained about the pacing at the beginning, but it was that pacing and the fact that we had never seen that kind of creature before that caused the shock.  This time, it’s different.  It’s not so much as shocking as it is interesting and intense.  Totally different kind of Alien film.  Do you compare “The Voyage Home” with  “The Wrath of Khan?”  Totally different themed episodes.

37.  I felt the tone was very uneven. At times it wanted to be an intelligent sci-fi and at others it resorted to really basic horror tropes. (JUST LIKE THE ORIGINAL-WOW!)

The film is both.  You are no longer asking questions but complaining about what you like and don’t like.   The scene where the geologist turns into an impossible-to-kill zombie was really a low point in the film.  Again, subjectivity.

38. That’s when I felt I was watching a Paul WS Anderson film. And even though it was an appallingly stupid scene, it was over so quickly you felt they could have just done without it

The scene was necessary to show what the goo would do when it got to earth, weaponizing everyone against each other.  Imagine that scene on a planetary scale.  Oh wait, you can’t imagine, it has to be told to you.  But then they talk too much and don’t show enough… wait, which is it?

39. – another example of point   2. I also feel that this scene really broke the suspension of belief that the audience may (should) have had. In Alien, everything felt possible and real, even though it was fantastical. Then, in Prometheus, we’re suddenly (but only for about 2 minutes) expected to believe that a person infected by a parasite can suddenly leap enormous heights and survive repeated gunshot blasts. It is the cumulative effects of scenes like this that distance me from the film and make me feel it was poorly directed.

This was expensive technology that used nanotech to heal rapidly created 90 years from now.  Elizabeth was on pain killers and steroid injections produced in that time period, and showed immense pain.  Survival instinct as well as faith took over.  

40. Another example is where the geologist is smoking a bong that has been wired into his spacesuit. It reminded me of one of the Scary Movie sequels, where Ghostface smokes a joint and his scary mask starts to look happy. I felt this was the same kind of wink-wink-nudge-nudge, hey any frat-boys watching this, isn’t cannabis fun?! Tee hee!

No, he wanted to relax.  Pot is prevalent in Alien too.  Brett was always rolling.  Right?  You think it’s unrealistic that a geologist with a red Mohawk, tattoos, and a clear disdain for everyone around him would be rebellious and get high with a minor drug?

41. The self-surgery scene is overrated. Yeah, it was disgusting, but I just didn’t believe in it. I didn’t care about the character, I felt the lead-up to the scene was contrived, I couldn’t understand why she could operate the machine

The machine did all the work, but Elizabeth showed she had a mastery of medical science when operating on the alien head.

42. why it couldn’t administer anaesthetic

I think she wanted to be awake to face whatever the hell was coming out.  I don’t think she expected to cuddle and nurse.  Being asleep with that thing in the pod with her is not probably a great idea.

43. or why it could operate on a woman when it categorically said it wasn’t calibrated to do so (bearing in mind that the alien was in her uterus, as stated by David’s character).

Not calibrated to do so according to someone she doesn’t trust.  She went with the generic foreign object removal and the pod most likely just dealt with her sexuality on a tissue basis.

44. And I couldn’t understand why she was running away, but no one followed her into the operating room and no one was bothered when she reappeared and she was allowed to wander around the ship again.

A lot was going on, it’s a big ship, and there was a scene cut from the film where Vickers acknowledges they did know about Shaw’s guest.   But yes, I will have to give you this one, there were editing errors here that should be addressed.  However, it’s not hard to speculate that they knew but thought it was contained or just didn’t care.  Their master was waking up, and he’s not here to study critters.

45. You would think that David would have a passing interest in what happened to the alien in her womb, but no! It’s time to wash Mr Wayland’s feet. (And why were we introduced to it in Charlize Theron’s room? If it was hers, why wasn’t it calibrated for women? If it was Mr Wayland’s, why wasn’t it in his room? Why is all the simple stuff so difficult to understand?!)

Her chamber was his chamber, as she was just along for the ride.  The life boat was there to protect him, not his daughter.  As for David’s interest, he was very interested.  These are scientists.  They aren’t all freaked out by the goo or what they perceive as a frozen baby squid.

46.  The character of David is overrated. (Huh?) As is Michael Fassbender’s performance. True, it steals the show, but not in a good way. I think android characters are interesting, especially in the Alien movies, but I think everything that can be said has been said and there wasn’t enough room in this already-bloated film for all the ideas that were thrown into David’s character. Compare Alien 4s ‘Call’ android – OK, they do the “Oh my goodness, it’s an android!” thing *yet* again, but she does have an interesting character and a limited and well-explored android dilemma. David’s character/android dilemma re-hashes everything from all the former Alien films and the only new thing he brings is the fascination with Lawrence of Arabia, which to be honest I found rather irritating.

On this opinion, you are alone on the planet.  Everyone who even hates the movie loves his performance.  It’s oscar caliber.

47.  I think Noomi Rapace was poorly cast. I think she was cast very much on the basis of audience knowledge of her in the Dragon Tattoo films. People have knowledge of her as a powerful woman, and they bring that expectation to Prometheus (and, as we all know, the Alien films are all about powerful women). That is the fault of the person watching the film.    In fact, a combination of the material (screenplay) and her performance lead to a forgettable character in a film of forgettable characters, where people continually cite a marginally interesting supporting role as being the best thing in the film (ie: David). I’m sorry, but a film is poorly directed if I don’t care about the main character, full stop.

What, are you a camera now?  The film is poorly directed if no one cares about the main character but it is implied that we are supposed to.  You are not alone in your hatred for her.  Some  can’t deal with her faith or pursuit of purity.   I thought she was excellent, and 400 million dollars says I’m not alone.  Also, you say it’s forgettable.  Why can’t I get it out of my head?  Another point I am not alone on.   I like characters of high moral fiber.  I even know a few.

48. Why don’t they have probes for surveying?

They do, for mapping.  Holloway wants to open his presents.  He wants to be there.  If you meant before the mission began, I think it has to do with time running out for Mr. Weyland.  He believes enough that he’s ready to just go, and probably doesn’t have the time left to wait several years for a probe to get there and send message back of its findings.  We don’t know that messages from probes could permeate back through space at that distance quickly like on Star Trek (subspace).

49. Why do characters stop in mid thought and ask stupid pretentious questions to try to make the movie not seem dumb?
You will have to give an example of this.  You are making a false generalization.  Why do you stop in mid thought ans ask stupid pretentious questions to try to make the movie seem dumb?

50. Someone just attacked two crew members, but no-one is alerted? They, instead, go to revive the young guy in the old man make-up?

You must have fallen asleep when Vickers and Janek were sleeping together.  Then they go to the temple.  Then they come back.  Then… oh forget it.  You didn’t watch the movie.

51. Why does the “Black Sperm of My Vengeance” make people into Mad Hulk? (Look it up).

It was a reprogrammed genetic material that instead of creating life, weaponizes it.  To me this was obvious and the point of the mutated Holloway attack scene and the scene with the worms.  There also could be some spiritual significance – it could be their remains or life force.  These could be the fallen angels of Lucifer.  This is going far above the person who asked the question’s  head, so I’ll stop.

52. Why would a super duper surgery chamber be for “dudes only”? Did they only have one floppy drive?

It wasn’t strictly “for dudes” it was just calibrated for male anatomy.  It could perform routine operations, such as foreign tissue removal, on both sexes.  Elizabeth had to make an adjustment to her request before it could perform the operation.

53. It’s the future and no one has a freakin’ PDA or a portable computer?

Elizabeth did have a portable hand computer.  However, most of the computers used were holographic,  making images that can be manipulated via hand gestures, taking up a small physical footprint, but allowing the user to maximize visual space.  So yes, it’s saying in the future that our technology will advance.  This is like complaining that we didn’t see a typewriter in the film.

54. Is the plot of the movie really “let’s go to thing, let’s run away from the thing, let’s go to the thing and then run away from the thing again”?

Is the plot of Return of the King “let’s walk slowly to a volcano and drop this ring in.”? 

55. Why does the robot smile at seeing the map that charts the destruction of the “home” he wants to go back to?

He is overwhelmed by their technology, and believes he has found a race that would have more in common with him than his creators he feels alone amongst.  This was a religious scene for David.  He “wants to become a real boy.”  David seems to be lying when he states that he can’t feel emotion.  He wants a god who can give him life as well.  He never states that he wants to go home, but he does state that he wants his parents dead.

56. Why does the robot take the cross out of the jar and bring it with him? Was it because the script forgot that it was still in the surgery room? Is that the script laying there on the floor?

He is infatuated with it because of what it represents to Elizabeth.  He is also infatuated with Elizabeth.  When he realized Elizabeth was coming with them, he most likely knew that the meeting could end badly and wanted to make it available to her if she didn’t make it out alive.  Yes, the script was on the floor simple because everyone has already read it but you.

57. Why did Roger Ebert give this turd 4 stars?

Because he’s an intelligent film critic, the most renown alive, and he understood how to interpret the film.

58. Are his meds really that good and can I have some?

You can contact him on his journal page and ask him, but he most likely won’t share because it is illegal to do so.

59. Why didn’t the ship detect a freakin alien lifeform? They can detect them in the pyramid, but I guess they turned off the Norton Alien Lifeform Security program to play a pirated video game?

The worms were buried in the soil of an undisturbed chamber of terraformed earth inside a massive stone structure.  The worms are tiny and probably were filtered out because microbes and organisms that small would be insignificant and would clutter their search when looking for larger alien life.  When the chamber was opened and the worms had become large “snakes” they would occasionally pop up on the ships scanners.  The preserved engineer was most likely shielded from detection on purpose.  The juggernaut is very strong and impenetrable, and most likely shields itself from our technology, which compared to theirs must surely be antiquated at best.

60. Why was the head from Dark City in the movie?

Inspired from the same source – Easter Island and Ancient Astronaut theory.

61. What’s with all the decapitations and the mouth rape?

Symbolism.

62. Is it a “head” theme?

Partially.

63. Is that “the force”?

No.  Wrong franchise.

64. Why do they play scenes from much better movies inside worse movies?

This is a generalization.  Are you saying that Prometheus is worse than Lawrence of Arabia?  Maybe so, but that’s like saying Star Wars is not Citizen Kane.  How can you really compare?

65. Why do they have exposition over communicators? Is it because Obi-Wan had nothing else to do? Oh Shit! This movie did that too?

Because it’s a science fiction movie.  I won’t argue that Prometheus has more in common with Star Trek than Alien.  That is its strength.  It wants to reach higher, much higher than you. You are an idiot.

66. “Lizbeth” only had 30 seconds of oxygen for the last 20 minutes of the movie and for the long buggy ride to another ship?

Actually,  she made it to the Life Pod, where there would be more oxygen supplies and helmets.  After this, she was fully repaired.  Please watch the movie instead of twittering next time.

67. After needing to decontaminate the splodin’ alien head, why do they go back into the ship without helmets on?

There is a difference between an exploding head, and a non-exploding head, just as there is a difference with regards to threat level between two people with the same virus – one sneezing and the other not sneezing.  They knew they caused the problem with the medical device they used and most likely were not planning on doing that again.  After Holloway becomes ill, before David reveals he had something to do with it, Elizabeth did not trust the air in the temple either.

68. How did they find the dumbest group of scientist and put them all on the same ship? Didn’t they watch Sunshine first?

They did in fact watch Sunshine; one of the crew members from Sunshine was cast in the film.  Weyland was not going for the smartest scientists, he was going for personality profiles that would not get in the way of his agenda – people who are in it for the money (Fifield) or who he thinks believe as he does (Elizabeth).  He wants expendable people and people he can manipulate or dominate.  Just like a real employer or US President.

69. Why wasn’t the geologist at list a little curious about the amazing metallic structures all around him? Did they not teach metal in his “school of rock”?

He was scared.  He really was just here for the money and wasn’t here to make friends.  I don’t think he even thought of himself as a daring, scientific type like Holloway.  He’s the kind of scientist that likes to look at rocks when he wants and get high on the weekends.  This type of person exists.  With regards to cinema, you are this person.

70. Why do they need treadmills and basketball courts for this mission? The obviously had no time at all to use them or did they just copy-and-paste that room from another Alien movie and include the same “impossible” hoop shot?

They were probably planning on surviving for more than the duration of the movie and had hopes that it would be a longer expedition, possibly with some downtime for some of the crew who would need recreation and exercise since going outside to play would not be an option.  Why do they need these things on cruise ships or military vessels?  Is this a real question?  The hoop shot might have been a reference to Alien 4, but it was perfectly used here in a different way.  David is showing signs of routine and being bored.  Alien Ripley was using it to blow off her alien rage and strength.  Both good scenes with a different purpose, and yes there was a nod here.  This is more of a rant than a question.

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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 10: Adam & Eve

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There are many archetypes in Prometheus, but one I’ve only kind of skimmed is the story of Adam and Eve.  I will skip the biblical account, because I think it’s one that everyone knows.  In the film, there seem to be two competing “sets” of Adam & Eves.  Sometimes in the film, there is reverse symbolism, which is symbolism where the concepts are the opposite and have the opposite meaning. (Life instead of Death, hate instead of love…  In the case of the Adam & Eve, it can be role reversal, destruction instead of creation, the unnatural instead of the natural and so on.)  It’s sometimes harder to pick up on reverse symbolism, and in fact there have to be some keys that point out what you are seeing is that.  There are several such keys in Prometheus with regards to the Adam & Eve typology.  The main indicator of reversal is the feministic nature of the movie:  The Adams & the Eves have switched sexes.

The Prometheus itself is a kind of Garden of Eden, but because it’s a garden of false creation, of technology instead of the natural, it’s not necessarily a “good” garden.  You have a false God who instead of taking joy in his creation, only wants to use his creation to further his own agenda.  Of course, this is Weyland, who hides himself from his creations, David and Vickers.  A key here is that they both were created by Weyland, but he favors the unnatural creation of David over his original creation (who may or may not be natural) Vickers.  David seems to be a “son” that is very similar to Vickers in appearance, as if he drafted the design from her, in the reverse way that God created Eve from Adam.  Interesting as well is that Eve was crafted from the rib, which is close proximity to the “heart.”  It’s really only the outside, the vanity in its essence that was used to model David from Vickers.  The mind versus the soul again.

This Adam & Eve fight over their creator… Adam is jealous of Eve: Vickers throws David against the wall… Eve knows the devil, and Eve won’t share it with Adam…

The foot washing is another key that we are looking at a type of “god”, and within Vickers quarters we see several “false” projections of Nature.   While from within the narrative, these are the images being sent to the planetoid before the crew arrive, a kind of “welcome” message, they also appear to serve this symbol as well, as they are playing out hugely in Vickers quarters.  This Adam & Eve are the servants of Weyland, who is more of a devil than a god, and that’s another key to the reverse symbolism.  Music in the film, specifically “instruments” seem to signify that someone is about to be about communication.  Every time there is an instrument shown, the director wants you to see something else in the scene.  It’s a huge key.

In Vickers quarters there is a Grand Piano.  A Grand Piano is a symbol of a life that is harmonious.  But it’s the reverse.  There is nothing harmonious with Vickers or her ship.  The Piano is never played.  While her quarters seem to be the nicest room on the ship, it’s a false heaven.

Also note, in the projection there is a little girl playing a violin.  A violin symbolizes harmony of the family unit.  But again this is reverse symbolism.  There is no sound.  This represents Vickers wanting her father, her creator to love her.

Off topic, there are other musical instrument symbols:

The accordion represents winning someone’s love by a sad occurrence.  Janek is singing about “If you can’t be with the one you love – Love the one you’re with.”  Then he and Vickers make love off screen.  The sad occurrence represents Janek’s sacrifice for the ship and for Vickers later in the film.  There is another connotation of Eve tempting Adam in this scene, and remember that this act of Eve wanting to become more “human” begins the terrors that beset the crew, and it starts with Janek missing the distress in the temple.  If he had heard that, might have things occurred differently?  The garden is getting infected with forbidden knowledge.  The green light from the hologram in the scene is shown saturating her… The color of envy, the pride of Satan.  She will be expelled later from the garden via a lifeboat that looks like a sarcophagus, foreshadowing her fate.  To leave the garden for this Eve is death.

David, the Eve in the relationship with Vickers, goes off to the forbidden tree of knowledge and in an act of reverse symbolism, does not share it with Vickers, but instead cuts her off from being able to witness it.

The flute of the engineers has multiple meanings, but in this context, it’s a pleasant meeting with friends from a distance.  This is very interesting and worth noting because, the Engineers in the recording were preparing for a meeting alright, and the music is joyous in the film, with the Android dancing around in the lights.  But they are coming to destroy us, you might be inferring.  To the engineers, that is joyous to them.  They are going to do what they were meant to do.  This music is the creation music that plays at the beginning of the film.  David, this false Eve, who has no real emotional connection to humanity, delights in the information itself.  “Sometimes in order to create, one must first destroy.”

Holloway and Elizabeth are also Adam & Eve.  Their Garden of Eden is the temple, the archaeology they are at home within.  Again, there is a kind of reverse symbolism with the sexes here as well, as Elizabeth is more the Adam, with Holloway representing the Eve.  It’s a more intellectual conception in this case, as Holloway’s spirituality is the Eve drawn from the spiritual heart of Elizabeth, the Adam.  Her pursuit of knowledge is driven by God, represented in the film via typology by her father in the dream when she was a child.  Holloway is the weak Even in this version because his faith is false; he has more faith in the scientific explanation than the religious one.   Before their Adam & Eve story plays out, there is another obviously symbolic scene from the garden, as well as another key scene I want to draw your attention to.  They are both very important scenes in this theory, because they pave the way to the end of the film where there will be only one Adam and one Eve that will be exiled from this garden that is the planet itself.

Remember two lines from the film, uttered on board the ship, each by the Adam and Eve that will not survive the mission, leaving the other two to survive.  The lines represent the course of action, the spiritual position that each set represent, and it goes back to the straight lines talk.  Holloway states that “God does not build in straight lines.”  This represents the yielding flexibility of a soft heart and more spiritual state of being.  Vickers asks David to pour her vodka “up” (straight).   This party represents the inflexible, hard hearted, technology and scientific nature of their beings.  This will be played out when the two competing feminists at the end will be tested by the falling sickle: One will not run straight, the other will.  One will be flexible, the other will not.  For some reason I am reminded of Dune “And he will bend like a reed in the wind.” This had the same symbolism in the fates of its two heirs.

The scene that is key with regards to the line is the scene where both sets of Adams and Eves are in Vickers quarters arguing about knowledge and how to proceed.  David is more silent here, playing the subservient robot Eve, but he’s all about patience and survival.   He is more cunning, Holloway is more off the cuff and rash.  Vickers Adam is the bully to Elizabeth’s.  She is determined to survive through selfishness – she will not leave her comfort zone; Elizabeth is determined to survive through selflessness – she will put herself in harm’s way.

Weyland while sleeping, this false god or Satan, will ask his creation David to give the apple to Holloway, to try harder to get knowledge.  This serpent tricks Eve – “How far are you willing to go to get your answers” before the forbidden fruit is given.  Also, in David’s mind, there can only be one Eve.

We see Holloway (Eve) enter the bed of Adam & Eve.  He emerges from the hologram she is watching as if in a sarcophagus – foreshadowing his death, he himself holding a rose.  The Adam and Eve that don’t survive both are pictured in a coffin shape before their deaths.

The infected Holloway (Eve) tempts Elizabeth who is wearing white, calling into question their creator’s intent.  “There’s nothing special about creating life.”  Elizabeth takes the fruit and is also cursed, pregnant with an alien life form.

Holloway awakens to see himself in the mirror.  He sees the serpent in his eye, the window to his soul.   It’s as if he sees himself for what he really is.  We also see a crucifix tattoo on his right shoulder.  This signifies that even though his physical body is dying, his spiritual side is awakening.  This represents Eve realizing her sin.  David will have a similar Eve moment when the engineer rips off his head.

Soon after, they return to the temple to get the missing crewmen.  Remember that the temple is their garden.  Holloway and Elizabeth are cast out of their garden, the quest for knowledge; the temple.  Holloway realizes he must be destroyed and holds his hands out in a crucifix.  Who kills him?  Vickers, from the other team.    She doesn’t want her Garden of Eden infected.  She’s an unsuitable Eve because she is not willing to leave her paradise, instead wanting to cheat God.

Of course there is the quest for knowledge, indeed the knowledge of good and evil as they return for answers, but the angels who guard the garden have expelled humanity.  We are not welcome there.  Weyland has now come to his God, the Devil, to ask for more life, only to be laughed at and killed.  He has sold his soul for his technology, but his technology cannot save him.

Why two sets of Adam & Eves?  This is all about the war between religions.  This is Kingdom of Heaven all over again.  Also, religion VS Science.  Two sets of faiths, fighting to the death, pointlessly.  The true God in the movie, not what either side expects, unhappy over their fighting and quarreling.  This is a huge point of the film.  Religion without heart has no point.  Whether it’s Christianity, science, or enter another here, God is a god of love, not fighting and quarreling.  He is in the movie, in the actions of the enlightened ones: Elizabeth, the original engineer, Janek and his “thieves on the cross.”  God sacrifices himself to save all humanity, but no one acknowledges it.

Shaw (the Adam of faith) is left with the Eve of science to start over again, to “get answers.”  Adam wants to walk again with God.  Who is she about to meet to get that knowledge, though?  Will Eve get in the way?

To tie up the musical symbolism, in the crashed craft in which everything is destroyed, the film plays of the girl with the violin, but its pace is more frantic.  The technology Eden is destroyed.  The family is broken.  The screen goes dark, and then what do we hear?  We know the grand piano is nearby, though it is most likely broken, but now we hear Chopin playing, the Raindrop Prelude, and the music is only on a piano.  The piano is finally played.  There is harmony here now, but it’s an elegy in D minor – and the elegy, as I’ve said before, is for humanity.  Humanity has transcended, but it’s towards it’s demise.

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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 9: Marduk and Mushussu

mardukmushussu

Some scholars claim that the Hebrew authors of the Bible “borrowed” the myths and reworked them from the older Sumerian texts.   While I don’t believe this to be the case (I believe in the Bible record), it’s interesting to see the parallels.  It seems that the stories are very similar with regards to creation, a flood, and a rebellion.  Scott says this film “is about everything.”  It’s full of references to Christianity as well as old Sumerian/Babylonian myths, as if trying to create a blueprint from which all of it came.

The culture of the Space Jockeys, the “Engineers” as Elizabeth calls them in the film, is heavily based on the Sumerian myths, so much so that the opening of the film is almost verbatim lifted from parts of it.  Let’s see how the myth works out:

Marduk is a “creator god” who defeats an earlier generation of water gods to form the earth, slaying the water goddess Tiamat with his companions the great darkened winds by his side.  Some of Tiamat’s children are the Anunnaki and the Igigi, the latter being slaves to the former.   There are various myths and stories (start at Wikipedia and then Google) that you can put this together from.  The Igigi revolted against the Anunnaki, and as a result, their chief was sacrificed, his blood used to create man, which would replace the Igigi as slaves.  Marduk is responsible for making the Igigi slaves as they were the followers of Tiamat.  Marduk is said to have 50 names given to him, including Ra.  (Yes, that Ra)   Marduk is said to be the apotheosis of Nimrod who the Hebrew bible said was possessed by Satan upon building the tower of Babel.  This is inferred repeatedly in the Bible as one of the names for Satan is the “King of Babylon.”  Other names for Marduk are Bel (Baal), Baal-zebub, and Meri-Baal which means “lord of the rebellion.”

So in this history, the rebellion against Tiamat is considered heroic, and paints a picture of a different nature, with the Lucifer type and his fallen angels winning (if you perceive the story that way) and creating man.  http://www.ldolphin.org/Nimrod.html

There has been since the 1960’s an interest and belief by many in the Ancient Astronaut theory, first purported by Swiss author Erich von Däniken.  Scott has said himself that it was his primary inspiration for the Space Jockey, and he used it to create the lore in the film.   This “false” religion as the bible puts it is the backbone of this theory, and it revolves all around Marduk and the Anunnaki. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alejandro-rojas/ridley-scotts-new-alien-m_b_1124808.html?)

Before you go and say that Scott is some kind of new age illuminati intellectual who believes in all this verbatim, you should know that that theory ends with the Ancient Astronauts being our friends and protectors.  Scott didn’t go that way with the film, but instead used the Christian allegory as the root of “good” in the film.  He also changed it to where it seems the “engineer” at the beginning of the film laid down his own life willingly; almost peacefully instead of being forced.  There was a scene cut from the beginning showing the Annunaki forcing the Igigi Engineer to lay down his life precisely like the Sumerian texts, but Scott trimmed this sequence.

Then how does this fit in?  Well, the engineers we see later in the film I think do believe in the Marduk theory, and I think they see him as their hero.  In this instance, these are his followers, much, much later in time than the opening, and they symbolize the dark angels remember?  These are those that rebelled against God.  They cannot create, as the bible says of the devil, but they can destroy.  It’s as if the being sacrificing himself at the beginning was a form of God, creating life… and these are a form of Satan.  They can only pervert and destroy.  Perversion is exactly what the “goo” does later in the film.  It turns evil everything it touches.  It’s a biological weapon that is like a living version of sin itself.

Mushussu is a dragon created by Tiamat to oppose Marduk.  Marduk ended up taming it and making it a guardian and a pet.  This has very interesting connotations.  First, it’s believed that before the Garden of Eden curse on the snake, the creature walked upright.  Second, the bible calls Satan “the dragon” and it’s entirely possible that a dragon is what was used by Satan to tempt man.

All this Marduk and Mushussu talk is really to shed light on the mural on the ceiling that fades away when the vial chamber is opened.  That mural is of an engineer and his pet dragon.   But what happens next?  As I’ve said, it fades away.  In the film it’s simply because when the landing party enters the chamber it oxidizes, causing a reaction in the room, awakening it.  Man enters, and sin creeps forth (from the vials) and Marduk decides no longer to tame the dragon.   Then, great winds arise to pursue them away.  To protect them?  To kill them?   At this point, we don’t know.  It could be an elaborate booby trap, to protect the tomb itself.    Remember, Marduk’s companions were great darkened winds.  I also think the fading of the Marduk painting is a statement – this religion is a lie, and it brings forth sin.

I don’t think Scott is a Christian, but this late in his life, he is searching.  He’s been on record as saying he hates religion itself.  But he says he does believe in God, and is constantly wondering about it all.  He’s been on a “religion is evil” kick ever since Kingdom of Heaven.  But you have to understand, that this is the first time I can remember that Scott really did have a heavy hand in the writing for a film, at least since he helped shape the story with Fancher from the Electric Sheep book for Blade Runner.  First it was his idea to go back to the Space Jockey.  Then he hashed it out with Spaights.  Then, according to both him and Lindeloff, they hashed it out for hours in a room after Lindeloff started writing.  I think the desire to put in all these different religious motifs was on purpose.   It’s entirely possible that all of this is just wild speculation, but there are just too many coincidences for that to be the case.

In the next film tentatively titled  “Paradise,” Scott says he is taking us to the Engineer home world, and that Paradise is a dark place with dark angels.  He also stated that Jesus Christ was a big part of why the engineers wanted to kill us.  No matter which way he goes, there’s no denying that the Alien universe has come a long way from simply facehuggers and chestbursters.

 

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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 8: The Giant Head

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In a funny kind of way, if you look at the Engineers, they’re tall and elegant … they are dark angels. If you look at [John Milton’s] Paradise Lost, the guys who have the best time in the story are the dark angels, not God. He goes to all the best nightclubs, he’s better looking, and he gets all of the birds.

-Ridley Scott, http://www.movies.com/movie-news/ridley-scott-prometheus-interview/8232

I have partaken of many discussions online and with my friends and co-workers about Prometheus (much of the time to their chagrin), and one question we just kind of tossed away was the origin of the giant head.  I think we all just kind of assume that it’s part of their religion, possibly a kind of saint of theirs, and that somehow it shows their science and their faith are interconnected.  I think that’s right, but it still kept bugging me that it features so predominantly in the film and in the marketing materials.  That giant head is the equivalent of the egg of ALIEN, it sold the film.

Like many ALIEN fans, I keep revisiting the forums where lots of fans have fun dishing out their theories on what symbols are there, and it really is a puzzle box picture.  Scott knew he wanted Lindeloff because he knew about Lost, and he wanted this movie to be a puzzle box.

One day I ran across probably the most brilliant insight into the film that answers the films question, and I’m sure that Scott and Lindeloff are surprised that no one had caught it before this person.  He or she goes by prometheusfire08 on the prometheusforum.net.  Here’s what PF figured out, and they are not wrong, and I don’t believe there is any way it’s just a theory:

This is the head of Satan.

More than that, this is a worship chamber for him and most likely a tomb for the fallen angels.  Scott confirms that these are dark angels or “demons.”  He was originally going to title the film PARADISE because he was so inspired by Milton’s work, and also William Blake’s statuesque illustrations based on that work.  As discussed earlier, these are beings with a different intent than the beings at the beginning of the film that seed the planet with their life.

Going to the forum I’ve mentioned, specifically the pages starting at http://www.prometheusforum.net/discussion/3082/ladies-and-gentlemen-the-tomb-of-satan-/p1 will get you a lot of visuals that should convince you, but if you are not already convinced, I have more supporting summarizations for his findings.

As he states, the vials are arranged like persons in a church before their master.  This supports the theory that the head, which is huge, is important and is both a leader and revered based on its adornment.  Also there is a pedestal the same height of the vases that the head sits on, placing it above the height of them.

  1.  The arrangement of the vases is in such a way as to suggest these are tombstones.  More than that, I now think that these vases contain the remains of Satan’s followers, corrupted by his “sin” that causes weaponization, mutation and death.  This would suggest that Satan was a kind of scientist who possibly rebelled against the other engineers, and these temples are the temples of his dark angel followers.
  2. Snakes are a symbol of Satan, and of course, the worms in the chamber are mutated into snakes.  Why snakes?  Why not just giant worms?  I think we are being fed another clue by this symbolism.
  3. Note PF’s findings lining up the head with the head-shaped mural that stand behind it.  How did we miss this clue?  Upon first glance, it’s easy to detract by stating that you can see what you want to see.  No way.  The head is in the chamber to let you know he is their god, but it’s a key to the mural, and the mural says who this god is.  Note there are eyes in the mural precisely where the eyes of the giant head would be.  There is a nose directly below it centered toward the bottom of the mural, right above a curved altar that is precisely where the lips are formed.
  4. The altar includes a bowl and a green crystal.  Remember this is the mouth.  Where knowledge was “consumed.”  Green, which is a symbol of  “Christmas”  in Prometheus, is being used in this case to show that this is Satan’s envy of God, him wanting to be like the most high.  Green can also be the color for envy.   It erupts from the altar like a tongue.  Is this the fruit of the tree of knowledge?  Used by Satan to create his abominations? The words that sprang from the serpents mouth to tempt Eve?  The bowl is another clue that this abomination can be ingested, just as the angel at the beginning of the film ingested it from a similar bowl.  Also, it can represent the fact that his head was “crushed” yet another symbol of defeat… (see #6)
  5. At first I thought the pentagram was just silliness, but it’s absolutely there.  Look at the mural again without the superimposition.  Each point is represented by a swaying pattern in precisely the orientation that PF suggests.  It is the symbol of baphomet.  It seems to surround the xenomorph in the center of the mural.  Baphomet is also known as Leviathan, who is also an image of Satan in the Bible.  Baphomet and Leviathan is associated with water and creation in occultism. Remember the beginning of the movie.  Also, each of the versions of the creature that emerge from Elizabeth is of a Sea creature, reinforcing the Leviathan representation.
  6. The xenomorph seems to be imprisoned in a cross, as if being destroyed by it.  In the Garden of Eden, at the fall of man we learn that the snake was cursed to go on its belly after being used as a vessel for Satan which he used to tempt man.  Could the Alien all this time be an original serpent that was weaponized by Satan using the corrupted bile?  I think so.  It’s possible that the xenomorph is the actual physical manifestation of evil, created by Satan to destroy man.  There is a prophecy about Christ in the bible in the Garden of Eden:“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15This is not just in reference to the snake, but also to the crucifixion.  He is stating that the cross would destroy Satan, and that Satan would bruise his heel (the nails).  Many translations have better translated it as “crush” your head, and this is believed to be prophecy by most Judeo-Christian bible scholars.Other striking clues to this in the mural are the two face-hugger impregnated humanoid beings, one on either side of the lips.  These both signify sexual perversion, and an antithesis to God’s design for procreation.  Above the pentagram is a kind of tree, with massive branches, a vaginal and anal shape embedded in the center, where the trunk would be.

    The tree is I believe the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the female organs signifying eve and her being utilized to destroy mankind by Satan’s lie.  Note that this is directly where the brain would be on the giant head, which is the arena that Satan defeated Eve: He won against her in a battle of the mind.

  7. Remember what I said about losing your head and pride being themes in Prometheus?  Satan is a kind of Prometheus himself, many comparative religion scholars say they are really the same being with the same themes:  Steal the fire (knowledge) and give it to the humans.  Satan also fell because of pride: He wanted to create and be like God.
  8. There is a mural above showing Marduk and his pet Mushussu.  I will cover this in another article, because the Anunnaki in the Sumerian religion parallels the bible in its creation story and seems to be the actual back story of the Engineers.  Marduk in the bible is also known as Baal, or Baal-zebub – another name for Satan.

This room is at least symbolic of the final resting place of Satan’s followers, the dark angels thrown out of heaven.  You can draw an inference to the planet then being a place where the demons did their work away from earth, having not yet been cast into hell.

Perhaps the writings on the head of Satan are his sins that caused his demise, or some kind of lament or even worship?  Perhaps they are the written qualities that the Engineers wish to emulate.

As stated before, this altar that lies before the mural of the xenomorph, this weapon created by demons, has a green crystal in it.  The crystal is oddly protruded from the base of the altar like a tongue, but also emerging in the same fashion as the xenomorph head protruding from the dead engineer at the end of the film.

So is it Satan that is Prometheus?  The one who stole the fire from the gods “this hidden knowledge” and gave it to man?  If you follow that thought, then what he gave to man would be the knowledge to reach this place and bring the disaster back to earth.  Makes the tower of babel story in the bible very significant with regards to technology, pride, reaching the stars:

From Wikipedia: According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar, where they resolved to build a city with a tower “with its top in the heavens…lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the Earth”. God came down to see what they did and said: “They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withholden from them which they purpose to do.” So God said, “Come, let us go down and confound their speech.” And so God scattered them upon the face of the Earth, and confused their languages, and they left off building the city, which was called Babel “because God there confounded the language of all the Earth” (Genesis 11:5–8).

God’s reasoning is that He didn’t want the people to be united as one, because Satan could control one people, and thus the entire world.  In other words, if people unite as one, reaching the stars, Satan will destroy them.  If this theory is true, then it brings all new light to the “invitations” that are the cave paintings.  Interesting stuff indeed.

 

 


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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 7: There Is Nothing In The Desert

lawrence-of-arabia-e1338819513701

There is nothing in the desert, and no man needs nothing.

 

No Arab loves the desert. We love water and green trees. There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing. (Prince Feisal in Lawrence of Arabia)

Before the Prometheus lands on the engineer outpost planet of LV223, David utters this line.  When asked why by a crewmate, he says “it’s just a line from a film I like.”  The film is Lawrence of Arabia, and it is much more than just a fleeting epigram.

David dyes and styles his hair to look like Peter O’Toole’s character in the film, is seen watching the film, and whether it be by programmatic means or due to his curious nature as an android (which itself could be a part of his complicated AI), is smitten by not just the character but the themes (“The trick Potter, is not minding that it hurts….”) as well.

The TED talk viral video with a young Peter Weyland reveals that Weyland himself is infatuated with not only TE Lawrence, but also mentions the same line.  This line is a key to his superiority complex.  “We are the Gods now,” he proclaims, not unlike the Lawrence of the movie who thought himself god like, entering a biblical land to emerge a holy icon- the same way that Weyland entered science and space itself to become something of a false version.  Of course, in the classic film, Lawrence realizes he is just a man as he is beaten and flogged and thrown into the streets.  Weyland only realizes this same thing about himself after the Engineer gives him his mortal wound.

And at that point, as he is dying, he looks into his soul and says “There is nothing.” To which David responds “I know.”  I was mistaken in thinking that Weyland is only saying there is nothing after death, but even if that’s the case, that’s not all he is saying.  He himself is quoting the line David said earlier, the line from the movie, but died before he could finish it.  This is why David says I know.  And in this bleak universe, where everything is futile and we are all in a lonely, dark hell, we want paradise, but it’s not there for us.  There’s nothing to save us.

Prometheus had come to the Desert, all so an egomaniac could ask his makers for more life.  David knew the trip was pointless, and reinforces his thoughts on this throughout the film.  David, I believe, felt (if you can call it that) that he was above humans, the same way Weyland felt really that he was above his creators, and that his abilities somehow gave him the right to place himself in that position, but this is not the belief of at least the original Engineers, nor is it of Shaw.  Sacrifice is a theme that is played out over and over in Prometheus, but never by Weyland.  When David enters the orrery with Weyland and Shaw at the end of the film, he chides “a superior species, no doubt.”  In the same way TE Lawrence really never felt a part of the empire that bred him in Lawrence of Arabia, David sees himself as Lawrence, siding with the Natives, wanting to be a part of something greater.

No matter, because what all this posturing of David, and how the humans feel apathy for him, even disdain for him being just some inferior creation of ours, all of it is a key to understanding the Engineers.  This is exactly how they feel about us.  Or is it?  We’ll have to wait to find out.

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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 6: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Yeah, let's go inside...

Yeah, let's go inside...

Where art thou?

There is something stirring about the movie Prometheus that I don’t think there has been a lot of discussion over, and I think it’s a mystery that actually solves itself… perhaps.  We won’t really know until Paradise (hopefully) comes out, but let’s ponder a bit, shall we?

When the crew lands on the planet, it’s apparent something happened there 2,000 years ago.  While there are plenty of references to the “why” the engineers wanted to destroy us, there’s another big question mark hanging around the planet.

Where are all the other engineers?

The movie supports the idea that there were two different types of engineers.  The ones at the beginning are very different from the ones encountered in the pyramid.  Either they are the same and had evolved over time to the warlike race we meet later on, or there are two factions.  The duality juxtaposed in the ampule chamber seems to indicate there were two factions, at least to me.  Let me explain why.

The head in the chamber makes this room seem like almost a religious place.  A place where life is engineered?  A place of worship?  Yet there is another mural, one with darker implications.  Is it even a mural?  What about the green stone, the kryptonite looking rock fashioned in a kind of sun dial before it?  You have these urns with the goo inside… goo that could create life.  Except this goo does anything but that.  It weaponizes what it touches and does not destroy it entirely.  The goo at the beginning broke down the body of the sacrificial engineer to create life, but it did not weaponize him.

There is a stark contrast between the design of the ampule chamber to that of the juggernaut.  The ampule chamber seems like a religious place, but the juggernaut is a starkly military setting.  Notice the juggernaut is not part of the temple.  While it could be that they are in the front yard of the temple to distance them for takeoff, it could be that the juggernauts were placed there after the fact.  It could be that the military took control of the “science” of the goo and decided to use it as a weapon.  Does this sound familiar?

Scott also finds the duality of religious beliefs interesting.  He did the same thing with Kingdom of Heaven.  Two religions at war over the same God.  This duality exists in Prometheus.  Science vs. Faith, but both are of the same creator.  God created the elements that science studies, but also the unknown that it takes faith to comprehend.  Time itself is a paradox.  What came before?  If there was a big bang, where did the elements that caused it come from?  It takes both to create an adequate understanding.  I think Scott might be saying there are two factions in the Engineer race that are doing the same thing.  Faith vs. Science.   Yet which side is faith and which side is science?

We have learned from recent interviews that Ridley Scott is implying that Christ might be the reason the more militaristic engineers wanted to destroy the earth.  Killing over God.  It’s entirely possible that the more violent side in the engineer side is the deeply religious side.  They are possibly the ones with the murals that took over the temple from the more peaceful engineers.  I don’t think the engineers in the hologram were running from “monsters” they created.  I think they were running from the military side, or there was some kind of a coup that arose to destroy the other side.  I think several of them did not want to destroy earth.  A battle broke out.  The others were executed.  Perhaps the more peaceful of the bunch used the creatures against the military side to stop them?

Now, in the movie, Janek says that they were simply using the planet to create weapons of mass destruction because they didn’t want to make this stuff on their own porch.  That things got out of hand and the creatures killed them.  While this is a feasible explanation, it’s probably not entirely true, for two reasons.

1)      It’s unlikely that they lost control of the goo at precisely the time they were going to launch an attack against earth, and it’s unlikely they lose control of the goo at all, at least on that scale.  If it was because the weapons turned on them, something had to turn it against them to stop the attack from commencing.

2)      His explanation goes against the theorizing and intent of the main character, Elizabeth Shaw.  I think she finds that he is partially right, but she is still motivated to get more answers, and I think we are going to find it’s not as cut and dry as we think.

Now, getting back to the original question – Where are all the other engineers?

You can’t tell me that they are all that are left of the engineer race.  We are getting another movie.  So why didn’t the other engineers return to check on what happened?  Why are there engineers in cryostasis?  Why are there ships left there stocked with enough goo to wipe out many worlds?  Why didn’t they follow through with the original mission?   Why are there maps in existence on our world pointing to this place to meet them?  Why aren’t there other engineers there to greet them?  Why didn’t they clean up the mess?

That’s the answer.  They left it on purpose.  They wanted us to find it.  I think the two sides reached an agreement that they would stop the original mission and use LV223 as a test.  Why else would they leave?  And I think the test is to see if we are worthy of finding them.  What would we do if we find the goo?  Take it back to earth to study it?  For the military side of the engineer that wants us dead, mission accomplished.  If we woke up another engineer, could we persuade him to show mercy, or will he judge us and go back on his original mission?  This explains why the engineer did not immediately attack the group.  He was listening to them.  I bet he even understood them, reading their minds and intents.  Convince the military not to kill us, mission accomplished for the peaceful side.  They take us to our maker, perhaps.  Convince otherwise?  Go back to earth, destroy it.

Notice in this theory, they are not worried about humanity bringing back the goo to them to destroy their own world.  I think they are prepared, and I think that they expect us to bring it back to them.   One side will reward them, the other, ready for battle perhaps.  Light angels and Dark angels.

No matter which way you cut it, we are in for quite an interesting spectacle the next time out.

 

 

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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 5: Color Patterns

Prometheus

Color plays an important role in film.  If you have never seen The Three Colors by Krzysztof Kieslowski, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  They are three films, a trilogy, each devoted to a different color as a symbol.  In many films directors will bathe the scenery in different hues, not just for aesthetics, but also to provide some richer meaning to what is being seen.

Ridley Scott is no stranger to color symbolism.  Look at Gladiator(2000), where the color gray is used to convey a feeling of both the deity and death of the Roman Empire.   In Alien, the color White is used on the Nostromo to offset dark, black corridors to give an impression of depth and scale, but also to give the film a feel not unlike keeping the bathroom light on at night when you go to sleep, upping the tension, not just while you watch the movie, but making you wonder if something might be lurking about your house right as you drift off to nightmare-land.

Recently, there are two colors that seem to wash almost every movie poster, online web site, and print ad you can find, and those colors are blue and amber.  They are aesthetically pleasing, make us want to buy things, and visit web sites.  On an emotional level, blue produces peace and tranquility, while amber gives that impression of dusk, a kind of heavenly ethereal mixture that draws us to it over and over again.

James Cameron loves blue almost a little too much; nearly every movie he has made has a strange blue rim to it.  While a masterful filmmaker in his own right, I think his love of the water tends to over saturate his vision.

Color symbolism really only means something in film if it is brought up over and over again.  In Prometheus, the colors blue, amber, green, brown, white and black show up a lot, and I don’t think they are without significance.

Let’s look at the colors, one at a time.  Since the movie is steeped with Judeo-Christian biblical references, we will also analyze what significance they bear from that standpoint as well.

Blue: Foolishness, Idolatry, Corruption through vanity (Jeremiah 10:8-9, Ezekiel 23:3-8)
Water-spirit (John 4:13-14; 7:37-39, Revelation 21:6; 22:17, Matthew 3:11-16)
other implied meanings: Technology, tranquility

There are primarily two shades of Blue in Prometheus, and I think they have different meanings.   I believe the dark, distinct blue is a symbol of technology, idolatry and corruption; pale blue is a symbol of spirituality.  There are many elements in the film where the blue color seem to line up with this thought process.

  1. The Engineer has a very light, pale blue skin.  He is a deeply spiritual being.
  2. He Dives into pale blue water amidst a pale blue sky.  The self-sacrifice takes place amidst a very spiritual backdrop.
  3. The atmosphere of LV223 is a pale blue in color.  Naturally, an atmosphere will produce this color, but it’s interesting to note it’s a very pale blue, not a dark blue.   I think it is telling us this planet has spiritual significance.
  4. David is wearing a pale blue uniform while the Prometheus sleeps.  I believe this is David attempting to be like man, spiritual, as he ritualistically imitates man, and form his own tastes.  However, this is really a kind of false spirituality; he is mimicking, or standing in for the spirit of the crew herself.  This uniform color, which is almost gray, is worn also by Vickers when she awakens.  I think also that Scott is inferring what Lindeloff denies; that Vickers is an android.
  5. The Pylons in Vickers quarters are a distinct blue, which I believe symbolize the corruption, idolatry, and foolishness, as well as technology.
  6. The ground crew suits are a dark blue in color, which I believe symbolize the corruption and foolishness of technology and science, but it’s balanced & protected by the amber that surrounds their minds like halos (see part 4).
  7. The pool table in the mess hall is dark blue.  This is an important setting, because it’s where Holloway becomes impregnated.
  8. Fifield’s Jacket is a mixture of pale blue and yellow.  This symbolizes the judgment that will come by the serpent in the later scene, which he refuses to look upon, just like the children of Israel in the bible.
  9. Vickers later wears a dark blue uniform, symbolizing again vanity, technology, and corruption.  It’s the Weyland way.
  10. The hammerpede (the serpent) has translucent flesh that reveals light blue and amber tones beneath, making it symbolic of spirituality and holiness, implying judgment.
  11. The orrery on the juggernaut is filled with blue and some amber lights when activated, implying the same thing – judgment.
  12. The Deacon at the end of the film is a very distinct dark blue.  I think this also implies corruption and technology.
  13. The hallway to Weyland’s chamber is lit in a very distinct blue.  I believe that Scott is implying in full force that Vickers is indeed an android here.  Blue can mean technology, and the corridor is awash with the color.  They have the same hair. Same clothing.  I think they are both technology but Vickers was not exactly what Weyland wanted.  I don’t think he ever told her she was an android.  How could she not know, you might ask?  She can be programmed to never question these things, to never find out.  In Blade Runner, the replicants were given real memories.  Rachel did not know she was an android.  I think we are seeing the same thing here.  When she dies, there is no blood shown.  If she ever were to “spring a leak” she might be programmed to think she bled, or to forget she did in the first place.  It’s entirely feasible.  Also, Scott indicated in early comiccon from last year that “there may be two” when asked if there was an android on board.

Green:  Life (Isaiah 15:6, Psalm 23:2, Ezekiel 17:24, Luke 23:31); also Christmas (the Christmas tree), which signifies the time of Christ.  It can also signify Envy.

  1. The film shifts to the future of Scotland, where we are treated to a green blanketed landscape.  This is showing the “life” that the engineers gave to the world (though they actually gave organic life, they most likely terraformed it thus creating vegetation as well.)  It’s also significant because it’s where we first meet Elizabeth and Holloway.
  2. Not only does the story take place during Christmas (which while not actually the birth time of Christ, it is spiritually symbolic and it is the celebrated time), but Janek erects a tree, symbolizing that a “new life” is about to emerge by spiritual, unnatural means.  It’s also a clue to decipher “why” the engineers wanted to destroy us – Christ.
  3. In the mess hall, David is wearing a green uniform, signifying the celebrating of the new birth he is about to bestow upon Elizabeth through Holloway.  I don’t believe in the context of the film he actually intended to impregnate Elizabeth, but I do think Scott is playing with the color green here as an indicator: Green, Christmas, New Life, and New Birth – Time of Christ.
  4. The scans of the temple are green, but also circular in motion, spiraling up the rounded structure, looking like the decorations on a Christmas tree.  This is also indicating that this temple has significance to new life, and the time of Christ.
  5. The scans of the Juggernaut are green as well.  Again, the time of Christ.
  6. The holograms in the temple are green.  Same thing, this was during the time of Christ.  Also, this could be a reference to beings who are prideful or who are suffering for the sake of pride.  More on this later…
  7. The controls to the Juggernaut are not only green, signifying the why of their mission (again, Christ), but notice it’s keyed by a musical flute.  Another symbol of Christmas celebration?  Also, there is a darker connection to music and the color green… A certain being who is prideful and known for his musical connection…
  8. Green can also be the color of envy, and so in this case, the envious one.  The scans, holograms, David’s attire all can have this meaning as well… they are agents of the envious one.  Note the color is cast on Vickers when she talks to Janek (a kind of Eve?  More to think of on that one…)

 

Amber:  God’s Presence, glory, and Judgment (Ezekiel 1:4; 1:27-28; 8:2, Genesis 19:24, II Kings 1:10-14, Isaiah 66:15, II Thessalonians 1:7-8)
also: Fire of Prometheus

  1. The helmet lights are significant because they signify spiritual protection, faith, and God.  It’s as if the film is implying that with their helmets on, they are “spiritually safe” It’s when the crew removes the spiritual that they are ruled by corruption (the dark blue uniforms, the black goo).
  2. The crew, notably Elizabeth, is basking in amber light in the cryo chamber.  This dream state where she dreams of her father’s faith, dying, and crucifixes is associated with amber here as a key.
  3. David’s visor for peering into Elizabeth’s dreams is amber.  Even an artificial person must have covering to peer into the human soul, and amber is another key here too.
  4. The hammerpede and Fifield both have this color, signifying judgment and foreshadowing of judgment.
  5. The adult trilobite at the end, the offspring of Elizabeth has amber hues.  Again, judgment.

White: purity , refinement , unblemished , righteousness,  heavenly  (Psalm 51:7, Ecclesiastes 9:8, Daniel 7:9; 11:35; 12:10, Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:3, Luke 9:29, John 20:12, Acts 1:10, Revelation 3:4-5;18; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9;13-14)
Also: false righteousness (when only outward) – (Matthew 23:27, Acts 23:3)

  1. The engineer at the beginning of the film is wearing very white undergarments, representing purity and righteousness.
  2. Shaw’s pajamas are white before being with Holloway.  Even though intercourse is implied, it’s also implied that she does have faith, clinging to her cross.  I think the film is trying to show that she is pure.
  3. Weyland is wearing a white robe while having his feet washed by David.  This is a false righteousness, fake purity, a false Christ.
  4. The Engineer skin on the Juggernaut is less blue and more white, signifying righteousness or deity as well.

Brown:  that which is corruptible, ‘human nature’ represented by wood (brown) and made acceptable and fit for the Holy place by being overlaid with gold (amber) representing faith.  Also, brown is a symbol of the cross; i.e., crucifixion.

The alter for sacrifice again had a framework of acacia wood overlaid with bronze (Exod 27:1-20) and the alter of incense was acacia wood overlaid with gold (Exod 30:1-3). The Ark of the Covenant (Exod 25:10) and the table (Exod 25:23) for the bread were of similar construction, wood overlaid with gold.

  1. The robes worn by the engineer at the beginning of the film are brown, like the cross.  Thus, the inference of Christ-like sacrifice “to create life” is made more apparent.
  2. Panels on the space-suits of the ground crew were brown, representing the corruption of man, again, covered by the amber (gold) light of the helmet.
  3. Janek wore a brown flight jacket.  This is made significant because as the three remaining crewmates crash the Prometheus into the Juggernaut, sacrificing their lives to save humanity, they put their arms up as if being nailed to a cross: picturesque and of course symbolic of Jesus and the two thieves.

Black: death, disease, famine, and sorrow  – results of sin (Job 6:15-16,Job 30:30,Lamentations 4:8; 5:10, Revelation 6:5-6,Jude 1:12-13,Jeremiah 8:21); judgment (Jeremiah 14:2, Leviticus 13:37, Job 3:5)

  1. The bowl at the beginning was black, which signified death and judgment, but also disease.  It’s another symbol of a sacrifice to cover sins by taking on sin to create new life, which is also a theme in the bible regarding Jesus Christ.  It’s interesting to note that the goo begins to turn “gold” before the Engineer shortly before ingesting, signifying that sin is about to be covered by righteousness, and new life is about to be given.
  2. The engineer’s eyes.  If you notice something about the engineers, it’s that their eyes are completely black.  I think this signifies that they are somewhat flawed; that they are capable of suffering the same problems as humans – perhaps even more so, since they should know so much better.
  3. The engineer armor is black with gold highlights.  I believe this means the engineers we meet on the Juggernaut are corrupted, but still righteous in their indignation.  They are a means to an end for an angry God.
  4. Of course, the goo.  The goo is death, disease, sin, and judgment all rolled into one.  It represents what’s wrong with humanity, and it comes forth when man removes faith from the picture, and thus man is destroyed.

I’m sure I’m probably both seeing some things that may not be intentional, and I’m missing some elements that probably were.  I do believe that many of these points are correct.  At any rate, it’s yet another layer in a Ridley Scott film that we can sink our teeth into and dissect.

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Dissecting Prometheus, Part 4: Don’t Lose Your Head

Early Prometheus space helmets.

Early Prometheus space helmets.

There’s no denying the fact that Prometheus is more than an Alien spin-off, and has some very religious underpinnings.  While some of it is very overt, with its bombastic soundtrack heralding the feel of old biblical epics like John Huston’s “The Bible: In The Beginning”, or Cecil B. DeMille’s “The 10 Commandments”, especially in tracks like “The Planet” or “Space Jockey”, it’s probably no coincidence that Scott, a man in his later years, is starting to think about things beyond our understanding, and religion is one of them.  Whether on the recent “Masters of Science Fiction” a series on the Science channel that Scott introduces and concludes each episode exposing his fascination with the author while drawing images that their works conjure up, or in a recent interview with Esquire:

ERIC SPITZNAGEL: I got kind of an Old Testament vibe from Prometheus.
RIDLEY SCOTT: Great. Then I’ve done my job.
ES: So that was intentional?
RS: Oh, yes. I’m really intrigued by those eternal questions of creation and belief and faith. I don’t care who you are, it’s what we all think about. It’s in the back of all our minds.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/qa/spitznagel/ridley-scott-prometheus-interview-9423167#ixzz1zzrNzUKE

So in the film there is more symbolism to tap into under the surface.  In the Bible, there are numerous be-headings, both signifying a means of capital punishment, and that the thoughts that led to the offenses of the beheaded are in discord to the thoughts and morals of the executioners.  Of course, this practice still occurs today, especially in Islamic countries that still hold more of that old-world view of humanity.

 To sever the head from the body, at least nowadays when we have a more refined sensibility, is not merely to kill: It is symbolically to annihilate not only the biological existence of the beheaded, but the very thoughts he has had during his lifetime. To throw away a head as if it were a worthless inanimate object is to deny in the most categorical way possible any ideas that it might have had while living.

-The Meaning of Beheading, National Review, October 24, 2005, Theodore Dalrymple

But what does the mind mean to God?  Which religious faith is the film drawing upon for inspiration?  Obviously with its many references (there will be another article compounding all of these, though they are clearly visible, it bears worthy of exploration), the Bible is where we find the keys to what the head and helmets represent.  It’s obvious that the head contains the mind, and the mind in the film is the symbol of man’s technological and scientific intelligence.  The intellect.  Man’s wisdom, and the pride in his accomplishments.  He is his own god.  “We are the gods now.”   What does the Bible say about wisdom?

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

-1 Corinthians 1:19

 

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall

-Proverbs 16:18

While helmets are commonplace in science fiction films, they are very oddly shaped in Prometheus.  Obviously, the engineer helmet is elephantine in nature, looking more like a fighter pilot helmet, tying into and explaining the space jockey in the original alien film.  But what about the crew of the Prometheus?  Why are the helmets so rounded and opaque, looking like halos from religious paintings?  I believe that was the intent of the director.   Helmets are a form of protection in Prometheus, a form of spiritual covering, a symbol of faith, and a kind of salvation.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.

-1 Thessalonians 5:8

 

A more Catholic interpretation, less dualistic in its assumptions, is that the halo represents the light of divine grace suffusing the soul, which is perfectly united and in harmony with the physical body.

-(Wikipedia and various other online Encyclopedias)

There are definitely at least two types of engineers in Prometheus, and the symbolism of the Christ-like engineer at the beginning who gives up his own life is made apparent by his wearing of a very humble looking, almost sackcloth-like, hooded robe, very much in line with a monastic order, a very spiritual race.  At the end, on the outskirts and beneath the temple is another kind of helmet wearing engineer, and they are a darker race of beings.

It seems that when the human crew is helmeted in Prometheus, the crew is protected.  When they are not, the covering is removed.   This is true also for the engineers since, though they are alien, they are a form of human we are seeded from.  When the decapitated engineer’s helmet is removed, he is no longer safe either.

What seems to happen is that the person beneath the helmet loses their mind when the helmet comes off.  They are lost mentally, and thus doomed.  Notice when they are “damned” and “judged.”  It’s when they forsake their spirit (their helmets), giving themselves over to their technology, their science.  Again, remember Weyland’s TED speech.  “We are the gods now.”

The movie is not anti-science, however.  The cave paintings indicate that the engineers wanted man to achieve interstellar flight in order to come visit them.  The Bible itself is full of prophecy about technology, that man will be able to travel across the whole world quickly.  The problem isn’t technology; it’s the misuse of technology.  As soon as we create a new cure for some disease, we are manipulating it to create a new biological weapon.  We can split the atom to create clean energy, or we can use it to build bombs that could decimate our entire planet.  It’s this spiritual side that creates a respect for life and should guide this technological pursuit.  There has to be an element to the universe that we can’t understand, this component that the engineers at the beginning seem to acknowledge: faith.

Look at the engineers.  Two mindsets.   One technology with two very different uses.  In the beginning, it’s used to create life.  The newer mindset of 2000 years ago manipulated this technology to do exactly what we do, create a weapon of mass destruction.  Could it be that the same spiritual dying that occurred with mankind on our world, where we take what is good and use it for evil; could this have what happened to the engineers?  I think so.  We learn that they are a form of man, too, remember?   It’s like we are seeing the evil military wanting to use the new thing for bad purposes.   It’s just that in their eyes, we are still far worse than they are.   Who can argue they are wrong?

Was the decapitated engineer found in the rounded, helmet-shaped pyramid temple outside the ampule chamber- was he the last to heed some kind of warning?  The last to believe in whatever unfortunate occurrence was playing out at the time?  Was he unbelieving?  Too late, thus destroyed?  (There was definitely some kind of conflict going on, but that is the topic for another day.)

What about the head in the ampule chamber.  It’s a kind of ceremonial monument, sure, but it’s more than that.  It’s covered with an ancient language that gives it more significance, perhaps of a warning.

Notice too, that the head is in a chamber within a rounded structure.  Just like the helmets the ground party wear.

Holloway removes his helmet out of arrogance, and out of his blind faith in science.  What do the blind do?  They follow the blind.  When Holloway asks David why he’s wearing a helmet, it’s not just because he wants to let David know he doesn’t breathe and that he’s substandard to humans- he’s also stating that he doesn’t need any spiritual protection, because he has, as Weyland confirmed in the recorded hologram recording, “no soul.”

The party goes into the chamber, changes the atmosphere of the room, and thus, destroys the spiritual protection of the head in the chamber.  The mural decomposes rapidly- a mural showing an engineer soldier kneeling with his pet, his head bowed in humility.  With the spiritual protection of the head gone, the humility disappears, and all that is left is the technology of the engineers, like dark spirits emerging forth to possess and destroy the offending invaders.

Milburn and Fifield put their helmets back on, but only at the behest of the Captain. This spirituality is false, and they approach the altar and are destroyed (see part 3).

Since the ground party leaves when the storm comes (symbolizing an angry God), they are this time spared for their selfish behavior.  They are of course bringing back a curse as David sneaks back an ampule to study.

What happens next?  Shaw loses the engineer head in the storm, a storm in which darkness and large, mirror like pieces of silica beat and confound the ship itself.  The helmeted head represents faith, remember?  Shaw loses the head but then goes after it at any cost, finally assisted by David in getting it back.  This is a foreshadowing of the losing and regaining of her faith later in the film; another symbol of her faith being lost and regained is the crucifix which she gets back later with the assistance of David as well.

Shaw then removes the helmet, the protection of the engineer head and it immediately starts to show signs of decay.  What happens then is very fascinating; she attempts to reanimate the synaptic response of the head to study its responses to stimuli.  She is using technology – infusing the head, the intellect with false spirituality, false life.  The engineer head, the intellect is unprotected and is destroyed.  It explodes, but not before Shaw orders it covered.  This is again showing us that Shaw understands that to be protected, you need faith, a covering.

Holloway is offered this forbidden fruit, this tree of knowledge apple, by a companion of man (like eve) that was created to be like him          to get his answers (to be like God?).  While being an obvious nod of the hat to the tale of Adam and Eve, it is also not insignificant that it is passed into him via a drink, through his “head.”  He would later look in the mirror to see his eyes, those “windows to the soul” contaminated with this sin, which will parallel that they are about to be evicted from the Garden of Eden, this wellspring of creation, by dark angels.

When Milburn is found, he has been hollowed out, his helmet smashed.  Fifield ,whose own head was repurposed and mutated, returns as an agent of judgment and begins breaking their chests, then the helmets of the crew, not just killing them, but removing their spiritual covering, damning them.

When Weyland accompanies Shaw, Ford, David, and Jackson to the Juggernaut, they again remove their helmets before entering the chamber.  When Shaw tries to warn them that they don’t know if it’s really safe (not trusting purely science in this obviously very spiritual place), Weyland arrogantly responds with “seems perfectly breathable to me.”   They are trusting this false Christ (whose feet David washed) and his technology over the prostate Shaw and her faith.

They enter the chamber and awaken the engineer, and there is a conflict.  They are standing in essence, as an analogy, before a type of God.   For the purposes of this scene, the engineer symbolizes the creator.   Shaw only removes her helmet, her spiritual covering when in his presence.  Two questions are posed.  At first the engineer is not violent, but he watches.  Does he perhaps understand them?  He can read their intent.  Watch his face when Shaw is struck, his confusion when she asks why he wants to kill humanity.  Then, in an effort to try to make the engineer feel like a stupid tribesman who they need to speak down to in his own language, the engineer smirks with disgust, and touches the head of David, this abomination of thought that stands before him. And of course, David loses his head.  This false intellect is nothing compared to the engineer, and this selfish race that stands before him asking for more life for an evil man who has lived far too long already is dispatched easily by him.  He kills them in very interesting ways.  Ford, the callous, cold scientist has her heart crushed.  Jackson, the symbol of man’s military might, is thrown like a doll, crushing his backbone.   Weyland is killed by a blow to the head, a blow to his intellect- his pride, and he is struck by the false head, the false spirituality he has ventured his entire life for.  When he looks at his creation, a creation with no soul, as he dies he says “there’s nothing” to which David simply responds “I know.”  He has become like his creation, a soulless machine.

The engineer looks at Elizabeth as to state “That’s why!”  Man has no heart, no compassion.  Man has no courage or strength that is worthy.  Man has no mind, and no spirituality or faith.  He is only selfish and cruel.   The engineer decides to let Shaw go-not because she obviously possesses all of these traits that were missing in the others, but simply because she is obviously not in charge.  The good of our race are subservient to the evil.   He must pursue his original mission.  Things have not changed, and mankind has failed whatever test there was originally set forth by the peaceful engineers.  It’s time to start over.  Shaw is inconsequential to him and his military mission.

This is of course, not a holy engineer like the one at the beginning of the film, but one of the military types I had mentioned earlier.  When the Prometheus sacrifices itself to save mankind, he is infuriated and goes looking for Shaw, because he knows only she could have orchestrated this.  He is recognizing her strength, and although infuriated, is obviously impressed by her resilience.

Shaw survives the ordeal, gets her faith back, because like the engineer recognized that Shaw was not in charge of man, she recognizes that the engineers here are not in charge and suffer from the same fallen traits of man, and thus, are not God.  Also, I believe she recognizes she has survived miraculously through many things for which God must be keeping her alive through, and that He still has a purpose for her.  She has a mission too.

Before leaving, she covers David’s head, putting him in a bag.   Shaw grants this created being a kind of spiritual covering, but not before informing him that he’s a robot, and she is a human being.   “Even after all this, you still believe.”  It’s because of all this that she does.

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