I used a little trick to get through repeated viewings of this interesting, enigmatic film that lacks a single sympathetic character.
I decided that mankind is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction (the thing that the Weyland-Yutani Corporation [the funding source in previous films] will eventually settle for). The highminded quests of the various factions in Prometheus;
- the resolution of permanent philosophical questions,
- answering an ancient alien astronaut R.S.V.P.,
- The Fountain of Youth,
- a paycheck…
all come to nothing as various species of predatory abominations take the human cast apart. What remains of them, at the end of the film, is the unforeseen task of preserving humanity or of dangling a few really-cool threads for at least one additional sequel (or 8).
My reading of the intent of this film is as darkly abhorrent as the hidden malevolence in Lilo & Stitch, cheapening life, concluding that mankind is genetically engineered to degrade and terror-form every mudball it infests, because that’s what we do. Perhaps my read is perturbed by the apocalyptic Mayan prediction that coincided with the week of my NetFlix rental, or media reports of manmade climate change resulting in the current crop of “SuperStorms” or guys going postal on schoolkids with assault rifles or something else that’s equally unthinkably disspiriting.
The real trick is not minding.
How Prometheus resonates with films that were made in the era between it and Alien interests me. The Matrix and Terminator machineries (among others) take parallel toxic threads of despair-with-mankind and weave them into a reasonably-coherent tapestry that mirrors the dark and self-alienating visions embedded in Prometheus and in the evening news.
Paraphrasing Lean’s T.E. Lawrence;
Where is it written we’re assholes!? and made in the image of assholes?
Just shut up and look around, stupid.
But then, I think every film Ridley’s ever made has something of vital interest to say about xenophobia — because we so eagerly do unto others whatever we abominate whenever it’s done unto us.
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