"Apologist Fundamentalist Christian Stereotype vs. Intellect. Also, zombies."
I normally don't go out of my way like this. With this time I'm spending typing up this very sentence, I could be doing something with my life. Like, you know, cooking chips, watching a -good- film, or downloading mindless amounts of Japanese pornography. But no, for the first in years, a film has actively annoyed me to the point of almost being personally insulting to me.
To put this into perspective: I was relatively unmoded by the crud that was A Serbian Film. I have fell asleep through and had to rewatch one of the most boring films ever, a film which made Blair Witch look interesting, Paranormal Activity. I have seen Japanese gorespoilation films, like Tokyo Gore Police, which have nicer characters and better, more concise plot and message behind them. Prometheus, Ripley Scott's little 'Alien, but not really' prequel darling has topped all my expectations, and for all the wrong freakin' reasons.
Ten minutes. Ten minutes into this film and anyone who values their intellect are going to be offended. My brain already jumped the shark when the first line coming out of the main character's mouth, when questioned by one of her team, replies with...
"We're going to find the creators of the entirity of life on Earth, who designed and created them."
"Wait, what? You didn't tell us about this? And you're chucking out all ideas on the possibility of evolution, centuries of research? What evidence do you have?"
"I have none. I am a True Believer."
Because the opinion of any competantly written character in a professional opinion is, of course, DISREGARD ALL THINGS! Other fantastic quotes, if you didn't get the subtle (and by subtle, I mean, written on a hammer and jammed into your face) hint that the film was going for a Faith vs. Science deal:
"No, don't take off your helmet! We don't know if the atmosphere is breathable!"
"Pfft! Don't be such a skeptic."
Because caution and not acting on impulse is skepticism. And skepticism is an undesirable trait, especially on a scientific voyage across space! Also...
"I'm just a Geologist! I know about rocks! I don't know about... death!"
Subtle. Speaking of science voyage, too. Seventeen people? One of the possible cornerstones of humanity's scientific advancement, a trip two years across space, funded with trillions of dollars is going to be attempted by... seventeen people, with one rifle and a flamethrower. Because as we all know, preparing for the possibility that this completely unknown about alien race which potentially created all life on Earth could be at all hostile, let alone know if there's any native life on the planet which could be dangerous? Well, you just need Faith. Don't be such a skeptic!
This all, you know, wouldn't be so bad. Religion's waning influence on a world dominated by scientific explaination is something which should be explored - which is has, by far better writers. Arthur C Clarke, off the top of my head. I would love to point out that -raising- a topic and strawmanning it with hilarious characatures of what Hollywood believes the religious and the skeptical are like is not the same as discussing the topic. The closest we ever get to this is when yet another douchebag in the cast is berating the android for being an android, basically tells the robot to his face that he's useless, and when he throws it back at him, it's completely dismissed.
"Look at it from my perspective, sir. Your race created me. Why did you do it?"
"Well, because we could."
"Then can you imagine, for a moment, what it would be like if your creator told you such a thing? Wouldn't you be disappointed?"
"Yeah, well, lucky you don't feel disappointment then."
Yes, the guy mocking a robot (who is also the primary antagonist by the way - we're supposed to dislike this guy) is the male lead and yet the robot is more empathic, charismatic and likeable than these guys. They make huge scientific discoveries which could advance human understanding by years, but why is he bummed? I wanted to talk to them. D: Boo who. What's the point anymore.
Which leads onto the second moment which bugged the crap out of me about the main female character. The main male character, kind of at a loss at the idea that the human race is not special, and entire species could be created just by 'some DNA and half a brain'. Of course, the already hugely lovable main female decides we need random soap opera drama.
"Oh, unlike me? Because I can't have children!"
Because that is obviously what he was refering to. His worry that the entirity of the human race are but a blip on the radar in the cosmic scheme of things is obviously a veiled attack on your barren womb. Man, I hope there's not some contrived reason how this barren woman can immaculately concieve some sort of new race of...
Yep! The alien infected boyfriend has given a three month pregnency to her, within a couple of hours! Better get it out with the auto-doc in the captain's personal quarters.
The auto-doc in a female's quarters which doesn't do operations on women. Which, apparently can't do c-sections, but can still yank an alien fetus out, along with your womb just fine and not detect the difference between a man of a woman. Did I mention that the boyfriend has become a zombie now, because superzombies? No, I didn't, because it was freakin' stupid. Also, professionals scientists who 'don't know about death' and find alien corpses scary are quite happy to sleep in a room full of sentient black goo while getting high off their tits. Good to know that Ridley Scott has improved in the characterization department. Who needs strong female leads who combine both feminine and masculine aspects without being cliche, when you can have characters with such pathetic characterization and lack of point in the story that Freddy Krueger would laugh them off set?
More uninteresting stuff and suddenly, Weyland is here! He's here to get immortality from his creators. Which goes swimmingly well, when Blue Kratos, God of Creation (and/or War) proceeds to destroy everything and try to escape. Of course, we get a heartfelt, thrilling sacrifice from...
Errr... That one black dude who was kind of established as being captain of the ship? And the Asian guy who never does anything in the film? And random white friend of the Asian guy who we also see do nothing? Man, my heart bleeds at this immense sacrifice of well-developed, heart-wrenching protagonists.
Now for my favourite rant-worthy section of this film: The ending. It's not just intent on having one of the laziest endings, where a literal button press saves the main character from the super-evolved creature (who is 100% identical to our DNA - which is why they all look like muscle-bound children of Kratos from God of War and we don't), which also shows that she is the reason for the Xenomorph to exist, but our final development?
"You still wear that cross. You never gave up believing, did you?"
Dear Ridley Scott, wearing a cross does not make a character religious or show a devoutness to an ideal. It means nothing. If you're trying to ask the question of the crisis of faith, or how science can push back the ideas of religion as our understanding expands? You've got to show it. Never once did she question her faith. Never once was her faith tested. At most, you have a throw-away line of 'Yes, they made us, but what made them?' earlier on and some -very- clunky forced dialogue from the robot talking about her dead father. But otherwise, why does it focus on this? Religion wasn't a major part of her character's identity. They paid more freakin' attention to her inability to procreate, the amount of drugs she pumped into herself and getting a squid pulled out of her stomach.
To this end, I would like to say that Ridley? You dun goofed. You made a beautiful set-piece. I havn't seen animation and special effects this beautiful since Avatar, and that's saying something. But where did you go wrong? How did you go from Bladerunner's critique on meeting the person who made you, and what seperates AI from humanity and what truely is conciousness to this... this pathetic strawman attempt at Hollywood philosophy which would have a five year old in an RE class laughing? Just... Goddamn.