Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

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bipedalhumanoid
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Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:00 pm

Saw this movie recently and cannot understand why it's getting good reviews.

My biggest problem with are the many non-sequiturs in the story which is littered with religious undertones and the fact that those responsible for writting the dialog for the scientists characts clearly have absolutely no idea what science is or how it works.

*spoiler alert*
The movie starts out with a group of scientists stumbling on some neolithic cave paintings that dipict a number of discs in the sky and people looking up at them. They explain that similar paintings from different civilisations and time periods. You later learn that the lead character concludes from this that there is a race of aliens on a particular planet in a distant star system that she refers to as "The Engineers". She believes that these engineers created live on earth, or at least humans (it's not clear). When challenged about why she believes it, she simply states that it's what she chooses to believe... an explanation that receives no furhter challenge of course and was good enough for those funding what amounts to an extremely expensive interstellar mission.

The fact of the engineer's existence is promoted as "flying in the face of darwinism" and yet poses no challenge at all to the core character's christianity... because "where did the engineers come from?".

I rank it down there with a mountain climbing movie I once saw called "the climb", which has been described by at least one reviewer as "A Sermon on the Mount", but considerably lower than I Am Legend which at least had the decency to leave the woo until the end rather than undermining the basic foundation of the story.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
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Re: Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

Post by aZerogodist » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:25 pm

Thanks Bip, will avoid like a plague.

I have noticed the influx of religious woo into science-fiction over the last decade, or films that claim to be sci-fi but has no science what so ever, just set in the future.

A film that would do your head in would be ''A book of Eli''-Denzel Washington; almost made me sick, if you haven't seen it count yourself lucky.
A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.
basically all the bibles have been distroyed having been the cause of the war, but one book remains, with magical abilities to those who read it, this film won't kill brain-cells but forever numb them, at least dead brain cells can be replaced. Intellectual torture.

The X-files towards the end became religious woo, ' a space ship has the writings of the bible/koran/other religious mumbo-jumbo, written on the side of an Alien craft who seeded life on Earth, 'these powerfull words' has magical abilities, not going into it but it's as if scientology wrote a few episodes.

Baltlestar galatica, which was excellent, still had the whole exotus story in there.

I know religeous-groups have always invested money into the movie industry even the infamous 'Plan 9' then recently that scientology mov....can't call it a movie, after that flop, makes sense to invest n' influence other movies, not that I've any idea if 'Prometheus' is a scientology movie, but google does mean I'm not the only person who links it.

James Franco: Can Prometheus Help Us Understand Ourselves? -huffingtonpost
I don't know much about Scientology except for the abridged version I saw on South Park, but the origin story in Prometheus reminded me of that.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/blackberry/p.html?
id=1583258 (can't post none mobile link)

Prometheus: are you ready to take Ridley Scott's leap of faith? -Ben Child; guardian
Are you ready to take a leap of faith with the director? Or will you be checking carefully over your shoulder in the multiplex come 1 June (one week later in north America) to make sure John Travolta and Tom Cruise haven't block-booked the VIP seats right behind you?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog ... pe=article

In general I've no problem with a character having religion, but a religious plot
bipedalhumanoid wrote:I Am Legend which at least had the decency to leave the woo until the end rather than undermining the basic foundation of the story.
I've not read the book but I assume they changed the story at the end with woo, the film 'The Last Man on Earth' is based on the book 'I am Legend' and the ending has no woo, I would highly recommend seeing the Vincent Price version, which I seen recently and was blown away by it, but maybe 'holy'wood didn't like the end.
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TimHourigan
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Re: Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

Post by TimHourigan » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:48 am

Do not AVOID like Plague. Go SEE and I think you will laugh rather than be upset at how it totally sets up religion for a fall.

This film is a total mindfeck... and it is NOT pushing religion, it just appears to be, but this film should have been called 'Trollmetheus' from there point of view.

I can explain why, but that would mean spoilers.
Be glad to do so by PM.

quick summary

http://timhourigan.blogspot.ie/2012/06/ ... -film.html

Regards.
Last edited by funkyderek on Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed URL from tinyurl to original link so it doesn't look like spam :-)
marklen
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Re: Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

Post by marklen » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:38 pm

I disagree with the interwebs!

I quite liked the film.

(There will be spoilers from this point on, but hopefully fairly vague...)

I did see a religious tone but...
1. The "gods" in this story are not benevolent (neither is old testament god, but these ones take it a step further!)
2. The gods are not all powerful or all knowing or for that matter particularly competent - mostly dead
3. The gods are not consistent - they changed their mind (big time)
4. The creation's creation gets murdered summarily by his creator's creator - as soon as he spoke - I just loved that, I really can't explain why - it ticks all the profound boxes without actually being profound (I imagine talking snakes, burning bushes and vertical cloud formations have the same effect on goat herders.)

H.P.Lovecraft saw a universe filled with Gods and ancient beings, and he used it to create horror. (I think he was genuinely afraid of pretty much everything - travelling any distance from his house, all foreigners other than Norwegians, the sky). Despite the fact they guy was a colossal dick I like his work just for the scale of it. The idea that such immensely powerful beings could exist should be horrifying, the assumption of benevolence in prevailing religions is one colossal logical weakness in my view.

I like it when science fiction going for high concept and massive scope in either space or time - life spreading in the universe, manipulation of genetics crossing millions of years, wars between planets and species not just men - all of this is going to overlap with religion significantly. When it is done right it dwarfs religion stories. It puts religion in a small and localized little box, as a thing which is wrong most of the time, and manipulated by humans for their own purposes. When religion is found among aliens it is almost always very bad for the humans in the story.

So I liked Prometheus for the ambition of it. Also I thought it was well paced, action was OK, acting was OK, Fassbender was fantastic. I watched it with a former Christian (from a very conservative and closed community in fact) who hasn't had much exposure to sci-fi or horror and he thought it was mind blowing.

There are some biggish holes in the story - if you consider it a prequel - (How did the engineer's body get back in the chair hmmm? In fact were there multiple of them walking around? Are we going to have to wait for director's cut for it to make sense?)

Also, another down side is the science is a bit dodgy.

There are websites dedicated to bad science in movies, and this movie in particular, but the following stood out for me while I was watching:-
* The time in hibernation was not long enough to reach a star in a constellation with a specific shape (when viewed from Earth) but which couldn't be seen by the naked eye
* "Constellation" is what they were talking about not a "star system", a star system would not retain it's shape over a couple of years, never mind centuries
* Star systems in the alien's navigation map were represented as spheres instead of disks - I can forgive the scales being wrong, they are icons in a UX afterall, but not the shape
* The contradiction of the android supposedly not having emotions - clearly untrue but never challenged by any of the other characters

And with the whole series - the Aliens from the earlier movies could not have evolved (way too severe a host impact for a parasite) - the new origin helps explain that, but actually raises even more questions, mostly about the ludicrous "overkill" nature of their reproductive habits. Don't get me started on the horizontal gene transfer, or the fact that they could grow to 20 times their size without a food source, or the expense of their hunting habits vs calorific value of what they were hunting (the humans). Acid for blood - very silly. Really they make no sense at all.

Anyway, if you can put enough of that asside (with alcohol?) I think I'd watch it again.

Mostly for Fassbender channeling Peter O'Toole channeling Lawrence of Arabia. (Did he just read the script and say - "Guys I'd rather do Lawrence of Arabia than a sci-fi robot, can I just do both?", "Yeah, you go for it Michael!")

I might even pay money for the directors cut DVD to see if any of the plot holes get filled.
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Re: Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

Post by aZerogodist » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:10 am

Thanks Tim, read your blog review (good idea to put full url), tis very well written, many sci-fi fans have mentioned the overall plot is real sci-fiction akin to the likes of 2001, not like the recent standard blockbuster 'monsters from space' type of movie. (aliens vs cowboys/US-navy)

But still I think I'll wait to hear if part2 completes the story or the directors-cut.
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Re: Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

Post by mkaobrih » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:27 pm

To be honest I preferred the kick ass gungho action of the second movie then the first one where Ripley is running around in her knickers and goes back for the cat rather than getting out of there.
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Re: Prometheus - Religious undertones and claptrap

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:25 pm

marklen wrote:I disagree with the interwebs!

I quite liked the film.

(There will be spoilers from this point on, but hopefully fairly vague...)

I did see a religious tone but...
1. The "gods" in this story are not benevolent (neither is old testament god, but these ones take it a step further!)
2. The gods are not all powerful or all knowing or for that matter particularly competent - mostly dead
3. The gods are not consistent - they changed their mind (big time)
4. The creation's creation gets murdered summarily by his creator's creator - as soon as he spoke - I just loved that, I really can't explain why - it ticks all the profound boxes without actually being profound (I imagine talking snakes, burning bushes and vertical cloud formations have the same effect on goat herders.)
That's not really the religious undertone I was referring to. It was more to do with the religious faith reasoning of the main scientists character. "it's what I choose to believe" a line that demanded respect rather than ridicule; "don't be a skeptic" a line that went unchallenged as though it was generally accepted that being a skeptic is a bad thing; the massive leap in logic from cave paintings to engineers; the general acceptance that the existence of these engineers poses no problem for christianity but does pose a problem for darwinian evolution.

I've read the reviews of both Phil Plait and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I have to say I was a tad disappointed that these anti-skeptical themes were not addressed in either review. These anti-skeptic and therefore anti-scientific views pose a much greater threat to the public understanding of science than a few specific facts they got wrong.

I didn't find anything in the film that could redeem it for me. I wouldn't even classify this movie under science fiction. It's a just a classic dumb arse space action/horror. Sci-fi would imply the use of actual science somewhere in the plot and/or story.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
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