Prometheus Offers Alternate Creation Story
- Christian Hamaker Contributing Film and Culture Writer
- 2012 8 Jun
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: June 8, 2012 (3D/2D theaters and IMAX 3D)
Rating: R (for sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language)
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Run Time: 124 min.
Director: Ridley Scott
Actors: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green
Q. Who made you?
Q. What else did God make?
A. God made all things.
Q. Why did God make you and all things?
A. For his own glory.
Q. How can you glorify God?
A. By loving him and doing what he commands.
Q. Why ought you to glorify God?
A. Because he made me and takes care of me.
The Catechism for Young Children begins with life’s most fundamental question: “Who made you?” It follows that with several simple Scriptural truths, presented in a question-and-answer format. The document’s teaching on humanity’s origins is believed by Christians the world over.
Prometheus is a two-hours-plus, in-your-face challenge to those teachings. A prequel to director Ridley Scott’s Alien from 1979, Prometheus is the work of the same director. Scott, known for being a visual stylist, brings his pristine imagery to this widescreen, 3D spectacle. But the director is let down by screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Their script raises its own questions about the origins of mankind, but its answers don’t rise to the level of profundity found in an average episode of the old Star Trek TV series—not to mention biblical truth.
The year is 2089, and Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have come across ancient cave paintings in Scotland. The images on the cave’s walls match other drawings found on separate continents. Collectively, the images hint at the origins of human creation, but questions linger. “I think they want us to come and find them,” Shaw concludes about the beings that inspired the paintings.
So they embark on a mission to seek out their Maker. Funded by a man named Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce, in embarrassingly poor old-age makeup), Shaw and Holloway lead a crew aboard the scientific exploratory vehicle Prometheus to a distant moon. Among the team are corporate overseer Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron, Snow White and the Huntsman), ship captain Janek (Idris Elba, Thor) and android David (Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre).
Once on the planet, the crew finds a labyrinth of tunnels that lead to a detached, “remarkably human” head that they whisk back to the ship while a planetary storm rages. This tense, astronauts-against-the-elements sequence is a nice payoff after the slow tension buildup in Prometheus, culminating in findings that are disturbing both on the visual and philosophical levels.
Those philosophical issues are potent stuff, but after raising questions about whether it’s possible to reconcile traditional Christian faith, or even Darwinism, with Prometheus’ thesis, the film settles into a man-versus-aliens battle. The highlight, so to speak, of this carnage is an admittedly vivid and horrifying self-conducted Cesarean section that will likely be “the scene” that fans of the film mention first when discussing Prometheus.
The special effects in Prometheus rise to the level of what we expect from a summer blockbuster, although there isn’t much in the film that we haven’t already seen in Alien and its sequel, Aliens. Rapace holds her own , but it’s Theron’s icy Vickers and Elba’s laid-back Janek who give the film some much needed (if too infrequent) humor. While the human characters fight about corporate influence and business ethics, it’s Fassbender’s David, ironically, who conveys the most anguish about the implications of the crew’s mission to learn about the origins of life.
It all makes Prometheus a sleek-looking lie. Although the story has good performances from Fassbender, Theron and Elba, its story is a slap in the face to believers in a divine Creator. Prometheus wants to be more than a slick entertainment, but for all its filmmaking sophistication, the movie’s message can’t match the simple clarity of The Catechism for Young Children. If you’re looking for truth, you’ll find it in that document. If you’re interested only in a few summer chills, Prometheus delivers some effective moments. But consider yourself warned: This film doesn’t respect what you believe; it respects only the money you’ll spend on a ticket.
- Language/Profanity: “Jesus”; “godda--it”; “oh my God”; the f-word; “what the hell”; “s-it”; “bulls-it”; “I’ll be dam-ed”; “crazy ba-tard”; “son of a b-tch."
- Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: Scenes of drinking.
- Sex/Nudity: Humans shown with cloth coverings over their chests and groin areas; discussion about “how to get laid,” followed by implication that two characters are about to have sex; sex between two people leads to pregnancy, but the fetus described as “not exactly traditional”; very brief glimpse of a woman’s crotch area as she rises from an operating table.
- Violence/Crime: An alien’s body disintegrates; a detached head comes to life, bleeds and explodes; alien life form snaps a man’s arm and enters his body through the man’s mouth; man immolated; a woman sets a program to perform an operation removing an alien life form within her; we see an abdominal laceration, removal of fetus and stapling back together of abdomen; self-injections; she tears out umbilical cord; people are shot, catch fire; a detached head speaks; a suicide mission.
- Marriage/Religion: A android is said to be without a soul; Weyland says he’s spent his life contemplating where we come from; Prometheus is said to have wanted to give man equal footing with the gods; a woman who believes in God say she’s made that choice; discovery of alien beings is suggested to throw religious beliefs into doubt; mission controller says he hopes to meet their Maker; a character wonders where dead beings went, and another character suggests that “everyone has their own word: heaven, paradise”; an android asks why men made him, and a character says, “Because we could”; a person is told she must feel as though God has abandoned her; Weyland believes that if aliens could make humans, they could save humans from death; a woman wants to know why those who made her would want to kill her.
Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.