Prometheus Forum
We are the Gods now
Mythic resonance and themes in Prometheus
  • CavalornCavalorn  (15 like this)
    Colonist
    (Reposting a blog article I wrote in its entirety in case anyone's interested. Please don't see this as an attempt to interpret the film authoritatively; part of what I try to do is to identify the references the filmmakers sneak into the movie, whether subtly or heavy-handedly.)


    Prometheus contains such a huge amount of mythic resonance that it effectively obscures a more conventional plot. I'd like to draw your attention to the use of motifs and callbacks in the film that not only enrich it, but offer possible hints as to what was going on in otherwise confusing scenes.

    Let's begin with the eponymous titan himself, Prometheus. He was a wise and benevolent entity who created mankind in the first place, forming the first humans from clay. The Gods were more or less okay with that, until Prometheus gave them fire. This was a big no-no, as fire was supposed to be the exclusive property of the Gods. As punishment, Prometheus was chained to a rock and condemned to have his liver ripped out and eaten every day by an eagle. (His liver magically grew back, in case you were wondering.)

    Fix that image in your mind, please: the giver of life, with his abdomen torn open. We'll be coming back to it many times in the course of this article.

    The ethos of the titan Prometheus is one of willing and necessary sacrifice for life's sake. That's a pattern we see replicated throughout the ancient world. J G Frazer wrote his lengthy anthropological study, The Golden Bough, around the idea of the Dying God - a lifegiver who voluntarily dies for the sake of the people. It was incumbent upon the King to die at the right and proper time, because that was what heaven demanded, and fertility would not ensue if he did not do his royal duty of dying.

    Now, consider the opening sequence of Prometheus. We fly over a spectacular vista, which may or may not be primordial Earth. According to Ridley Scott, it doesn't matter. A lone Engineer at the top of a waterfall goes through a strange ritual, drinking from a cup of black goo that causes his body to disintegrate into the building blocks of life. We see the fragments of his body falling into the river, twirling and spiralling into DNA helices.

    Ridley Scott has this to say about the scene: 'That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself. If you parallel that idea with other sacrificial elements in history – which are clearly illustrated with the Mayans and the Incas – he would live for one year as a prince, and at the end of that year, he would be taken and donated to the gods in hopes of improving what might happen next year, be it with crops or weather, etcetera.'

    Can we find a God in human history who creates plant life through his own death, and who is associated with a river? It's not difficult to find several, but the most obvious candidate is Osiris, the epitome of all the Frazerian 'Dying Gods'.

    And we wouldn't be amiss in seeing the first of the movie's many Christian allegories in this scene, either. The Engineer removes his cloak before the ceremony, and hesitates before drinking the cupful of genetic solvent; he may well have been thinking 'If it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me.'

    So, we know something about the Engineers, a founding principle laid down in the very first scene: acceptance of death, up to and including self-sacrifice, is right and proper in the creation of life. Prometheus, Osiris, John Barleycorn, and of course the Jesus of Christianity are all supposed to embody this same principle. It is held up as one of the most enduring human concepts of what it means to be 'good'.

    Seen in this light, the perplexing obscurity of the rest of the film yields to an examination of the interwoven themes of sacrifice, creation, and preservation of life. We also discover, through hints, exactly what the nature of the clash between the Engineers and humanity entailed.

    The crew of the Prometheus discover an ancient chamber, presided over by a brooding solemn face, in which urns of the same black substance are kept. A mural on the wall presents an image which, if you did as I asked earlier on, you will recognise instantly: the lifegiver with his abdomen torn open. Note the serenity on the Engineer's face here.

    And there's another mural there, one which shows a familiar xenomorph-like figure. This is the Destroyer who mirrors the Creator, I think - the avatar of supremely selfish life, devouring and destroying others purely to preserve itself. As Ash puts it: 'a survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse or delusions of morality.'

    Through Shaw and Holloway's investigations, we learn that the Engineers not only created human life, they supervised our development. (How else are we to explain the numerous images of Engineers in primitive art, complete with star diagram showing us the way to find them?) We have to assume, then, that for a good few hundred thousand years, they were pretty happy with us. They could have destroyed us at any time, but instead, they effectively invited us over; the big pointy finger seems to be saying 'Hey, guys, when you're grown up enough to develop space travel, come see us.' Until something changed, something which not only messed up our relationship with them but caused their installation on LV-223 to be almost entirely wiped out.

    From the Engineers' perspective, so long as humans retained that notion of self-sacrifice as central, we weren't entirely beyond redemption. But we went and screwed it all up, and the film hints at when, if not why: the Engineers at the base died two thousand years ago. That suggests that the event that turned them against us and led to the huge piles of dead Engineers lying about was one and the same event. We did something very, very bad, and somehow the consequences of that dreadful act accompanied the Engineers back to LV-223 and massacred them.

    If you have uneasy suspicions about what 'a bad thing approximately 2,000 years ago' might be, then let me reassure you that you are right. An astonishing excerpt from the Movies.com interview with Ridley Scott:

    Movies.com: We had heard it was scripted that the Engineers were targeting our planet for destruction because we had crucified one of their representatives, and that Jesus Christ might have been an alien. Was that ever considered?

    Ridley Scott: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, "Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it." Guess what? They crucified him.

    Yeah. The reason the Engineers don't like us any more is that they made us a Space Jesus, and we broke him. Reader, that's not me pulling wild ideas out of my arse. That's RIDLEY SCOTT.

    So, imagine poor crucified Jesus, a fresh spear wound in his side. Oh, hey, there's the 'lifegiver with his abdomen torn open' motif again. That's three times now: Prometheus, Engineer mural, Jesus Christ. And I don't think I have to mention the 'sacrifice in the interest of giving life' bit again, do I? Everyone on the same page? Good.

    So how did our (in the context of the film) terrible murderous act of crucifixion end up wiping out all but one of the Engineers back on LV-223? Presumably through the black slime, which evidently models its behaviour on the user's mental state. Create unselfishly, accepting self-destruction as the cost, and the black stuff engenders fertile life. But expose the potent black slimy stuff to the thoughts and emotions of flawed humanity, and 'the sleep of reason produces monsters'. We never see the threat that the Engineers were fleeing from, we never see them killed other than accidentally (decapitation by door), and we see no remaining trace of whatever killed them. Either it left a long time ago, or it reverted to inert black slime, waiting for a human mind to reactivate it.

    The black slime reacts to the nature and intent of the being that wields it, and the humans in the film didn't even know that they WERE wielding it. That's why it remained completely inert in David's presence, and why he needed a human proxy in order to use the stuff to create anything. The black goo could read no emotion or intent from him, because he was an android.

    Shaw's comment when the urn chamber is entered - 'we've changed the atmosphere in the room' - is deceptively informative. The psychic atmosphere has changed, because humans - tainted, Space Jesus-killing humans - are present. The slime begins to engender new life, drawing not from a self-sacrificing Engineer but from human hunger for knowledge, for more life, for more everything. Little wonder, then, that it takes serpent-like form. The symbolism of a corrupting serpent, turning men into beasts, is pretty unmistakeable.

    Refusal to accept death is anathema to the Engineers. Right from the first scene, we learned their code of willing self-sacrifice in accord with a greater purpose. When the severed Engineer head is temporarily brought back to life, its expression registers horror and disgust. Cinemagoers are confused when the head explodes, because it's not clear why it should have done so. Perhaps the Engineer wanted to die again, to undo the tainted human agenda of new life without sacrifice.

    But some humans do act in ways the Engineers might have grudgingly admired. Take Holloway, Shaw's lover, who impregnates her barren womb with his black slime riddled semen before realising he is being transformed into something Other. Unlike the hapless geologist and botanist left behind in the chamber, who only want to stay alive, Holloway willingly embraces death. He all but invites Meredith Vickers to kill him, and it's surely significant that she does so using fire, the other gift Prometheus gave to man besides his life.

    The 'Caesarean' scene is central to the film's themes of creation, sacrifice, and giving life. Shaw has discovered she's pregnant with something non-human and sets the autodoc to slice it out of her. She lies there screaming, a gaping wound in her stomach, while her tentacled alien child thrashes and squeals in the clamp above her and OH HEY IT'S THE LIFEGIVER WITH HER ABDOMEN TORN OPEN. How many times has that image come up now? Four, I make it. (We're not done yet.)

    And she doesn't kill it. And she calls the procedure a 'caesarean' instead of an 'abortion'.

    (I'm not even going to begin to explore the pro-choice versus forced birth implications of that scene. I don't think they're clear, and I'm not entirely comfortable doing so. Let's just say that her unwanted offspring turning out to be her salvation is possibly problematic from a feminist standpoint and leave it there for now.)

    Here's where the Christian allegories really come through. The day of this strange birth just happens to be Christmas Day. And this is a 'virgin birth' of sorts, although a dark and twisted one, because Shaw couldn't possibly be pregnant. And Shaw's the crucifix-wearing Christian of the crew. We may well ask, echoing Yeats: what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards LV-223 to be born?

    Consider the scene where David tells Shaw that she's pregnant, and tell me that's not a riff on the Annunciation. The calm, graciously angelic android delivering the news, the pious mother who insists she can't possibly be pregnant, the wry declaration that it's no ordinary child... yeah, we've seen this before.

    'And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.'

    A barren woman called Elizabeth, made pregnant by 'God'? Subtle, Ridley.

    Anyway. If it weren't already clear enough that the central theme of the film is 'I suffer and die so that others may live' versus 'you suffer and die so that I may live' writ extremely large, Meredith Vickers helpfully spells it out:

    'A king has his reign, and then he dies. It's inevitable.'

    Vickers is not just speaking out of personal frustration here, though that's obviously one level of it. She wants her father out of the way, so she can finally come in to her inheritance. It's insult enough that Weyland describes the android David as 'the closest thing I have to a son', as if only a male heir was of any worth; his obstinate refusal to accept death is a slap in her face.

    Weyland, preserved by his wealth and the technology it can buy, has lived far, far longer than his rightful time. A ghoulish, wizened creature who looks neither old nor young, he reminds me of Slough Feg, the decaying tyrant from the Slaine series in British comic 2000AD. In Slaine, an ancient (and by now familiar to you, dear reader, or so I would hope) Celtic law decrees that the King has to be ritually and willingly sacrificed at the end of his appointed time, for the good of the land and the people. Slough Feg refused to die, and became a rotting horror, the embodiment of evil.

    The image of the sorcerer who refuses to accept rightful death is fundamental: it even forms a part of some occult philosophy. In Crowley's system, the magician who refuses to accept the bitter cup of Babalon and undergo dissolution of his individual ego in the Great Sea (remember that opening scene?) becomes an ossified, corrupted entity called a 'Black Brother' who can create no new life, and lives on as a sterile, emasculated husk.

    With all this in mind, we can better understand the climactic scene in which the withered Weyland confronts the last surviving Engineer. See it from the Engineer's perspective. Two thousand years ago, humanity not only murdered the Engineers' emissary, it infected the Engineers' life-creating fluid with its own tainted selfish nature, creating monsters. And now, after so long, here humanity is, presumptuously accepting a long-overdue invitation, and even reawakening (and corrupting all over again) the life fluid.

    And who has humanity chosen to represent them? A self-centred, self-satisfied narcissist who revels in his own artificially extended life, who speaks through the medium of a merely mechanical offspring. Humanity couldn't have chosen a worse ambassador.

    It's hardly surprising that the Engineer reacts with contempt and disgust, ripping David's head off and battering Weyland to death with it. The subtext is bitter and ironic: you caused us to die at the hands of our own creation, so I am going to kill you with YOUR own creation, albeit in a crude and bludgeoning way.

    The only way to save humanity is through self-sacrifice, and this is exactly what the captain (and his two oddly complacent co-pilots) opt to do. They crash the Prometheus into the Engineer's ship, giving up their lives in order to save others. Their willing self-sacrifice stands alongside Holloway's and the Engineer's from the opening sequence; by now, the film has racked up no less than five self-sacrificing gestures (six if we consider the exploding Engineer head).

    Meredith Vickers, of course, has no interest in self-sacrifice. Like her father, she wants to keep herself alive, and so she ejects and lands on the planet's surface. With the surviving cast now down to Vickers and Shaw, we witness Vickers's rather silly death as the Engineer ship rolls over and crushes her, due to a sudden inability on her part to run sideways. Perhaps that's the point; perhaps the film is saying her view is blinkered, and ultimately that kills her. But I doubt it. Sometimes a daft death is just a daft death.

    Finally, in the squidgy ending scenes of the film, the wrathful Engineer conveniently meets its death at the tentacles of Shaw's alien child, now somehow grown huge. But it's not just a death; there's obscene life being created here, too. The (in the Engineers' eyes) horrific human impulse to sacrifice others in order to survive has taken on flesh. The Engineer's body bursts open - blah blah lifegiver blah blah abdomen ripped apart hey we're up to five now - and the proto-Alien that emerges is the very image of the creature from the mural.

    On the face of it, it seems absurd to suggest that the genesis of the Alien xenomorph ultimately lies in the grotesque human act of crucifying the Space Jockeys' emissary to Israel in four B.C., but that's what Ridley Scott proposes. It seems equally insane to propose that Prometheus is fundamentally about the clash between acceptance of death as a condition of creating/sustaining life versus clinging on to life at the expense of others, but the repeated, insistent use of motifs and themes bears this out.

    As a closing point, let me draw your attention to a very different strand of symbolism that runs through Prometheus: the British science fiction show Doctor Who. In the 1970s episode 'The Daemons', an ancient mound is opened up, leading to an encounter with a gigantic being who proves to be an alien responsible for having guided mankind's development, and who now views mankind as a failed experiment that must be destroyed. The Engineers are seen tootling on flutes, in exactly the same way that the second Doctor does. The Third Doctor had an companion whose name was Liz Shaw, the same name as the protagonist of Prometheus. As with anything else in the film, it could all be coincidental; but knowing Ridley Scott, it doesn't seem very likely.
  • justinlucas99justinlucas99  
    Colonist
    In haste,
    I think your piece is superb and almost certainly mostly accurate. I think what is saddening though is although I enjoyed Prometheus, especially on the second viewing (without all the bated anticipation), I think the deeper meaning, subtext, themes and allegory were somewhat stifled and lost.
    The rushed editing and paced kinda ruined any allusions to epicness and greatness - which I am sure was well thought out by Scott,Spaights and Lindelhof in their Grand Mythology.
    With your article it highlights what could have been if money and the masses hadn't been so important ( hey it's 2012 ).
    I do hold out for a slower more even paced extended version of Prometheus which could level some of the accusations that is glib and incoherent and well, silly.
    I think many want to like Prometheus more and take in the deeper metaphors etc but just feel its a poorly written film.
    Again fantastic article. It's interesting you brought up Slaine from 2000ad fame- as it reminded me its author Pat Mills has a similar trajectory to Scott in my mind. Amazing and sublime beginning and then somewhat stilted potentially grest stories in more recent times.
    As a side not do you remember the Slaine series that got all Cthulhu and Giger with alien gods?
  • virtftwvirtftw  (2 like this)
    Colonist
    Excellent. Just a few thoughts to reflect on.

    1. Ridley's mention of the Engineers as Dark Angels. It feels less than the concept of fallen angels, but this is an element which can be present - which would have significant impact for both Prometheus and another movie. To me it tastes a little like schism, perversion, insignificance, jealousy, segregation. There is room there for conflicting paths of creation, but also for consequences of having to cull instead of just seed and monitor.

    2. The recent interviews with Ridley and Lindelof which comment on a lesser focus on christianity, more looking towards other mythologies. While the symbology is innate and just asking for being used in terms of buzz and marketing, personally I see more potential in the aberrant methods of organisation of humans rather than a jesus figure. Something which does tie in with the atmosphere in the head room, where Shaw comments that when they are present, the mural changes, the atmosphere changes. I still have this idea in my mind that the mural is more than a mural, and that the black goo is not just an active agent but psychosensitive - reacting to those present among it. It does not react to David, it does react to biological life. Is the difference there emotion? State of mind? Holloway later on does indeed sacrifice himself, and is already in a state of emotional connect with Shaw (while Shaw seeks answers, she does so in chosing blindly which IS a perversion in its own right as wisdom doesn't just come from knowledge, but it never comes from closing your eyes).

    The emphasis on kings, which are required to die for example? It takes me back to something which many historians call the disease of Caesars. While human history did have its times with kings and empires, it was not until the Romans introduced methods of internalising central organisation directly managing relations of power that most of the rest of our history went haywire with mimicking that "disease" (falling to those temptations). Remember the cut scene of the older engineers giving the younger one the cup (of life / black goo) from the art book? A king has its reign, again.

    The disease of caesars is something which for us as "modern" day humans should be dramatically easy to recognise as we are the result of several deep historic incidents culminating in a set of societies where the struggle for the role of caesar is pretty much the predominant theme. 

    Our social organisation, our economic organisation, political organisation, even the way we have structured our families ever since those days (remember the concept of pater familias? the one who owns his family and all resources with it human and otherwise) is one constant resurgance of attempts to be a caesar. And above all, our religions - our institutions that have harboured belief systems and made faith an instrument of power. The disease of ceasars.

    It is that which strikes me as what went wrong. It wasn't just the Romans I should add, but they are the most known these days as they survived the longest and shaped the most. But on other continents similar concepts arose around those times, all with drastic impact. Especially when you look at it from an older historic perspective where this internalised urge to ownership and power was not as widespread (it occured, but remained localised, not long lived, etc). The concept of sacrifice became subject to us perverting it in this disease of caesars - look at the Aztecs or the Mayans again through that perspective.
    And Weyland, is a (barely) walking talking breathing example of the disease of caesars. Wielding power, not wielding care, seeking to continue his reign.

    So, not jesus. But what we call now the disease of caesars. A root cultural change among mankind. Which has changed us, corrupted us but more so made us promote those seeking corruption. The jesus link is less a direct link than an element of symbology - regardless of him being a case of Engineer derived the "attempt" at introduction of sacrifice was not enough to stand against the trend of perversion already taking place (in fact, jesus's sacrifice has become one of the biggest perversions of all time wielded as instrument of power, and not message). 
    Add the black goo in there, and you are sure to transform that into a legion of monsters - because we already are.

    In regards to a possible next movie, there is something playing in the back of my mind. The potential of schism. There is an underlying visual expression of jealousy all throughout the movie, but also of differences in approach of other life (human and otherwise) as well as the concept of transformation. I do think it is quite possible that our "course change" (so to speak - as visible now in our history) has had impact among Engineers as well. The black goo is an active agent, for a collection of entities normally busy with seeding / creation to suddenly be confronted by a perversion of their works (regardless of the debate of whether it was a prometheus among them or them in general who created or intervened) will have an effect. Particularly on concepts like purpose, unity, etc. It remains quite possible that our perversion forced them to undertake steps which with the inherent risks (changed mentality, changed results) bit them in the ass. Killed them, as they had to engage in actions which were a perversion of their mentality even though they may or may not have seen it as required or not).

    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • virtftwvirtftw  (2 like this)
    Colonist
    Evil thought from the husband :P The ship the Nostromo found on the planet it landed on, might not have been an offensive ship. Carrying something close to weapons, sure. But survivors, specimens. From another seed having undergone perversion. The Alien xenoform as survivor from a cleansing, no wonder it was pissed :P

    Silly man :P

    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • ummesterummester  (1 like this)
    AssFlower

    This article is well thought out but flawed. the birth does not happen on Xmas day. Prometheus lands on Xmas day, Janek has a tree and Holloway wants to unwrap his presents.

    They may make love on Xmas eve, or the eve of boxing day.

    Holloway is killed on either boxing day, or the next.

    When David tells Shaw she is pregnant, she states it is at least 10 hours since they had had sex.

    Time isn't clear from the point David informs Shaw she is pregant but she is unconscious for a while.

    Shaw leaves LV223 on the first day of the new year.

    Cuddles birth, Weyland meeting his maker, prometheus (ship) sacrifice and assflower infecting engineer all occur between boxing day, or the next and the end of December.

     

    Suck fuddlety!
  • virtftwvirtftw  
    Colonist
    Ofcourse there will be flaws, none of us can stick a finger in Ridley's and Lindelof's  brains :P But to simply just pick a single specific element out of its entirety is something closer to debunking than it is to analysis :P

    To me the christmas element is just a part of symbology inserted. Nothing more. One of many such insertions. Symbology in Prometheus exists in the form of building blocks for a theme, but it also sometimes serves no purpose other than fitting the translation of story into visual expression. 

    So, a mismatch on a date is just that. A mismatch. We already knew from that interview that the focus is less on christianity than on ridley's own focal elements of religion all over the place. Insertion of symbology is an instrument of marketing. Look at how it gets people talking :P

    That said, aside of a tiny mismatch, there are a number of themes of symbology and story in that post which do have bearing. Again, none of us have a complete picture (not just due to Lindelof, but also due to Fox and even Ridley), but it is worth to look at the field, and not just the trenches in it.
    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • DrLoveHateDrLoveHate  (4 like this)
    Colonist
    Diagnosis: Bullshit


    Sorry, no offence intended, but I could write a ton of allusions about The Care Bears movie that would sound just as legit.

    No offense, it's a great leap of imagination and some of it even sounds plausible, but this is the problem with the ambiguity of this film. It cheats and makes the audience reach for explanations that just aren't there where they should be (ie: up on the screen).
  • AeusAeus  (3 like this)
    Batswag

    Diagnosis: Bullshit


    Sorry, no offence intended, but I could write a ton of allusions about The Care Bears movie that would sound just as legit.

    No offense, it's a great leap of imagination and some of it even sounds plausible, but this is the problem with the ambiguity of this film. It cheats and makes the audience reach for explanations that just aren't there where they should be (ie: up on the screen).




    I agree. These ideas are so poorly presented in the film it's almost criminal.
    The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.
  • virtftwvirtftw  
    Colonist
    Diagnosis: Bullshit


    Sorry, no offence intended, but I could write a ton of allusions about The Care Bears movie that would sound just as legit.

    No offense, it's a great leap of imagination and some if it even sounds plausible, but this is the problem with the ambiguity if this film. It cheats and makes the audience reach for explanations that just aren't there where they should be (ie: up on the screen).


    That the movie cheats is a given. We've seen some possible causes of that, but we're not in any position to know the extent of impact of for example Lindelof's script rewriting or Fox's decisions on cutting down the length of the feature, etc. But the impression of it cheating comes more out of people picking apart the composition of the movie than the mythos because we got caught between anticipation and expectation (with the divide between delivering an entertaining movie, but not the mythos to kickstart a franchise) than it comes out of Prometheus being designed of one movie among several in the intended new franchise.

    Yes, explanations are not where they should be. I don't think there any many people disagreeing with that. But right now we only have Prometheus "as is". It is no wonder that people go for the puzzle, and considering the marketing focused directly on that it is hardly a bad thing to do - even though the movie itself fails itself in that regard. Frustration is easily understood, but it should be directed at points of origin rather than those who share it and try to piece together from external information (like the interviews) what the movie fails to (or was decided to not) deliver.

    Btw, I fully agree that the movie does not do itself justice. It does not deliver the big questions or big ideas, even though it banks  on them and depends on them. As I said before, Prometheus could and should have been the start of a new mythos - as Ridley set out to. But while delivering an entertaining watch, it did not fill its potential. In many ways, it has shot itself in the foot. The commercial succes is clear, but a new franchise does not just require big money, it also requires audiences to puzzle the story, and not the composition of the movie. In the later case, it is usually the writing and/or the editing that has failed itself.

    By all means, make a thread on the care bears movie :P 
    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • journeymanjourneyman  (2 like this)
    Colonist

    Diagnosis: Bullshit


    Sorry, no offence intended, but I could write a ton of allusions about The Care Bears movie that would sound just as legit.

    No offense, it's a great leap of imagination and some if it even sounds plausible, but this is the problem with the ambiguity of this film. It cheats and makes the audience reach for explanations that just aren't there where they should be (ie: up on the screen).



    That sounds harsh, but seems about right IMO. People are reading too much into stuff. It's a movie, not a science class was a quote from Ridley. Well folks, it's a movie, not a rewrite of all religions on earth and/or an acknowledgment of symbolism. When people write scripts (in this instance Spaihts) I doubt he sat poring over almost all known religious texts to come up with his ideas. He just wrote an Alien prequel. Same with Lindelof, he did some rewrites to make it cheaper. A few loose comments in interviews where the guy is blatantly sucking his own rod and bigging up how much hidden stuff he can stick in a script and POOF! Suddenly every shadow has a deeper meaning.

    I did find the OP a very entertaining read though and a lot of thought went into it and I'm NOT trying to take away from that at all. I just think more thought went into searching for the symbolism in the OP than went into the whole movie during the writing process.
  • DrLoveHateDrLoveHate  (2 like this)
    Colonist
    Please don't take what I said as a snipe against your comments. You have every right to discuss your ideas, of course. I just want to make sure the cynical among us gets a little representation too. Cheers...
  • journeymanjourneyman  (2 like this)
    Colonist

    Please don't take what I said as a snipe against your comments. You have every right to discuss your ideas, of course. I just want to make sure the cynical among us gets a little representation too. Cheers...



    Soooooooooo... Care Bears symbolism? Go on, you know you want to!
  • virtftwvirtftw  
    Colonist
    @Journeyman. 

    It is harsh, but also right, in regards to the movie. But that is as it is, nothing we can do about it and at best one can hope for the next movie to learn from the lessons with this movie.

    But to simply write off people's attempts to make sense, because the questions and answers are not where they should be, is never right. 

    I'm inclined to agree that Lindelof rewriting the Spaiht drafts consciously chose to selectively pick and select rather than going for deep connections. But that is his trademark, as unfortunate as it is. That said, it also is a distinct method in designing a new franchise in entertainment. You need symbol markers for audiences to puzzle with. Personally I think the Prometheus execution of that is simply shallow. Not in the way of the visual expression and thus the movie being entertaining, but shallow. Along the lines of picking things from a shelf and seeing if it fits - rather than building something from the ground up. Subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless.

    Sucking his own rod :P Nice statement :P And  I thought I was cold in stating that he is a marketeer and politician before being a writer :P

    I do not think however that the OP was trying to apply the same methods as Lindelof, or picking off the shelf like was done in the writing. But trying to make a certain sense of Prometheus in the sense of Ridley's intent of creating a franchise. As frustrating as it is, one movie does not make a franchise. A mythos can, but that involves more than just one movie and one puzzle. 
    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • journeymanjourneyman  
    Colonist
    virtftw said:


    Sucking his own rod :P Nice statement :P And  I thought I was cold in stating that he is a marketeer and politician before being a writer :P



    ARGHHH!!! Trapped in the box!!

    Yes, it was quite a colourful metaphor but you know what I mean right? He just sits there all smarmy looking with that grin on his face like he's too cool for school when really he's just a nerd like.. us I suppose. The guy comes across as fundamentally unlikeable.

    I suppose that could just be my take on him. I would just love, just once, to punch him right in his so-far-in-the-closet-he's-in-fucking-Narnia face. I'm not naturally aggressive and I don't know why but he bothers me.
  • virtftwvirtftw  
    Colonist
    Yeah, I know. It just rubs the wrong way. But, he is part of it, whether we like it or not. And if he keeps it up like this he will be, or already is, undoubtedly a part of the next movie. Lindelof's acte de presence too often bleeds arrogance. It doesn't matter whether that is intended or not, but constantly making yourself integral to having answers and getting the whole thing done ... it's just not right. And the result shows.

    Personally I don't think that is a good idea. Too much of a risk to take the carpet away underneath the feet of what should be a new franchise. Prometheus is neither Inception nor Lost.
    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • journeymanjourneyman  (1 like this)
    Colonist
    I fully agree. With Prometheus left the way it is I think he has to do the next one. Hopefully Fox or Scott slap him and tell him to tie everything up though instead of his usual open ended nonsense. I'm sure they've studied the backlash in reviews on various sites and there is a lot of Lindelof hate online at the minute so if he's there next time he better "try harder".

    OP... sorry for going off on a tangent!!
  • virtftwvirtftw  
    Colonist
    On the bright side, here is a thought. If they are serious about kickstarting a new franchise, the next movie will have to feature a careful balance between questions and answers. It will have to be more specific in its choices of symbology, and it is going to have to be very careful with the identification of prospect audiences with both symbology and characters.

    So, to turn it slightly back on topic, a next movie will have to be more specific in balancing big question, big symbol, small answer. Right now for example many people are not looking further than the hints at christian symbology, even thought Ridley has a far wider view himself. The absence of connections in Prometheus, which is what people (like the OP) are trying to analyse is really the prime focal point for any next movie.

    Sure, commercially speaking any next movie or instance can just pick a part of the foundation and roll with it. Definately, but it will still have to strike those balances because Prometheus itself did not. 

    I don't expect much of a christian tune in that regard. I do have the impression (as mentioned in my reply to the OP) that Ridley's view is more of a general view. 

    Lindelof hate btw is not going to have any impact other than smart marketeers saying "look at the buzz that was created, brilliant, this we can build on". Which makes it more likely that he will be involved again. Not because it is a good idea for the franchise or story or mythos, but because it makes sense in commercial and organisational reporting. A Fox executive is not going to read a million reviews or community forums, he is going to follow the usual entertainment industry patterns of business. And if it is a new generation of execs, they are always likely to not follow the original foundation but pick something specific or just different to pursue (reusing resources that were established to work commercially). That's incidentally one of the biggest reasons why changes in execs in networks result in show cancellations regardless of audience base followed by "new" stuff so they can be shown to place their own mark on things.

    But that takes me back to the OP's analysis. Yes, there are some flaws, and no I have some points where my own analysis diverges. But this kind of thing right now is likely to provide more foundation to the franchise than Prometheus on its own. Too many people are picking apart the composition of the production (yes, for good reasons) and very often we are foregoing the actual mythos - which suffers from composition yes, but stories are written by more than just an author. Especially a mythos is a result of author, the bard and above all the audience.

    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • journeymanjourneyman  
    Colonist
    I know execs aren't going to sit and read reviews on fan sites etc lol but I'm sure they employ people to give them the gist of what the people are thinking.

    Agree with the rest of your post though.
  • DrLoveHateDrLoveHate  (5 like this)
    Colonist
    The Care Bears Movie - An epic meditation on the intangible nature of love and sacrifice in the face of corruption and decay of the human spirit. The film resonates with the uplifting message of working together to make the world a better place by the power of caring unselfishly.

    The Care Bears descend to earth to aid two children in their plight against an evil spirit that is trying to rid the world of caring.  By taking the children to the Bears home planet of Care-A-Lot (a clever allusion to Camelot and the code of honor that informed those knights of old in their pursuit of justice and truth) and teaching them the power of caring, the children evolve and learn the great truths of the universe and how to pass on this knowledge to their fellow man and to use it as a shield to combat the evil machinations of their world.

    The film is rife with Christian allegory, as the bears obviously represent the angels of heaven and the purity of their divine purpose shines through for all to see, if they have the right eyes to see with.  More so, the children represent the infancy of mankind and our struggle to come to terms with our place in the universe. Are we alone? Is every man an island unto himself? 

    This film defiantly and triumphantly claims NO! We can care, and through caring we can transcend the duality of our nature and the surly bonds of our temporal existence and secure a place in the divine scheme of the supreme creator. Love will find a way, the film seems to be saying, and through our love we can become more than mere humans simply "being", we can become humans "doing". 

    Repeat viewing will also establish the many subtextual questions raised by the material.  Subtexts such as who are we and what is our ultimate purpose in life? Why do bad things happen to good people and is there something to hope for beyond the veil of our mortally fractured and incomplete understanding of the nature of the universe.

    Truly, in the pantheon of great cinema, there has seldom been a film that deals so directly and astutely with our fallibility and, as such, should be required viewing for all who desire a better understanding of themselves and the people around them.  This wonderful film assures us that, yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel of existence, and it is soft and fuzzy and full of caring so pure that it radiates rainbows of love for all to marvel at. 


  • TallgeeseTallgeese  
    Colonist
    As others had mentioned long before the movie came out, the black goo seems to have some strange similarities to the "Etir" from Norse mythology.
  • LightslowLightslow  
    Colonist
    Cavalorn: Awesome plot theory.  Logically consistent, ties in with mythology, makes homage to previous sci-fi like Dr. Who, 2000AD,

    Unfortunately, the actually script is only 1/10 as good as that. I doubt think that the writers were that smart.

    You should definitely be brought in to write the plot for the sequel.  Unfortunately, they are probably going to not fix the problems because cashflow was positive, and we are going to get another WTF movie.
  • kjohnson26kjohnson26  (1 like this)
    Colonist
    Are we talking about "The Care Bears" movie now?
  • virtftwvirtftw  
    Colonist

    Are we talking about "The Care Bears" movie now?



    No, we're not. That's just a case of the bear who turned out to be a troll.
    :P

    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"
  • DrLoveHateDrLoveHate  (2 like this)
    Colonist
    Oh c'mon...don't you guys know humor when you see it? Just poking a little good natured fun, no need to bandy the T word about.

    If you like OP, I can erase it...makes no difference to me...
  • kjohnson26kjohnson26  
    Colonist
    No, leave it in, the Care Bear analysis was spot on! BOOM!
  • virtftwvirtftw  
    Colonist
    :P

    *looks down. "my my, big things really can have small beginnings"

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