What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Ridley Scotts’ Prometheus? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
This week’s film:
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron
Director: Ridley Scott
Production Co: Scott Free Productions, Brandywine Productions, Dune Entertainment
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey (http://www.ryanhaileydotcom.com/)
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Produced by: Jacob S. Salamon
Prometheus’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Prometheus, directed by Ridley’s Believe It or Scott, and written by Damon Lindelof, the poster boy for unsatisfying mythology since 2004.
The film takes place in the distant past, the year 2089. Two human archaeologists, Shaw and Holloway, find a star map on the wall of a cave, not to be confused with one of those Hollywood star maps, which they also found. Since they don’t have any plans for the rest of the decade other than a work thing they can totally skip, they figure why not hop over to that star system and see what’s shakin’?
Four years of incredibly slow spaceflight later, a ship called the Prometheus arrives on an empty moon and nothing happens for the rest of the movie. Just kidding, everything happens. For one thing, there’s this building. So that’s pretty wild. And also some big dead dudes. These guys are called the Engineers and they are the proud owners of the galaxy’s most powerful sunscreen. SPF infinity and beyond.
Sensing the audience’s boredom, David, the crew’s resident android-slash-prankster, makes off with a flagon of dark liquid from the Engineerium. He mixes some of it into his famous strawberry margarita and gives it to Holloway on the house — his money’s no good here. Emboldened by his newfound alcoholism, Holloway enlists Shaw on an expedition to bonetown, which of course is an archaeologist’s favorite town.
Soon Holloway starts feeling under the weather, so Vickers, the mayor of the Prometheus, hits him with the only hangover cure she knows: fire. Meanwhile, Shaw uses a big laser to cure herself of a bad case of squidbelly. It’s only when another crewmember goes on a crewbender that they realize the margarita mix is actually a biological weapon and could really use more salt.
David discovers an Engineer in one of those Michael Jackson sleep chambers, so they wake him up for a gab sesh. Unfortunately, Engineers are super cranky before their morning cup of coffee. He powers up a hidden spacecraft and heads to Earth to f*** s*** up, but since Earth still includes Baltimore, Stringer Bell shows up to save the day. Shaw finishes off the Engineer with her squid baby, whose name is Brian. Then Shaw and David’s severed head head off to the Engineer homeworld to ask them what the dealio is, because that worked out so well last time. Finally, an alien bursts out of the Engineer’s chest for fanservice purposes.
Prometheus explores man’s relationship with his creator, Jesus Senior. The title references the Greek god Prometheus, who according to legend, gave humans fire for their protection — and not just from hangovers. His act angered his stepdad, Zeus, who considered the knowledge of fire to be the province of the gods. The crew of the Prometheus similarly seek forbidden knowledge. However, it soon becomes clear that they bit off more than they could chew, proving once and for all that mouths are insufficient for the consumption of nutrients.
Indeed, the film suggests that the humans are tested and deemed unworthy, as they have been pretty much since their debut. The engineers’ planet is dubbed LV-223, a reference to the Bible’s own Leviticus 22:3, which states: “Tell them: In future generations if any of your descendants, while unclean, comes near the holy offerings the Israelites set apart for the LORD, that person must be excluded from my presence. I am the LORD.” The humans’ intentions are anything but pure – Vickers’ dad seeks the engineers because he wants to extend his already unnaturally prolonged skin folds. When he finally meets his maker, you don’t need a theology degree to see it doesn’t go well.
The Engineer’s wrath may be explained by examining the Promethean theme of sacrifice. In the legend, as punishment for helping an already doomed race, the titular Titan was banished and chained to a rock, where every day a sky horse tore out his liver and ate it. The film includes numerous visual cues that remind us of the torments Prometheus suffered for his act of Lamborghini mercy. Echoing his sacrifice, the Engineers must die in order to create new planetary life. In light of their philosophy on life and death, it is unsurprising that the selfish Weyland is deemed a punk b****.
Reinforcing the theme of sacrifice, the film also makes reference to Jesus Senior’s son. In the crucifixion story, Junior died on the cross to save mankind, similar to the way Prometheus did the whole Prometheus thing I was talking about before. The film, however, offers an ice cold Pepsi twist. We learn that the Engineers perished 2000 years prior to the events of the story while planning revenge against the humans. While the reason remains unstated, the timing — coupled with the film’s biblical imagery — perhaps hints that Jesus was an emissary of the Engineers, and that his crucifixion turned them against Earth. Thanks a lot, Jews! By which I mean all remaining beings in the universe.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Shalom.