Prometheus unmanned

So we finally got to see Prometheus. And it was very good. Not the greatest movie ever, but a wonderful horror film, a lot of fun, absolutely stunning to look at, and really enjoyable. Value for money from beginning to end.

Having seen it, I went back to read some of the reviews. I don’t agree with the intriguing SFWA piece foreseeing a return to Creationism in American schools: very few movies are that influential.  The thing that disturbed me most was all the visual references to male rape. In the original Alien film Scott used basic sexual threats in fancy dress to show how women could become powerful enough to defeat such danger by acting more like men. In Prometheus he shows how the most powerful beings can be overcome by crude force.

It may be pure coincidence that all these godlings, human and alien, are male. Sexuality, not science, is the biggest threat to humankind in this universe. Miscegenation, mingling our blood in any way with anything alien, is the ultimate terror. We should stay home and marry the girl next door, otherwise huge alien  extensions will penetrate our orifices and rip us apart from within, making helpless women of all those of us who didn’t start out that way. Toshio Maeda, creator of Legend of the Overfiend, would be right at home on LV-223.

I found it momentarily annoying that some of the little details were allowed to slip. How stupid is a biologist who fails to recognise and respect an obvious threat display in an unknown species? Why go to all the trouble of making the not very aged Guy Pearce into the very aged Weyland, and then leave the skin on his feet looking remarkably young and healthy despite corns and ulcers on his toes? Why did the alien who emerged from the Engineer right at the end look so risible?

None of that detracts from the simple fact that Ridley Scott would have to try very, very hard indeed to overcome his finely honed instinct for creating great images, frame after astonishingly beautiful, slightly unsettling frame. In the Alien mythos he’s found a solid framework in which to display his particular instinct for beauty, and he’s had the good sense to use it well. If you can find another way of retelling an old story, why not? It ‘s a good story (Dan O’Bannon knew how to make ’em, may he rest in peace) and it hasn’t lost any of its power in this latest retelling.

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