Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prometheus Revisited

WARNING: For those who have yet to see Prometheus and don’t want their viewing experience spoiled, STAY AWAY. This isn’t an invitation, but a warning.

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Prometheus was a demanding film, right? Leaves more questions than it gives answers, right? Well, I believe that was Ridley Scott’s intention.

I know that there are those who believe than a viewer’s interpretation, so long as it makes sense and is consistent, is enough. I, however, am inclined to do a more scholarly approach, which is to try and understand the filmmaker’s original intentions. When it comes to dead creators like Homer, Shakespeare, Van Gogh, and their ilk, one gets clues wherever one can. But when Ridley Scott’s alive and well, well, one checks out his interviews. So after reading several of his interviews and some bloggers’ theories online, I’ve decided that the following is an acceptable interpretation of the movie. Of course, I may be off in some things, so if you spot any discrepancies, do tell.

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Years ago there was an alien race called the Engineers, although my friend Marlon has a better term for them: Gluta-Borta. One of them stayed behind primordial Earth and overdosed on the dark liquid as part of a ritual to seed their DNA on the planet. (That dark liquid can turn a worm or a human into a monster-slash-penis whose sole duty is to impregnate--whether via vagina or via mouth--a host, from which will burst forth the Killer Alien which we all know and love. Overdosing on it, though, just disintegrates the Gluta-Borta’s body.)

From Gluta-Borta’s DNA came forth the human race. Several times the Gluta-Bortas visited their creations and left signs as to where they came from. That is, until around 2000 years ago, when they stopped coming. Why?

Cut to the ship Prometheus coming to their planet on Christmas Eve. And they discover a decapitated Gluta-Borta that was killed around 2000 years ago. What’s the significance of 2000 years ago?

Here’s the theory. The Gluta-Bortas would send an emissary to monitor the  humans, maybe even introduce upgrades to our physical and mental facilities. Unfortunately 2000 years ago the humans turned on their emissary and crucified him on the cross, even piercing his side (an echo of the burst chests of the bodies in the alien ship). Angered that their creation has turned against them, the Gluta-Bortas created weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the form of the dark liquid and the worms. The liquid and worms were to be release on Earth. Unfortunately, the biological weapons they created turned against them, killing all but one of them (who remained in the stasis pod).

The depiction of a Killer Alien in the chamber (in a crucified position, no less; again, echoes of ritualistic deaths that are seen all throughout the movie) indicates that the Gluta-Bortas know of the said species, and that this killer species may be around for some time now. Perhaps this is the first time the Gluta-Bortas decided to use them as WMDs, but unfortunately their gamble failed.

* * * * *

The movie Prometheus tackles, on several levels, the idea of Creators and their Creations, whether they are cosmically created (Gods and their creations), biologically created (parents and their offspring) or invented (hello, Dave the android). It shows how the creations eventually will take over or destroy or kill their creators.

In a couple of interviews, Ridley Scott said that most of the problems of this world are caused by religions, and this idea seeped into the making of Prometheus. The movie hints at the difference between religion and faith, with Shaw’s devotion symbolized by her cross necklace. The movie seems to imply that gods are best when they remain inscrutable beings that are way out there and are just used as as source of inner strength and faith. But mainly the movie is a cautionary tale, a warning that the more one gets to know their gods, the more disappointed one becomes. Because when you become face to face with your own god, you either end up killing them or being killed by them.

The movie isn’t flawless, by the way. Charlize Theron’s character, while serving a thematic use for the movie, is also one of the most useless characters, and a waste of use of Charlize. Her silly death is, ultimately, silly. (“Let’s just make it roll over her, and be done with her!”) The scientists behaved with a stupidity that fits within a horror film genre. But see, the film is a hybrid of horror and science fiction, and the offspring should also satisfy the science fiction part. There are smarter ways to make the cobra-like creature attack the scientist instead of the “Oooh, what a cute creature! It’s not gonna harm me. Let me just extend my hand and give it a pat” silliness.

But still, Prometheus is a staggering film, and I like how it leaves viewers with something to think about and argue about. It’s the questions and the puzzles that make us want to push the curtain aside and see what’s behind. Then again, it’s that same curiosity of seeking knowledge that drives men to want to meet their gods, to revisit the past in search of answers. Or maybe it’s the drive to make a prequel. And when one seeks to revisit that which one created, it can sometimes bite him back.


Mike said...

apparently, i like the movie and just like animated film, UP, you will discover more stories within the stories if you watch it all over again.

and did i say that i have to research as well what's the meaning of the scene shown on the start? hehehe!

Pika said...

Gluta-borta = LOL!