To the, like, three of you who diligently check in on this blog to make sure I’m still kicking around somewhere, well, I’m still around somewhere. Bronchitis got me harder than the diabeetus got ole Wilford, so bear with me. Coming back around soon!
Lara Croft & Rape Culture: Some Thoughts
Even limited to this scope, it’s hard to find a place to worm into this subject. It’s worth noting that there is a pervasive and widely (but not entirely) undisputed belief that game companies create and market to a perceived majority of males, all of whom are engaged with nothing but violence and carnality. It’s under that stereotype that debates over Tomb Raider‘s “rape scene” operated: staggering comments in the forums from male gamers openly anticipating the chance to watch Lara Croft be raped vs. wild criticism from feminist activists denouncing any inclusion of sexual assault or rape in story line as solely a vehicle of female degradation.
I am beyond disgusted with the former sentiments (in a perfect world, their shame would be vast,) but I don’t think I need to speak to them because the latter views are the ones that hit home to me as missing a huge point to be made by someone within their own ranks.
The Actual Gameplay?
Since the game is still in pre-order stages, most of us haven’t actually been able to play it. But let it be known that there is NOT an on-screen rape heading our way, regardless of whether or not we play through the quoted quick time event to turn the tables on the scuzzbag who abducts Lara after she is stranded. This IS important to mention, not because brief sexual assault is any less abhorrent than rape, but because the fact refutes anyone arguing that the instance isn’t about Lara’s growth at all and instead is a “fanservice” by the developers to enhance Lara’s sex-objectification. Beyond this, I can say no more on the game until I play it. I intend to revisit once I get the chance.
Sexual Violence & a Larger Scope I. Language
As I read through articles and comments then and re-read them now it becomes clear to me that there’s a serious (but curable!) issue underneath the controversy that no one is talking about. That issue is that our society has not yet developed common language about sexual violence. This is especially true for rape, and for continuity/length I am going to use “rape” going forth.
If you find yourself in a conversation about rape, maybe with a friend or in a class, am I wrong to say that there are only two pockets of language for you to call on? There is the medical language of rape: anatomy, physiology, PTSD, therapy. Then there is a jar of power words, over-charged to the point of existentialism because they are used as a tool of argument: dehumanize, misogyny, control, gender, hate, civil liberty, etc. But no matter the words, rape is a subject that polarizes the majority of conversationalists and fills the room with giant emotions. It is a topic on par with racism; so personal and so multi-faceted that talking about it thoughtfully or with progress in mind is already a minefield of triggers. [Only as far as the facilitation of public talks] racism has become an easier topic to discuss; it has been a societal change in action for a long time, a struggle that reaches every part of our nation not to be ignored. But at some point, talking about racism had its own limited, lurching vocabulary.
Women’s rights have absolutely been at the forefront of public discussion but rape has NOT. The ongoing work of right’s groups to define rape culture is just an example: instead of debating semantics, we are still striving to study our environment. Any actual discourse I have experienced–text or in person–usually leaves me feeling like nothing is getting done because so many voices are missing; because a bulk of the conversation isn’t made up of words or ideas but is dominated by tension, anger, blame, frustration, cringes, and dismissal. Not only is discussion about rape stunted by the inability to emotionally connect, but (on BOTH sides) “valid” participants are still being redefined. Like those who say men have less right to weigh in because they “aren’t the victims” or those who think actual victims “skew the reality of the danger” with their big old emotions. Until everyone can accept that everyone else is invited to the table on a subject that–in so many ways–effects us all, then the language of rape is in its infancy.
2012 in America has been the year of outlandish, hurtful, and inciting public statements regarding sexual violence (noticeably regarding women, not men.) If you followed the infamous senators and governors who made pointed statements about rape alongside the campaign for presidency, then you either know your own reaction, public reaction, or even engaged in the aftermath. (Here comes the tie-in…!)
After my initial outrage, I got to thinking: how is it that in this day and age, freaking political leaders and executive producers of mega-software entertainment companies can talk about rape so callously? Dismissively? Awkwardly? My hypothesis goes back to language: for every douchehat that really believes awful things about rape, there are ten normal folks who use the term “rape” and try to talk about it without the progressive boundaries of evolved language. Simply put…we want to have a conversation across the trenches about rape, but we have neither the words or the safety of an arena to do so right now. So some people are going to say really stupid shit; it is up to us to re-evaluate how to react so that we can make some actual damn progress.
That is what we should be focusing on. Dividing our minds, expending emotional energy by recoiling in anger and retaliating with a salvo so fiercely overreaching that intent and perspective of the “inciting” statement is totally lost. What good does it do to take to our blogs ranting and adding Ron Rosenberg’s name to the lexicon of “rape culture”? It’s like putting up one more mugshot on the notice board: alright, we see him…shoot, there are more all the time! Arghhlebarglerage! That’s a dud trip to building up paranoid anger that has nowhere to go.
Instead, wouldn’t it make more sense to allow him–like every other human being who brings up hot-button issues–the context of our current knee-jerk obstacles around this subject? It may not be easier, but wouldn’t it be healthier to the cause of actually eradicating rape to NOT make his words stand for the whole of the gaming industry (then visual entertainment industry then entire social culture?!) I am not excusing what are clearly his personal beliefs on rape and how that fits into his gender views, though I have to admit that “wanting to take care of her” is a better reaction than “she fucking deserved it”.
I am trying to offer this perspective (and so, a summary about rape language): Ron Rosenberg is ONE person; he spoke candidly about HIS perception of Lara Croft’s new “vulnerable” character and he gave a summary of the game’s character development motivation. The term “rape” was mentioned once and was almost immediately corrected by the company, but if it wasn’t clear that we need to focus on facilitating a social communication structure where people don’t go from 0-to-60 when they see the word “rape”, I hope I’ve helped use my opinion to make it at least something to consider.
[Coming Soon: Final Tomb Raider post, Part 3 of 3]
*Obviously this post won’t be about any horror film. There’s a video game involved–something I want to write more about–but it’s really my two cents about the controversy clouding that game. I wouldn’t say that “horror” doesn’t fit the bill, though: the theme of the controversy and the rabid frenzy of anger and hatred that stem from it are frightening to me. So much so that I only feel safe posting my opinions on it within the semi-shelter of this backwater blog*
The Game : Tomb Raider (Square Enix) – The “gritty reboot” origin story slated for 2013
The Main Controversy
When it was first being marketed, executive producer Ron Rosenberg got all stupid and stated that “you’ll want to protect” the rebooted Lara Croft, and that during the game she will have to deal with “rape”. This vulnerability was all allegedly to make Lara–a leading female icon in the gaming universe–“feel more human” and to give her a reason to become the bad-ass we all know and love.
(If you missed it) was enormous and spanned not only the gaming sites but feminist blogs, pop-culture critics, and so on. It came on the heels of the hellstorm of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games and the rash of gamers screaming “feminazi”, “misogyny”, “misandry,” and more colorful epithets. (*I want to avoid touching on that scene if I can help it; just going to stick to TR. The important thing to note about the gaming community as a whole is that there is a pervasive theme of hyper-sexualizing female characters without giving them any meaningful personality or clothing.*)
The two rage arguments that fell down on the side of feminism (I’m not even going to bother with the more extreme opposition, it’s barbaric,) are such: Why do game creators think women are so weak that they need “protecting”? and Rape/Sexual Assault as a story telling vehicle is just as misogynistic as giving them no back story because it perpetuates Rape Culture! (Okay, a third: I want to address the equally offensive backtracking from Crystal Dynamics PR, too.)
Little Ol’ Me
Now, I don’t want to talk about my identity as a “feminist”–if this has taught me nothing else, it’s that I am out of touch with the term–but can safely say this: I am a woman, I believe in equality for all peoples, I actively fight against domestic/sexual abuse, and I play loads of video games. Lara Croft has been one of my virtual alter-egos since I got my grubby paws on a PS1. I have also had the unfortunate…luck? fate? I don’t know…to experience domestic and sexual abuse first-hand. So by my own understandings of op-ed writing, I figure this controversy is as close to home as it gets for me.
And frankly, I am pretty disheartened by what that the loudest voices in the arena had to say.
Projection vs. Protection: Getting Into the Game
Let’s tackle the less inflammatory of the two arguments (although, it will be a main theme when discussing the second.) Looks first: the “new” Lara is less voluptuous than her past iconic be-boobed incarnations. Folks brought this up as an “a-HA!” moment in debate as if it is a concession on Square Enix’s part that Lara’s physical form has been purely sex-objectifying all along; I think it’s probably more that this reboot Lara is actually supposed to be adolescent Lara. On this point I don’t really care.
Game progression next: check out this game trailer and you’ll see a lot of Lara’s action is her vs. the environment. Attempting to give her back story and motivation, the game uses moments in time to illustrate the origins of this critter-blasting, person-shooting lady: her emotional turmoil in having to shoot a deer to survive, extensive attention to her physical limitations due to injuries, and being driven to kill a person by way of sexual assault. (File away that last one, there.)
Rosenberg states that this will make the gamer more apt to feel like a protector. “They’re more like ‘I want to protect her.’ There’s this sort of dynamic of ‘I’m going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.” He goes on:”The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear,” he said. “She literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building her up and just when she gets confident, we break her down again.” [Kotaku]
Some critics are upset at the idea that they won’t be enjoying the action-packed adventure/puzzle/kill play that they are used to. I think the gameplay looks phenomenal but I am a putz about change and also worry that the elements of Tomb Raider that I most enjoy will be lost. But the loudest zealots in the shouting match are furious about the scripted need to “white knight” Lara; that instead of a bad-ass sex object, she will become a symbol for the misogynistic idea that women are “weaker, delicate” creatures who need “to be protected.”
To those folks, I would first say calm the shit down. Let’s not yell anymore. Look, there is absolutely no denying that female characters across mediums are written so sparsely and so derogatorily that they ooze weakness and the only cure is a strong man to fend for them. But those characters are so insulting because they never have any personal growth or develop inner strength to end up standing on equal footing with men. The whole alleged point of this game is to give gamers a look at that personal growth (and let’s be real–to keep us buying Tomb Raider games, right?)
I want to say “MAKE UP YOUR MIND!” to everyone who spent so long denouncing objectification of females in games who are now shrieking that portraying a vulnerable woman is just as bad because men just think that women are weakling suck-bags. But I know the core point is well-intentioned: let’s not just go from one sexist trope to another. However…this one dude is the only one who used the word “protect”. Otherwise, we’d just have been met with a demo starring a girl down on her luck, surviving against the odds with a nod to realistic obstacles and setbacks. She doesn’t look weak to me outside of Rosenberg’s ill-worded preview. There is a point where the argument against well-defined sexist tropes/themes has become so ingrained that it overshadows our ability to dig into something and explore its quality.
Additionally–sexual assault ASIDE–developers had to choose turning-point scenarios to symbolize complex, life-altering, emotional experiences. It’s no different than any other visual media story-line. Things have to be condensed and heightened. When they are, the possibilities for negative personal interpretation skyrocket. The chance that we see a glaring archetype instead of bond with the character in a personal way is a risk that has to be taken in order to make the game exciting, cohesive, and fresh. Overall, before we get angry about what this one fool [Rosenberg] blurted out during one interview when he was mistakenly given the role as PR, let’s forget about this “to protect or not to protect!” b.s. and reconnoiter after we’ve had a play through. [CONT’D in Part 2!]
*Interesting tidbits (that mean nothing, really): wordpress “feedback” tells me that the term “lady” is considered bias and that using “females” instead of “women” is too complex. …what?
There are many options for [legally] viewing movies online. I just happen to use Netflix’s online streaming archives as one of my main supplements. If you don’t have an account and don’t plan on getting one, you should still track down the films listed. Here are spectacular horror compilations replete with trailers, interviews, commentary, and lore!
1. American Grindhouse (2010)- a top-notch exploration into the chronicles of exploitation films in America. Great commentary from John Landis, Larry Cohen, and many more.
2. Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)- a hidden gem I found at random, this well-made film is a comprehensive look at Australian cinema’s evolution in the 70’s and 80’s. Enhanced with interesting factoids about Australian censorship law and culture. Quentin Tarantino even shows up!
3. Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010)- a fascinating look into exploitation cinema’s Filipino headquarters and the classics we know and love today.
4. Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue (2009)- sometimes criticized for “looking too hard to find meaning that isn’t there,” this incredibly thoughtful compilation doubles as a documentary on evolving straight-up film horror, from the turn of the century to our new millennium. Includes commentary from John Carpenter, George Romero, and more. If you like horror and want a fresh look at the genre, don’t miss this one. (Personal favorite!)
Queued Up Next: American Scary (2006)- a film about classic American television “horror hosts”
Hope this gives you some ideas and good times in front of the t.v. If you have any compilations or documentaries to add re: horror or exploitation cinema, please share in the comments!
*Bonus: Zombiethon is available now for streaming on Netflix!
A Treat Among the Barely Tolerable
One of the fantastic aspects to the horror cinema niche is that beyond the DVD commentary, the film itself, and all the publications the fanatic can delight in viewing the many preview/trailer compilation out there devoted to the genre. For as many that leave us scratching our heads or exasperated at the overzealous host, there are those that are a nod and a wink at the happy explorer. Zombiethon is a gem, especially if you are all about classic exploitation horror from the seventies and eighties. BE WARNED: in the universe of these films, bras, underpants, Venus razors, and modesty have not come to pass, so if you commit to viewing, make sure everyone in the room has checked their inner prude at the door!
T & A & Bush Galore! (Not to Mention Gore!) Come Laugh Your Ass Off
Directed by Ken Dixon, this compilation doesn’t cover as extensive a film listing as some of its kin does, but it treats the included seven in a wonderful vignette of some of the more notorious zombie-themed exploits from cinema history. Instead of employing filler scenes with hosts, interviews, or puppetry gimmicks, the previews are punctuated by original flash-film scenes that enhance the hell out of the experience.
Zombiethon covers extended previews of the films: Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979), Zombie Lake (1981), Oasis of the Zombie / The Treasure of the Living Dead (1982), Fear (1981), The Invisible Dead / Dr. Orloff’s Invisible Monster (1970/71), Franco’s A Virgin Among the Living Dead / Christine, Princess of Eroticism (1973), and the ever-awesome schlockfest that is The Astro-Zombies (1968).
These are movies from a time before the average movie-goer locked into streamlined vision of shambling or sprinting rotting corpses when they hear “zombie”. (I confess: I am on a temporary abstinence from our more recent zombie movies because I can’t appreciate the genre after being so over-stimulated. And I’m avoiding vampires altogether.) These were the times where “zombie” covered not only our walking dead, but stood for any kind of hunger–in these films, “lust” is an entrée. With these films, you’ll be delighted with content like an underwater zombie vs. shark fight, nazi zombies snatching up nude swimmers, over-sized rubber spider complete with web, a randy invisible ape-man butler, and so many different kinds of boobs that you start to feel like an anthropologist.
The only criticism I have about this compilation is that the first five titles are given so much screen-time that they are really condensed versions of the films, and then the pacing zooms through the last few titles so I had a superficial sense that I was missing something (or being cheated!) Aside from that, this is a great way to spend 73 minutes. Not only do you get to check out some classic zombie exploitation that you may have missed, but the film is a chance for you to play at being your very own MST3K right in your living room. Or bedroom. Or kitchen. Or wherever!
by Ted Hughes
Take telegraph wires, a lonely moor,
And fit them together. The thing comes alive in your ear.
Towns whisper to towns over the heather.
But the wires cannot hide from the bad weather.
So oddly, so daintily made
It is picked up and played.
Such unearthly airs
The ear hears, and withers!
In the revolving ballroom of space
Bowed over the moor, a bright face
Draws out of telegraph wires the tones
That empty human bones.
Hail all from inside the snowy nor’easter! Hope my east coast neighbors are somewhere safe and warm in the enduring devastation from Sandy. (And–because my enthusiasm is still ripe–hooray, Obama!) Moving on!
When I saw it, I wasn’t in the mood to watch Looper (or any movie for that matter.) It was my boyfriend’s idea, and the only reason I went along with it was because it has been a rare thing in the past two years that he wants to watch a movie with me, much less suggests which one we watch. (Not because our love life’s entertainment aspect is rocky–our first date viewing of The Lion King and homemade mac and cheese was his giddy idea–but because he works long hours, and he swears he “watches” everything I do as he sits behind me exploring Diablo III patches or haunting WoW forums.) Unfortunately, if I’m not in movie-mode, I have a hard time getting immersed.
I am pleased to report such was not the case with Looper.
1. Hey, Jeff Daniels, it is GREAT to see you again! You look adorable; are you a Lebowski?
2. There is…something…off about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face…I can’t…hmm.
3. Oh MAN great effects! Alright, I’m in!
Brutality, Making Rain, and What’s Going On With That FACE?!
Writer-Director Rian Johnson’s film Brick is an enduring title on my top 20 drama favorites, so even though I was reluctant about committing to the length of a movie, I was excited to see him team up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL from now on) once more. Inception has had the lasting impact of making me skeptical of these kinds of intellectual psy-fi types (in case I never manage a post on it, well, I was lukewarm at best regarding Inception.) However, it seemed like Johnson actively anticipated the obvious parallels and neatly sidestepped the potholes.
The premise: in the future, time travel is both illegal and widely used by syndicated crime to take care of icing unfortunate victims so neatly that Law and Order would have a run for their money. The film’s present day is set in 2044 after an economic crisis that allowed said crime to take root and organize “loopers” as the assassins for those sent back. (Neat tidbit: a looper’s only weapon is a blunderbuss!) Additionally, about 10% of the population went Dr. Jean Grey and developed telekinetic (TK) powers.)
In the present, Joe Simmons (JGL) is both TK and looper, working for Kansas-based mafia boss Abe (Jeff Daniels,) who was sent back from the future to organize the assassination side of business. Abe is an affably be-robed character, clearly playing the father role to parentless Joe, colleague looper Seth (Paul Dano), and the hot-shot of Abe’s muscle–the Gat Men– Kid Blue (Noah Segan.) He also owns a predictably sleaze-tastic bar where Joe indulges in ocular drug use and the company of a woman named Suzie (Piper Perabo.) Loopers enjoy top indulgences, financial reward, and protection for their services; the big hitch is a looper’s contract inevitably ends (we are told aprx. 30 years in the future by Joe) they are sent back in time to be killed by their younger selves. [Disjointed] SPOILERS THE REST OF THE WAY!
For all Brick‘s verbal and scene-shot complexities, Johnson handled all aspects of Looper with poignant minimalism. I think he handled the paradoxes of time travel, continuity, and exploring human motivation and their consequences in top form. Nothing in the film felt heavy-handed, out of intellectual reach, or made me roll my eyes. I don’t want to overview the whole plot, just focus on my favorite aspects/scenes so if you haven’t seen it but don’t mind spoilers, not all secrets are revealed but one of them could really ruin a lot of the fun for you!
Essentially, Johnson successfully created one of the first well-lit sci-fi movies I’ve come across. It is a beautiful movie, no bones about it, and mostly takes place outside during daylight. He avoids embellishing the “look” of time travel and telekinesis. Really, the most futuristic visual effect we get is a hovering speeder-cylce, getting no more than 1 minute screen time, max.
Being a junky as I am for all cinematic instances of primal disturbing visuals (gimme that body horror!), I got my fix of two fantastically unique scenes. The first is early on, when Seth’s future self is frantically trying to escape the city after escaping death by his younger self. A scar appears on his arm of an address and 15-minute deadline. Then his fingers begin to disappear. As he races to the location he is steadily mutilated and whittled away; a human face with a healed cavity where his nose has been cut off is fundamentally disturbing. He reaches the destination and lunges limbless for the door, desperately begging them to stop. The door opens and he is shot dead. The viewer’s last impression is a vague, blood-soaked surgical table in the middle of a dark room. I thought that this sequence evoked brilliant levels of horror and compassion.
The second comes after a great many other things have happened in the main plot so here’s what you need to know: after also escaping assassination, we find out Joe’s future self (“Joe II”, Bruce Willis) is there to find/kill a person who will become a super-villain known as Rainmaker in the future. Hunted by Abe’s Gat Men and trying to stop Joe II, Joe locates one of the potential targets: Sara Rollins (Emily Blunt) and four-year old Cid (a phenomenal Pierce Gagnon). They become close as they wait for Joe II to show up. BIG SPOILER ALERT! The second scene that resonated with me is when a Gat Man finds them, threatens them, and accidentally causes Cid to fall down the stairs. Turns out Cid is a super-TK with no control of his powers; in reaction to his fright, Cid literally rips the Gat Man apart on a cellular level, and it is beautifully shot. Timing, sounds, effects, facial expressions–everything. Excuse a second X-Men reference, but it put Professor X’s demise to shame.
Last of all, JGL’s face. I saw right away that something was off about the way he looked, and didn’t figure out that he was wearing contacts until about twenty minutes in. Ah, that’s it! Right? Blue contacts sure change a face! After the movie was over, my boyfriend casually mentioned that he was impressed the director actually altered JGL’s nose to make him look more like Bruce Willis. I stopped for a moment, thought back for another, and then promptly facepalmed. I’ve since studied some screen shots and yeah, that’s what they did. Points for commitment, but I don’t think it was very successful.
Time travel is vital to the story, but not what the story’s about. In the end we are left with a larger exploration about the cycle of consequences that come from using violence to prevent violence, and to what degree can self-motivation twist moral convictions. We are also given to ponder how thin the boundary is between choosing one action or another and how vast the resulting chain of events are.
As with all complex subjects in movies, there has been much debate and speculation regarding plot holes, implications, and paradoxes of time travel in this film, but I don’t think I need to do any more thinking on it. Johnson didn’t over-complicate the matter by only giving vital explanations and keeping his structure consistent. I’m not saying it was too background or didn’t engage me, just that I am satisfied at face value.
As for the human nature side of things, I felt most emotionally provoked by Sara and Cid and a lesser degree by Joe. Willis didn’t phone it in or anything, but there was an element to his character that left me wanting; I think it was desperation to round out his determination. Cid was just awesome and I’d watch it again just to pay more attention to his character.
On the whole, I think this is one I’d like to own. It was just so engrossing and beautiful. I’m already a loyal JGL fan because of Brick and 50/50 but now I’ll keep my eyes peeled for anything Rian Johnson has his hands on as well. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or think I missed anything important!
Confusion – Conspiracy – Theories (From Around The Web)
It’s expected that audiences would walk out of Prometheus with a few questions and hypotheticals given the modest cushion of ambiguity of the film. But after the release I kept seeing links to articles and homemade videos discussing the “world of questions left unanswered” or “what Prometheus REALLY meant”. I’m 90% positive that more analysis and interpreting was inspired by this movie than Inception. Certainly inspired more blind rage.
I don’t want to sound like a dick, but I don’t understand what has folks in such a quandary, or what I overlooked that lead to such Tolkein-esque detailed mythos. So I sat down and boned up.
For your pleasure, I’m going to compile some frequently appearing topics and list different answers I found.
*Note: I am purposefully avoiding director/actor commentary. Check out the DVD commentary if you are interested! **Extra note: At first I was going to go all Ego and weigh in on the stuff I’m posting, but I’d rather hear what you have to say. Pretty please: visit the comments!
***Note to end all Notes: Links for all my list sources can be found at bottom of post
FAQ & A
1. What happened in the opening sequence?
-An Engineer sacrifices itself to create life on earth
-An Engineer sacrifices itself on an unnamed planet to create life…somewhere
2. What’s the deal with the cave paintings?
-A guide Engineers gave to growing civilizations to come find them when they evolve sufficiently
-A warning to humans to never come find them; don’t question where you come from
-A test Engineers left to chart human progress; when humans are able to complete journey it’s time to wipe them out
-Subliminal messages left over in the junk DNA from Engineer DNA
3. Why did David put the black “goo” in Holloway’s drink?
-Weyland told him to so they could monitor possible benefits
-David wants to be a “real boy” and sees this as a way to “create life” (the single most important human component) because he knows that Holloway will “impregnate” Shaw
-David is actually capable of feeling and is hurt by Holloway’s insults so he exacts revenge
-David is a Prometheus’ brother type who will go to great lengths in quest for knowledge and to save his “family” (Weylon = Prometheus) which gives him the motivation to “open Pandora’s box” (protean goo) by giving it to Holloway
-All androids are “curious by nature” and have a tendency to screw around with science
4. Why do the Engineers want to destroy human life after they created it?
-“That’s between you and your God”
-To validate making a sequel that will make money
-The Engineer from the beginning went rogue (see the Prometheus mythology) and created life on earth, which flourished and adapted so rapidly the other Engineers have been perfecting a way to wipe it all out and undo the rogue Engineer’s work
-They are like humans; sometimes people just create something, get bored with it, scrap it, and start on something else
American film makers delusionally believe that divine creation is a philosophical subject and they wanted to “really mix it up” by adding divine destruction
-Either a) Engineers only made human life to have a planet of incubators for their real production the xenomorphs as bio-weapons or b) Engineers have to use the black goo with an advanced species to procreate their own species so…planet o’ incubators
-Jesus Christ was an Engineer sent to earth to stop the Roman Empire from wigging out, and humans killed Jesus Christ, and the Engineers are pissed. *Bonus: it proves that David is capable of compassion because he found out about the Jesus motive when he “talked” to the sleeping Engineer and tried to protect at least Shaw if not Weylon and the whole lot by removing her crucifix under false pretenses
There are so many more questions and answers out there. If it is your passion, then you need but a search engine to start your journey.
Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated Prometheus made all sorts of waves; not only in the sci-fi/horror communities but for many average movie-goers of all persuasions. To enhance my own experience of the movie, I want to follow my review with a separate post for some exploration and rumination into some of the more widely voiced questions/controversy. No time to waste!
General Reactions (Warning: Spoilers!)
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Prometheus and came away pleased, even enthusiastic for a sequel. (IMDb tells me one was announced in August, but is in early talks. The same was said of Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, once, and alas. So it goes.) The film hit all the right notes for me: captivating opening sequence, no time wasted on explaining the how and why of the Prometheus mission, proper role development, quick to get into the action stay there til the credits, inspiring design for the Engineers and their gadgets, thrilling new concepts for the alien organisms, and an ending that left me wanting to continue the adventure. (The bone-chillingly scored trailer was an unexpected perk.)
A few stand-outs clinched a positive experience. I really dig Ridley Scott’s pacing sensibilities*. Scott gets the plot moving, ensures no one farts around with wanton dialogue or visual artistry, and he keeps getting shit done until it’s over. Prometheus stands on some heady ideology, not to mention the chance for fans to re-enter the universe they love, so there were opportunities to wax too philosophical or over/under-service the fan base. Scott’s no-nonsense speed and editing kept the film from falling into those traps.
Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) pumped me up as the leading lady. I responded to her brutal endurance so much because it didn’t seem like it came from a fanatic need to get answers, just the need to survive in a hostile, belief-system crushing environment. Charlize Theron’s Captain Meredith Vickers was a great contrast in ego and actions, but fell a little flat (heh) overall.
The best thing about Prometheus? Michael Fassbender’s android David, no contest. Whether it was deliberate or just his acting ability, Fassbender’s David performance stole the show. He was a more complex character study than all the humans and more fascinating than the present alien races. Fassbender’s commitment to consistency, expression and posture, and screen presence made me hope that David is more focus than vehicle in the tentative sequel.
There were some clear weaknesses, too. The predictability level was a little heavy with events sequence echoing Alien (systematic destruction of secondary characters, demonizing and redemption of android, etc.) The added “twist” of expedition founder Weylon (Guy Pearce in heavy prosthetic) turning up on board still alive detracted from Shaw’s story and came off as an obvious vehicle for the consequences of human hubris. The scene revealing Vicker’s connection to Weylon was (IMO) the weakest: painfully forced, unconvincing, and altogether cliché. Since the mission was well underway, and with Vickers ripe for embodying hubris, the sub-plot could be cut with no injury to the film’s success.
The one glaring weakness I didn’t mind swallowing was Shaw’s miraculous physical recovery after undergoing emergency surgery that would have left her unable to do more than shuffle between bed and bathroom. It’s forgivable because a) the “surgery” scene was totally worth it, b) she does display some convincing physical ramifications, and c) it’s a sci-fi film about species survival, and Dr. Shaw made damn sure she survived.
In summary, Prometheus beat my expectations, kept me entertained, and left me wanting more. As part of a franchise so dominated by “love it or hate it” mentalities, Prometheus stood strong.
* (Might be biased: Legend will always be–I don’t even CARE–my first cinematic love.)