Tuesday, 6 March 2012

"We are the gods now" Weyland's 2023 Ted Talk

Speaking in terms that David Noble would have understood and been aghast at, here we have a clearer indication of the meaning of the chosen title of the film, Prometheus (Frankenstein 2.0 seems equally applicable though). It will be very interesting to trace any continuities across the series, especially in light of the explicitly religious themes in Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. As Kile M Ortogo describes the religious impulses behind the series in  "I'm a Stranger Here Myself": Forced Individuation in Alien Resurrection:

"On one level, Alien Resurrection supports Haraway's position that cyborgs (and hybrids) offer an optimistic yet unstable possibility to relinquish the separation between dialectical dualities. On the other hand, the film warns of the consequences of such unnatural and profane forms of individuation. The religious significance of the film lies in its subverting of a secularized spiritual endeavour (i.e., humanistic individuation) that once itself subverted formal, organized religions--an ironic reversal. Hybridity is shown as a dangerous and uncertain, albeit effective, alternative to human individuation. When jacked into a computer port hidden within a Bible, Call echoes Nietzsche, "Father is dead," [65] further signifying the end of traditional religion and possibly sacred spiritual practices. While it is not the first choice, this individuation may become the only option in confronting the future's spiritual degradation" (emphasis mine).

These themes are also examined at length in the edited collection, Alien Woman: Ripley as Cinematic Icon. Vincent Ward's screenplay for Alien 3 of course made the connection more explicit by using a monastery as its setting, which although later replaced by a prison planet, remained readily apparent. Indeed, Ripley's altruistic suicide at the end of the film clearly suggests a Christ-like pose. This image is still used to market the film:

Because Prometheus is a prequel though, we can expect that it will be at some remove from the themes of the later films in the series, particularly in terms of how identity is portrayed. In the later films it emerged that the other was not to be rejected, but was rather to be accepted as a part of the self.

And so once again, here's to our future of gods and monsters...

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