Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ –Explores Origins of Human Existence and the Eternal Question: “Are We Alone in the Universe?”

 

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Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) was a landmark in screen science fiction is structured,ike Alien, around a journey into space. The year is 2093: Prometheus is a brand-new spacecraft. Prometheus and its crew of 17, in deep sleep for most of the voyage, has been sent to the planet within the solar system identified from the stars in the paintings discovered four years earlier on the Isle of Skye of 35,000-year-old cave paintings depicting a man reaching out to what appeared to be a small constellation of stars.


Scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) recognized this painting as identical to other cave paintings found in different parts of the world, and Shaw is convinced that "they want us to come and find them". After the spacecraft lands on the planet, a group of scientists is dispatched to search for the people referred to as "engineers" because "they engineered us".

When asked how she knows this, she replies that she doesn't know but that's what she chooses to believe. The reply is virtually identical to one given to her (in flashback) by her father when, as a child, she asks him how he can be so sure her dead mother is in "paradise".

Significantly, Shaw wears a crucifix around her neck even as she proceeds to search for whomever, or whatever, created the human race.

Perhaps the most important member of the expedition is David (Michael Fassbender image above), an android who fills the role played by HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey David, who has been given a quirky sense of humour, models himself on Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, and early on is seen revisiting the scene from that film in which Lawrence impresses one of his men by not reacting when he puts his hand in a flame: "The trick is not minding that it hurts."

At the end of the day, Prometheus targets the human desire to prove that we're not alone in a vast universe of seemingly infinite galaxies and planets.

In the video below, Emory University professor of Biomolecular Chemistry explores the mythological foundations of the search for life on Earth and beyond. Don't miss this, it's terrific.

The Daily Galaxy 

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