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Prometheus (2012)


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Nicholas said:

:Do you have a citation for this? Again, if grace precedes faith, though normatively they are part of the same package, then there is at least hope for non-normative means of salvation that is through God's grace in Christ. Hence, why I'm unsure about your stringent objection to the claim, unless you have in mind a picture of Calvinism or less-Calvinistic-but-still-electing Thomism in which "the chosen frozen few" enter into Paradise.

I've read this in several different places, but I'll try and find a direct citation on the net.

As I'd mentioned in my reply to SDG when I think this through all that I can see is it ultimately leading to a "chosen few" type belief. I've wrestled with it.

:I'll conclude by saying that, yeah, there are certainly thorny/difficult theological issues to wrestle with. The problem of evil is a two sided coin. I just think one side of it (perhaps you can guess which one) is infinitely uglier and more hopeless. But, either way--yes--let's discuss everything. And I certainly don't pretend to have it all figured out.

Well I sure as heck don't have it all figured out. But if you'd like.... have a look at my connected post on the Hellbound thread and let me know what you think. I might have a little bit of insight towards some of these thorny issues.

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So... Can I officially be disappointed by this now?

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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I've had about a day to think it over, and I've decided I don't care that I really don't get this film.

I will say this: Alien was a cross between sci-fi and horror. That was what was novel about it when it first came out.

These days the people want the horror. Prometheus does not deliver on this. What it gives is loads of junkspace sci-fi and theory of origins that are fluff and stuff. Felt like a whole lot of filler to me.

Theory of origins = dreary of bore-agains

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Attica: Again, not to spin this out into a long theological discourse, just two quick points:

  1. FWIW, 1.2 billion Catholics + something like half a billion Orthodox & other Eastern Christians + 500-800 billion Protestants = well over 2 billion Christians in the world…and while I won't venture to speculate about nominal Christians who have or do not have supernatural faith, I'm not sure the 10% / 90% statistic you've been throwing around has any basis in…anything.
  2. Some Calvinist-leaning Christians with whom I might otherwise make common cause might part with me on this one, but FWIW, my belief is that while (as I said) that religious error cannot be the object of faith, it doesn't follow that individuals in religious error, even profound religious error, cannot have true faith that is the gift of God and has God as its object, even though they may never in this life come to know God as Triune or know Jesus as his Son. So, e.g., a Muslim cannot have faith (in the fully Christian sense) in the Quran, or faith that God is not a Trinity, but it does not follow that a Muslim cannot have true faith in God, or that he cannot die in the state of grace and so be saved.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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FWIW, 1.2 billion Catholics + something like half a billion Orthodox & other Eastern Christians + 500-800 billion Protestants = well over 2 billion Christians in the world…and while I won't venture to speculate about nominal Christians who have or do not have supernatural faith, I'm not sure the 10% / 90% statistic you've been throwing around has any basis in…anything.

Exactly why I asked for a citation. Though, did you mean 500-800 million Protestants?

Some Calvinist-leaning Christians with whom I might otherwise make common cause might part with me on this one, but FWIW, my belief is that while (as I said) that religious error cannot be the object of faith, it doesn't follow that individuals in religious error, even profound religious error, cannot have true faith that is the gift of God and has God as its object, even though they may never in this life come to know God as Triune or know Jesus as his Son. So, e.g., a Muslim cannot have faith (in the fully Christian sense) in the Quran, or faith that God is not a Trinity, but it does not follow that a Muslim cannot have true faith in God, or that he cannot die in the state of grace and so be saved.

I hope you're right (don't tell some of my evangelical friends!). I certainly don't think it's anti-biblical by any stretch to wonder hopefully about the reaches of the Light that has come into the world and awakens hearts to the truth and freedom. There were certainly plenty of non-normative instances prior to Christ, no?

Edited by Nicholas

"What is inside is also outside." -Goethe via Merleau-Ponty, in conclusion to the latter's one extended rumination on film
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Attica: Again, not to spin this out into a long theological discourse, just two quick points:

  1. FWIW, 1.2 billion Catholics + something like half a billion Orthodox & other Eastern Christians + 500-800 billion Protestants = well over 2 billion Christians in the world…and while I won't venture to speculate about nominal Christians who have or do not have supernatural faith, I'm not sure the 10% / 90% statistic you've been throwing around has any basis in…anything.
  2. Some Calvinist-leaning Christians with whom I might otherwise make common cause might part with me on this one, but FWIW, my belief is that while (as I said) that religious error cannot be the object of faith, it doesn't follow that individuals in religious error, even profound religious error, cannot have true faith that is the gift of God and has God as its object, even though they may never in this life come to know God as Triune or know Jesus as his Son. So, e.g., a Muslim cannot have faith (in the fully Christian sense) in the Quran, or faith that God is not a Trinity, but it does not follow that a Muslim cannot have true faith in God, or that he cannot die in the state of grace and so be saved.

The statistics that I've read of were based more on a throughout history estimation, and also on "born again" believers, at least to my understanding. But even if this is wrong (I'm still going to try and find an online citation) there are in about 6.8 billion people in the world. It's still not good odds. It's still troubling.

By "born again" believers I mean that some of these statistics don't consider people to be "truly Christians" just because they say they belong to a faith community. Especially if the surveys are made by some (not all) evangelical or fundamentalist "born again" groups. So in this understanding the stats you cited probably wouldn't be connected to their consideration, in coming up with their particular statistics. Of course this leads to the question of what makes a person a true Christian, which is another conversation.

I'm not sure if mentioning this in one post has been "throwing it around" though..... unless I've mentioned it elsewhere and have forgotten. I mentioned it simply because the statistic had made an impact on me when I read it. The billions of people who have died without Christ is a disconcerting and sobering point. If I've mentioned this elsewhere that is why.

The 10% firstfruits part isn't a theological statement as much as a speculative question. Of course there can never be a completely accurate stat ...... but the fact of it still remains that there is an awful lot of the Earths population that is and has not been Christian.

As to your view on a Muslim having a true faith in Christ, I've sometimes thought (and I think have mentioned on the boards before) that it might be possible for someone in another faith perspective to truly have faith in Jesus, but call him by another name (or maybe even possibly perceive him through another identity?) in having this faith.... after all "Jesus" wasn't Yeshua's true name. We're not even believing in Yeshua through his real name. If that makes any sense.

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Attica: Again, not to spin this out into a long theological discourse, just two quick points:

  1. FWIW, 1.2 billion Catholics + something like half a billion Orthodox & other Eastern Christians + 500-800 billion Protestants = well over 2 billion Christians in the world…and while I won't venture to speculate about nominal Christians who have or do not have supernatural faith, I'm not sure the 10% / 90% statistic you've been throwing around has any basis in…anything.
  2. Some Calvinist-leaning Christians with whom I might otherwise make common cause might part with me on this one, but FWIW, my belief is that while (as I said) that religious error cannot be the object of faith, it doesn't follow that individuals in religious error, even profound religious error, cannot have true faith that is the gift of God and has God as its object, even though they may never in this life come to know God as Triune or know Jesus as his Son. So, e.g., a Muslim cannot have faith (in the fully Christian sense) in the Quran, or faith that God is not a Trinity, but it does not follow that a Muslim cannot have true faith in God, or that he cannot die in the state of grace and so be saved.

Oh. I also agree with you that people who are in religious error can have true faith and grace. We might not necessarily be in the exact same place in how this all functions in its particulars..... but I don't think our wider understanding of this matter is vastly different.

It also comes down to the language we use. When I read "gift of faith" my mind perceived it as being something along the lines of a Santa Claus giving one child a special gift at Christmas and deciding to not give a gift to the majority of other children (whatever that percentage may be). That's why I ventured to post on the subject.

Cheers.

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Ryan H. wrote:

: What does the date signify? The release of the DVD?

No idea. If we go by the American reckoning, October 11 is a Thursday this year, and DVDs generally don't come out on Thursdays; ditto the British reckoning, which gives us November 10, which is a Saturday this year.

Though apparently October 11 is the first day of the New York Comic Con this year...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The closest thing i can compare this to is The Thing prequel: disappointing considering it's potential, fundamentally flawed in its understanding of its predecessor.

I confess, I ejoyed the Thing prequel. I actually enjoyed Prometheus overall...but I think a very big difference between the two is that the Thing made great pains to line up to Carpenter's version so that everything MacCready and Copper found at the burned out base appears in the prequel.

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Ryan H. wrote:

: I09 has a Q&A with Lindelof and Logan Marshall-Green that attempts to address some of the lingering questions from PROMETHEUS.

Lindelof's answer to "why did David do that to Holloway" is unsatisfactory. It sort of answers the "why did David do that" part of the question (though even on *that* level, it's unsatisfactory; it still leaves the characters looking as poorly-thought-out, random, arbitrary and capricious as ever) but it doesn't answer the "to Holloway" part of the question. To repeat what I asked earlier: why would David do that to a *team leader* and not to one of the literally anonymous lower-rung crew members?

Marshall-Green, meanwhile, seems to think that the question of anti-robot bigotry is a New Thing in science fiction; apparently he never saw A.I. Artificial Intelligence, or the later Star Trek shows (the original show was as robophobic as they come, but, by the time he made The Questor Tapes in the early '70s, Gene Roddenberry had come to love androids; and, after network executives objected to a proposed sex scene between Questor and a human woman, Roddenberry prided himself on "creating a new form of intolerance" (I quote from memory a speech that Roddenberry gave on the 1976 spoken-word album Inside Star Trek); Roddenberry's pro-A.I. attitude later worked its way into ST:TMP's treatment of V'Ger and, of course, ST:TNG's treatment of Data, who is explicitly described by Picard as the very sort of "new life" that the Enterprise was commissioned to seek). Oh, and somewhere in there, I believe George Lucas has said that the cantina scene in the original Star Wars ("We don't serve their kind here! Your droids! They'll have to wait outside!") has an anti-racist subtext, though how he squares that with the fact that everyone in those movies treats the droids as slaves -- as property to be bought, sold and traded -- is beyond me.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Heck, you could even argue that James Cameron's Aliens was about anti-robotic bigotry, given that one of the recurring subplots in that film is Ripley's, uh, "profiling" of Bishop based on her experience with Ash in the earlier Ridley Scott film.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Marshall-Green, meanwhile, seems to think that the question of anti-robot bigotry is a New Thing in science fiction; apparently he never saw A.I. Artificial Intelligence, or the later Star Trek shows (the original show was as robophobic as they come, but, by the time he made The Questor Tapes in the early '70s, Gene Roddenberry had come to love androids; and, after network executives objected to a proposed sex scene between Questor and a human woman, Roddenberry prided himself on "creating a new form of intolerance" (I quote from memory a speech that Roddenberry gave on the 1976 spoken-word album Inside Star Trek); Roddenberry's pro-A.I. attitude later worked its way into ST:TMP's treatment of V'Ger and, of course, ST:TNG's treatment of Data, who is explicitly described by Picard as the very sort of "new life" that the Enterprise was commissioned to seek). Oh, and somewhere in there, I believe George Lucas has said that the cantina scene in the original Star Wars ("We don't serve their kind here! Your droids! They'll have to wait outside!") has an anti-racist subtext, though how he squares that with the fact that everyone in those movies treats the droids as slaves -- as property to be bought, sold and traded -- is beyond me.

Yeah, "anti-robot bigotry" doesn't strike me as original in any way. Heck, Scott's own Blade Runner wasn't exactly an example of harmonious human/robot relations. Battlestar Galactica also immediately springs to mind.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Well. I guess I'm doomed to be the contrarion on this thread because I thought the film was great. I think one of the reasons why I have such a different view is because I only saw the first two Alien films and that was a loooo-ooong time ago. I can vaguely remember the first two films, but not enough that I was considering where this film didn't line up.

So for me this was pretty much a stand alone film, and in that regard I thought it was fine overall. Maybe this is why the filmmakers seemed eager to distance this film from the Aliens movies at first?

My only real problem with the film is that plot point where the two guys who were left behind during the storm and had their ...um.. troubles, was pretty much horror cliche.

I also was viewing the film through the lense of it being a speculative sci-fi / fantasy, so in that regard I wasn't considering whether the science ect. added up. I didn't read it as being about science or the answers, as much as it was about the questions. It was about the questions of what makes us human (with the robot as a comparison tool), where we came from and why. Also why would our creators want to destroy us.... what is in humanity that they would want to do this?

The film of course didn't answer these questions. But it ended with her embarking on a quest for the answers? I think that's the point. It's about the search. The film started because of the search and at the end she understood that the need to search for answers was because she was human. There was something written into her design.

The film was also clear in it's view that no-matter where we came from it doesn't leave God out of the picture....."they created us, but who created them" (paraphrase). No matter how far back science stretches God will always be at the beginning.

I think I'm glad that the film didn't give us answers (ducking for cover) .... because the answers probably would have been bogus and insufficient. I'd say an analogy to use in this regard is what some horror writers have mentioned. .... being that a horror story is sometimes scarier if the monster is never completely revealed, because the reveal can often not live up to expectations and therefore dampens the story. I just wonder how a film like this could answer some of its questions in a way that wouldn't be ultimately lame?

There are so many "ultimate meaning of life films" that give us insufficient answers, and become forgettable. But then there are classic like 2001 that give us more questions (not trying to compare this to 2001 though).

Of course this film is setting up for a sequel (I guess prequel sequel) where some of the answers probably lie. In regards to what I've just mentioned I'd say that they are giving themselves a pretty high bar to jump with the next film (films?) though.

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Peter T Chattaway said:

:Lindelof's answer to "why did David do that to Holloway" is unsatisfactory.

Spoilers (not that it probably matters this late in the thread)

I'm not sure if the following point has already been brought up as I haven't read through the thread in full yet, but I viewed David's choice of Holloway as having some vindictive elements. Holloway had been causing him grief and so David more or less said "if your going to slag down on me then you can be the guinea pig, you asked for it buddy". If this is true then this plot point not only had the purpose of getting Holloway infected, but also of investigating into any possible truly human traits that were in David. Maybe David does have a soul. It's also worth noting that any vindictive response would have been a response to a derogatory view, which touched on the idea that David didn't have a human soul. David's response to somebody implying that he wasn't human.... probably was human.

So then I wonder. Is the film saying that vengeance is very much an aspect of being human? Then could it be saying that this is why (or one of the reasons why) the engineers want to destroy us?

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Speaking of BLADE RUNNER, I think there's arguably as much of that in PROMETHEUS as there is ALIEN. David has more in common with the replicants than he does with Ash and Bishop.

Definitely. David is more like Roy Batty's Nexus 6 replicant not only in his curiousity, but also in his attempts to assimilate humaness. He also has a relationship with Weyland that is as nearly as corrosive as Batty's was with Elden Tyrell in Blade Runner. The....

....way in which Weyland is killed - crushing of the skull - brought to mind the gouging of the eyes death of Tyrell.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
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Attica wrote:

: I viewed David's choice of Holloway as having some vindictive elements.

Possibly, but it's still stupidly counter-productive to let alien substances loose aboard your one and only ship -- your one and only means of survival, of getting off this planet and getting back to Earth -- and, even worse, it's still stupidly counter-productive to let the substance loose within one of your *team leaders*. Not that letting it loose within one of the merely sixteen other people wouldn't be highly problematic in its own way. We're not talking about the starship Enterprise with its crew of over 400 people here; this is more like the Shackleton expedition or something like that.

Baal_T'Shuvah wrote:

: David is more like Roy Batty's Nexus 6 replicant not only in his curiousity, but also in his attempts to assimilate humaness. He also has a relationship with Weyland that is as nearly as corrosive as Batty's was with Elden Tyrell in Blade Runner.

Though it has been noted, elsewhere, that it is Weyland who plays the Batty role here, inasmuch as he is the one who demands an audience with his creator to ask for more life.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter T Chattaway said:

Possibly, but it's still stupidly counter-productive to let alien substances loose aboard your one and only ship -- your one and only means of survival, of getting off this planet and getting back to Earth -- and, even worse, it's still stupidly counter-productive to let the substance loose within one of your *team leaders*.

It's none to smart that's for sure. But how much would David have cared about getting back to earth? He seemed to have a core programming to serve Weyland's interests, and Weyland was near dead and not going anywhere unless they found some answers that would give him life. Which is what David was at least in part trying to discover, probably more directly for Weyland's needs than human scientific discovery . Possibly one could also add on to this, the idea that if David's response was partly driven by a human desire for vengeance, there could also be some connected human irrationality in his actions.

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Saw this today, and while the visuals were quite stunning all around, I couldn't get past the directionless narrative. A friend who came with me said it felt like they had some grand ideas and tried to piece together a story around them, rather than create a good story and allow ideas to flow from that. I liked the images in Prometheus, but not the imagery. Perhaps I expected something different due to the intensity of the trailer, but there was very little in the way of thrills or tension for me, with the only real intense scene (for me) being the Caesarian. It's certainly not a horror, like Alien, or an action film, like Aliens.

A few questions I'd like help understanding (spoilers):

-The geologist, Fifield, comes back and attacks the crew with a superhuman strength that requires numerous bullets, fire, and getting run over to take him down...yet the biologist, Millburn, and Charlie both seem to succumb to the infection. Why the completely opposite effects?

-What was the purpose of David infecting Charlie? Why do this at all? It feels very aggressive and destructive, and while Ash in Alien was the quiet antagonist from the beginning, there is little to suggest that David would gain anything from infecting a crew member, particularly an invaluable crew member who made this initial discovery.

-If there are sequels, as has been suggested...where do they even go from here? Elizabeth and David on the engineer's planet? That would be over quickly, if the engineers are as powerful as they seem. A different crew sent out to follow up on the disappearance of Prometheus? Maybe, but that would mean an entirely new crew, losing the continuity between films unless they allow Elizabeth and/or David to somehow return or be rescued. Perhaps the engineers discovering their own engineers?

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