22 May 2012 by Paul Dempsey
The is-it-isn't-it Alien prequel (and track 18 on the CD is "Friend from the Past", so there's yet another b***d*n obvious clue) conjures memories among the 'certain age' of the one film nobody could take with a pinch of salt. I know plenty of folk who left Star Wars cold; Alien provoked a reaction whether you loved it or not. It was the nastiest, most relentless scare machine most of us had ever seen. It was, to borrow a technical term, chuffing ace.
So, the idea of Sir Ridley Scott heading back to - possibly - chart the genesis of the xenomorphs (yes, old retractagob does have a name) and the spectacular visuals we've seen so far have me completely in their grip. It's just that I could do without the pseudo-babble, sub Erich von Däniken stuff now surrounding it. Indeed, all the fake tech being used to support Prometheus through viral marketing might be amusing, but it's also complete and utter rot.
I know I'm not the only person to take issue here. And to some extent, I'm happy to take a large slice of Barnum and an equal slab of Ripley (Robert L.) with my Hollywood salesmanship. What I don't get is why Prometheus has to be about anything other than scaring you witless?
Also, what makes all this a bit - well - dangerous is that the film is (pun intended) monkeying around with creation myths. Living in the UK, you don't have to face the debate in its full gory delight, but I'm sure you know about the whole evolution vs intelligent design argument in the US, and the levels of misinformed, wilful and downright malicious ignorance that underpin parts of it.
I don't think there's any underlying political intent on the part of Prometheus' makers. They're more like Monster Inc's Sulley and Mike: they want to power their bank accounts on our screams. And assuming they do that, my green beer vouchers will be duly handed over with pleasure.
But, seriously, what were the organisers of a provocative open forum like TED thinking?
So, having burned my chances of ever getting an invite from them, let's wind it all back a bit. The super-rich are not the answer to moral decay (though at least Tony Stark was playing "I've privatised world peace" for laughs). Arms manufacturers do not make super reptiles and arachnids in the subterranean lab. And we are not an alien experiment.
Which, funnily enough, brings me back to Seth Macfarlane. I hope his Ted will be a hoot, but more to the point, the Family Guy creator is also backing a new version of Carl Sagan's 1980 TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Again, a formative moment for the younger me and perhaps one of the most powerful pieces of scientific advocacy ever. And Macfarlane's got his version ready for mainstream US network television (no cable ghetto for this) with the help of Sagan's widow and the eloquent American astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Here's what Seth, in typically robust style, told Forbes about his motivation for the new programme.
"The resistance to science is idiotic. Those people shouldn't be allowed to have antibiotics. Give us back your TVs and the dentures."
Like I said, 'robust'. So, let me instead end by reminding you what the late and hugely missed Professor Sagan had to say about Prometheus' 'other' grandaddy:
"I also hope for the continuing popularity of books like Chariots of the Gods in high school and college logic courses, as object lessons in sloppy thinking. I know of no recent books so riddled with logical and factual errors as the works of von Däniken."
Edited: 22 May 2012 at 02:45 AM by Paul Dempsey
Posted By: Paul Dempsey @ 22 May 2012 02:32 AM General
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