I saw Prometheus a week and a half ago, and I’m just now posting my thoughts. This is the latest I’ve posted a review after seeing a film.
Why do you ask?
Lot’s of reasons, but mainly I’ve been dreading the task of accurately communicating both the quality and content of the film. Also, I’ve been lazy with my writing.
Prometheus is probably the most mysterious movie of the 2012 summer movie line-up. Unless you count the mystery of why any studio expects Taylor Kitsche to be a box office draw (see John Cater and Battleship… actually, don’t see them). It’s mysterious for several reasons. One, not many people know much more about than it has something to do with the Aliens movies. Two, because it tackles the great mystery of our existence, The origin of life.
It does this by asking a simple question: What would happen if you met your maker?
The entire movie hinges on this question and its subsequent answer. And as you would expect, spiritual themes abound.
Our main character, played Noomi Rapace (from the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and more recently, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) is the daughter of a missionary family in the not so distant future. As a girl, her father tells her that faith is about choosing to believe. She chooses to believe in some sort of creator who has left clues for us to find, and she dedicates her life to studying these signs that are scribbled on caves by ancient peoples from around the world. She lives this life with her boyfriend, a man who’s faith is bound up in hers. She is searching for truth; he is chasing a dream of grand answers and purpose. And when all is said and done, her faith is secure, his is rocked to the core.
Prometheus paints a bleak picture of what our origins may be. There is no love, no grace, no hope of redemption extended to humanity from it’s creator. In fact, Prometheus pretty accurately displays a world with a god, but no Christ. No Christ means no salvation from destruction, and no promise of eternal joy in God, and there is no joy in the god of Prometheus. Not only is there no joy, but there is no meaning to our lives. If our ultimate end is destruction regardless of our measure of faith, then there is no purpose in our existence. As Paul says, “If Christ is not raised then our faith is in vain.” And if our faith is in vain, then a life lived in servie to Christ is pitiable.
Many of the other characters display varying degrees of faith. Some are skeptical of the existence of any “creators”, some are seeking eternal youth through power and riches, some are seemingly good people just trying to do what’s right in a mysterious and confusing time. In fact, it would not be hard to find oneself mirrored in one of the characters in Prometheus.
Whether it was the intention of the filmmakers to portray this sort of world is not apparent. Ridley Scott, the director of this and the original Alien film, has not been one to make religious statements in his films, but you never know.
As an unlikely summer blockbuster, and as a new entry in the world of Alien, Prometheus is a great addition. It’s a tight, well-told story, with great visuals an excellent cast. If you are a fan of the original films, you should enjoy this one, as it adds new layers to the story of Ripley’s first encounter with the Alien in 1979. Ridley Scott in the director’s chair looks better than he has in a long time, and has successfully added another iconic sci-fi film to his canon.
Prometheus is rated R. And for some people that’s a hard line to cross. It’s rating is not unwarranted. There is quite a bit of terror violence and there is some foul language as well. And if that’s too much for you, I won’t tell you otherwise. But this is the type of movie that could easily spur some thoughtful questions with your non-Christian friends and family who will likely not mind seeing a violent rated R film. I wonder in fact, if conversations that could arrive from this movie may lead to more fruitful evangelism than some of the explicitly Christian films of recent years, which, let’s face it, will not be seen by many non-Christians.
So, don’t take the kids to this one, but I would consider checking it out, if for no other reason than to increase ways to engage with those in need of grace.