(M) Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron

I wonder why the producers of what David Stratton calls a cinematic blockbuster, Prometheus, chose to raise the question of the hero’s faith as a major theme for this blockbuster (Weekend Australian, June 9-10).

I think the film actually depends on this dilemma for its absorbing effect.

It interests me that Prometheus should make the hero’s religious faith the enigmatic question at the heart of this epic story.

Stratton referred to Prometheus as a “creation myth” and so it is. But in spite of the dark experiences that the hero undergoes at the planetary outpost of the creators and her dawning insight into the malevolence of the creators towards humans, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) still maintains her faith.

Her hand on the cross on her neck chain makes this clear.

The story is set in 2090; a time sufficiently in the future of our empirically-based society to think that religion may have become a rarity. But Shaw and her lover Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are chosen to join the team because they are true believers of a different kind.

This is a film about religion and the creators of a race using DNA similar to their own (in their image).

Do these creators answer to any being or power for how they use their power? We may be shown the answer to this question in the likely sequel to Prometheus.

The question of faith is raised naturally at several points in the story.

The robot David (Michael Fassbender) has a discussion about faith and the soul when he asks Shaw to take off her neck cross and chain so she can be scanned for injuries. He points out that, as a robot, he doesn’t have a soul.

Then, at the conclusion of the film, David asks her if she still maintains her faith after what she has learned of humanity’s creators and from her own dark experience. She said yes!

This is a mainstream horror science fiction movie that makes religious faith, a Christian faith, significant for the meaning of the narrative.

I look forward to viewing Prometheus with the young people in my church.

It raises discussion about whether all sentient beings in the universe are accountable to God. But first we may have to discuss whether powerful people in our world are accountable to God.

Another question may arise concerning whether God, the most powerful being, is truly benign. Answering this question after viewing Prometheus may cease to be only an abstract discussion.

I found it a dark film, nearly as dark as our world seems to be when I read about Syria, Darfur, Greece and child slavery.

Thomas Smith


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