(Warning: The following post contains spoilers from the movie Prometheus. Proceed at your own risk.)
I saw Alien and Aliens ten years ago, and when I began reading about Prometheus, the prologue to Alien, last year, I was curious Damon Lindelof’s bold statements that Prometheus would be a bold film about idea and philosophy, and after reconsidering Alien, I wanted to see the film. Lindelof himself is among a group of sci-fi writers who seek to provide man with an explanation for the universe that can exclude God (which I wrote about last winter after seeing Super 8) and is generally a preachy writer who insists on inserting his big, meaty ideas into what would ordinally be an interesting narrative on its own.
Remembering the original film and it’s signature images, I saw Alien as an analogy for how the breakdown of the family can lead to abortion. Think of a young woman, who has a rocky relationship with her parents, then runs off with a boyfriend who turns out to be abusive. Then she hears that she’s pregnant, and in that instant, she envisions the baby growing inside her as a monstrous combination of her parents and boyfriend, just waiting to burst out of her chest. Her abusive boyfriend blames her for getting pregnant, she is an object of scorn to her family, and the weight of caring for a baby weighs on her. She has to kill it, even if it means killing part of herself.
Prometheus has a much more direct abortion scene, where central character Elizabeth Shaw (a Ripley without Ripley-isms) has a Cesarian section of an alien baby in automated medical chamber. It is grizzly and terrifying as anything in the original Alien, as Shaw programs the machine to remove the rapidly developing offspring from her deceased lover. But what the scene gets really right is the loneliness of abortion: Shaw runs down the corridors of a ship full of people alone, has the alien removed by machine (apparently without numbing medicine), and afterward, stumbles out down the hallway. Abortion, in one sense, really is a desire to remain alone, out of the sense of sin. If you can’t deal with your own sin, how could you deal with the sin of the next generation.
The sadness of being
The tragedy of abortion is just the tip of Prometheus‘ ice berg of man’s desire to make a god that works for him. The film throws around view points: Shaw herself is the child of Christian missionaries, but Lindelof’s choice of her religion seems blase. The film doesn’t even seem that interested in proving Christianity wrong (which it does anyway), but showing the danger of what happens when man ventures to seek that which is above him. To Prometheus, the “maker of humanity” (humanoid aliens who left their DNA on earth to give Darwin the boost he needed) is a cruel, arbitrary judge who destroys the humans and would go to destroy their homeland and start over. In short, the ancestor in Prometheus is how non-Christians view God, all justice and no mercy.
After watching the film, I was curious as to why Deism was replaced by Darwinism. Deism allows man to believe in a creator without dealing sin. Darwinism lead man on a path that puts man into such a more depressing situation.That is the world where literally you would want to kill the offspring that comes from your flesh. The original Alien had much better philosophy.