All over the blogosphere, the verdict has been rolling in on Ridley Scott's shiny new movie, Prometheus, and almost entirely we are all in agreement: meh.
A few days ago I posted an excoriating review over on my own blog, and this was my verdict as well.
But since then I have been thinking, and I have decided that possibly I missed the point of this movie.
Maybe it is not, in fact, as it appears to be, a straight-up SF movie, attempting to show us one possible interpretation of our shared history/possible future.
Maybe, instead, it is a cautionary tale.
Famously, R.A. Heinlein said there were only a few kinds of SF that could be written: if-this-goes-on being one of them. Perhaps Prometheus is an if-this-goes-on tale?
Look at our scientists -- well, look at everyone in the crew. They are mostly Americans, though a few Scottish scientists have slipped in I believe. And they are, uniformly, the most uninformed, ill-educated, bumbling "scientists" you will ever want to encounter. They are incapable of using evidence to reach a conclusion, or of following standard protocols -- like biohazard protocol; or simple details like don't take your helmet off in an unsecured environment -- they have apparently taken jobs without asking basic questions about what they will be asked to do. Further, the "scientists" all seem to be Creationists. They're out here looking for their intelligent designers, and they think faith, not evidence, is what you base your decisions on.
Here's my theory. These are all American who have been raised in the post-No Child Left Behind/Teach The Controversy education system. They don't, in fact, know how to think, or how to reach decisions based on evidence. They can believe that nonsense Dr. Elizabeth gives them at the beginning, about the star map being a signal -- which makes no logical sense at all -- because they've been educated in a school system where nothing they get taught is expected to make any sense. They're just supposed to memorize it and write it down on the test. They're used to being told things by someone with a fancy screen at the front of the room (Powerpoint!) and accepting it as the right answer.
And this is why our "biologist" calls it Darwinism and this is why our geologist isn't really interested in doing geology. In the future, science isn't actually science. It's a job -- like teaching high school science -- you get paid for not doing.
And in the end? You get smashed by Creationist Hulk, who is really pissed at what an idiot you have been.
And rightly so.