Saturday, June 16, 2012

Not so much Prometheus as a pesky bird tearing at a jaundiced liver ...

(Above: a Christian offering Christian solutions).

First things first. Greetings to the spook lurking at Denver Colarado who spent several hours on the site using the Rippers browser. Don't be shy, we know everyone comes to the pond to get their Lara Bingle fix. It's called the Bingle Bump.

And so to a spoiler alert.

It's a long time since the pond wrote a film review, and now's not the time to revive this onanistic habit. That way lies Jim Schembri and madness.

All the same, it has to be said that Ridley Scott's Prometheus, a kind of prequel to his Alien, is one of the silliest movies that's ever done the sci fi rounds. Damon Lindelof, who collared a key writer credit, also wrote Cowboys and Aliens, and therefore is well on his way to a perfect trifecta of really awesomely dumb films, right up there with Alien vs. Predator.

Others have explained at length why Prometheus is so bad and such a disappointment for original Alien fetishists - John Shade Vick gets it right in his review for Forbes under the header 'Prometheus' is a Visually Stunning Epic Failure.

There's the dumbness of the alleged scientists, the dumbness of the aliens, the dumbness of the philosophising, and the dumbness of the heroine, who is no Sigourney Weaver.

But wait on, how does a movie review fit into the pond's Sunday meditation?

Well the heroine is a Christian, and her cross is continually flashed at the audience while she blathers on about the quest for god aka the chief engineer. Most reviewers pass over this in silence, though Luke Buckmaster did make mention of it in his review:

Whispers of Shivers (1975), The Thing (1982), Blade Runner (1982) and of course Alien echo in the film’s visual and story inventions, but Prometheus’ existential “where did we come from?” core gives it more scope and ambition than any of those films; note the way it observes, through visions steeped in Christian ethos, the ritualistic act of drinking from a cup. (here)

But then Buckmaster thought the film was great, atmospherically dazzling in a way that makes your eyeballs want to have a cigarette, zip up their pants and go out for breakfast afterwards.

See what I mean? That way lies Luke Buckmaster and abject madness.

Oh sure at another blog Crikey tries to balance it up with Prometheus: not-so-great Scott, but it was too late, the damage had been done.

Here's the problem. The Christian overtone is just another way of making sure that American mid-west fundies and true believers could trot off to a sci fi story about the founding intelligence of the universe and not get turned off.

By end of journey, the heroine and a torn-apart robot go haring off across the universe in search of the original Engineer. You see, it's an up - two characters survive - and it sets up a sequel, the long absent lord forbid, and it's the true believing Christian who gets to go on the quest with the 'bot (Michael Fassbender delivering the one good and amusing performance, as the preening, smirking, un-robotic, sado-masochistic 'bot with a love of a good whipping and Peter O'Toole in a 3D Lawrence of Arabia).

This Original Engineer Dude seems to have created a brutish set of humans with exactly the same DNA as humanity, yet despite all their technology - of a H. R. Giger kind - all they can do is carry on like the psychopath in Halloween.

Meanwhile, the philosophical implications are swept aside with glib lines suggesting that three centuries of Darwinian theory have been lost by a much cleverer, more visionary film.

What about the couple of thousand years of Christianity? They have a hard enough time dealing with dinosaurs. How are they going to cope with the chief engineer having designed another set of brutish human-like creatures who only seem interested in destroying worlds?

Along the way, the heroine performs a caesarean section on herself to remove a squid growing inside her. So much for the sanctity of life. But not to worry, she just staples herself up and soon enough is back bouncing around the various CGIs like a jumping jack.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the pond decided to check out Iron Sky, an alleged co-pro involving Finland and Australia. Credit where credit is due, and the Finns can take all the credit for this one. It's steam punk silliness about Nazis on the dark side of moon, and is even sillier than Prometheus. Post ironic post modern posturing doesn't get you off the hook, and it runs out of steam before the end of the first act ...

So what has the pond learned from these brutish experiences? Well it's a baleful reminder of how Christians and Nazis can ruin the cinema-going experience, and a reminder that there's no warranty or return in thirty days if unhappy clause when it comes to cinema-going experiences ...

But let's look at the upside. Cardinal George Pell is still lost somewhere in Europe, his communications in the Sunday Terror having stopped at Assisi, so there's a pause in gay marriage and climate science bashing, and Michael Jensen of the angry Sydney Anglicans is still stuck on part four of his seven part series on Sydney sins. April 4th say hello to June 16th.

The pond is deeply concerned. After all, the younger Jensen showed an interest in music, and poetry and literature, and the world outside the cloisters, in a completely un-Jensenist way. Sure his columns always found their way back to piety and angry Anglicanism by the end, but there was hope, signs of a softening, perhaps even a conversion to a more liberal view.

You know, like Dr Giles Fraser, scribbling furiously in The Guardian pieces like The Church of England says it is against gay marriage. Not in my name. Sock it to 'em Giles:

The church is no more a cartel of moral wisdom. And those of us who still stick with it – though there are days like today when this is increasingly hard – do so in the hope that it can be called back to a deeper moral seriousness that is not in hoc to bourgeois notions of respectability and prejudice. This is not a great day to be a member of the Church of England. I am simply ashamed.

Golly how would he feel if he was a Sydney Anglican?

... finally there is the absurd hyperbole of the thing. "The greatest threat to the church in 500 years." Do us a favour. Worse than the dissolution of the monasteries? Worse than secularisation? It is telling evidence of the irrational fear that the church leadership has of gay people that they are prepared to make such ridiculous statements. And as a threat specifically to marriage, what about divorce? Unlike homosexuality, this is a subject on which Jesus was pretty specific, but the C of E is perfectly prepared to marry divorced couples. Indeed, they are perfectly happy to marry gay people too – just so long as they marry people of the opposite sex. For years, gay men and women have been pressured into lavender weddings and often lives of misery so as to live out a model of supposed respectability. The church has blessed these marriages, and blessed pets and battleships, but they won't allow gay people who love each other to make lifelong commitments in the sight of God.

Wow. Meanwhile, the angry Anglicans are angrier than ever, and hanging around with angry Catholics. This very day you might have enjoyed an anti-gay marriage diatribe from heavies addressing letters to their parishioners (Christian leaders to unite against gay marriage), and Peter Jensen has turned up in Fairfax to wax hysterical in Stylish same-sex campaign glosses over real issues.

It turns out, according to Jensen, that it's a brilliantly orchestrated and sustained campaign, stylish and confident (arguments that look pretty in pink?) And what it means is that you can't call homosexuals evil and homosexuality a vile sin, like you could in the good old days:

The education of my children would be different. Same-sex marriage is symbolic of social acceptance of gay sex as a moral good. Most people still believe the physical make-up of humans points in another direction. But they would not be able to prevent their children being taught that consenting sex between any two persons is a matter of moral and physical indifference.

Oh won't someone think of the children. No not the gay kids bullied and bashed and beaten, that's their lot for being born that way, it's the innocent het kids who'll be lured into an evil lifestyle because it's so attractive and stylish and confident.

Naturally Jensen looks to the United States as support for maintaining the good old days of gay bashing hate.

So when it comes to Raj Gupta of the Sydney Anglicans asking "is less more?" and what about 20 Minute Sermons? could the pond propose that it depends on the sermon.

Fifty seconds listening to an angry Sydney Anglican go on about gay marriage is more than enough; twenty minutes of sharing by a genuinely open and caring Christian like Giles Fraser being angry about silly angry Anglicans is simply not enough ...

One report on the current bout of angry Christians, Church leaders to deliver anti-gay marriage letters, ended this way:

A spokesman for Australian Marriage Equality Alex Greenwich said church leaders had every right to express their views, and encouraged Christians who supported same-sex marriage to do likewise.

''With polls showing a majority of Australian Christians support marriage equality and with prominent Christians like [former NSW premier] Kristina Keneally and a growing number of clergy endorsing the reform, I don't expect many people will be influenced by their priest this Sunday,'' he said.

Amen to that. Why don't they just get busy arranging a seat on the good ship Prometheus, and hare off across the universe looking for the Chief Engineer, while everybody else can get on with the business of peace and love ...

And think of the quiet, and think of not having to think about the children ...

(Below: oh it's a slippery slope all right. Next thing you know robots will want to marry robots and humans will want to marry robots, and then there'll be three ways with robots, and divorces inspired by robots, and people marrying robot dogs, and where will it end ...)


  1. Meanwhile the decline of Anglican and Catholic congregations continues....

    1. Dorothy is the quote "Most people still believe the physical make-up of humans points in another direction" Peter Jensen's way of explaining an erection?
      I wonder if this man and those who preach this anti-gay rhetoric realise the damaging effects it has on those who converted to Christianity at a young age or were brought up in a Christian family and then found themselves SSA? From what I've seen, a little piece of them is damaged everytime someone like Jensen displays his ignorance in the Lord's name. Some Australian Anglicans are beginning to stand up in support of a Victorian bishop who refuses to discriminate against GLBTI people any longer and they have created a facebook page in support of his stance. A small step but at least it's something.
      Dorothy did you realise that some older Christian men were sent for shock therapy when teenagers and young men, when it became evident during adolescene that they were gay? Some were put through "therapy" which involved placing the penis in a metal container which was wired up so when they were shown pornographic images of males and got an erection, they were given an electric shock. I say good on Giles Fraser for speaking out against the homophobia and prejudice that conservatives in the church claim to be Christian doctrine.

  2. "which involved placing the penis in a metal container which was wired up so when they were shown pornographic images of males and got an erection, they were given an electric shock."

    Is it possible that a certain missing Cardinal is languishing in Europe, with a burnt peepee?


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