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I stole fire from the Gods and all I got was this lousy flamethrower….

June 4, 2012

I went to see Prometheus last night. There were moments when it was brilliantly exciting, with articulate Peter O’Toole quoting psychotic robots, very nasty monsters, some Cronenburgesque gore and hints at some interesting, (if totally cobblers to a strict Dawkinsoid like me), story about human origins and super aliens from outer space.

And then it just sort of ended. It was all sort of yes, yes, yes YES, YEs,…. oh sorry, that’s never happened to me before….

 And on reflection it was just a little bit rubbish. I won’t spoil the plot, although I can tell you that there is one.

 What did strike me as odd is that it appears that there are going to be inconsistent technological advancements in the next couple of hundred years or so. There are five Alien films now, (sorry if this is a plot spoiler, but Prometheus is definitely set up as a prequel to Alien), taking place over a 200 years time span, (I’m not counting the Aliens V Predator films in this, they were just silly…)

Firstly the space suits worn in 2069 in Prometheus look to be better and more fashionable than the ones worn in than the chronologically later Aliens films, but the real issue is with the weapons our bad ass space travellers have to hand.

In Prometheus someone gets dispatched with a flame thrower! In Aliens which is something like two hundred and fifty years later, 300 years from, now they are still using bullets and mortars and nuclear explosives! I mean come on, what happened to the lasers we were promised? Even Star Wars had lasers and the light sabre and that was “a very long time ago”!

Its stinks of a lack of creative imagination that Ridley Scott couldn’t come up with more interesting and, slightly more efficient in terms of  xenomorph control, weapons. I don’t believe that the Military in any country, especially the USA is going to be happy to have a nil budget weapons development program for the next 300 years, which would mean that even though we can now traverse the stars, build almost human robots, and bring Stringer Bell back to life so that he can fly a space ship, we will still have to make do with bullets and nuclear bombs.

But of course if the weaponisation program had kept up with the, for example, light speed technology then there wouldn’t be much of a film would there? If each member of the crew had instant access smart clean killing tech with lasers and suchlike, called up from their bio-cryogenic interface implants, available as soon as danger reared its ugly domed nasty pointy toothy head, then there wouldn’t be any danger would there? If the space marines had acid-proof-hard-light-flexi-super-shields-with-built-in-nano-killer-bots surrounding them on every mission then the poor old unarmed aliens wouldn’t have stood a chance.

In fact the Alien series of films rely for the sense of jeopardy on the company that employs most of them equipping them with hopelessly inadequate supplies before sending them into extreme danger.

Which it seems is exactly what happens in real life given the stories we hear about the rubbish equipment soldiers are sent to fight with in Afghanistan etc.

Perhaps this is Ridley Scotts real mission here, to remind us of the importance of good Health and Safety and Risk Assessments before setting off to unknown territory.

It was all a result of the Health and Safety Officer has been made redundant. Or more likely in 300 years time they will be employed by SERCO and have to do the health and safety for every goddamned ship in the fleet…, there is just no time in the day for an adequate risk assessment any more. This bit isn’t sci fi either of course, because SERCO already probably employs the Councils H and S person, or will do soon.

So there you go the whole Aliens pantheon is really just an over blown Health and Safety manual.

Next Week: why the Godfather Trilogy is an extended metaphor for the failures of the Big Society…..

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