Tim Mitchell is Prometheus Bound [Fierce Anticipation]

Fiercely Anticipating


There are many films coming out in the next few months that I’m eager to see, films such as Scream 4, Captain America, and the last Harry Potter film. However, the film that really catches my interest is one that’s not coming out until 2012: Ridley Scott’s next film, Prometheus.

Prometheus was originally slated to be a prequel to Scott’s Alien from 1979. What little I know of the plot of Prometheus sounds much like Alien in that it involves a human crew of space travelers and some kind of ancient and unmistakably extraterrestrial presence. In the time since the announcement of its pre-production, Prometheus has gone from being a prequel to Alien, to not being a prequel to Alien, to being a sort-of prequel to Alien that takes place in the same narrative universe but has nothing to do with the characters and events in the Alien movies, to not having anything to do with Alien at all. At this point, what Prometheus has to do or not do with Alien matters little to me; instead, the fact that Scott is returning to the realm of futuristic deep space horror has me giddy like a teeny bopper at a Justin Bieber concert.

Even though it wasn’t a blockbuster on the scale of Star Wars or Avatar, there’s a reason why Alien inspired three sequels, two spin-offs, dozens of comic books, novels and video games, and countless rip-offs: it’s because the title creature is so unique, exquisite, and absolutely bug-nuts weird that monster movie fans keep coming back for more. Through Alien, Scott made the inspired choice to bring the disturbing, erotic artistic style of H.R. Giger into the public eye. Not only did Giger provide the look of the alien creature in almost all stages of its lifecycle, but Scott also brought him in to make the some of the sets and the alien costume itself, which is rumored to contain an actual human skull as part of the head piece. (Top that, you bone chapels in Europe!) Giger’s design of the derelict alien space craft, which looked more like the insides of a mammoth beast than a technological artifact, made the Monolith from 2001 look very dull and unimaginative by comparison.

Ultimately, Scott’s application of his talent with cinematography to Giger’s artwork is what made Alien a classic, and I’m hoping that Scott uses the opportunity presented in Prometheus to either re-team with Giger or utilize the work of some other obscure artistic talent to introduce audiences to a new kind of fear yet again.

I Kinda Want To . . .

I kinda want to pick up a copy of Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. As video gaming experiences for adults go, Lego Star Wars–and Lego games in general–aren’t even on the map. However, the simplistic yet addictive game play of the Lego games keeps me coming back for more, along with their goofy humor and local co-op features.

In particular, the Lego Star Wars games strike a nostalgic chord in me, because I (along with many people my age) grew up bingeing madly on all sorts of Star Wars merchandise. So what do the Lego Star Wars games do? They include a feature where you can collect points to “buy” complete yet virtual collections of Star Wars action figures and vehicles. They’re the ultimate Star Wars meta-toys, toys designed to provide the user with the obsessive-compulsive experience of buying even more Star Wars toys. Ironically, Lego Star Wars video games–even at their most expensive–are still much cheaper than most Lego Star Wars brick sets. Go figure.

I Wouldn’t See if You Paid Me . . .

I wouldn’t want to see the next public relations campaign released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) even if you paid me. Sadly, because I ride the Washington DC Metro system almost every day, I can’t get away from API’s latest public relations campaign, which litters almost every Metro station and rail car.

API’s current campaign, which has been released under the name of “Energy Tomorrow”, involves a series of “I’m One” posters (the API name appears in small print in the corner if you look closely enough). Each poster features the smiling face of some Clip Art Jane or Joe with a sentence next to it that asks something like, “Who are the millions of Americans whose jobs are supported by the oil & natural gas industry?” Of course, key words are emphasized so that the question answers itself and that you’ll conclude that the anonymous beautiful/ordinary/old/young face on the poster is one of the countless people whose livelihoods depend on the fossil fuel industry. Yet the none-too-subtle subtext of the posters is that if you believe in investing money in the development of clean and sustainable energy-generating technologies, you–yes, YOU–will be responsible for the unemployment and impoverishment of millions, including the poster person who is staring at you in public. How dare you do this to the poster people, you ungrateful commie socialist nazi hippie jerk!

As far as I see it, these posters show that the fossil fuel industry–much like the tobacco industry before it–not only failed to learn from its mistakes, but that it steadfastly and defiantly refuses to do so. Never mind the catastrophic BP oil spill from last year and its lingering damage to the Gulf of Mexico, or the recent ruling by a judge in Ecuador who found that Chevron must pay $8.6 billion to help restore the damage they caused in the Amazon that resulted from their spill of 18.5 billion gallons of oil in the rainforest (Chevron is appealing this decision, natch). As far as these modern day oil barons are concerned, they will always be necessary to the public at large and to suggest otherwise or to hold them accountable for their crimes is to issue an unthinkable, inhumane and eeeeevil threat against the American way of life.

Whether you’re a geek or not, we’ve all been brought up to believe that the support of a steady, ongoing path of technological sophistication is the touchstone of an advanced civilization. This ideology has been touted repeatedly throughout American pop culture–in the technology showcases such as the World Fairs, in the Star Trek franchise in its entirety, and in every commercial for every techno-gadget or doodad of every shape and size that has appeared on the market for decades. Thus, for the fossil fuel industry to insist that we must unquestioningly support its toxic practices and damaging legacy for future generations and ignore better, healthier alternatives is not only anti-American, it’s anti-geek.

My suggestion: Perhaps some enterprising, Adobe Photoshop-savvy geek should start his/her own “I’m One” guerilla ad campaign. Say, one could produce a poster with a dead fish that asks “Who are the millions of living creatures whose lives were snuffed out by BP?” Another poster could feature a photo of a miner’s damaged lungs that asks “Who are the thousands who suffer from black lung because they work for the coal industry?” Be creative here, people; the fossil fuel industry produces all sorts of gruesome casualties and grotesque collateral damage, so there’s no shortage of shock to go around.