My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing this the other day. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Alien series when I was younger, being somewhat scared of horror movies. Anyway, I was happy to see another science fiction movie get the good treatment. As you most likely know, it moved from an Aliens’ prequel to a stand-alone or possibly a beginning of another series. By now, you know that it serves as both. While it has been somewhat panned, I found it rather enjoyable. It wasn’t filled with too terrible of language and sex was limited to off screen. The only thing that might keep the kids away is the gore, but even that is not too bad. It was a set up, that’s for sure, but more than that, a theological reflection on choosing to believe in a silent God.
The “Engineers” were human-like Creators of the human population who left markers across the globe as an invitation. A ship (which looks a lot like Serenity from Firefly) takes off, named after the Titan who wanted to give humankind divinity, to find them. They find 2000 year old former base of sorts, and only later, do we see that it is possibly a military installation. The invitation was left some 35000 years before the start of the movie, but the bodies were only about 2000 years. Yes, bodies. As in the bodies of the Engineers. Emma Shaw is one of the scientists who discovered the invitation and now she is a lead scientist on board.
Emma is wears a cross and during a flash back, we see a conversation between her and her father when she was but a child. They were discussing comparative religions and she asked why he believed in his god. He simply answered because he chose too. This is a recurring theme throughout the movie, that one can choose to believe in god, or in science, or in the mission, even against reality. He boyfriend ridicules her once and I believe that others make a remark or too, but we get the sense that she simply doesn’t believe except that she chooses too. After an incident, her cross is removed and tucked away with the android.
The android has his own questions about freedom. He is a creature of the creator, or humans. In several scenes, there is philosophy developed that has the android seemingly waiting for the end of humans in order to be free. It is a God is dead type theology that the android has as compared to the faith of Emma Shaw who chooses to believe. Her boy friend is an atheist to the core, finding that once the mission didn’t turn out just right, he gave up on that as he had other forms of believer.
In the end, after death and destruction, what is left is the android and Emma. She asks his head where her cross is, puts it back on and answers his question about choosing to believe. She insists on not going back to earth, but going to find the Engineers. She insists that at some point in the distant past, the Engineers had spared/saved the human race and she wants to know why. The God is silent theology.
The film closes “In the year of our Lord…”
I rather liked the film, especially the various theologies present. Even in the course of human achievement, we are still intent on knowing why. Christianity plays a huge part in at least one scientist’s life. Anyway, if you want a horror movie, don’t go see it. If you want a movie that has a lot of theology present. Go see it. Also, cool science fiction scenes.