Thursday, 28 June 2012

Prometheus and space helmets [spoilers]

I want to set the record straight. It’s just a small thing, but here it is: no-one dies or gets injured in Prometheus because they took their helmet off. [Spoilers ahoy!]

Prometheus has stirred up a large amount of talk, a lot of it negative, and a lot of that to do with perceived plotholes. I’m not going to defend the film overall (despite the fact many can be explained by limitations of filming, running time, narrative, etc.) – there’s a number of pretty glaring points in the film that are glossed over, sometimes shoddily.

However. One thing that keeps getting mentioned and lampooned is that they all take their helmets off, and then boom – everyone dies. Stupid scientists!

But let’s run through how everyone dies:
  • Fifield (geologist) – has his helmet on, hammerpede (snake) spits acid at it, he falls down face-first in black goo
  • Millburn (biologist) – has his helmet on, hammerpede breaks his arm, rips a hole in his suit, violates his mouth
  • Holloway – gets date-raped by David the Curious Android, then flamed by Vickers – helmet irrelevant
  • Everyone else – dies in the Prometheus crash, killed by the Engineer, or crushed under the Juggernaut (Engineer ship)
So no-one dies because they stupidly took their helmet off.

Are they stupid to take their helmets off? Yes!
Note that when Holloway takes his off, everyone is telling him not to – so they’re not all born complete idiots – they just become stupid when they follow his lead. But then Fifield and the biologist both put their helmets back on before they get attacked by the goo/hammerpedes. (Why they chose to hang out in the temple with the black goo, who knows…)

Is Holloway a dick? Yes!
Holloway is a gung-ho selfish idiot. He takes his helmet off against all advice and common sense, he insults his beautiful and intelligent partner Shaw about “creating life” being child's play. But he doesn’t die from taking his helmet off. (Even though he probably should have.)

So there. One small point.