The Hollywood hype machine is attempting to generate publicity for Ridley Scott's new movie Prometheus, an outer space epic, by dribbling out "teasers" and trailers a little at a time. The first trailer hits iTunes on Thursday, but in a YouTube teaser, Scott explains that his film isn't just an epic space adventure but a provocative film about ideas:
“It’s about the very grand ideas and notions, the surprising things that will appear to be small yet will be enormous.”
And what are these grand ideas and notions? Why nothing else than the ancient astronaut theory, popularized recently by Ancient Aliens. As Scott told the Hollywood Reporter:
"NASA and the Vatican agree that is almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way... That's what we're looking at (in the film), at some of Eric von Daniken's ideas of how did we humans come about."
Now this is disingenuous. NASA said no such thing, and the Vatican's idea of "help" comes in the form of angels and saints. But the disturbing thing here is not that Ridley Scott is using the ancient astronaut theory to make a movie--prehistoric aliens have been found in fiction everywhere from the Cthulhu Mythos to Stargate to Alien vs. Predator--but that Scott seems to believe that the ancient astronaut theory is true and intends to use the multimillion dollar promotional budget for his film to spread this pernicious lie far and wide across the media in the form of an inquiry into "grand ideas and notions."
The ancient astronaut theory might be a "grand idea," but so were communism, Prohibition, and eugenics. We'd all be better off if such "grand ideas" were confined only to movies.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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