Friday, June 08, 2012

More Human Than Human?

Here's a conceptual question I'll throw out there for those who might be interested...  Is David Evil ?

He's an android, so by definition I'll assume he's programmable be it by use of programmed code or voice commands.  But he only seems programmable by Peter Weyland.  Though it's never explicitly stated, he seems to consider only Weyland his master (attending to him like a son).  David is defiant with Vickers (a suggested brother/sister sort of hate relationship which made me, too, believe that Vickers was in fact also a synthetic for a while - which could have been more interesting).  He often refuses to obey direct orders from various people, especially Shaw.   Not only does he not care about humans in any sort of identifiable way, he goes out of his way to lie to them, seemingly calculating equations of chance and intentionally infecting Holloway, which kills Holloway and leads to the near death of Shaw and the possible destruction of the entire mission and crew.  In fact, the his only real selfless act is trying to reach Holloway and Shaw during the storm and cable-pull them back to safety.  I suspect he only did this, though, to protect his Holloway Experiment.  Or possibly because Shaw intrigues him.  (He watches her hypersleep dreams and later snidely compliments her "survival instincts."  Very much like Ash marvels at the Xenomorph in the 1977 original.  Coincidence?)

Do we believe that he was, perhaps, programmed by Weyland to bring him a cure from the Engineers for his old age infirmaries no matter what the cost?  Or...  Do we think that he's simply exercising free will?  Perhaps he was never given the big three Prime Directives in his programming.  Do we think he has the ability to ignore them?  Bishop (Aliens) does say that earlier "artificial people" models were "a little twitchy," directly referring to Ash (Alien) but by proxy also perhaps referring to the much further back "David" android models. How much free will do we think David has?  Bishop seems to have less, citing his "behavioral inhibitors."  Ash seemed to have quite a bit, though he seemed to break down (go berserk) when forced into making the tougher choices of mission vs crew.

Interestingly, Scott chooses to end Prometheus by having the much-beset-upon Shaw rocket off into the unknown universe in search of the Engineers... alongside the severed but still capable head of David: the very person (android) who was directly responsible for the death of all her peers as well as her own alien pregnancy, near death in alien-child birth, near murder at the hands of both the Engineer and the Tentacle Monster and near-asphyxiation -- and near-crushing from the giant crashing Engineer Ship -- on LV-223's surface.. with Shaw none the wiser as to the nature of her tormentor and with him getting next to no comeuppance aside from being beheaded - which seems to him to be more of an annoyance than anything else.  Sending Shaw off into space with the very being who destroyed her whole life seems... an odd choice... for Prometheus' ending.

Unless David's had some sort of personal epiphany, Shaw would seem to be in a position of even more danger by film's end, trapped alone with perhaps the single most untrustworthy piece of cinematic hardware since the HAL-9000.   Then again, Ridley Scott similarly put everyone's most beloved psychotic killer, Doctor Lecter, onto a plane headed for safer pastures, minus a piece of his own body (his hand), back in 2001's Hannibal, so such a thing is in his history.   Hmm...

The HAL-9000 (machine) +  Hannibal Lecter (human) =  David (human-like machine)?

Theatrical Reviews
The Avengers  ****
Men in Black 3D  ***
Prometheus  **1/2

DVD/Home Video
Aliens (1986)  ****
Diner (1982)  ****
Swimming to Cambodia (1987)  ***1/2
The Outsiders (1983)  ***1/2
Galaxy Quest (1999)  ***1/2
The Cruise (1998)  ***1/2
Foxes (1980)  ***1/2
Barfly (1987)  ***1/2
Alien 3: The Assembly Cut (DVD)  ***
Bukowski: Born Into This (2003)  ***
Ninja Kids!!! (Japan, 2011)  ***
Band of the Hand (1986)  ***
Convoy (1978)  ***
The Jerky Boys: The Movie (1995)  **1/2
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy! (2004)  **1/2
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)  **1/2
Concrete Cowboys (1979)  **1/2
Mike's Murder (1984)  **1/2
The Survivors (1983)  **1/2
Megaforce (1983)  **1/2
Neighbors (1981)  **1/2
The Gate (1986)  **1/2
Gotham (1988)  **1/2
1408  **1/2
Highlander 2: Renegade Version (1991/1995)  **
Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)  **
The Mechanic (2010)  **
Fire With Fire (1986)  **
Nightflyers (1987)  **
Fire Birds (1990)  **
Evolution (2001)  **
Tomboy (1985)  **
Cyclone (1987)  **
Star Crash (1978)  *1/2

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (George V. Higgins)  ***
Ronin (Frank Miller)  ***

Music/Spoken Word
Paul McCartney & Wings: Wingspan  ****
Henry Rollins: Northhampton, MA (May, 2011)  ***1/2
Thief (score by Tangerine Dream)  ***1/2
B.B. King: The Best of B.B. King  ***1/2
B.B. King: Six Silver Strings  ***
Moonrise Kingdom (score by Alexande Desplat)  ***
Nightflyers (score by Tangerine Dream)  ***
The Avengers (score by Alan Silvestri)  ***
Rush: 2112  ***
Men in Black III (score by Danny Elfman)  **1/2
Prometheus (score by Marc Streitenfeld)  **1/2