Michael Fassbender stars in ‘Happy Birthday David,’ a mesmerizing ‘Prometheus’ trailer
“Prometheus,” Ridley Scott’s latest cutting edge science fiction film, set for release a full 30 years after his cyberpunk masterpiece “Bladerunner,” has just released a mesermerizing clip of Michael Fassbender’s character David being interviewed by a disembodied voice, with clips of the android awakening to life, staring at flowers, and generally explaining his purpose.
It must be said that this ad campaign is rather brilliant. Before Scott was a filmmaker, he and his brother, Tony, directed commercials in the UK where they both honed their style and technique.
With Kraftwerk’s recent “Techno Pop” performance at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) fresh on my mind, the ad is almost an analogue to the German group’s aesthetic, from the minimal, industrial and science fiction mis-en-scene and cinematography to David’s economy of movement and the electronic music soundtrack. David, a product of Weyland Industries (the corporation from the “Alien” franchise), is something like what Kraftwerk might have imagined in a lost concept album.
As David notes in the interview, “I can do almost anything that could possibly be asked of me. I can assist your employees. I can make your organization more efficient. I can carry out directives that my human counterparts might find distressing or unethical. I can blend in with your workforce effortlessly.” Well, David would be right at home on Wall Street with carrying out unethical directives.
Asked what he thinks about, David answers, “I think about anything: children playing, angels, the universe, robots.” War, poverty, cruelty and unnecessary violence make David “sad,” though it’s merely programmed and not genuine human emotion. But, are humans so very different? Vast populations are, for lack of a better term, programmed from a very young age instead of being encouraged to think (religion’s effect on children being a prime example).
Anyone familiar with the “Prometheus” plot, which involves extra-terrestrial terraforming of planets, knows that the film is poised to be quite an astonishing example of intelligent blockbuster science fiction—a rarity these days, of course. However, after seeing this David ad (which is nothing if not a short film), and with my particular tastes in science fiction, I could have gone for an entire movie about David alone.
“Prometheus” hits theaters June 8.