“Prometheus” is a masterful bit of film making by Ridley Scott (review coming soon), though watching it, I kept noticing something that bothered me; a something which is shared by virtually all the ‘Alien’ films.
The crux of the problem is that we, humanity, in these films are able to create synthetic life (though if ‘Ash’ and ‘David’ are any indicator, we need to work on whatever governs morality) and build starships that make light-years pass as if they were but a dream.
Yet somehow we cannot seem to advance beyond traditional firearms.
Or flamethrowers. For some reason both guns and flamethrowers have stopped evolving, while just about everything else has advanced.
And even worse, these guns don’t differ significantly than those that could be purchased right now, which means that they are often glorified .45-caliber pistols or something.
By “glorified” I mean that they may have a part or two grafted on to make them look futuristic, but they’re still ordinary guns that a licensed buyer could buy today from their neighborhood gun shop.
Now, I think that there’s a “realism barrier” that is lessened when you use weapons that are familiar–after all, you’re asking viewers to swallow aliens, stasis, and starships (built by humans) capable of carrying people thousands of light-years through space–so the flashy laser gun may be the straw that brings down that wall of believability the film makers have worked so hard to erect.
As if the aforementioned aliens, stasis and starships weren’t able to accomplish that goal all on their own.
But if humanity is good at one thing, it’s killing one another, so I find it remarkable–incredible, even–that we just haven’t gotten any better at it.
By way of example, look at the current conflict in Afghanistan. As of this writing, there are troops on the ground, but we have drones–like out of Terminator–doing strikes with (supposedly) pin-point accuracy.
And let me emphasize: Those drones exist TODAY. We even are considering building a stealth warship that has a railgun as a main weapon.
As much as I am against war, and conflict in general, it is a breeding ground for innovation. Sure, most of the energy is directed toward making weapons that kill better and more efficiently, but sometimes the benefits are more practical.
In other words, if the ‘Alien’ films were aiming for consistency then the weapons on display would be as interesting–and different–as the rest of the technology.