A Modern Prometheus

Ridley Scott's PROMETHEUS isn't just a brilliant prequel or a brilliant Science Fiction epic.  

It is also a brilliant homage to his very own Alien, mixing and matching up visual references like a Dr. Frankenstein unbound.

One of the more unexpected homages comes in the form of android David, played brilliantly by Michael Fassbender.  When we first meet the character, he's going about his on-board duties reviving the crew of the Prometheus and other mundane tasks, taking a break to watch Lawrence of Arabia and practice his unusually obsessive imitation of Peter O'Toole's performance.

The entire performance is based on the character from the David Lean film (again, David, being another possible homage).  The uncanny occurs when something is extremely close to human, yet isn't human at all.  And what could be more uncanny than Peter O'Toole's performance of a real-life character, seen over a hundred years in the future? 

Also, is David truly enamored with the performance?  Is it really "one of his favorite movies?"  Personally, from what we witness of the character, I think David uses this one single performance of a human being as his Rosetta Stone.  It comforts humans with its general familiarity, and gives him the appearance of a soul he will never have.  It's calmness can be used to defuse hostility, but its lack of soul can also expose David's true agenda.

Putting all that aside for a second, I have to point out my favorite scene later in the film when David comes across the black goo, raises his finger with the substance and says "big things have small beginnings."  Compare the shot, set-up with the famous "match cut" image from Lawrence of Arabia, and you start to realize that Ridley Scott may have created a masterpiece of Science Fiction on par with Kubrick's 2001: a space odyssey...