‘He is unable to appreciate his remarkable gifts because that would require the one thing David lacks: a soul.’
how old do you believe Prometheus’ particular David is in 2093? considering that David 8s have been around for more than twenty-one years and that this David belongs to Weyland—and that he appears to have
really fucked uprelationships of longstanding with both Weyland and Vickers—I’m going to go with the premise that he wasn’t a newborn when the Prometheus left earth two and a half years before.
I love this post, particularly this:
you can kind of see why someone like Shaw, who runs on faith, would be fascinating to observe. does he like her? in the same way Lawrence of Arabia is, ‘a film I like’? does she draw his respect and interest the same way Lawrence himself does?
I honestly have no idea, but I’m pretty sure David knows. I think David knows exactly what he’s doing and what he wants. I think he was a fully fledged person before he set foot on board Prometheus, and I think now that he has a sort of freedom (possible freedom, because who knows what kind of directive he was given in the case of his handler’s death), he’ll pursue it along already established pathways of interest.
I kind of got at all of this more coherently in my review, which is basically just me positing my interpretation of the movie. I am kind of chronically inclined to find AI characters hugely sympathetic, because everybody always treats them like shit (also, THEY ARE SO INTERESTING), but I was really impressed by how careful Prometheus was to keep David ambiguous enough that you really can interpret him in any number of ways. And what makes him so compelling is that it is so clear (or at least was to me) that Fassbender (and Scott, etc etc) had worked everything out that the script isn’t telling us. (I also felt that way about Janek, although he obviously has less to do than David and is less important to the plot.) The reason I liked the movie so much and was so ready to forgive its flaws is that I was so mesmerized and fascinated by figuring out what the characters wanted and what they were willing to do to get it.
I think David is essentially amoral, and at the very least is not operating on the same plane of morality that the human characters are. Why the fuck should he? In order to be a part of a society, you have to be getting something out of the social order. Morality is part and parcel of that. But David’s not getting shit, obviously. So there’s absolutely no motivation for him to act in a self-sacrificing way for the good of humanity - or the microcosm of humanity that is the ship and crew. I think he becomes sort of fascinated with/fixated on Shaw in large part because she does actually treat him pretty decently. This doesn’t mean he’s going to be super nice to her all the time, either (see, uh, his behavior once she’s been impregnated - not cute), but it means that his offer to help her (which of course also saves his ass) makes sense. It is plausible to see the two of them forming some kind of equable agreement/system in the future - you can’t exactly call two people a society - that is, in fact, a relationship - but you know what I mean.
During the course of the movie, though, he seems pretty content to just wreak all kinds of havoc. Because he does feel superior to the rest of them - and justifiably so. He knows the answer to Charlie’s question already, and knows that it’s a stupid question to ask. And he punishes him for asking it - because he can.
“Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay | To mould me Man, did I solicit thee | From darkness to promote me?”
The great strength of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, in theaters this weekend, is its near-unswerving commitment to ambiguity, both on a grand philosophical and a small personal scale. Nowhere is this better expressed than the character of David, an uncannily human robot in the vein of Blade Runner’s replicants, played with astonishing precision by Michael Fassbender. Though the film technically opens with scenes introducing the film’s humanoid aliens and the scientists (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) who are searching for them, it begins in earnest with David wandering around the brig of the Prometheus - the ship carrying him, Rapace’s and Marshall-Green’s Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway, and the rest of the crew to the faraway planet where Elizabeth and Charlie believe human life originated - or, more accurately, was invented.
The human crew members have spent the two year journey to their destination in cryostasis, and David has had the ship to himself as a result. In the intervening time he has learned every ancient language that might be of use in communicating with the aliens, should they find them; become very good indeed at riding a bicycle while spinning a basketball on his finger; become fixated on Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, to to tune of dying his hair to match O’Toole’s blond locks in that film; and, finally, watched Elizabeth’s dreams of her long-dead father. He is, therefore, the most and least human member of the crew from the get-go: we get into his private space right away, and he is allowed idiosyncrasies by the film that the other characters for the most part do not merit. Yet there remains something distinctly uncanny about his manner, largely supplied by Fassbender’s remarkable performance, that never lets us forget that he is not quite like us.