I saw Prometheus last night after much build-up from an incredible viral ad campaign and without revealing any spoilers at the outset, based on information that could already be gleamed from the trailers or non-spoiler in nature, here are some financial implications of the movie that I couldn’t help but share with you. Be warned, at the bottom, I do include a spoiler but there’s a warning header to stop you from reading that one in the event you plan on seeing the movie.
- $ Trillion Experiment – As you’re probably aware, humankind takes an exploratory ship several light years away to visit a distant planet based on what is perceived as an “invitation”. If you saw any of the viral campaigns, Weyland paid for it and it is claimed to be a $1 Trillion endeavor in the movie. That sounds like a ton of money, about as much as the US deficit every couple months (eek!). But I digress. Anyway, the year is 2089 though, so a trillion dollars doesn’t go nearly as far as it does today. Using some back of the napkin calculations, if I assume 3% inflation over 77 years, that trillion dollars is really just $102 Billion. Well, that’s less than a typical European bailout or the first year of a war for us. So, when Charlize states with such drama that it’s a Trillion dollar ship, it sounds a lot more impressive, but $102 Billion isn’t a very large number for something so astounding. Either technology has evolved so much by then that it’s actually not that big a deal to undertake interstellar travel or the movie vastly underestimated what it would truly cost to go there.
- “Credits” – There are a few scenes where the crew are making wagers and joking around about 100 credits for this, 100 credits for that. You never actually hear what a credit is equivalent to in terms of US Dollars, but because the $1Trillion number is thrown out there earlier in the movie, you know that the US Dollar is still a formidable currency and has not been made obsolete by credits. I wonder if this is some sort of “space currency” if bringing legal tender on board is banned for various reasons, or if “credits” are some sort of global currency, almost like ounces of gold or even bitcoin currency equivalent.
- Stop Reading if You Don’t Want to be Spoiled….
OK, You Asked for IT! – Cost of the Grand Experiment
What Did the Grand Experience Cost the Engineers? If you really got into the backstory and perhaps checked out some discussion boards following the movie, the plot is much, much deeper than just some crazy aliens attacking space explorers. Evidently, the entire human race is nothing but an experiment, subhumans of a sort, fashioned by “the Engineers” who share our DNA but are evidently much more advanced (and those who we should call our creators), those 8′ tall humanoid creatures in the opening and ending of the film. Why were we created? And why were they about to go destroy us 2000 years ago with the terrible cargo? Apparently, some feel our planet was seeded for no reason other than to act as hosts for the ultimate biological weapon – the aliens that pop out of your chest from the original Alien (which, evidently, is supposed to have taken place a few decades AFTER Prometheus). Based on the murals and worshiping of these aliens seen throughout the movie (called a xeno on discussion boards), it’s evident that they were created as both a bio-weapon and an admired creation or even pet of some sort. And the Engineers were en route to deliver them to earth, which surely would have wiped out all life on the planet, but for what reason? Pure sport? And at what cost? When considering the Prometheus endeavor was a Trillion dollars, imagine terraforming and seeding a planet across millennia, only to destroy what you’ve created, what did that cost? (in terms of Engineer currency)?
OK – Now You REALLY Asked For It
How Much Is the Cost of Immortality? – This will REALLY blow the movie if you haven’t seen it already. Aside from mentioning the cost of the ship earlier in the post, what is the real “agenda” for the trip? It’s not just pure human curiosity. It’s because Weyland is on his death bed. He’s over 90. And he knows that if these beings created us, they likely have the potential to extend his life, possibly permanently. Aside from living forever, he would also become a god of sorts, just as they are our gods in the movie. See, they created human life and he created David, the cyborg. So, evidently, he paid over $1 Trillion for the potential that he may strike the jackpot. Heck, if you had the money, would you? I do question whether this was money he acquired himself or this was corporate money from Weyland Industries that would not only benefit him, but would also likely bring back advanced technology to the human race that his company would benefit from. Regardless, I guess the question is, if you could live forever, would you spend the GDP of entire countries to chase that dream?
Interested in Your Thoughts on the Movie in General, and of Course, Financials!