Monday, September 14, 2020

Raised by Wolves wasn't anything like I expected it to be.

 I watched Raised By Wolves this weekend. I thought it was good, but definitely more of a "watch this one time" thing and not something that I'd ever consider re-watching. For one, even though it has this rather high concept science fiction premise--a schism between religious people and atheists results in an apocalyptic nuclear war that renders Earth a smoking ruin--the "on location" filming feels very small with a hut being a central location and then a desert as another. Like...I feel it was filmed very cheaply...that it could literally be filmed in Utah because how much does a mud hut run these days?

Even the costuming is sparse with the religious people dressed like Dungeons & Dragons clerics in white robes with stars on their chests (they worship Sol), and with the children dressed in rags and with the androids wearing onesie neoprene suits. And that never changes, so yeah...wardrobing seems...easy? What do I know of filming? But Prometheus this is not, even if the android designs come straight out of the Alien-verse with the white milk being the android blood and the organs on the inside of the Android being bulbous plastic things surrounded my more milk. As a side note--I always wondered why the androids in the Alien-verse had white milk flowing through them aside from "it looks gross," which may be the entire intent behind the design.

Behind this guy is the android with Superman powers. None of the humans can deal with
this thing as it is too powerful, so they can just run if they want to live. The human running
is wearing the uniform of the religious zealots in this show. It looks like how a cleric might
dress in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

There's also this whole "atheists" had a war with "zealots" thing, which seems like a heavy-handed modern commentary that smacks of Fox News's decades long "War on Christmas" segment that you see about every October through December. It's not that I don't appreciate the allegory, but I'm also rather tired of it.'s a dead horse that has been beaten over and over by conservative media pundits and as far as I's baseless. However, this doesn't mean that Raised By Wolves is about Christians. For some reason, the Earth people followed Sol or worshiped Sol, and there seemed to be a lot of unity about the religion as a whole, which also strikes me as odd since there are hundreds of religions on Earth. Yet the one that built the "Arks" (a biblical term that has nothing to do with any being called Sol) is the one with all of the religious people worshiping the same deity, and there were no other religions that apparently escaped Earth's destruction.

So the premise of the show is that humans are at the edge of extinction, unless I've misinterpreted something. The androids of the show are programmed to raise children to be atheists and to create an atheist society to "prevent the war that destroyed the parental civilization." Okay then. But the kids all want to start praying, which is a thing I'm not sure I understand but...okay. And then the religious people on the ark who arrive at this same planet are not morally good. They take things by force from those who can't stop them, they arrived with a rapist who impregnated underage girls while they were in stasis, and they are led by a person referred to as "your eminence" who makes his zealot followers carry him through the desert of this alien planet on a palanquin. They literally have no food, very little water, and it's a sand desert, and they have to carry this guy around like he's some kind of emperor. Like...what the hell? Oh, and you also find out that they created the superhuman android raising the children who destroys the ark...she's called a necromancer...and she apparently has powers that are similar to Superman. Like...the religious people on Earth created these "necromancers" to kill atheists in droves. They're basically god-like in their power. However, they don't worship these god-like necromancers. Rather, they worship a thing called Sol, which (from what I've observed) can do nothing for them. It's just really weird.

Ridley Scott seems to be stuck on asking these questions about the relationship between a creator and their creation. It is an interesting question, but it seems to be getting kind of old. We saw this in Prometheus as Elizabeth Shaw lost her faith when she came face to face with (presumably) the Engineers who created the human race (there are no definitive answers to this question, but it's my hot take). There is also the strong suggestion in Prometheus that the reason the Engineers were going to wipe out the human race with the black goo bombs is because they killed one of the Engineers two-thousand years ago, putting the timeline at about the same period when Jesus Christ would have walked the Earth. So maybe, Jesus was an Engineer? Again, this question is not answered by Scott, and he's probably too afraid to answer it truthfully at the risk of insulting influential Christians and having his career ruined. So instead, we get ambiguousness.

Well, we get this kind of thing again in Raised by Wolves. We have humans and androids doing this kind of "creation" dance. It ultimately comes to a head when the religious people realize that it is one of their own creations that they cannot deal with that is on this planet. Furthermore, it is this self-same creation that will be their complete undoing unless they can find some manner to deal with "superman" with nothing but rocks and sticks.

In the end, Raised by Wolves is more a show that is entertaining for those who like to watch survival porn. In other words, there's a Bear Grylls kind of fascination to watching humans struggle and overcome challenges when forced to live on a deserted alien planet with hostile life forms and an inhospitable environment. But once you get past the whole "Naked and Afraid" appeal of the thing, the five episodes I watched simply traveled between a mud hut in a desert to the actual deep desert with real sand dunes where they find a huge pentagonal-shaped rock. The "eminence" figure of the religious order of Sol proclaims the thing as being "intelligently designed." Well, he dies shortly after when he's set on fire by a heat wave from the object and someone else fills his place as "the eminence." Then they pack up and leave the object. They never gain entrance to it, nothing is ever explained about it, they don't find food or water there. They just go, find it, pray before it (and are warmed by it when the night is cold), and then travel back the way they came through the desert to go and find the androids raising kids in a mud hut again. And that's pretty much it. They just wander through the desert like Moses did when he left Pharoah.

Anyway, like I said earlier in all of this, it's not something I'd re-watch, but it did have entertaining moments.


  1. Sounds like he went for deep and ended up Pass.

  2. I hate to say it, but I agree with Alex. Definitely a hard pass, which is too bad because I've really exhausted my queues thanks to the pandemic.

  3. Some people just like to throw the questions around with no intent of any real speculation or trying to approach an answer.
    I wonder how much of this came from his work on Blade Runner? Is that where this whole fascination with androids and the creator relationship comes from?

  4. I'm not a fan of survival porn. In fact, I have skipped popular series entirely due to their being set in situations where the characters are trying to survive wilderness. I discovered this aversion as a kid, and it hasn't gotten any better.

    I like the questions. Alas, it sounds like no interesting answers were posited.

  5. LOL; the things we do to allieviate boredom. I've binged a few series and movies just I didn't care for, just because I kept hoping for that "aha" revelation.

    So, there aren't any actual wolves in this movie? I hate when a plot doesn't live up to the title.