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June 13, 2012

Prometheus: Because Aliens Need Love, Too (Part 2)

You know, I’m actually kind of glad I split this rant into two parts.

Biased and unprofessional as it may sound, I think I’m reaching a bit too much with this movie.  That is, I want it to be one thing and try to pull it in that direction, but the movie’s trying to move in the opposite direction (by way of its creators and its intent).  It’s reached a point where a part of me wishes Prometheus was actually two movies.  One of them could be this journey to a mysterious planet, asking not only for an exploration of the harsh environment, but also the themes and ideas at large.  The other movie could be the gruesome, freaky, kill-everyone-but-a-chosen-few horror film worthy of being a part of the Alien canon.

I’m not so brazen as to claim that the movie’s got a case of an identity crisis, especially since the most I know about the franchise at large is from about thirty minutes of viewing time from each movie put together (and fifteen of those minutes are from Alien Resurrection).  If others feel that way, then that’s fine with me.  I won’t knock them for it.  But given that this is a highly-subjective topic, I will say this:

Why?  Just…why?

(In case you’re just joining us, this post is absolutely filthy with spoilers.  If you’re opposed to getting down and dirty with them, I suggest you bail out now.  I wouldn't want you ruining your Wednesday best on my account.)

--Holloway is my least favorite character in this movie…well, besides the red shirt brigade.  But Holloway’s my least favorite among the characters that matter.  Ignoring the fact that he’s the one who had the brilliant idea to go exploring an alien world without his helmet, he gets positively mopey over not meeting an Engineer in person.  Question: why?  What were you expecting, Holloway?  Were you not satisfied with travelling across the universe and finding evidence to support your claim?  Were you not satisfied with bringing back a head of one of the Engineers?  Were you not satisfied with finding miles of caverns to explore filled with alien artifacts and technology -- and so unsatisfied that you’re willing to start whining even though it’s only been, what, A DAY SINCE YOU STARTED?  Stop your bellyaching, you pissant!

--This movie is rather fond of Chekhov’s gun.  The medical pod, Vickers’ escape pod (complete with a grand piano, because lord knows that’s VITAL to saving lives!), and to some extent Shaw’s necklace.  Of course, I couldn’t get that grand piano out of my head.  What happens if the pod -- or lifeboat, as it were -- takes a tumble?  Would that smash the piano?  Or is it bolted to the floor?  Wait a minute, can Vickers even play the piano?  It’s not like we ever see her use it…

--Before the crew had to head back to the ship, David manages to take some of the black gunk back with him.  His plan?  You know, besides infect Holloway, which I approve of?  Well…it’s not 100% clear in the movie’s context (though he does admit -- almost trollishly -- that he wanted to see what would happen), but given later events in the movie you could interpret his actions as using Holloway as a test subject.  If the ultimate goal is to find a way to give Weyland more time, then naturally he’d want to test it out on someone who didn’t matter to him -- and again, treated him worse than a tin can -- before using it on his father figure.  If his plan was to kill dear ol’ dad (through subterfuge and indirect action), he would want to see if the gunk would do the job.  Although…if the stuff turned Holloway into a full-on, 100% capable Engineer, what would he have done then?

--Confession time: I admit that at the movie’s outset, I thought that everyone but Shaw AND Holloway would live.  Imagine my surprise when, in a five-minute span, Holloway manages to raise every death flag imaginable -- chief among them, telling Shaw how much he loves her.  GG, Holloway, GG. 

--Shaw -- almost out of the blue in my opinion -- suddenly reveals that she can’t have children.  Er…well, I suppose that’s a detail that you don’t really bring up in most conversations, but it’s just such a jarring thing to throw out there.  And then, seconds later, I realized why Shaw would bring it up.

She wouldn’t bring it up if it wasn’t going to be important in the context of the movie later on.  And given that this is an Alien movie, it can only mean one thing. 

When I was sitting in the movie theater, I could feel my heart sink.  Oh no.  They…they’re not going to…they can’t -- yeah, they’re totally going to.

--But before we get to that, let’s talk about a few other scenes.  First, the examination of the head.  Look, I don’t know much about science or archaeology, but at the very least I would expect that procedures for investigation would involve more than just ramming a probe in its head and juicing it up.  Just what were they trying to accomplish?  It looked like they were bringing the head back to life; is that really the best idea considering that it currently doesn’t have a body?  And how did it even start coming back to life?  Wouldn’t it need a heart and lungs and such to be able to operate?  Or is all that nestled inside the Engineer’s head?  (That begs the question of how their DNA can perfectly match ours in spite of their inward and outward make-up, but I digress.)  And furthermore, is it really a good idea to be so rough with your only sample -- so much so that it starts showing signs of pain?  At this point, hasn’t technology evolved far enough for all the information the team needs to be acquired via the latest in scanning technology, especially considering that this project is funded in full by Weyland Industries?  I also like how the people running the test do so without wearing their surgical masks, and only put them on seconds before the head explodes.  Science!

--Come to think of it, why did they send humans there in the first place?  I mean, they have David who’s supposed to be immune to the harsh environment; why not send more androids down there?  It doesn’t have to be David-duplicates, either; just send David down there, give him a team of less-advanced robots, and have them do all the work.  Or better yet, send some probes to the area BEFORE you ever touch down on the planet.  Send some lunar landers, or rovers, or an RC car with cameras taped onto them; why even make technology if you’re not going to use it?  Why send people whose careers revolve around technology, and have enough know-how to deploy drones that scan and map out the caves, and then put them in situations where they think that the best option is to brute-force their way through the expedition?

--It seems like the more I think about the movie, the more kindle I have to fuel some undeserved (or maybe it IS deserved) hatred.  So I’m just gonna move on.

--The scene where the two guys still in the caves meet the alien genital cobra.  I…I don’t think I need to say anything about that scene, do I?

--“What’s this?  I seem to have been infected by an alien presence, and have creatures of unearthly origin dancing about from my eyes!  What to do, what to do…eh, I’m just gonna let it ride.”  Even if Holloway was willing to let his malady not get in the way of the expedition, you would think that he’d at least wonder if what had infected him happened to anyone else -- chief among them Shaw, who’s not only his love interest but also someone he just recently finished making beautiful music with.

--The crew goes back down to find -- surprise! -- a dead body.  Not only that, but the black gunk containers seem to have been activated, or opened, or whatever.  And then Holloway starts to break down because the infection’s gotten worse.  Smooth moves, man.  You know, the smart thing to do would probably have been to tell someone so that you could not only let the expedition continue without a problem, but also, you know, CONTINUE LIVING.  Maybe then you could have talked to the aliens on your own…or not, considering that David would be doing the talking for you. 

You know, I think the reason that I like Vickers is because she sets Holloway on fire.

--So apparently, the crew gets scanned AFTER Holloway dies, AFTER their second mission, and AFTER they take off their helmets and explore an alien habitat.  Why?  Because science.  And come to think of it, was taking their helmets off really that big of a deal?  Yeah, they looked goofy as hell, but would it be a deal-breaker for the expedition to look kind of goofy, especially if it meant they could stay safe and remove the possibility of exposing themselves to harsh extraterrestrial elements, any one of which could be beyond human understanding and the bounds of scientific research and equipment?

--No, I’m not going to let this helmet thing go anytime soon. 

--A scan of Shaw reveals that she’s three months pregnant, in spite of being infertile.  Ummmm…let me see if I understand this correctly.  Using black gunk on a Hulked-out Voldemort makes them mutate and die.  Using the gunk on a human male makes them mutate and die, but also give birth to alien nasties.  That same human male transmits the gunk into a woman, and that makes her…pregnant?  And it fixes any problems that a woman might have with her systems?  Wouldn’t she mutate as well, at least a little bit, instead of just being a human that’s a host to whatever comes out of her?  Or does the happy-juice of an infected man make her safe?  (Well, relatively safe?) 

--And then we come to…that scene.  The one where Shaw uses the medical pod alluded to earlier to give herself a c-section.  Where to begin?

I guess I should start by saying that my initial reaction was “What?” repeated about eight times.  And then as the scene progressed, I started feeling sick and uncomfortable.  I mean, it’s a woman undergoing a c-section to get rid of a squid-baby.  That’s…that’s not something that I was expecting, and certainly not something I’d enjoy based on the description alone.  By the end of it, I was thinking to myself, Oh god, did this movie just rip a plot point from Twilight?!  And I just watched it!  I think that’s what made me want to throw up.

Maybe I’m just sheltered and prudish.  My brother and my friend didn’t have a problem with it.  And from what I’ve heard, a number of people actually enjoyed the scene.  Enjoyed it -- they even called it their favorite scene in the movie.  Wha…I mean…I don’t…is this really true?  I mean, yeah, I concede that it’s the tensest scene in the movie, and certainly the most graphic, but…I don’t know.

Is this just something you’d expect from the Alien franchise?  I mean…like…is this just an everyday thing?  Cross-species propagation and assault?  Is this what people look forward to?  Do they just say “that alien looks like a penis!” and point and laugh?  Is this the highest rung on a ladder thus far where every movie tries to top what happened in the previous one?  Is it just an event whose subtext you shouldn't think about for too long?  Is it just an aside to gross out and freak out the audience?

I bring up that last question because I wonder about the context of that scene with the rest of the movie.  Shaw’s just given birth, but outside of David saying “I didn’t know you had it in you…sorry, poor choice of words” (like the troll he is), does it affect anyone else?  Yeah, her baby comes back with a vengeance at the end, but…why?  Was this scene really necessary?  I guess in spite of my discomfort, I’ll answer my own question and say “yes.”  It IS necessary because it sets the tone, signals the transition from the first part of the movie to the second, and presumably delivers what Alien fans expect.  But I still can’t shake the feeling that it doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the movie, ESPECIALLY that first part where it was all about the exploration and discovery.  Am I reaching again?  Probably.  Am I trying to make Prometheus into something that it isn’t?  Arguably.  Am I judging it too harshly, and should interpret things as they are and not how they should be?  Likely.  But when you have the movie pulling double-duty trying to establish the nature of the Engineers and the origin of the xenomorphs, I feel like that’s something that should have been done more smoothly.

I’ll come back to this later.  For now, let’s move on.

--Surprise!  Weyland’s alive!  And Vickers is his biological daughter!  And Weyland’s plan all along was to find the Engineers so he could find a way to prevent his death!  Only…this changes very little in the context of things.  Weyland’s alive.  So what?  He may have been pulling the strings, but for the most part he’s had far too little to do with the plot.  And ultimately, it’s not as if Shaw’s just going to walk away from the discovery of a lifetime…though I wouldn’t blame her if she did.

--But first, monster-Fifield attacks!  Because…um…mutants!  No wait, also because there are still red shirts kicking around!

--Weyland, Shaw, and all the rest head into the caves’ inner sanctum and meet up with an Engineer that’s been in hibernation (or something).  They wake him up, and David steps up to act as the translator.  Thing is, both Weyland and Shaw are trying to give him instructions on what to say -- which, I admit, I kind of like.  What’s David going to do?  Is he going to side with the good guys?  Or will he work with the…not really all that bad guys?  What does he say in the end?  I guess we’ll never know, because after speaking in gibberish the Engineer rips his head off and goes on a smashing frenzy.  Clearly, this is the most advanced civilization ever seen; his first response to meeting new life is to smash it into paste.

--Shaw -- in spite of a surgery that should have left her down for the count -- manages to escape the caves and head back for her ship…just as the Engineer prepares to take his massive-ass ship for a drive.  I’m surprised that thing still works after, what, two thousand years minimum?  Anyway, David reveals that the Engineer’s plan is to go to Earth and rain down death from above via the gunk.  Since the Prometheus isn’t equipped with any weapons strong enough to shoot it down, Janek nobly decides to sacrifice himself, two of his remaining red shirts crew mates, and the ship via kamikaze attack.  Soooooooo…I guess calling somebody back on Earth and telling them that they’d have at least two years to prepare an untold amount of weaponry and defenses for an attack led by ONE alien in ONE ship is too much to ask for, huh?

--I really should have stopped thinking about this movie three days ago.

--Shaw (the post-surgery Shaw, I remind you) manages to make it out of the way of the activating ship, and watches with wide eyes as the Prometheus sacrifices itself.  But there’s good news!  Vickers managed to escape via escape pod, though she only managed to make it to roughly the same position as Shaw.  Luckily, Vickers’ lifeboat was jettisoned, meaning that if they can make it there, they can escape.  But the Prometheus’ attack on the Engineer’s ship brings the whole thing crashing down, and it threatens to crush both our leading ladies as it falls to the ground.  Luckily (again), the ship is shaped so as to allow for them to run to the side to escape being smashed, which they do…

Nah, just screwing with you.  They run in a straight line to try and outrun it.  At least Shaw ultimately has enough sense to roll out of the way; Vickers -- the one with the self-preservation instincts repeatedly established throughout the movie -- decides that it’s better for her to keep running in a straight line.  I guess she was proud of her track-and-field prowess.

You know, I wonder what was going through Charlize Theron’s mind when she found out about this scene.  Do you suppose that she just went along with it?  Do you think that she raised an objection?  Or maybe the scent of several dozen fat stacks of cash kept her quiet?

--Shaw makes it to the lifeboat thingamajig, only to find it trashed.  Not only that, but her best buds in the whole world, the Engineer AND the baby she abandoned (now transformed into a Canyonero-sized sexual assailant scorpion) meet up!  What’s she to do?  Sic her child on the Engineer!  Now that’s how you get some mileage out of your progeny…though I’m a little surprised that the medical pod didn’t gas that thing to death the minute it came out of her body.  And I’m also surprised that this thing has been growing in secret for half the movie without as much as a hint.   

--So I have a question: who (or what) is the antagonist of this movie?  The first part of the movie makes it look like David’s the antagonist -- or rather, David and the moon itself by way of its unfamiliarity and harshness, exacerbated by the silica storm.  But then you’ve got Weyland who reveals himself to be the mastermind conning the humans, and then you’ve got the Engineer after that who offs Weyland unceremoniously, and establishes himself as a threat to Earth.  Only…he doesn’t make it very far, and his motives are theoretical at best.  There are about four separate potential origins of conflict here, two of which are “fully developed” far too late in the movie.  Why couldn’t David be THE antagonist?  That would have been great!  Or why couldn’t the moon itself be the antagonist?  The crew could compete against the elements, and face conflict from the unknown, like Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet.  Eitehr one of those two seems viable, given the movie’s first half -- but it doesn’t pan out in the end.  What does Weyland’s reveal contribute overall to the conflict?  Why did they have to reveal him in this movie when they could have saved him and fleshed him out further in the inevitable sequel, AND make his reveal more powerful?  How are we supposed to accept the Engineer (or if you prefer, the Engineers) as an antagonist if so much about him remains shrouded in mystery?

--Next question: why was the whole alien pregnancy thing isolated to a five-minute sequence (if that)?  Hear me out on this -- what if it wasn’t Holloway who got infected, but Shaw?  Or alternatively, what if Holloway got infected even without David’s influence -- you know, because of the whole helmet thing -- and impregnated Shaw much earlier in the movie?  THAT could have been a major struggle for her to face; it could have been a threat that literally grew larger and larger inside her, building tension for us and bringing up questions of faith for her.  The “final battle” even after outrunning the Engineer could have been Shaw doing the c-section.  I mean, think about what Shaw did to resolve the plot and bring about some semblance of a happy ending.

A) She performs a surgery to remove her alien baby.

B) She tries to convince David to act on her behalf instead of Weyland’s.

C) She runs away.

D) She tells Janek to stop the Engineer’s ship by any means necessary; Janek’s ultimately the one that takes it down.

E) She sics her kid on the rampaging Engineer.

F) She escapes the moon once David tells her there’s another ship she can use.

I can’t shake this niggling thought that Shaw isn’t a character that does things to maneuver through the plot, but a character that has things happen to her by way of the plot.  I’m reminded of the three qualifiers I suggested when talking about KH2’s Roxas, particularly the second one: “A good character should have some effect on the plot, ranging from slight (like affecting another character) to substantial (like completely shifting the story in a new direction).”  Shaw isn’t exactly a passive character, but you could make the argument that her contributions to the story don’t make waves as big as one would hope -- this, in spite of being the main character.

--Third question: in the grand scheme of the movie (THIS movie, ignoring any sequels to come), what place does faith have?  Shaw is absolutely adamant about her belief in God or some sort of higher power in spite of evidence to the contrary.  So…if she’s out looking for the truth about mankind’s creation and ostensibly finds it, but decides that to cling to her own Christian (or rather, Earth-based) beliefs, wouldn’t that mean she’s remaining ignorant to the truth in spite of empirical scientific facts and the movie’s events saying otherwise?   Also, wasn’t her undying faith betrayed when the Engineers, who she more or less believed to be God(s), practically invited the team to the front door of their nightmare-creature production plant?  Does she still cling to her ideals by movie’s end (and manages to give David shit about being a robot because he doesn’t understand?  I don’t blame him)?

I’ll admit that when it comes to religion, I’m not much of an ace.  I’d rather not talk about it if I don’t have to.  That said, I respect that the movie makers wanted to introduce and discuss certain ideas here.  Who wouldn’t want to meet their maker?  Who wouldn’t want to learn the truth?  It’s stuff like that, and questions like those, that could make a great story.

Except I feel like doing it in an Alien movie isn’t the best place to do it.  Is it really a good idea to have philosophical quandaries in a movie where you’re banking on ninety percent of the cast being murdered and/or banged to death?  Ugh, I don’t know…maybe other people got more out of it than I did, but for me, it just feels…incomplete.

--Back to the plot.  So ultimately, Shaw is the only one left alive…or not.  In spite of coming very close to collapse and giving up, David’s head is still functioning and proposes that he come find her -- AND that they use one of the Engineers’ other ships to bail off the planet.  Shaw concedes, and (after taking back her necklace, which David kept in his pocket), the two of them blast off.  Where to?  Why, to the Engineers’ home world, so they can find out the truth.

I kind of hope that’s not Shaw’s next stop.  I hope that what she REALLY meant was to go back to Earth and retrieve supplies, crew members, and weapons, and warn them of the threat they’re about to face.  Or better yet, why not just avoid the Engineers altogether?  The only reason that Engineer decided to go after Earth was because you and your crew woke him up.  If you just left him there, he would have stayed asleep until life support failed.  If you head to their home, they might go “Hey!  Humans!  Oh yeah, weren’t we doing experiments and junk on them?  Let’s go to their planet and screw with ‘em some more!”

--So let me see if I understand this line of progression.  Black gunk + human male = infected male infested with creepy-crawlies.  Sex X (Infected male + human female) = proto-facehugger.  Proto-facehugger + Engineer = proto-xenomorph.  Proto-xenomorph = success…right?  What was the point of playing genetic hopscotch in the grand scheme of things with a species that is, at once, both your pawns and your enemies?

…This movie confuses me.

And Now, the Conclusion

I’m starting to think that writing this little rant was a bad idea.

I just couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I just had to think about Prometheus far harder than I had to, didn’t I?  I put it under some extreme scrutiny, but if you do that with any movie -- The Hunger Games, The Avengers, even my favorite movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- wouldn’t be able to hold up under a serious analysis.  Prometheus just invites a closer look because A) it had a lot of hype surrounding it, B) it’s the prequel to a decades-old franchise, and C) by design it begs you to take a closer look.

So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to split this “conclusion” into two parts.  One’s the good half, defending and liking the movie; the other is the evil half, blasting the movie into space junk.  Read the one that matches up with your opinion, or both, or neither.  It’s your call.

Lightside Mode
There’s no such thing as a perfect story; what makes it good isn’t necessarily the number of flaws it has, but if the movie’s merits are enough to impress in spite of its flaws.  And make no mistake; Prometheus has a lot going for it.  The first half of the movie is great, and the best part of the whole thing in my opinion.  The sweeping visuals from the outset are impressive and draw genuine emotion, in one form or another, out of the viewer.  The main cast is diverse enough to make you want to follow their exploits, especially David.  Mysteries are proposed, and interests are piqued.  There is a genuine attempt to try and introduce ideas large and small into the mix, making it more than just a carnival of murder.

It’s easy to hate the movie just because it doesn’t “give all the answers,” and that’s certainly a valid point.  The creators are taking a big risk here; I can only imagine how much money went into making this movie, and if something were to go wrong their franchise could fade out -- and with it, all the answers that remain hidden.  But the fact that people across the internet, and across reviews everywhere, are able to come up with so many different opinions and so many different interpretations means that the movie’s done something right.  It wants you to be engaged, and as active in unraveling its mysteries as Shaw and the rest.  It’s a motion that I can’t help but admire.

If I had to sum up Prometheus in one word, it would be “ambitious.”  Like I said numerous times, I’m not an expert when it comes to the Alien franchise.  I don’t know all the nuances to the story, or the characters; all the little nods to previous installments (outside of big ones like the xenomorphs and the facehuggers) are lost on me.  But to others, like my brother and my friend, there’s something worth latching onto here.  Something admirable, and respectable.  It’s setting the stage for answers to questions that have plagued fans for years, while proposing new ones that will keep them talking whenever and wherever they can.  From canon issues like the true nature of the Engineers to the philosophical issues behind creation and truth, there’s fuel for discussions in academic platforms, or even in moments as simple as gathering around the water cooler.

If there was ever a chance for Alien to become relevant again in the public conscious, this may be it.  Perfect or not, Ridley Scott and all his pals deserve some respect.

Darkside Mode
I refuse to believe that a movie with this much money and talent poured into it can’t tell a story without having its characters act this stupid or its events to be so wrought with fallacies.  If you’re going to have scientists, have them act like scientists.  If you’re going to send them on an expedition, have them act like they know what they’re doing.  How can you even begin to start rendering those beautiful scenes if nobodies with little more than an internet connection can pick your story apart?

If I had to sum up Prometheus in two words, it would be “missed opportunities.”  The framework for an amazing movie, one worth the hype, is all there.  David could have made this movie amazing.  The expedition in full could have made this amazing.  Exploring Weyland and/or the Engineers in full could have made this amazing.  But it wasn’t.  All Prometheus has is a framework.  It’s pointing out that ideas and theories exist, but doesn’t do anything with them that’ll seriously make you question your life or the world around you.  Couple that with the dearth of answers given in its own narrative, and you’ve got little more than teasing of things to come.

Even if you’re going to make a franchise, that’s a dangerous move -- and the fact that Prometheus dips below the line of tolerance doesn’t bode well for future installments.  If you can’t satisfy with the first movie, why should people stick around for a second or third?  What makes you think that people will wait a year, minimum, for the answers they want?  Why should they expect something better from you when the second half of your movie is a betrayal of the first, relying on old tricks like jump scares and body horror as a substitute for fear -- this, in what’s arguably supposed to be a horror movie?

Prometheus, you may be intelligent by design, and that’s fine.  But if you’re going to tackle questions big and small, get your execution right so we can focus on those instead of your glaring weaknesses.  

The End
Was Prometheus a story that needed to be told?

As I am -- even after seeing the movie in full, even after spending three days and nearly ten thousand words collecting my thoughts -- I don’t think I can answer that question.  Not with 100% accuracy, at least.  I don’t think it’s just a question of knowing the Alien canon or not; no, I think this is the most subjective question you could ask, but incidentally the most basic.

If you asked me that, I’d say, “Ehhhhh…well, kind of.”  It’s a stepping stone.  It’s the first in a franchise that’ll give true fans exactly what they want.  But viewed from the perspective of a not-quite-average moviegoer?  Well…suspect logic aside, it’s still a competently-made movie.  There’s an earnestness and spirit to it, even if it ends up getting lost and befuddled along the way.  There are some fantastic moments.  There are some cringe-worthy moments.  There are characters you’ll like, and characters you’ll hate.  Maybe you’ll think the first half is a waste of time, and want them to get on to the alien murder bits.  Fine.  I get that.  Essentially, it all comes down to a matter of opinion.

Which is why I say “You should go see the movie” -- albeit with an asterisk.  Be prepared for something that defies your expectations, one way or another.  Maybe you’ll love it.  Maybe you’ll hate it.  Maybe you’ll feel “meh” about it.  If you’ve seen it and you loved it, I can see why.  If you hated it, I understand that, too.  This is going to be a divisive movie for a while, I think -- and if my guess is correct, so will the sequel.

But no matter what, if you haven’t already, you owe it to yourself to give Prometheus a look.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Who knows?  You might even become the parent of a horrific beast from beyond the stars.


  1. Read through all of this too.

    Thinking about it, it is a movie that falls apart if you think about it too much. (For some reason, The Hunger Games comes to mind, slightly.) It's an action movie after all.

    Personally, I think the whole scene with the medical pod makes sense from a character perspective, with it plunging Elizabeth Shaw into a state of despair (which comes more apparent later.) Too bad she didn't develop too much though.

    And I expected David to rebel more.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Even though I didn't name him as my favorite character, David has an undeniable presence and impact on the movie -- the plot, and the product as a whole. It's enough to make me wish he had his own movie...or barring that, a greater emphasis in this one.

  2. Dude, I honestly like your review and how you watch and unravel the movie without falling into the this movie sucks routine everyone else has, but you know what?

    To me, this was a great movie. I applaud your clinical appraoch to it, I really do and it's a fresh way of looking at an ambiguous movie that has on one hand been damned and on the other praised by critics.

    But I disagree. This movie needed to be made, but it needed to be made so it wouldn't be sequel-fodder. It needed to tell the entire damn story, then find a reason to give us a bit sequel tease.

    Great work anyway, man.

    1. Thanks. And make no mistake, it's not like I hate this movie; I just find it so FRUSTRATING that there can be these amazing parts and opportunities for theories, but there's so much that irritates me.

      I don't regret seeing it, but I'm a little envious of people who can say without question that they loved it. Which reminds me -- I saw the stuff that you posted on your blog. Fantastic stuff; makes me wonder if you're actually one of the secret writers of the movie...or at least the guy the go to when the can't answer their own questions.

  3. Hah, I pretty much agree with you on most of this across the board.

    The victory is that the movie is so rich on the symbolic level - all the events in it have a meaning or evoke some deeper theme. The first Engineer draining the chalice before bathing in the waters of primeval earth to spawn life. The bringing forth of life, born of love and forbidden knowledge (alien DNA weapon) from a barren womb. The unanswered existential question of what would happen if you met your Creator, and all they wanted was for you to die. I'll bet this is all storyboarded out somewhere, with each panel indicating what emotion you're supposed to experience, and what symbols it is using, and I'll bet it LOOKS brilliant.

    The tragedy is that the internal, moment-to-moment story logic is just so lazy and broken. Away team members split up when they get huffy, and they don't have some kind of protocol about staying together and doing a head count before they drive across a never-before explored planet with storm activity happening? And then the away team members who end up trapped in an alien tomb are just like, "Make camp, set watches, stay put and wait for extraction? Nah, let's go tromping around weaponless in the dark even after we detect life signs. 'Cause that'll end well." And for hours there's no one even monitoring them.
    Oh look, I seem to have developed a weird eyeworm on an alien world. Should I visit the medical staff? Naaaaah, fuckit, what's the worst that could happen? They just aren't acting in ways that are adult, professional, believable. As you say, they don't seem like scientists.

    And - corporate funder secretly on the ship the whole time - that old guy can survive cryosleep, seriously? And he was quartered where? And seriously no one knew about it, including the captain who you'd think would know the ship inside and out? Totally not a deus ex machina at all.

    It's infuriating because they nailed the high-concept - the HARD part - and then fell down so badly on the mundane, scriptwriting 101 stuff.

    Nonetheless I had a blast watching it and would probably see it again, because there's a lot to look at and a lot to catch in each scene. As long as you can sort of tune out the things people are saying and doing. ^_^;

    Oh, one other point - the Aliens franchise has always done well with taking thoughtful, existential questions and contrasting them with hideous body horror - the whole thing has always been full of jawed phalli basically space-raping and impregnating humans who have explored too far into the unknown. So some of the stuff that was weird to you, like the caesarean thing, is actually quite the norm. But you should really watch Aliens and compare, because it'll show you where the reverence for the series comes from. The plot remains relatively tight - people do things that make sense, but are foiled by believable accidents or deliberate sabotage. The actors have better established personalities, and only goof sometimes after it's been established that they're incredibly competent.


    1. Yeah, I'm willing to accept that Prmetheus (and the franchise as a whole) knows what it's doing when it comes to the whole space-rape thing. But still...ewwwwwwww...

      I'm just baffled -- baffled! -- that this movie could stumble so many times on the simple stuff. Maybe this is just my preference, but I have a hard time tuning out what people are doing if they're acting so bizarrely. Maybe if it was a comedy, or they had a reason for acting so stupidly (a flaw in their character, or inability to act any other way), or we KNEW these people were idiots, THEN I might have let it slide. But that wasn't the case. It just bugs me so much.

      In the credits for the next movie, I hope they'll hire -- and give special thanks to -- someone they grant the title of "Bullshit Detector."

  4. And I meant to link this: http://digitaldigging.net/prometheus-an-archaeological-perspective/