Snarky (but accurate) Prometheus review

Henry Rothwell has an epically long, epically snarky review of Prometheus, entertainingly and engagingly written. Its fundamental point is that science fiction films are visually consistent, not logically consistent (the opposite of science fiction novels, which is why I'm a pain in the ass to take to sf movies). Rothwell gets there by pretty humorous means.

The first duty of the captain is, naturally, to decorate the Christmas tree. Because it’s Christmas apparently. Charlize Theron reminds him that there is a mission briefing. He informs her that he has yet to have breakfast. He’s been asleep for two years, and decides to decorate a Christmas tree (while smoking a cigar in a closed environment) before he has breakfast. We realise that the crew selection procedure was yet another casualty of the cuts required to ensure that they had a sodding big spaceship (SBS from here on in).

At the breakfast table a rather nice biologist (played by Raef Spall, son of Timothy) introduces himself to a grumpy geologist, who is very rude. Later on, he confirms he’s the geologist, by shouting “I’m a geologist, I fucking love rocks!” as if that was the most pressing point that needed explaining. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The current point that needs explaining is the implication that these two crew members have managed to make it this far without actually meeting each other, and are plainly incompatible. It seems that at least one part of the crew selection procedure took the form of a raffle at an arsehole convention.

Prometheus: an archaeological perspective (sort of).


  1. I thought it was pretty good. I read all about the Space Jesus/self sacrifice underlying themes and all the plot holes and mcguffins but the only thing that really bothered me was characters acting out of character and switching personalities between scenes. It was distracting.

  2. There is a bitt of suspension of disbelief required to enjoy Prometheus, but that the captain has a personality and that the geologist gets angry aren’t the problems.

    He starts shouting about his job,  to the archeoligist, to remind her of what he does and why he is now leaving as it is becomming clear his presence, in his opinion, is rather pointless. And it’s supposed to be a little illogical, because he is behaving illogical, due to fear.
    And why is it weird to have a robot monitor the space ship and it’s crew while they are in some form of suspended animation? That seems like the perfect job for a machine like that.
    Or that you could find a crew willing to not ask questions if you paid them enough money?
    Then retyping the plot of the movie in a snarky tone, doesn’t actually make it illogical.
    Yes, some genre tropes seem silly. But you’re supposed to have that in that kind of movie. Same reason everybody seems to be unable to walk properly without falling over at the worst moment in a zombie movie. 
    Or that they never just shoot James Bond in the head, they always have to gloat over how he’s lost and they won, giving Bond time to escape.
    That’s part of the fun.A perfectly scientificly sound version of Prometheus would be an unmanned drone lands on the planet, finds it to be too dangerouse for humans. The end. Why would you watch that?

    1. I think you miss the point. Suspension of disbelief is required for all sci-fi because of artificial gravity, space travel, etc. What Prometheus requires as well is a suspension of good taste. Plot holes all over the place, absurd casting, excruciatingly bad dialog, zero character development…it’s a travesty. The only good thing I can say about it is that George Lucas must be sleeping easier.

      1. I just diden’t find those things as big or as distracting as some people did. Instead of giant problems, it was more like little things. Some of the dialogue diden’t quite work, but not all of it was bad, not all of the movie was inconsistant. I can forgive those errors when it does get so much right and tries to deal with bigger themes then just be another monster movie.

        1. What big themes? Where do we come from? You must not watch or read much if you believe those are still big themes. This movie is one cliché after the next.

          1. No, I said bigger themes then just another monster movie. Where do the “Aliens” come from and what does the Space Jokey have to do with that? To me, that’s interesting. To explore more of the Alien universe. The humanity aspect was a little silly yes, but I can overlook that part.

          2. “You must not watch or read much if…”

            Wow, was that really called for? Are you really coming up that short of other explanations for why two people would respond differently to an artwork?

          3.  “Where do we come from?” was cinematically wrapped up in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)” so, yeah.

            Let’s move on to “Where are we going?” and “What are we having for dinner?” and “Can we get more of those Michael Bay explosions, please?!!”

      2.  It’s a prequel to Alien. Did you see a special director’s cut of that movie where there was any character development to speak of?

        1. Did you see a special director’s cut of that movie where there was any character development to speak of?

          Actually, yes, and it ruins the movie because you want the alien to kill them all when you know them better.

        2. On the DVD extras someone makes the point that Alien was so well cast that we have a feel for each character right from the start. But beyond that, Ripley becomes more self-possessed. We come to understand Ash’s android take before he gets flamed. Lambert’s emotional fragility is revealed as she becomes unhinged by terror. And of course, Kane develops most of all!

        3.  Are you Sure it’s an Alien Prequel? Because I’ve seen a Lot of interviews with cast and crew where they repeatedly say it’s Not a Prequel

          1. Prometheus branches out from Alien on a previous time. Yes, there are elements that will lead to Alien (the distress call, the way the ship is wrecked, the actual alien origin). But it creates a new world that can be explored. I don’t think there are plot problems, just bad character development (and some lazyness on how things happen) but the plot is actually very consistent. 
            I have more problems with the “lets take our helmets off and watch this oozing organic matter close to our noses” attitude, which could probably be better developed in other ways. In that sense, that these are professional screenwriters, this was bad.

          2.  No Sigmund, even though they set up just about EVERYTHING to coincidentally fit, it’s not the same ship. The planet is different (it has a different name than Alien), and the space jockey has no way to get back in his seat and have an alien burst out of his chest to match up with Alien.

  3. I’ve seen a lot of people do that sort of extreme nit-picking. I’m sure if they looked a bit less literally at the flick, it would make much more sense. The movie is allegorical in its nature, full of symbolism, and interesting themes.  The geologist and biologist early departure made total sense. The dialog was a bit clumsy, but it wasn’t enough to completely ruin the experience, I thought.

    1.  Have you seen the movie?  There are so many problems with it that “extreme nit-picking” is hardly the term to use.

      The examples in the article are poor ones, and do fall more in the nit-picking category, but are no less valid for all that.

      1. I did. 

        I was only pointing out the nit-picking going on, (especially on the characters actions and the science).  Some parts of the movie bugged me a whole lot. Again, not enough to make me hate it. 

        Allegorically speaking – I feel like I’m repeating myself, here- it was just fine.

    2. Nitpicking is unnecessary in this movie, since the plot and characterizations were gobbledygook. The early departure of the geologist and biologist made no sense because it was the only thing in the movie that made any sense and therefore didn’t belong. The clumsy dialog wasn’t enough to ruin the experience of the many allegories, because none of them were interesting or developed in any way to speak of.

      Great effects, script written in crayon. It’s worth seeing in IMAX, if that’s what you’re after, but otherwise there’s no reason to pay a direct cover for it. Don’t try to take it seriously, because it doesn’t merit that.

    3. It made total sense for a BIOLOGIST to leave (with a guy who has so far done nothing but be an arsehole to him at breakfast), rather than stay and examine the corpse of the first intelligent extraterrestrial being EVER discovered?

      Because, like, I’m having serious suspension of disbelief problems with *your comment* now. It’s like the script writers didn’t actually know what a biologist does or what he was brought on the mission for in the first place.

      1.  Well, it made sense for anybody at that point to leave with the explanation of, “Yes, let’s leave, because everything we’re doing down here is totally stupid and dangerous and we clearly have no scientific protocols in place.” But otherwise, since that didn’t occur to anybody, then the biologist wanting to leave at that point made about as much sense as Dr. Charlie drowning his sorrows because the first alien race that had been discovered ever wasn’t actually present right then for him to talk to.

  4. “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

    Extracted from the Anton Ego speech from Ratatouille.

  5. Yeah, this movie seems to have prompted a flood of literal-minded nit-picking.  Admittedly, the plot and character mechanics are somewhat garbled, but it’s still a beautifully designed and handsomely executed sci-fi picture, with a surprisingly pessimistic undertow for a summer blockbuster.  The opening/credit sequence is hang in a gallery gorgeous.

  6. Later on, he confirms he’s the geologist, by shouting “I’m a geologist, I fucking love rocks!”

    I’ve had my suspicions along those lines about a few geologists I’ve known, but I’m surprised to see the matter brought up in a mainstream popcorn movie.

    EDIT: Never mind, I see now that it said “I fucking love rocks” and not… anyway, never mind.

  7. What I was really annoyed about was how the scientist characters keep saying that they accept something “because this is what I choose to believe”. 

    1. They don’t just accept things, it is their reason for investigating. To find out if what they believe is true, and in the end Shaw discovers and accepts that things are not what she had thought, the evidence points to something worse. “We were wrong, we were so wrong…”

      1. But they don’t even have enough evidence to even form a plausible hypothesis — basically they just look at a few cave paintings that have tall figures near five circles and “choose” to believe in alien engineers hailing from a star system shaped like that? They at least could have shown them finding alien technology on Earth or *anything* to justify their weird conclusion. Yes, they admit that they got the details and motivations wrong at the end, but the fact that they found aliens at all unfortunately supports the misconception that scientists just work from wild-ass conjectures because they like some idea.

    2. This movie was like every conversation about God you got cornered into by some moron. Who asked for this BS in their alien movie?

      You give this script to any other director, and it would look like the pitiful sham that it is. It really felt like Scott said, “You want me to deal with this script? OK, fine, I want to try out some ideas in 3D, and I’ll do 30 minutes of pure cinema before you get to the first line and ruin my movie.”

    3. Well, they were zealots about their science in a sense — this wasn’t a government sponsored expedition, it was a corporate run shot in the dark. Also, there seemed to be a hint that the scientific community found these two scientists to be nutballs.

      1. not only were they nutballs, they weren’t scientists at all, or anything even resembling scientists.  nor did they have even the vaguest inkling of the scientific method.

        if the private company that funded this expedition hires “scientists” like them, then their spaceship should just be a couple of cardboard boxes taped together.

        1. I’m tired of this angle. What piece of the scientific method is missing?

          1) Observation: theoretically neglected, ‘pre-historical’ civilizations separated by time and place all share a similar engraving, which seems to contain a specific configuration of stars.

          2) Hypothesis: A historical contact between human and aliens existed, possibly implying extraterrestrial origins for humanity.

          3) Experiment: Look for star patterns which match the ancient pattern. Found one, whoa! Go check it out and see if crazy hypothesis is remotely true.

          Which piece is missing? What scientific method are scientists using today? Oh yeah, the one where dark everything is used to mollify the Given Equations so that they still work with gravity at their center.

          Am I sure these dark theory astrophysicists are wrong? No.

          Am I sure that I am not at all convinced? Yes.

          But scientists get real touchy about this kind of thing. It’s okay for them to be skeptical about everyone else’s hypotheses, but not for anyone else to be skeptical of theirs.

          And exploring the role in belief in reality construction, an underdiscussed theme of Prometheus, surely never blinds scientists to a more real picture of reality.

          Right, because every stage of scientific evolution was painless and did not involve anyone being 100% wrong about what they were looking at.

          1. oh don’t get tired of it just yet, i’m sure the movie’s fake scientists appreciate your defending them, they need their concerned white knight.

            i’ll concede to point #1, they did indeed observe similar engravings.  everything in the move is observed, that is a given and meaningless.

            #2, is BS, hypothesis are based on evidence not just any random batshit theory, they came up with their hypothesis despite lack of evidence and even directly state this…but lets concede to point #2 anyway

            #3 is totally BS, looking for a 2D pattern in 3D space, in which all objects are moving and not in fixed relation to each other, with no spatial distance references, is asinine.  Even if it weren’t it in no way qualifies as experimentation, that would merely be a second hypotheses that they are testing.

            Most importantly, that is not the lack of scientific method that people are discussing, it is every aspect of how they approach their fields, on the ship or on the planet.  They never do any science, or even hint that they understand how science is done…

            …but at the end of the day this is just a friggin movie, of course they don’t understand science and get it wrong, neither do their apologists apparently.  these aren’t scientists, and really the move makes no attempt whatsoever to depict anything remotely resembling real science.  just because their lack of basic scientific understanding wrecks the move for some doesn’t mean it has to bother you one iota.  Really defending them on this point is a fools errand at best.

            and to make a side point:

            “It’s okay for them to be skeptical about everyone else’s hypotheses, but not for anyone else to be skeptical of theirs.”
            No no no…every scientist HAS to be skeptical about their own hypotheses, that is the point, they go to great lengths to remove their own bias from experiments, and they welcome peer review and critique.

            “And exploring the role in belief in reality construction, an underdiscussed theme of Prometheus, surely never blinds scientists to a more real picture of reality.”
            That undermines the understanding of both the universe and multiple universes.  Scientific understanding already encompasses a much broader scope of thinking then this limited narrow idea.  Belief and bias are intentionally removed from the scientific process and the observer is always accounted for.  How could anything be more real the reality, you can’t define and exceed the scope of a word with the same word.  Sorry.

            regardless the scientists of Prometheus thank you for your valiant efforts in coming to their defense, or they would if they were real.

    4. The ability to imagine possibilities, to postulate theories, and to reach one’s fingertips towards the unknown is the heart of wonder, the core driver of new scientific theories, and the root of religious bearing. The soul of the scientist is the soul of the priest, both sets of eyes turned to the unknown, asking if they can find it. Science, too, is filled with a host of discoveries made despite a lack of evidence, early on, that such achievements could be possible.

  8. The YouTube embed for Starcrash made the whole read worthwhile.  Going to Netflix now to see if it’s available to put in my queue.

  9. I more or less enjoyed the piss out of that movie. BUT it did have an abundance of very bad science (though no more than other films of its ilk). I do feel it wouldn’t have hurt the film at all to have bent the spokes back into a somewhat working shape. Fiction-shaped wheels may look super-duper pretty, but sooner or later pretty much everyone notices that they don’t work nearly as well as science-shaped ones. I mean, you can always hang nice fictiony things all over them and paint them up to look less sciencey, and still have them LOOK LIKE THEY FUCKING WORK.

    Anyway, it was nice – horribly nice at that… but utterly incredible(2) and in fact much less believable than any of the original Alien trilogy films. Maybe even less than Alien Resurrection, but at least it wasn’t as infuriating.

    I guess i’ve walked out of less inconsistent films, but i really wanted that optic masturbation, since it came with a massive slab of Alien mythos.

    1.  Thank you. I actually didn’t care so much for it myself, but I respect and appreciate that you enjoyed it for what it was and didn’t try to make it anything it’s not. There seems to be some of that going around.

      I think what killed my enjoyment was not so much that it was dumb, but that I wanted to LOL at it in the theater and I was stopped by the feeling that people would get offended if I did. Maybe it’s my fault that I got that impression, but I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t felt that way.

      1. Oh my crap, there were so many times i wanted to scream out the questions the characters should have been asking each other, but i knew i’d be thrown out. Especially after Shaw kept on entirely failing to mention to anybody, even in passing, about the crazy C-section she’d had. I mean, IF NOTHING ELSE, i would be blabbering all goddamn day about that had it happened to me. Seriously. And she never even brought it up to anyone. Not the first “hey guess what.” Give me a break! 

        I can nearly live with the rest of the inanity, even the Clouseau-like human cabbages disguised as utterly inept “scientists.” I mean, there ARE, after all, unforgivably stupid people among us. Generally not the type to be professional scientists, but i can accept that Weyland found the most incompetent scientists on Earth for his insane, desperate, desperately insane, insanely desperate “mission.”

        But that one little missing-piece, that unfathomable omission just didn’t strike me as anything that would ever happen within the boundaries of a universe with the same laws as our own. People can be stupid all they want, and they do it all the time, but nobody -NOBODY! – shuts the hell up about something genuinely crazy that happened to them.


        1. I’m not so sure she would mention it, as it would be a very real reason to put her into quarantine (not that anyone, at any time, thought that would be a good idea when dealing with human-like xenobiology). That, and the individual that tried to put her in isolation was standing right there; I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want him to know what’d happened, or where to find the precious thing.

          1. I’d thought about that, but i just couldn’t get past certain things – to wit: 
            1) It would just be such a really very good idea to let somebody know – i mean, facts is facts, and what they needed desperately was to understand just what in the hell was going on around them, and what sorts of things they might want to start expecting, and 2) OH MY GOD OH MY QUIVERING SNARLING BETENTACLED GOD. Maybe she’s made of far stronger stuff than most, but i just couldn’t possibly NOT say something about what i’d just been through back there, and 3) Quarantine? You want to quarantine me? I think i might want to just hang around the office today anyway, so yeah, thanks. Maybe i’ll play a little Minecraft while you guys get your faces gnawed off by unspeakable horrors from beyond the veil of fucking reason. SEE YA HAVE FUN U GUISE

          2. What happened? Where to find it? In a ship about the size of a supermarket? Down the hall to the left, maybe where ALL THE NOISE WAS JUST NOW? “Hi, my name is Shaw. Ask me about the staples in my belly!”

            I didn’t register the fact that she didn’t mention it afterward so much as that ALL THOSE PEOPLE who were trying to hold her down when she woke up showed no interest in what she got up to, when she bolted into the O.R. and locked the door. Were they trying to break it down or watch her on the monitor? *shrug* Nobody even reacted to her presence when she came back. Only the robot and *eventually* Weyland even spoke to her. Somehow they telepathically knew that she was resigned and not inclined to offer any resistance at that point? Or she was no longer relevant, having removed that alien she was incubating? And if that was the only thing of interest to them, they were free to ignore the alien in that room where she left it, until it metamorphosed? Or they assumed it was no longer relevant because she “decontaminated” it? HOW THE HELL DID THEY EVEN KNOW? All in all, the fact that she didn’t mention it seemed the least ridiculous thing in that scene.

            But it’s not even that scene, it’s that most of the freakin’ movie unfolds just like that. Totally surreal, like whoever wrote this thing wasn’t even paying attention. I couldn’t even believe I was seeing this without three little MST3K heads at the bottom of the screen, mocking it.

            So in all, big budget movie, splashy visuals, loud noises (saw it in IMAX), kaboom! great, fine. But talk about the story or the script? Seriously? You gotta be kidding.

  10. I have no problem suspending my disbelief during a movie that is entertaining, funny, thought-provoking, well-acted, or has a good script, but Prometheus had none of these. The motivation of every character was either non-existant or contradictory; it surely can’t be nit-picking to point out that the movie simply made no sense whatsoever.

    Its easy to dimiss the review because of the snark., but that doesn’t make it wrong.

  11. Thank you so much for posting the link to this review. I am glad to know that I am not alone in the universe.

  12. No efforts of allegory or mythology will matter if it is sloppily filtered though paper-thin characters behaving erratically with hardly a plot to hang onto.

  13. I’m sorry that that review didn’t go on longer, since the writer has so clearly captured the basic incoherence of motivation and action that runs through the film from beginning to end.

    I’ve said it elsewhere: the film does not make a lick of sense.

    Nothing happens organically; every event seems to be shoehorned into the narrative; no development follows logically from what precedes it.  Characters wander around aimlessly, emergencies on one part of the ship are ignored on other parts of the ship, and no one takes actions for coherent reasons.  

    In particular, there’s no plausible sense of *procedure* (or, to use a better term someone suggested to me, “protocol”) behind why anyone takes any action — or fails to take the proper action.  People just stumble around from one emergency to the next, never asking each other obvious questions, not informing each other of important developments.  

    Characters actually change their primary personality traits according to which cliche a given scene needs them to act out.  (Biologist gets scared of prospect of encountering alien life forms; flees; gets stuck in tomb during [convenient] storm.  Once in tomb, encounters alien critter; loses *all* fear of encountering alien life forms; approaches critter eagerly; gets killed.  The whole film operates at that level of  inconsistency.)

    It is a very strange experience to watch a movie in which *everything* that happens, literally from one minute to the next, is a plot contrivance.

    I recall initially noting, with pleasure, that the “Prometheus” ship distinctly resembled Thunderbird 2 from Gerry Anderson’s “Thunderbirds” series.  (Others might say “Firefly,” but I think for Ridley Scott, a Brit, a Thunderbirds reference is more plausible.)  However, as the film went on, and I watched people engage in extroverted but logically nonsensical actions, with no apparent self-reflection or motivational consistency,  increasingly I felt like I was watching an actual Thunderbirds episode — or  some other Gerry Anderson series.  (Pick your most egregious example.)

    I’d love to see “Red Letter Media” give this film the “Phantom Menace” treatment.  From a story structure standpoint, it richly deserves it.

    1. My favorite is how the guy in charge of the mapping robots is the geologist, who then proceeds to *get lost*.  Despite the fact that all the mapping data is relayed to the command ship, and that there are people in the command ship who can see exactly where the explorers are on the giant 3d map, and that the people in the latter group can communicate directly with the people in the former group. 

    2. This is exactly what I was thinking through the entire movie. There needs to be a Plinkett review of Prometheus.

    3. Sir, I believe you may have slandered Thunderbirds with that comparison.  The Tracy family, Brains, Tintin, Kirano, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, her ex-convict butler Parker…they all had consistent motivations.  (I’ll grant you the lack of self-reflection.)

      1. Ha!  Point taken.  (To be clear, I love “Thunderbirds”.)  I’m thinking more generally of the particular way Gerry Anderson productions don’t work when their reach exceeds their grasp:  great design + crap writing and story logic + super-shallow characterization.

  14. All of these instant “What Prometheus *really is*” posts on opening week(end) are socially irresponsible.

  15.  “More things happen, and when they get back to the SBS Noomi is three months pregnant and Dr. Holloway’s red-eye is so bad that Charlize Theron has to kill him with a flame-thrower.” I LOLed.

    1. I enjoyed watching it – However that does not also meant that the snarky review is not warranted. It is totally warranted.

      1. ^THIS^
        Also, you will be better able to enjoy the snarky review after seeing the movie.

        And of course Prometheus is shite. The trick is not to *mind* that it’s shite ;)

  16. What I don’t seem to get, mind you I haven’t seen the movie yet. 

    Essentially to my understanding is Prometheus is the prequel/origin of Aliens. Which takes place a decent ways in the future. However in AVP the Predators  brought the aliens to earth in the past …. so unless there is a movie that comes after Prometheus that involves some time travel, I’m not sure I can suspend enough disbelief to not just wait for this to hit cable.  

    1.  Supposedly, even though it is the same mythos, the plan all along was for this to be a totally separate thing from the other movies.

    2.  You should see the movie, then. This isn’t the origin of the “aliens”, this is the origin of the giant alien they found in the beginning of Alien.

    3. like tyger11 said, there’s no necessary contradiction, but anyway, i don’t think AVP was really supposed to be canon.

      1. I wonder where he draws the line. He (or at least the script) seems to consider “Aliens” canon as the planetoid has an “LV” prefix like the planetoid in Alien/Aliens – and it only gets the name ”
        LV-426″ in Aliens.

    4. One of the things I liked most about Prometheus is that it makes very clear, without any hint of ambiguity, that the AvP movies are non-canon.

  17. Not sure, Cory, but I think that as rule of thumb, most people who enjoy SF novels have a very hard time with SF movies. Most of people who likes the movies seem to be sympathetic to SF or regular people, but not hardcore readers.

    Of course, this is only my personal experience.

  18. Good lord, I spent too much time watching the movie already. I’m not throwing good time after bad by reading all of that.

    I think I can do it in two lines: “In the future, scientists investigate things by the same methods as toddlers. Predictable ensuing hilarity is predictable.”

  19. Agree with LORQ

    It suffers from the usual hollywood character traits.
    -angry, baddass, rude, gung-ho
    -ignores orders
    -does things randomly, without planning
    -never bothers to discuss or reflect mind blowing events afterwards

    One character with those above traits adds a certain flavour and entertainment to a story. But in order to out-do each other and raise the bar Hollywood seems to mould the entire cast like that. Its like they are too scared not to. Which just makes it plain absurd and creates a barrier to really being able to immerse yourself in the situation.

    In real life (e.g. NASA) the crew are professional, courteous, reflective, planners, methodical etc. I would love to see a movie in which a believable NASA like crew encountered the moon on prometheus.  How would they react to events? what would their  discussions be like?

    The reality is they could make a movie like that, but it takes a lot of guts to deviate from the tried-and-true hollywood script that seems to work again and again. I wouldn’t want to risk millions of my producer dollars taking that gamble. So that’s why they probably don’t.

    1. People generally assume that if you write a story that’s “too sciency” it will be boring. That’s not strictly true, but it is a real problem that to do it any other way, you need to be VERY smart. As smart as Arthur C. Clarke, for instance. Average screenwriters are about as smart as any group of slightly drunken middle-class adults at a TV viewing party. They’re about as smart as you need to be to come up with “Air Bud.” They’re not stupid, of course, but they don’t have advanced degrees and they don’t invent things, including plot formulas.

      So, having splurged on the effects, the studio had to go with average writers. And this is what you get.

      1. Can you list some examples of said movies?  I can’t really think of any movies that ‘too sciency’ and ‘not boring’ at the same time of the top of my head. 

        1. Arthur C. Clarke was a hint. You’ve got to understand that “too sciency” = “sciency enough to make sense.”

          1. (Odd, my comment never appeared.  I’ll try again).

            To me, Arthur C. Clarke would be the epitome of the dull SF movie.  2001 may be a well-made movie that is scientifically accurate in the right places (and magical in turn where needed)…it is frightfully BORING.  2010 is  the same, but is a much more entertaining movie.  Contact is like 2010…a very smart movie, but a lot of SF fans I know find it uninteresting and tedious, at places.  2001’s popularity over time has much more to do with Stanley Kubrick’s visual language than Clarke’s story.  That’s not a slight on Clarke, just an observation that most people view 2001 as a Kubrick film first.

            Prometheus has a lot of what Hitchcock referred to as ‘ice box logic’; plot points that don’t occur to you when watching the film, but do occur afterwards when you’re raiding the fridge.  In Hitchcock’s mind, if it doesn’t hit you until after the movie, he’d done his job.  

            I think a large portion of Prometheus problem is the cache of it’s predecessor coupled with the originator of the franchise semi-returning to the fold set up expectations far beyond what the film would be capable of delivering.  Which isn’t an excuse for some of the film’s problems, just a thought that maybe the film wouldn’t be viewed so harshly if those particular situations didn’t exist.

          1. Never seen it.  That was the head-bending indie time-travel movie?  Need to add that to my list.

  20. I think what a lot of people are missing here in-between the typical hollywood formula logic gaps is that Wayland Corp is running the show, it’s not some government funded budgetary-logical scientific endeavor — it’s a wild goose chase being run by some wrinkly asshole with too much money and not enough time. It’s touched upon in the movie that Wayland just picked anyone he wanted to go along, and that the scientific presence was barely even necessary.

    So, in my mind, it seems like the crew was randomly picked up at the asshole convention because the entire mission is funded by the guy who’s in charge of the asshole convention.

    1.  So why did Wrinkly (who paid [Dr Evil Pinky]/ ONE TRILLION DOLLARS to bankroll this trip) have to hide out on his own spaceship?

      Also need to shout out to the Space Jockey/Engineers who apparently keep jars of lethal (to themselves and everything else in the known Universe) bioweapons in open jars in the basement and look all surprised on hologram when The John Hurt Diet (TM) comes knocking. Oh, and a few door closing sensors like we have on lift doors might reduce the discarded exploding head count somewhat.

      DUM-DUM-DUUUUUUUM is as much a review as it is the theme music.

    2. i don’t think anyone missed that.  that is the least of the problems in this movie.

      To quote another commenter: “It is a very strange experience to watch a movie in which *everything* that happens, literally from one minute to the next, is a plot contrivance.”

    3. He isn’t just an asshole, he’s a RICH asshole. Rich assholes typically have enough money to hire competent assholes, even if they are, as you say, assholes.

  21. I went into the theatre hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Prometheus was a fantastic visual treat that I will watch again and again. I am already looking forward to watching the 3D Blu-Ray at home.  That said, there were some serious problems with the crew being such total idiots. Their lack of any interest in preserving their own safety was astonishing. Any reasoning person would keep their helmet on for a bit inside the alien building, call for help when they get lost, not try to pet an alien that looks like a cobra about to strike, etc. etc. etc. I have been reading sci-fi and watching sci-fi movies for 50 years and except for a few treasured exceptions, the intellectual wonders of sci-fi writing have rarely been put up on the screen. Alien was a horror movie more than sci-fi, but Blade Runner was as good as it gets, exploring identity and personality in a changing world. It’s a little bit disappointing that Scott made an action/horror flick with sci-fi trappings instead of a real sci-fi movie (especially knowing what he is capable of) but as it is, I can still marvel at the fantastic visions and vistas we were shown. Come on, it’s H.R. Giger’s artwork  in 3D widescreen!

  22. The writing was truly bad, like a Lost episode with nothing but dangling mini threads that get resolved one by one, while the one big mystery gets treated with complete disregard for scientific method:

     – diving into an atmosphere without knowing its content – exploring the planet while cruising a $1T ship around while looking for a landing spot by visual inspection, and just happening upon the one spot where there are 200o-year old spaceships hidden because “nature doesn’t make straight lines” ? Have these guys heard of surveillance satellites/drones ? They have the little floating baseball versions, but only for the indoors.
     – taking off helmets without atmospheric analysis
    the list goes on and on.

    I hated Lost for the same reason I hate this. My Science Denier friends will likely love it.

    1. You’re right, but I wonder, do you hate Alien for the same reason?  There are just as many scientific errors.   Likewise Aliens, or Solaris, or 2001?  I can’t think of any Sci-fi movie that’s had perfect science, even the ones that’ve tried really hard.  Good science doesn’t equal good sci-fi.  Some of the best Science Fiction I’ve experienced is extremely vague when it comes to the science behind it – but the very worst science fiction I’ve read is, consistently,  that which values authenticity above good storytelling.

  23. I would be happy *enough* merely if, at SOME fucking point in the goddamn thing, Shaw would have simply said (to literally anyone) “hey you’ll never guess what happened to me this morning” after that Cesarean.

    Also, can you really just yank the umbilical apart like that, stuff the rest back in, and only have to staple the skin back together? And that’s it? Everything… in there… will be just fine, left as-is like that? Honestly, is that possible?

    1.  And you know, if you’re lying on a table wriggling and writhing with no restraints, any robot laser will just cut cleanly through your abdominal wall and not make mincemeat of your entrails, or anything like that at all. And those abs, you know, you can just staple them back together and then you can totally walk around holding yourself upright and all that hot jazz.

      FFS, sci-movies, haven’t we been over this a zillion times already? You just spray some magic foam and wound closes itself up. Explanation: future! And restraints? How easily solved is that one? I mean, not that these details are huge, but, can’t you just… just… PAY ATTENTION?


  24. Actually found this review:  Prometheus Unbound: What The Movie Was Actually About – at  A lot more interesting than the “snarky” one.

    1.  A lot more interesting than anything in the movie, as well.  Maybe Ridley Scott should have put that stuff on screen instead of making a movie which didn’t contain those elements at all. 

  25. SPOILER, though if you’ve made it this far there’s no surprises
    The helmets! I… I really couldn’t get past the fact that everyone kept popping off their helmets every other scene, even when it was obvious that it would be a really good idea to keep them on. And then they didn’t limit it to their own helmets, oh… heavens no! “Let’s play with an alien head outside of quarantine… but only after we’ve identified that it shares DNA markers with us and so could harbor crazy-bad diseases.” Really?! O-o

    1. Well, if you are going into a dark area that you have not yet explored, and the brightest lights on your goddamn helmet are not the ones pointing outwards, but the ones blasting directly into your eyes, then you might just want to peel the stupid thing off and damn the consequences.

  26. When I saw the movie during the scene in which it was revealed that Noomi’s character couldn’t bear children and she burst out crying, half of the theatre burst into laughter. Someone yelled, “My god. So melodramatic!” 

  27.  The rich old guy, who has far more dollars than sense, is able and willing to finance his own version of “The Search For Noah’s Ark”.  This is not out of the realm of human psychology.  That the people who would go along on such an endeavor are dodgy should surprise no one.

    1. Yep. Most of the conquest of the new world was undertaken by folks subscribing to the same sorts of dangerous quests, often for financial gain. See also: Encomiendas.

  28. I agree with some of the criticism here, but as a whole I liked it. It’s far from perfect, clearly. I got the sense that a lot of the inconsistencies and nonsensical plot threads were due to excessive cutting for length. I hope there’s a director’s cut but even if there isn’t, it’s not as bad as it seems on first glance. 

    If you think carefully about the characters, their motivations, how little they know about (and how much they distrust) each other, and the fact that the whole thing was put together by a crazy old guy in a desperate attempt to live longer, it really (almost) all makes sense. The whole thing is batshit insane from the start. So you’re not going to get a NASA-style mission to an alien planet here, or even an Aliens-style military mission, you’re going to get a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-style mission to an alien planet.

    A lot of people complain about the geologist and biologist characters. They were scared shitless at first so they were going to go back to the ship, and got lost. It is not inconsistent for the biologist to then be fascinated when he sees alien life – he ran before because he was scared (and was more scared than he might have been because the geologist goaded him to go with him), but now that he sees something new and fascinating, the biologist part of his brain kicks in and he loses all fear. This happens to scientists in the field in real life, today. I wrote about it a couple days ago in a comment here about the video of the geologist collecting lava samples (I am a geologist myself). You lose all fear (and survival sense) when faced with something interesting and important when you’re out doing research.

    I have mixed feelings about the implications of the “Engineers” plot line, and not just because it ruins the plot of the sci-fi story I was writing. I feel like I’m missing something – is it a metaphor for “intelligent design”? As a scientist and atheist, I hope not. You can read it as an atheist philosophy as well, of course – the ancient aliens (er… that’s just as bad) aren’t supernatural or gods, just advanced. I suppose if there’s a sequel to Prometheus we’ll find out.

    But one of the things I really liked about this film is that there isn’t inevitably going to be a sequel, though there is room for one – the film sets up everything perfectly for the original Alien to truly be its successor. It does this quite well – the opposite of the Star Wars prequels, for example. It’s purely set-up, not in-depth explanation that takes away all the mystery and suspense.

    Alien is a landmark in design for film, and I consider it fair to hold Prometheus to a very high design standard. Unfortunately, I found some of the design in Prometheus to be a bit lazy. It’s actually very nuanced and clearly thought out, and there are some truly exceptionally great bits of design, but as a whole it isn’t as coherent as it should be. This may be intentional, of course – presumably it’s still early days for space exploration, and so there’s a mix of shiny sci-fi stuff and the later “space truck” aesthetic of the original films. Mainly I just didn’t find the spacecraft and surface vehicles to be very interesting compared to those in the original films, not to mention the various creatures.

    Alien had a great cast consisting of colorful character actors who reveled in their “space trucker” roles. Prometheus, again perhaps since it’s pre-space-truck-days, has a much more attractive crew. But other than the main male scientist, who I didn’t like at all, I think it all works really well. There are interesting background characters – such as the geologist and biologist, with well-done costume and makeup design. Idris Elba as the captain of the ship wasn’t particularly interesting to me. He’s dressed up as a space trucker, but you can tell that he isn’t really one. Perhaps a bit of miscasting there. Unfortunately there isn’t really a stable of interesting character actors in Hollywood anymore, and relatively minor roles like the captain are filled by people who could be leads in other films or on TV. I think the lack of character actors is a major loss for Hollywood, and I hope we see that trend reverse (as an aside the great Harry Dean Stanton is still alive, but too old for most of these types of roles – maybe he should have played Weyland though).

    The most important characters are the lead female scientist and the android. The lead female scientist is this film’s Ripley, and Noomi Rapace puts her all into it for an excellent performance. Her character is overshadowed by the android David, though, and as a result the performance isn’t as powerful as Ripley’s is in Alien. But I enjoyed how her character developed through the film, becoming more and more frantic as time passes (and with good reasons).

    Speaking of David, I believe this will become a milestone performance for android characters. Data from Star Trek will always be my favorite android (and the writing and performance here strongly channels Data) but this is an incredible character. Much like Data takes cues from culture to inform his mannerisms, David obsesses over Lawrence of Arabia to the point where he bleaches his hair blonde (you can see the brown colored roots late in the film) and styles it like Peter O’Toole did in the film. He practices lines from the film while walking around the ship doing other tasks, and quotes them whenever he can. It doesn’t hurt that when made up and styled as he is here, Michael Fassbender really looks and sounds a whole lot like Peter O’Toole. This all brought a huge smile to my face as an enormous fan of Lawrence of Arabia – almost to the point where at the end of the film I felt like I wanted to watch Lawrence of Arabia again instead of watching Alien.

    This is an Oscar-level performance. We’re kept in the dark about his intentions, and even after they’re revealed, we still don’t really know what’s going on in his mind. I’ve never felt so beautifully conflicted and misled by a character. Having a sinister undertone is standard fare for robots and androids, but never has it been so nuanced and ambiguous as it is here. If nothing else, we now can really understand why androids are viewed as negatively as they are by the human characters in the original films – at this point androids are an unknown (it’s implied that David is the first one).

    I wasn’t particularly surprised or scared by anything here, but that’s hardly the fault of Prometheus itself – the scary parts of the original films have been ripped off well beyond the point of cliche by this point, and making things extreme (and incongruous with the original films) just for a cheap thrill would have ruined Prometheus.

    This is a good film, better than any other follow-up to a classic I can think of. It isn’t as good as Alien, but it also hasn’t had time to grow in us. I totally understand why it’s receiving mixed reviews, though. It isn’t designed for the broadest audience possible. I consider this to be a very good thing.

    As I said, I hope there’s a director’s cut that helps fill in some of the gaps that cause perceived inconsistencies. But if you watch this in the right state of mind as is, it’s enjoyable enough. Here’s my final word on it – you don’t have to believe everything the film tells you. The lead scientist characters have their long-shot idea about the Engineers and it probably isn’t true. All of their “beliefs” are crushed during the course of the film. It may not seem like it, but the film leaves as many ambiguous questions open as it answers.

    1.  “It isn’t as good as Alien, but it also hasn’t had time to grow in us”

      Did anyone else suddenly worry that this movie was going to explode out of their chest?

    2.  i agree with your assessment of David – i think the movie works much better in general if you see David as the main character and in fact, the Hero of Prometheus.

      1. David is definitely the main character, and that’s part of what I love about the film (and also what causes so much confusion, I think). He’s really driving the action of the film and the plot, yet you don’t know what his motives are and what he’s going to do next. You never really know, even at the end (is he really the hero?). Thus the whole film seems to go all over the place.

        Like I said I do hope there’s a director’s cut with a bit more fleshing out, but there really aren’t any major plot holes – the film just chooses not to explain everything. This is really a bold move on the part of the writers, IMO, and really great. Rarely do I think a film truly warrants more than one viewing in order to tease everything out of it, but I think this one does and I’m going to go see it again.

        1. I think the director’s cut could stand to do a bit of thinning, like maybe two hours worth and just leave us with all that lovely geological wonder  landscape photography at the beginning.

    3. Oh that biologist. “It looks like a small reptile.” No. It doesn’t even look like a vertebrate, it looks like a goddamn tapeworm. And all that “Isn’t she a little beauty?” shit was channeling Steve Irwin and he would have known it wasn’t a reptile.

  29. Yea – i saw it last night, and this review is spot on. Mind you, it doesn’t make me enjoy the film any less. Visually spectacular, with some amazing set pieces – some acenes will haunt me for a log time. only the story let it down.

    A shame – so much potential.

      1. :-)  That is why I much prefer the director’s cut of blade runner…without the dumb narraition.  It also implies and has him questioning if he is a replicant as well and is much deeper and leaves a lot more to the interpetation of the viewer.  The directors cut is a classic example of how less is far more and how making a more intelligent movie can make a timeless masterpiece, same with 2001 a Space Odesy, as opposed to the dumed down version which is swill for the mindless masses.

  30. I only have one question, how much hair dye did david bring, the ship took two years to get their, god knows how much food they took with them (I.e How long where they planning on staying 6 months 2 weeks?) so he needed more for the mission and then two more years worth, lets say they take 5 years.

    Saying that they dont just get there and find nothing and turn round come back home again, I want to know who let david buy so much hair dye? I am guessing he does not have any money of his own?

    Where did he put it all? I am sorry we can not bring that  2nd mass spec machine, we need the space for the robots hair dye? 

    Why as Robot, could he just net tell his hair to grow blond, after all He is a robot, his hair is probably programmed to grow brown, could it not be programmed to grow blond?

    1. We prefer the term ‘artificial person’. And if the hair is growing, isn’t it a biological component and rather hard to reprogram?

      1. Data can change aspects of his hair at will (including color – see the final episode of TNG), but that’s 24th century tech, of course. 

        @twitter-30105669:disqus I suspect that David found a way to bleach his hair with supplies regularly found in great quantity on the ship, or via some other non-chemical means which have been invented by 2093. 

        It’s also possible that he didn’t have it bleached the entire two years on the way there, but waited until shortly before we enter the story (explaining why at the end of the film you can see the brown roots, he probably only bleached it once a couple of weeks before that point, when he’d perfected his Peter O’Toole impression and wanted to make sure that’s how the humans saw him).

        p.s. I do realize we’re joking around here :)

  31. The worst thing about letting total fuckwits loose on a mission of that importance is not that they will get *themselves* killed.

    Note how Dr Shaw’s plan at the end of the movie is to fly to the “engineers'” home world and ask them why they wanted to kill us all with horrific bio-weapons. Thereby drawing their attention to the fact that there’s a little item unchecked on their to-do list…

    They’ve had an extra 2000 years of weapons development since that ship was constructed, and it’s crewed only by a robot head and an idiot with probable peritonitis. I think this is possibly a bad plan, but what do I know? I’m not an archaeologist.

  32. While I managed to enjoy the movie, I still agree with most of the ‘review’.  I hate the logical inconsistencies.   The questions I were left with were:
    1.) Smoking on spaceships.  Why?  I can only assume that hollywood still thinks it’s cool to smoke.   I’m a pack a day smoker and I think it’s fucking stupid to smoke on a space ship.

    2.)  Why did the (original) Alien emerge fully formed from the engineer at the end?  Because it had more room to grow?   Were the aliens in the first few movies  preemies?

    3.)  Why all the variations of aliens?   They did not look like the original aliens at any point in their life cycle until the one at the very end.  Was that Alien alien supposed to be the first one of that line?  Does the WMD substance just  produce random killer life forms?

    4.) If the alien at the end is the first in it’s line, how does it get off the planet?

    5.) Who spends a trillian dollars to meet their creator without vetting/briefing their crew first?

    6.) And of course the big one, Why do the engineer aliens want to destroy us and was that conclusion jumped to a bit prematurely?

    1. These aren’t really logical inconsistencies, they’re just not explicitly explained. All of my answers come from things within the film itself – not wild speculation on my part – but you have to notice subtle things and put the pieces together.

      1) Don’t know, not really a plot point :)

      2) The engineers alter DNA. The alien xenomorph (i.e. the original alien from Alien) emerges from the engineer at the end because it is a combination of DNA sources – the one that was in Dr. Shaw combined with the engineer’s own DNA. 

      3) See answer to #2

      4) This is the planet that the crew in Alien land on. The alien spacecraft is the same as the one they investigate in the original film. So it doesn’t get off the planet, until the events in Alien!

      5) A crazy dude with trillions of dollars and days to live? He had to be put in stasis or he would die, so he couldn’t vet or brief the crew personally anyway, but also most of the crew wouldn’t have agreed to go if they knew what the mission was really about (see: the briefing scene).

      6) This isn’t answered and it doesn’t really need to be, but I think that the archaeologists are wrong (almost everything they thought about the engineers turned out to be wrong). The motivations of the engineers are totally unknown and anything that the film tells you about it may be purposefully misleading (especially if it came from David, the only one who can communicate and translate).

      1. Your answer to #4 is wrong according to what’s on screen and what the director and writers have said in interviews. The planet in Prometheus is LV-223, the Nostromo (and the ill-fated colony) are on LV-426.

      2. On 4) – that’s not right, it’s a different planet (LV-200 and something vs. LV-426). And the engineer is still in his seat in Alien, so it doesn’t work.

    2. I suspect that smoking on a spaceship might be less of a big deal if smoking had become a more acceptable part of the culture. 

      In New London, CT, I once took a tour of the first nuclear-powered sub. There were ashtrays in every freakin’ cabin.

  33. I’m a bit blown away by all the negativity surrounding this movie. I think most people were expecting something revolutionary, but it’s an *Alien* movie. At it’s core it’s a slow paced monster movie.

    Scott went back to his strengths in this movie- visuals/imagery and I’m grateful for that. Bladerunner was a simple story set in a beautifully complex world as was Alien.

    To those people who really didn’t like this movie, give it a second viewing. I hated Bladerunner when I first saw it, but when I rewatched it with a different perspective I fell in love with it.

    IMO A movie doesn’t have to make complete sense to be wonderful.

    1. “but it’s an *Alien* movie” …but they were mostly good movies.  This one isn’t even on par w/ alien vs predator.

      I think this is just similar fan dissapointment to what we experienced when the hardcore fans of the original three star wars movies, saw the first of the new star wars movies.

      1. Exactly. I’m no Star Wars fan, so I was not able to empathize, until last night, the pain the true believers felt when first they saw Jar Jar Blinks.

        Karma is bitch. Last night I writhed!

    2. “At it’s core it’s a slow paced monster movie.”
      But Alien was a rather elegant and ground-breaking monster movie. This film is lumpy as my grandmother’s mashed potatoes and it doesn’t have an original bone in its body.

  34. I agree with everything in that review, but I would like to say in defense of the size of the ship: the text at the beginning did say there were 17 in the crew. I wonder whether the movie the other half were making in their share of the ship was better than the one we saw.

  35. I think the entire film was a scathing indictment of the current failure to teach STEM subjects in school and the dumbing down of evolution and introduction of ID into the school curriculum. After all, it shows a group of people two generations or so from now who are at the top of their fields to be selected for a mission that explores the very meaning of existence of life on earth and yet they all act like they just escaped from Mike Judge’s Idiocracy.

    Bizarrely, I actually liked the movie, despite it making very little sense. It’s beautifully made. The IMAX 3D restored my faith in 3D cinema. But why the hell are these things always written and made by people who nothing about science fiction, much less science? Maybe SF writers don’t make good screenwriters, but why can’t they at least hire a SF writer and/or a few scientists (or maybe a few bright 9 year olds) to point out the obvious problems? There is a big difference between artistic ambiguity that makes you think (2001) and just plain wrong.

    There are several spoilers below this point…

    The head resurrection scene was such a WTF moment that I was actually considering that it might be a dream sequence.

    At one point in the movie, I was also contemplating that everyone on the ship was (a) insane for some reason (hallucinogens in the atmosphere since they took their helmets off?) , (b) all androids with random programming, or (c) operating under post-hypnotic suggestions that David implanted while they were in hypersleep. Few things that anyone does, at any time, made any logical sense. They weren’t just randomly out of character – they were as impenetrably alien as the Engineers themselves. New alien species? Yawn. They’re all dead, so I’m gonna get drunk. Slimy alien cobra? Let’s pet it. Crew trapped in a alien ship during a massive sandstorm? Roll your eyes and laugh at them. Someone half-naked and covered with blood with staples across their abdomen? Ignore them. Just plain weird.

    I’ve read the Cavalorn piece about tying together the Prometheus legend, the Sumerian mythology, and Space Jesus and it’s quite intriguing. In fact, with a little tweaking, I would like to have seen that movie. But even if he’s 100% correct and that is what was going on, it doesn’t explain the human motivations on display, or the mummy resurrection, or the horrible latex body suit on Guy Pearce.

    Maybe there will be a director’s cut that makes some of it make sense, but whatever the writer and director’s intentions (and I respect both of them), what was on the screen was a fascinating, beautiful, creepy, thought-providing mess.

    1. “why can’t they at least hire a SF writer and/or a few scientists (or maybe a few bright 9 year olds) to point out the obvious problems? There is a big difference between artistic ambiguity that makes you think (2001) and just plain wrong.”

    2. Your “Ideocracy” analogy is brilliant. If I view all “future” movies as if they were the logical progression of my students carried into future generations they make a lot more sense. Especially if it could be established that all the technology was somehow left over from a distant past.

  36. We’ve just arrived on an alien planet. Hey, the air seems breathable. Let’s all take our helmets off. What could possibly go wrong?

  37. That alien at the end was so cute and so utterly pointless as it’s stuck on a lifeless planet a buhbillion light years from earth. People laughed in the cinema i was in when it shows up all squidgy and dolphin like.

  38. Spolier alert!

    Something i’m surprised no-one has brought up is that the plot of Prometheus is exactly that of HP Lovecraft’s At The Mountain of Madness (but in spaaaaaace) Elder creatures from beyond the stars are slaughtered by their own creations, leaving only suspiciously clear hieroglyphics (holograms in P) to tell their story to befuddled humans before they too are killed by the shape changing servants of the Old Ones leaving only 2 survivors, one of which is crippled by madness. (more literally crippled in P by being only a head)

    1.  In that case, I’d rather have seen Fassbender starring as David in Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner sequel (maybe costarring Noomi Rapace and Idris Elba) and Guillermo del Toro’s version of At The Mountains of Madness.

    2. It wanted giant albino penguins. They probably would have helped. Certainly wouldn’t have made a lick of difference as far as believability goes…

  39. Corey , and all the others who have kept themselves from enjoying Prometheus because of “logical inconsistencies”:

    There are several different types of stories. Some are instructional, some are pornographic, some are motivational, and some are Mythological Allegorical stories whose main focus is on the personal intuitive experience of what it is to be alive. This is one of those stories.

    You know how the greek myths had all kinds of crazy ass bullshit scenarios play out that NEVER EVER EVER could really happen- but somehow they perfectly illustrate deep psychic realities that are still relevant thousands of years later?  I think that’s the spirit in which this and his other great work Blade Runner should be viewed.

    certainly, if you didnt enjoy the story, you didn’t enjoy the story, but I think it’s a mistake to view it as some sort of grounded fantastical documentary of what would happen if came across another species. It’s a FABLE.

    1. So when the biologist gets scared at the prospect of encountering alien life-forms and ends up in a chamber surrounded by alien life-forms that he’s not only not scared of, but eagerly approaches, that has a deep allegorical meaning? No, it’s just incompetent writing.

      Sure, the Greek myths had crazy events.  But the main characters in those stories were gods and monsters.  This film is about human scientists.  For the story to work, they have to act like scientists.  (Heck, they have to act like *humans*.)In an allegory, the base-story still has to make sense as a story.  Otherwise you’ve got free-floating symbolism and you might as well just go draw a rebus.”Alien” actually works extremely well on exactly the primordial level you’re talking about.  That’s why we’re still talking about it 35 years later.  That won’t happen with “Prometheus.”

      1. specifically, i think we will be talking about how Scott, with Blade Runner and Prometheus, is attempting to talk about how technology has made us question our own authenticity and has in some ways developed a life of it’s own. A life which mirrors ours in some ways, but a life which asks different questions, and like any child, exposes the faults of the parents.

        1. We might occasionally be saying things like “Remember Highlander 2, how hard it sucked? And Indiana Jones and the Crystal skulls? The Phantom menace? Wow, those films really pissed right in the fans’ faces didn’t they? What about Prometheus? Yeah it was pretty bad – made no fucking sense. Another beer?”

    2. Fables and myths are, most often, invented to illustrate and explain why we as humans do the weird things we do, often to the confusion of the gods who expect us to either do the logical, correct things or at least to obey their commands.

      Prometheus fails that criteria on many levels.

      I don’t mean this to sound too scathingly negative, because I actually enjoyed the movie (despite its faults) and will likely see it again soon, but the real mythology I see in the events of Prometheus (and not in its thematic backstory) is the popular (but unsavory) myth of “God/The Universe hates curiosity” and “Don’t mess with things you don’t understand, and, by the way, there are some things you’ll never understand.”

      1.  dont mean to say i think it was a complete unqualified success, though I really did like watching it, and plan on watching it again. I just think that the rubric that should be used in watching it should not be one that requires the crew to be totally on the ball.
        (that said- i would have preferred a longer movie that did have the scientists as a bit more together/organized at first and then have them all run through the wringers after its been established that they are all badasses)

    3. I didn’t keep myself from enjoying Prometheus. I wanted to like it, I was struggling to like it. I’d paid good money and I was out for a nice evening and I am not that rigid. I have great affection for all of the original four Alien movies, even the FRENCH ONE.

      But every time I sat back to just enjoy the show, they’d hit me over the head with some other massive stupidity and they just NEVER LET UP. I didn’t go looking for flaws. They rained down from the screen like the cinders from the burning tree in Avatar. And my gawd, I like Avatar better than this mess.

  40. Once more, the Alien series teaches one thing above all:


    1. Of the franchise androids, Bishop appears to most closely follow the 3 Laws.  

      In the scene where he is to climb the ventilation shaft to remotely pilot down the spare landing craft, a soldier hands him a pistol.  He clears the chamber, confirms that it is operating correctly, and hands it back.

      1. Yeah, I love that moment. Plus, it confirms that Bishop has cold logic about it: if he runs into xenos in that tube, one pistol isn’t going to make a lot of difference. The fact that he’s probably calculated it will do more potential good with the humans, and provide him no advantages beyond emotional comfort (which he doesn’t need) underscores his android nature.

  41. The rest of the review notwithstanding, I am also a geologist, and I also introduce myself by loudly stating, “I’m a geologist, I fucking love rocks!”

  42. So many things wrong with this film but the lack of science and emphasis on unobservable, illogical religious mumbo jumbo wound me right the fuck up. I could cope with an exploration of belief and faith if it wasn’t supposed to be a bloody science and research vessel, religion does not belong on that ship! So ironically i had something of a revelation, if you recut the film to remove any of that pseudo-science nonsense (“i fucking love rocks!”) you might just get away with a story about a bunch of missionary priests chasing their maker à la Bradbury’s the fire balloons. Think about it!

    Has somebody done this?

    Please somebody do this.

    1. i agree 100%…i wanted to shout “keep your religious blind stupidity our of my sci-fi”…and i actually like deep sci-film that have religious aspects, heck even star wars and 2001 had a spiritual/religious elements.  i have no problem with religion, it is the blindly stupid crowd that makes my skin crawl.  sarah palin could have written this movie.

      1. Whoa, whoa whoa…so faith in the unknown is now idiotic? I’m not suggesting folks subscribe to my own beliefs, but don’t both of you guys realize that a great number of influential scientists had faith?

        Is Kelvin not allowed on this voyage? Richard Smalley? Freeman Dyson? Come on!

        1. yes exactly.  there is a reason that type of faith is called blind faith.

          blind faith:  belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination.  belief in what cannot be known or the unknowable.

          when it comes to science, faith in something with no/zero evidence pointing towards or supporting that thing is idiotic.  no influential scientist had faith about things related to their science.  you are confusing their personal beliefs from their professional work.  science goes to great lengths to remove all bias of the experimenter from the experiment.  ones beliefs no matter what they are, are not a part of the scientific process whatsoever.

          faith is required for certain religions as there is no tangible evidence collaborating their claims.  that is fine.  they don’t require any evidence and are not concerned with the cataloging of facts or tangible data.  they server a completely different purpose that is not at odds with faith.  there is no room or place for faith in science as faith is anti-science.  science is based on empirical observation and is the cataloging of what can be know.  religions are  various competing stories to explain what cannot yet be known.  as science constantly pushes out the boundaries of what can be known, the unknowable shifts to new areas, hence the old stories for the unknowable often no longer apply.  this is the key reason science and certain religions are at odds.  do note some religons, like Buddhism, do not have this issue as they are completely different in nature from, lets say the judeo-christian religions.

          hope that clarifies.

        2. Oh, and no none of those people would be allowed on this voyage because they did actual science.  The only people allowed to do science on this voyage are the sarah palin’s of the world.

  43. The first thing that bothered me about the movie was that the date of the voyage of Prometheus to the planet was set near the end of this century, about 2093.  I thought no, that is not possible with the slow incremental progress of science and technology.  It bothers me when movie makers try to make it seem like the fantastic future is that close, to I guess make me get more exited about the movie.  I don’t think anyone brought this up yet.

    I liked many aspects of the characters and the polish of the film, though; it was about what I expected, and overall I enjoyed it.

    I took the opening scene differently than Rothwell — the alien male wasn’t chasing the departing UFO.  He’s got off that UFO with a purpose.  He’s there to seed the world with DNA using the mutagen poison and his own body; the religion of these superaliens is to create of the most powerful life forms.  They’re near perfect themselves, but they pursue something better, and some of them sacrifice themselves to create perfection.  Humans were an experiment gone wrong, and that is why they were all set to dump more mutagen on us before a very bad hazmat accident.

    1. I thought hard about the time frame thing too. But then i remembered that at the turn of the 20th century most people were still riding around in horse-driven buggies… and yet we made it to the moon barely 70 years after that. We used to communicate via beeps which lasted maybe a quarter second long each… now we’re capable of transmitting something like 25 trillion beeps in that same amount of time. Before the century was out we already had space probes flinging themselves past Uranus and – holyhell!  – robots on Mars. So you never know. I do still think it pretty unlikely… just not quite impossible. I mean, we are talking about FTL travel, which may or may not even be possible no matter HOW much time we spend smashing subatomic particles against each other. But if it turns out that there IS a loophole* around the Great Speed Limit, it’s no less likely to be discovered next year than a thousand years from now.

      *this is your one hint about that, humans, and that’s all i’m saying about it.

  44. I thought the film looked good. Because I sculpted the space jockey. well – about a third of it anyway. And plenty of architectural bits. Ahem.

    1. The space jockey looked good. The interiors of the alien ship were lovely. It’s the plot, the characters, the writing and the stupidity that I object to. 

      I liked many of the effects too. Sparkly lights, wheeee! But the people and the monsters and the mess of the story got in the way.

  45. Neil DeGrasse Tyson:
    Prometheus – two parts Cowboys & Aliens, one part Mission to Mars, one part The Day The Earth Stood Still … blend in the abdomen.

    Prometheus goes 35 light years into space, but Charlize Theron gaffes ‘We’re a half billion miles from Earth!’ = just past Jupiter.

    Attended a midnite showing of Prometheus – The takeaway? Occasions arise when being curious is bad for your life expectancy.

  46. One of the screenplay’s writers, Damon Lindelof (Lost) had this advice to give to potential theater-goers about the movie during an interview:

    I guess my message would be: Try not to bring too much of what you want Prometheus to be into the theater. The first time you see the movie, your sense of what you want it to be and what it’s going to be could potentially override you just sitting back and watching it. And I do feel that at the very least, taking full responsibility for my own role in the writing of the film, it’s one of the most visually spectacular things that I’ve seen recently. It can be experienced as just something that washes over you if it’s possible for you to turn your brain off. I just hope people dig it.

    (Bolding added.) See, all y’all need to just stop thinking so hard about it.

  47. They just drive around this moon til they see something out of place?  That’s the plan?  The plan works immediately?

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