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Calamari Calamity
June 23, 2012 11:20 PM   Subscribe

Were you perplexed and mystified by the behavior of the Prometheus crew? Well, it'll all make sense once you watch this helpful training video. [slyt]
posted by cthuljew (167 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Relevant Penny Arcade.
posted by teraflop at 11:35 PM on June 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


I really enjoyed Prometheus but god what a sloppy script. Every other scene or so featured something that didn't make sense or was left unexplained. Don't understand that so many people were involved in this production and yet it came out buggier than a Bethesda game.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:38 PM on June 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sorry cthuljew, but I find this sort of parody, with relatively high production values compared with the quality of the gags, not very funny.

The movie had plenty to ridicule, but this isn't half as clever or witty as it thinks it is.
posted by panaceanot at 11:39 PM on June 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


High production values and crappy writing, huh? God, what a beautiful, idiotic movie that was. If nothing else, though, whatever it was it was earnest and didn't seem cynical, but not being Transformers is less than I expect from Riddley Scott.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:53 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


You people are going to make me see this movie, aren't you? It better not be a wankfest like Inception.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:54 PM on June 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


The parody in the FPP, while not particularly funny (god, those are some lame gags), manages to mirror Promethus in a really key way: high production values and shitty writing. Maybe this is some sort of meta parody?
posted by asnider at 11:55 PM on June 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


2bucksplus: it's the kind of movie you should watch once it's been dubbed into a language you don't speak, so the fact that none of it makes any sense won't spoil the visuals.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:03 AM on June 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


I'm stoked for the Prometheus XXX parody.
posted by bardic at 12:08 AM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's why Hollywood films are so popular abroad. People don't realize quite how stupid the scripts are/, especially when something has always just blowed up real good.
posted by pracowity at 12:09 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry panaceanot, but I thought this was really pretty funny.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:14 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Watch the original Alien, there's a lot of stupidity there also.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:15 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prometheus lost me at about the five minute mark, when it depicted DNA bases as lines, the way diagrams do in science textbooks. It only went down from there.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:17 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Watch the original Alien, there's a lot of stupidity there also.
Actually, Brandon, I just finished watching Alien, then came upstairs and found this.
About half the jokes are straight out of that movie, so, very funny tonight.

I'm all set for Aliens tomorrow! (TimeWarner is running a little pay-per-view Alien festival right now, so it's cheap viewing, woo-hoo!)
posted by SLC Mom at 12:35 AM on June 24, 2012


Seriously, are people holding up Alien as some sort of example of flawless writing? As a film that doesn't have "something that doesn't make sense or is left unexplained" in every other scene? What?
posted by Behemoth at 12:38 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


You people are going to make me see this movie, aren't you? It better not be a wankfest like Inception.

I didn't find it as annoying as Inception, but it's often bothersome in a similar way: hollering look how profound I am while not being really that profound. I'm going to say Prometheus is better, because a) a lot of the visuals are just amazing and b) it has one great acting performance (from Michael Fassbender) and some nice bits with Idris Elba and Charlize Theron. Whereas I seriously wanted to slap everyone in Inception, even though it was full of actors I normally like.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 12:39 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the funniest bit about Promotheus that I've seen.

Otherwise, I found the movie to be very good on the thematic level, the actions of the crew and David make more sense. Some of them were hired by the self centered Weyland, the rest by his pissed off officer, who didn't believe the trip should have been.

Keep in mind that the trip was inspired by Shaw's theories, which turned out to be wrong. This wasn't a first rate crop of scientists, by any means.

Just ask David, who got to live among his "Engineers" and see just how flawed they were.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:48 AM on June 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Klaus Kinski explains.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:14 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the movie will make more sense when the inevitable director's cut that adds 30 minutes to the movie comes out. This is Ridley Scott after all.
posted by Bromius at 1:15 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I really enjoyed Prometheus but god what a sloppy script. Every other scene or so featured something that didn't make sense or was left unexplained. Don't understand that so many people were involved in this production and yet it came out buggier than a Bethesda game.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:38 PM on June 23 [+] [!]

'Prometheus' Writer Damon Lindelof on Why 'Vague' Is Good and the 'Sadistically Cool' Fallout From the 'Lost' Finale
The white-hot sci-fi screenwriter talks to THR about de-emphasizing the "Alien" in the "Alien" prequel and the thrill of "knowing that fights are happening out there about something that I've done."



Case Closed!!!
posted by Bwithh at 1:21 AM on June 24, 2012


Seriously, are people holding up Alien as some sort of example of flawless writing? As a film that doesn't have "something that doesn't make sense or is left unexplained" in every other scene? What?

Alien never promised to answer the questions of things that don't make sense. Part of the beauty of Alien is that no one knows what the fuck is going on, they are terrified, and they respond to this horrific mystery in ways that makes sense to us.

Prometheus starts off, right out of the gate, with this bullshit notion that we have this big mystery and OMG WE'RE GOING TO FIND OUT WHAT THE MYSTERY IS!?!!!!11 But since Damon Lindelof wrote it, and since he's a shit writer so crippled by obsession with mystery that he is incapable of finding meaning, we get a promise of an explanation of this mystery, but no follow-through.

Alien doesn't promise you anything, so when things are left unexplained, it makes sense, because these are things that are left unexplained to the crew. You have the perspective of the crew, and the crew is confused, therefore you share that confusion.

In Prometheus, you get perspective that the crew doesn't have. The insanely muscular, ivory-skinned dude at the beginning, for example. You see it, the crew doesn't. This is an implicit wink by the director that you are privy to information that the crew doesn't have.

But its total horseshit. Because the movie gives you one horseshit "answer" right at the beginning, then portrays a bunch of shit that flies against centuries of scientific discovery, shows people behaving in ways that contradict what little character development has been spent on them, and the whole thing falls apart.

Watch Alien again. It's good.
posted by braksandwich at 1:23 AM on June 24, 2012 [47 favorites]


That's why Hollywood films are so popular abroad. People don't realize quite how stupid the scripts are/, especially when something has always just blowed up real good.


duh yeah, I dudn't no it waz stoopid but I dont speek amewikan dat good az ewe
posted by the noob at 1:26 AM on June 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


You have the perspective of the crew, and the crew is confused, therefore you share that confusion.

Nope, they were idiots, except for Ripley (for the most part) and Ash, but one of them wasn't a team player, so to speak.

Kane, don't touch the creepy Alien life form!
Dallas, don't bring him aboard!
Everyone, let's pretend Kane is fine after the face higher falls off!
Dallas, go hunting for the Alien alone!
Lambert, just sit there scared when the alien approaches!
Parker, try to tackle it!
Alien, just play around on the shelf, so Ripley has enough time to kill you!

B movie horror, indeed!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:42 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen it, but does Transformers: Dark of the Moon make more or less sense than Prometheus?

Because Prometheus' sense of internal logic seemed to be lacking even the tightly plotted narrative arc of Revenge of the Fallen. And RotF took me three bottles of wine to suffer, and my liver can't do that in a single sitting again.

Prometheus might be the better movie overall, but the script was... not good. It didn't even answer the question we were all thinking: Alien Death Vagina Vs Alien Penis-Cobra?
Who wins?
posted by Mezentian at 1:46 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen it, but does Transformers: Dark of the Moon make more or less sense than Prometheus?
SPOILER: There is a lot less Pink Floyd than I expected, but about as much Giant Robot as I expected.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:50 AM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


but about as much Giant Robot as I expected.

But Michael Bay wants to EXCEEEEEED EXPECTATIONS.
IN making this film Ridley Scott wanted to give audiences exactly what they wanted (Aliens!), in in such a way that no one wants to see more Alien films again.
posted by Mezentian at 2:03 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen it, but does Transformers: Dark of the Moon make more or less sense than Prometheus?

The answer is a giant rolling fireball.
posted by JHarris at 2:51 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think the movie will make more sense when the inevitable director's cut that adds 30 minutes to the movie comes out. This is Ridley Scott after all.

I think you're confusing him with James Cameron.
posted by crossoverman at 3:11 AM on June 24, 2012


I liked Prometheus. SHUT UP !!
posted by Pendragon at 3:13 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen it, but does Transformers: Dark of the Moon make more or less sense than Prometheus?

Yes, but just barely. The Autobots building a giant wall of ice to keep the Decepticons to protect Prime's Landing from Vader's Cybermen was a bit much. Adama using the Tardis to give birth to the baby dragons and destroy Loki was pretty cool though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:17 AM on June 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


You, sir, may tale ALL MY MONEY if you make that happen!
ALL MY MONEY!

But I want a money shot of Olmos giving birth.
posted by Mezentian at 3:21 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blowed up real good.
posted by pracowity at 3:29 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I want a money shot of Olmos giving birth.

Would love to, but according to the Ewok traditions in which they were wed, Spock won't allow that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:31 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are we still hateing on Prometheus? Good, because I've got a lot of hate still to give...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:58 AM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Prometheus Unbound: What The Movie Was Actually About

"Prometheus was chained to a rock and condemned to have his liver ripped out and eaten every day by an eagle. (His liver magically grew back, in case you were wondering.)"

"So, we know something about the Engineers, a founding principle laid down in the very first scene: acceptance of death, up to and including self-sacrifice, is right and proper in the creation of life. Prometheus, Osiris, John Barleycorn, and of course the Jesus of Christianity are all supposed to embody this same principle. It is held up as one of the most enduring human concepts of what it means to be 'good'."

"If you have uneasy suspicions about what 'a bad thing approximately 2,000 years ago' might be, then let me reassure you that you are right."

"Ridley Scott: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, "Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it." Guess what? They crucified him."


" The Engineer's body bursts open - blah blah lifegiver blah blah abdomen ripped apart hey we're up to five now - and the proto-Alien that emerges is the very image of the creature from the mural."
posted by dragonsi55 at 3:59 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you could make a venn diagram that included people who hated Avatar and The Phantom Menace, yet forgave Ridley Scott for this hot mess, the intersection would be a bunch of people I'd like to share a grumpy beer with.
posted by panaceanot at 4:07 AM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Nope, they were idiots,

No, I'm not having that... they are just ordinary joes, something you see little of in the cinema nowadays but was more common back in the 70s - just ordinary people, doing an ordinary job (in the future) who get thrown into an extraordinary situation and act accordingly.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:08 AM on June 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


...just ordinary people, doing an ordinary job (in the future) who get thrown into an extraordinary situation and act accordingly.

Yeah, yeah people have trotted out the "they were ordinary people doing a job, how could they know" line before and it was elitist bullshit then and now.

It does not take a goddamn PhD scientist with a 200+ IQ to realize that one should not only keep the fuck away from a new alien form, but when it opens, don't go peering into it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:18 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's just a show, I should really just relax.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:27 AM on June 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


It better not be a wankfest like Inception.

In that light, I found this SLYT to be a far better training video on Prometheus.
posted by fairmettle at 4:40 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would actually like to softly call bullshit on the idea that the Nostromo crew behaved unrealistically stupidly throughout much of Alien. I admit they did some stupid things! But there's a difference between playing the home game and actually thinking on your feet, especially when you're on some terrifying uncharted planet or you have some impossible monster breathing in your face or what have you. The two big stupid things the crew does are let Kane back onto the ship (a stupid act engineered by Ash, by the way, who knew exactly how dangerous it was and simply didn't care) and hang out with Kane after the facehugger falls off as if everything's normal, which...okay, that part's not too smart.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:58 AM on June 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


it was elitist bullshit then and now.

Yeah, okay whatever
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:00 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


pracowity: "That's why Hollywood films are so popular abroad. People don't realize quite how stupid the scripts are/, especially when something has always just blowed up real good."
What? So us furriners are just stupid rubes who can't catch a subtext and are just rooting for something to blow up? Nice characterization.

Also, a bit of context to this post would have been nice.
posted by brokkr at 5:21 AM on June 24, 2012


Wow dragonsi55, that was a VERY good take on Prometheus.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:24 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


SPOILERS and hate below.

IN DEFENSE OF ALIEN
Kane: They didn't worry about him too much post face-hugger pre-chest burst because Ash, the evil science officer robot whose evil robot-y nature was a secret, cleared him. Also, he's established as super super excited to discover shit while not a science officer, so looking in the egg makes a spot of sense, stupid-wise.
Lambert: Pretty much pooping herself in terror. Hard to run.
Parker: He threw an O2 tank at it to try to distract him from eating Lambert.
Dallas: I don't know why he went alone. But they were sealing him up in the thing, so they couldn't really all go in there.

CONTRAST WITH THE MESS OF PROMETHEUS

Caviar Engineer (the first one): that shit made no sense
All the other engineers: Why'd they want to kill off their products when humans were in their infancy? I mean, they decided pre-Christ to go kill off everybody, right? Were they all, oh shit, those Romans were bad news?
Head of Weyland deciding to go in search of alien life that will prevent him from dying. WORST PRETEXT EVER
The first casualty sees a snake thing. He is a biologist. And he wants to mess with it? Kane was an amateur (I think), biologist is just stupid.


Finally, check it: Those ships are all over the planet. They were on their way to earth? Okay. But what stopped the first one? Alien outbreak. So all the other ones were just like, okay, let's hang out here forever? Are we supposed to think, 'clearly, all the Engineers were in the outbreak ship?'

I hate lazy writing so much. Daniel Lindehof has ruined some possibly great things with his flaccid mind.
posted by angrycat at 5:36 AM on June 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


Whoops, as per Dragonsi55, it was the Romans. So the sequel is going to be Naomi Rapace saying, dudes, why, and the Engineers say, yo, Romans. Naomi: "As THE CHRISTIAN THAT I LOUDLY PROCLAIM MYSELF TO BE, they did shit to Christ, so I see your point." Engineers: "Yup." and FIN
posted by angrycat at 5:41 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah... that movie. I think I liked it... but damn, what a mess. Didn't make any sense at all. I will, of course, watch the inevitable sequel though...
posted by ph00dz at 5:45 AM on June 24, 2012


I would actually like to softly call bullshit on the idea that the Nostromo crew behaved unrealistically stupidly throughout much of Alien.

I like the "unrealistically" qualifier, as it gives a bit more context to the situation. But ultimately it feels as though Alien never rises above its B horror movie style origins i.e. people making stupid actions repeatedly. Plot wise, it's understandable that they go to the planet and start bumbling around, but after a certain while you'd think they'd say "New alien life. Not dealing with that, going home now to report what was found."

Caviar Engineer (the first one): that shit made no sense

The one that drank the goo at the beginning? He was seeding life on Earth.

All the other engineers: Why'd they want to kill off their products when humans were in their infancy? I mean, they decided pre-Christ to go kill off everybody, right? Were they all, oh shit, those Romans were bad news?

We got too uppity and killed Jesus, who was a space alien, and attempting to guide humanity.

Head of Weyland deciding to go in search of alien life that will prevent him from dying. WORST PRETEXT EVER

I don't understand why it's a bad pretext. He was self centered jerk who wanted to live forever. He had extended his life as far as possible with human technology, time to the aliens could. He had the money for make the trip, why not do it? At worst, he'd still be dead.

The first casualty sees a snake thing. He is a biologist. And he wants to mess with it? Kane was an amateur (I think), biologist is just stupid.

And you wonder why the Engineers wanted to kill of humanity, eh? They realized that we can and do commit great acts of stupidity. Who wants that sort of crap cluttering up their nice clean universe?

Finally, check it: Those ships are all over the planet. They were on their way to earth? Okay. But what stopped the first one? Alien outbreak. So all the other ones were just like, okay, let's hang out here forever? Are we supposed to think, 'clearly, all the Engineers were in the outbreak ship?'

Good question. I'm curious why they'd seed the planet with black goo, since it doesn't seem to kill people per se, just mutate/transform them in some way, based on their emotional state.

Was Prometheus a perfect film? No. But I think the themes either transcends or helps explain the weaks plot points, so it's more enjoyable than Alien, which was just another horror flick in space.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:01 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw Alien during the first release -- without reading a single review or knowing anything except it was SciFi. After viewing, well way way after, I had many issues with plot holes and character motivation.

But during the film, whew, the experience went from, hey cool spaceship shots, to O M F G, literal white knuckle grip on the arm rest, can't look away, noooooo, sweat, look away, can't. OMG what's next. Total intense roller coaster ride of doom.

No one came out of Alien discussing motivation, folks were stunned and going, what was that thing? Did she really get away? Is it with her? In her? What was that?!?
posted by sammyo at 6:08 AM on June 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


What? So us furriners are just stupid rubes who can't catch a subtext and are just rooting for something to blow up? Nice characterization.

I'm pretty sure he was saying that Americans should watch the film in a language they don't speak, because everything sounds more profound in subtitles.
posted by ook at 6:18 AM on June 24, 2012


The mean streets of baltimore certainly prepared idris elba for the hazards of space.
posted by hellojed at 6:29 AM on June 24, 2012


it has one great acting performance (from Michael Fassbender

Really? I like Michael Fassbender, but that performance was pure C3PO.
posted by Summer at 6:30 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the movie will make more sense when the inevitable director's cut that adds 30 minutes to the movie comes out. This is Ridley Scott after all.

I think you're confusing him with James Cameron.


Um, actually, Ridley Scott is the one most well-known for a) much more lengthy director's cuts which b) improve his films considerably.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:33 AM on June 24, 2012


The one that drank the goo at the beginning? He was seeding life on Earth.

I've read several opinions with the 'seeding' explanation and that wasn't what I got out of it.

After the captain talked about bio-weapons my theory on the opening scene became that Engineer bio-weapon group 'A' was building the facehugger / Alien combo. Another Engineer bio-weapon group 'B' decided to wipe out A to prevent them from killing off Earth. Their weapon was the black goo that David found on the walls later.

So the opening scene wasn't on Earth, but on the planet containing the facilities of bio-weapon group A. And really I can only back this up with, the scene didn't feature any shots of the black goo 'creating' anything from the falling Engineers body, only destruction.

And I needed something to justify why the Vase room wasn't swarming with the same number of facehuggers as Vases. Maybe the black goo had inhibited some of the Vases from being functional.
posted by Exad at 6:40 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It does not take a goddamn PhD scientist with a 200+ IQ to realize that one should not only keep the fuck away from a new alien form, but when it opens, don't go peering into it.

Didn't bother me. I figured that the guy was mesmerized by it due to its secretion of some kind of space pheromones, or that there was some hallucinatory agent in the cave's atmosphere which the scientists hadn't detected.

The two big stupid things the crew does are let Kane back onto the ship (a stupid act engineered by Ash, by the way, who knew exactly how dangerous it was and simply didn't care) and hang out with Kane after the The facehugger falls off as if everything's normal, which...okay, that part's not too smart.

I agree with the part about not letting him back on the ship but why shun him after the facehugger leaves? How were they to have known that the guy had been inseminated? They probably figured it was like getting stung by a bee and if there was any danger it would accrue only to Kane, internally.

"Ridley Scott: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, "Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it." Guess what? They crucified him."

So that's why the Engineer who offed himself at the beginning looked like Julius Caesar on steroids? Duh.

Whoops, as per Dragonsi55, it was the Romans. So the sequel is going to be Naomi Rapace saying, dudes, why, and the Engineers say, yo, Romans. Naomi: "As THE CHRISTIAN THAT I LOUDLY PROCLAIM MYSELF TO BE, they did shit to Christ, so I see your point." Engineers: "Yup." and FIN

So, does this mean that Ridley Scott is some rogue flavor of fundie? Not to besmirch anyone's religious beliefs but I thought their whole deal was that they didn't believe in science. The aliens arriving on spaceships to inflict retribution for Christ's crucifixion would not seem to be, well, biblical. Also, Naomi Rapace's character performed an abortion on herself and that is not allowed even if your "baby" is probably going to kill you and everyone else in the vicinity.

Really? I like Michael Fassbender, but that performance was pure C3PO.

A sentient C3PO. Fassbender just can't seem to stop being so aware of his looks. He needs to sit down over a beer with Jon Hamm and work that out.

I guess I'm going to have to see Prometheus again because so much of the apparent symbolism went right by me.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:48 AM on June 24, 2012


sammyo: "No one came out of Alien discussing motivation, folks were stunned and going, what was that thing? Did she really get away? Is it with her? In her? What was that?!?"

Yea, this. I saw Alien in the first run in 1979 and no one was saying anything at the end other than "OMG WTF!??" My older sister who I dragged along to get me into an 'R' rated movie was pale and speechless and hasn't forgiven me yet.
posted by octothorpe at 7:04 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


does this mean that Ridley Scott is some rogue flavor of fundie?

Far from it.

"The ethos of the titan Prometheus is one of willing and necessary sacrifice for life's sake. That's a pattern we see replicated throughout the ancient world. J G Frazer wrote his lengthy anthropological study, The Golden Bough, around the idea of the Dying God - a lifegiver who voluntarily dies for the sake of the people. It was incumbent upon the King to die at the right and proper time, because that was what heaven demanded, and fertility would not ensue if he did not do his royal duty of dying."

My guess is that at 74 years old, Ridley Scott has something to say about mortality.
posted by dragonsi55 at 7:12 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was watching Journey 2: The Mysterious Island the other day and at one point the characters have to part ways and the Josh Hutcherson character whines "But we have only one map!" and the Dwayne Johnson character borrows an iPhone and takes a picture of the map and says "Now we have two!" and I was amazed that in such a by-the-numbers Hollywood production a character could actually do something as banally sensible as that. I liked Prometheus, really, but the characters are fed with TVTropes Jelly®.
posted by elgilito at 7:23 AM on June 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


The original 1979 film is surprisingly elegant—it's a taut genre film without a wasted scene. It's somewhat hard sci-fi, and based in a believable reality. The mining ship looks and feels like a mining ship might. The crew have a rapport, and engage in credible conversations (they also manage to talk about wanting more pay without ever actually saying the words "Hey, I'm just here for the money", as someone does in Prometheus). Each crew member has a job to do, and we discern their jobs without them telling us what they are. The crew appear to have genuine skills and experience, and make rational, well-trained decisions all the way through the story. On the few occasions they make irrational decisions (e.g. Tom Skerritt's Captain ordering Ripley to contravene quarantine protocol and let Hurt-plus-Facehugger on the ship; Ripley 'wasting' time searching for the cat) they are exactly the sort of irrational decisions real people make in a crisis.

So aside from all the other problems with Prometheus (dangling plot threads, Lindelof's special brand of quasi-religious pseudo-scifi; I could go on), here's the one that pisses me off the most: none of it is based in reality. The ship is a floating mansion, a space palace with design unrestrained by budget or function. The crew are offensively incompetent. The captain is lazy and negligent. The geologist is uninterested in rocks. The biologist is the dumbest man alive and thinks the terrifying space eel—probably at this point the first extraterrestrial animal life ever observed (there was grass on the planet surface which was probably the VERY FIRST OBSERVABLE EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE, but no one seemed to care about that)— is adorabubble. The 'scientists' are more interested in theology than science. And most of the crew seem to have happily gone into cryostasis on a long-haul space journey without even knowing what the fuck their mission is.

I know this could be seen as nitpicking (and it's really the tip of the iceberg in terms of Prometheus's problems) but this stuff is fundamental to why the 1979 film works and this one is a giant sack of shit.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:27 AM on June 24, 2012 [47 favorites]


The first casualty sees a snake thing. He is a biologist. And he wants to mess with it?

Just want to point out something here that I've not seen anyone note when bringing up this particular scene: by that point, Mr. Biologist is quite high on whatever manner of super advanced kind bud is available in the year the film takes place.

In a scene prior to that one, while he and the geologist are discussing their next move, geologist dude sucks on a tube in his suit that makes a gurgling sound. "Is that tobacco?" the biologist asks. "Yeah," geologist dude replies with an eye roll. "Tobacco." (The geologist is getting stoned. Get it? Get it?!)

At the start of the next scene in which they feature, those two are already acting somewhat giddy before the space cobra even shows up. So, yeah, impaired judgement. Also might help explain why they got so lost despite having an uplink to the ship.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:42 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher, you seem to have some weird investment in coming into every Prometheus thread and telling everybody they're wrong, that it didn't suck and furthermore it's better than Alien, but I'll give you one reason people like Alien more: Dan O'Bannon set out to do something very specific, to scare men with space rape, and it worked. People were scared, and scared for over three decades, and they will continue to be scared by the weird penis monster from the icy depths of space. Lindelof, on the other hand, set out to be mysterious or whatever, trying to ask "Big Questions," but only managing to do so by jettisoning everything we already actually know about why we're here, and it didn't work. By and large, people are just confused and irritated and feeling ripped off, and I feel pretty confident know one is going to be talking about these "themes"in the context of this movie for 30+ years, just like I never hear about Lost now except in tones of disgust and derision. Oh, and "just another sci do horror film"? Please. Alien put that genre on the map.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:43 AM on June 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


Part of the beauty of Alien is that no one knows what the fuck is going on

Except for the script writer! The writer is supposed to know what the fuck is going on, even if the audience only gets glimpses. That's what makes it fun, and that's what Damon Lindelof is throwing out the window.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:52 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


::spoilers::

What really didn't sit well with me was the posing of and of and then complete inability to address a question that nobody is actually asking. The first scene informs us that life was probably created by Mr Clean-Powder hybrids who wear druid robes. Then, borrowing the exact plot from Stargate, we learn that all civilizations and pre-civilizations share the same mysterious symbols. This trillion dollar project is staffed by third tier Erich Von Daniken devotees and they don't even both to agree on a landing strip before entering the planet? There's no direct plan? No SOPs? Just: land, drive around until you find something to touch and then do what ever you feel like?

Eventually we learn that the Mr Clean-Powder Hybrids are actually assholes who only wear druid robes when they're about to impregnate rivers with their corpses. Normally they run around in Slipknot inspired gasmasks. (What a disappointing origin to the space jockeys.) Then something something aliens, goo, other types of aliens, zombies, other types of aliens, final xenomorph, the end.
posted by Telf at 7:53 AM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Know one". -_-
posted by adamdschneider at 7:59 AM on June 24, 2012


My partner and I have just watched both Alien and Aliens. The thing that doesn't make sense to us in Alien is that Ash is supposed to bring a sample back, and the easiest way for him to do that would be to freeze Kane, either with the face-hugger or post face-hugger, and take the sample home that way. Saying, "let's freeze him and get him back to civilization" or "he needs medical care I can't give him," would have made sense to everyone and accomplished Ash's mission more effectively than what he opted for.

In both movies, people who have already seen horrible aliens grab people seemingly out of nowshere continue to separate and wander around in ones and twos. In Aliens, they set themselves a huge perimeter--and then leave Newt alone by herself in a room to sleep--instead of giving themselves the smallest possible perimeter to try to survive in until rescue comes.

I found myself wondering if Sam Rockwell based his performance in Galaxy Quest on Bill Paxton as Hudson in Aliens.

After bitching my way through both movies stupidities--the standard kind of stupidities for the genre, otherwise there'd be no movie--I found myself trying to imagine a horror movie in which everyone did everything right (not bringing Kane on board, not separating) and still got wiped out. Any movies like that out there?
posted by not that girl at 8:12 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"If you could make a venn diagram that included people who hated Avatar and The Phantom Menace, yet forgave Ridley Scott for this hot mess, the intersection would be a bunch of people I'd like to share a grumpy beer with."

Okay, I'm going to vent for a moment and rationalize it in that it might be educational. People talk all the time about Venn diagrams and yet apparently think that all they are is another way of showing the obvious. Like, well, there's A and B and the part that is A and B is where the circles overlap.

But that's not how Venn diagrams are useful. Venn diagrams are useful for making obvious the unobvious implications in categorical logic and in the larger context of set theory. But most people can understand it easiest in the context of categorical logic.

Usually, it's that the implication of a pair of categorical statements are that one of the areas of three overlapping circles is empty (and that the area is empty wasn't one of the statements, so it's not necessarily obvious). It might be that one the overlaps is empty, or that one of the non-overlapping areas are empty. And then other times, for example, it's that we know from a statement that a circle as a whole isn't empty and yet we know that two of its parts is empty, meaning that the other is where something is.

It's also extremely helpful in clarifying to people what the inherent qualities of the different kinds of categorical statements really are. By that I mean this is actually somewhat counterintuitive and it helps students a great deal to Venn diagram these different types of categorical statements to internalize those qualities. For example, take this statement: all balls are red. When you learn to diagram this, you learn to think of one circle as "things which are red" and the other circle as "things which are balls". And here's the neat and unexpected part: the implication of that statements isn't that you mark something in those circles that exists, but rather that you can mark an area of those intersecting circles as being empty. In other words, statements of the form "all balls are red" tell you that something doesn't exist, not that something does. It tells you that the part of the intersecting circles that "things which are balls" and doesn't intersect the "things which are red" circle is empty (there are no things which are balls yet are not red).

There's some rudimentary syllogisms where the conclusions aren't obvious to many people (though they're obvious to many others) about which those people have an "aha!" moment of comprehension when they see it as a Venn diagram. And then there are some other more technical and difficult aspects of categorical logic (such as how to choose to deal with existential assumptions) that are much more intuitively comprehended using such diagrams.

Doing this diagramming is a powerful tool for developing an intuition into categorical logic that most people don't automatically possess. It can also simply be a way of testing whether syllogisms are valid, or true or false, or finding the conclusion from a pair of premises, if one is available. Many of the common and notorious fallacies in categorical logic are things that many people easily fall prey to and sometimes will insist upon through extended verbal discussion — but when they actually carefully diagram them, they immediately see how it's a fallacy.

Also, it makes it very clear at the outset when you first try to diagram a pair of premises that a valid syllogism must have three terms, and the "middle" term is special.

Venn diagrams are not merely a chart with two or more intersecting circles that symbolizes something.

Thanks for your time; I return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:17 AM on June 24, 2012 [23 favorites]


The original 1979 film is surprisingly elegant—it's a taut genre film without a wasted scene.

Interesting, I feel completely opposite in that the film comes off as tedious and too long, especially the opening sequences. Kane and Lambert feel like plot elements, not characters. The alien alternates between being terrifying (the scene with Brett is chilling and easily one of the best parts of the movie) to just garish plot element (attacking Lambert, hiding in the escape vehicle and doing nothing even though it knows Ripley can see it).

...you seem to have some weird investment in coming into every Prometheus thread and telling everybody they're wrong...

I'm fascinated by how people perceive the two movies and willingly suspend their disbelief based on other elements in either film. For me, the larger themes of Prometheus counteract the weaker plot elements. For others, the mood and tone of Alien do the same for that film. It's interesting to hear how people came to their love or hate of either film and I love hearing the individual takes on that.

For some reason, the male rape elements of Alien never scared me. However, the gruesome spidery look of the facehugger never fails to make my skin itch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


In Aliens, they set themselves a huge perimeter--and then leave Newt alone by herself in a room to sleep--instead of giving themselves the smallest possible perimeter to try to survive in until rescue comes.

They screwed up and didn't realize the Aliens would figure out to crawl in the ceilings. I thought that was rather nice touch in terms of human fallibility and arrogance.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:28 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


For some reason, the male rape elements of Alien never scared me. However, the gruesome spidery look of the facehugger never fails to make my skin itch.

I think the rape angle was subconscious for me for a long time, which only added to the unsettling nature of the whole thing. I agree Giger's designs were a huge part of what made that movie creepy as hell, which Prometheus didn't really have the benefit of. It's too "Hollywood hair grease" slick and not enough "ew ew unidentified biological fluid" slick.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:51 AM on June 24, 2012


The alien alternates between being terrifying (the scene with Brett is chilling and easily one of the best parts of the movie) to just garish plot element (attacking Lambert, hiding in the escape vehicle and doing nothing even though it knows Ripley can see it).

From a tactical standpoint, what the Alien does in the escape pod doesn't make sense. If the Alien saw Ripley as a credible threat to its life (which it doesn't, any more than a housecat feels threatened by a moth it's been chasing around), or if the Alien were a pure automaton, incapable of any sort of feeling whatsoever, it would obviously kill her immediately. But the Alien is playful in its way, as we see from Brett's death on. From the Alien's perspective, Ripley has been teasing it, and now that it's got her cornered, it's drawing the moment out. And why not? Once Ripley (and the cat!) are dead, the Alien eventually starves to death or goes into hibernation or something, but it definitely won't be hunting anything. So it's savoring.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:52 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also Irdis Elba goes off to fuck Theron after the probes pick up signs of life and the dudes are stuck on the alien craft? I know this is crazy, but it broke my heart a little bit. Because it is anti-Stringer on so many levels. In the lack of sexual chemistry and the complete stupidity.
posted by angrycat at 8:53 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I found myself trying to imagine a horror movie in which everyone did everything right and still got wiped out.

NON-PROMETHEUS SPOILER ALERT

John Carpenter's The Thing.
posted by zippy at 8:58 AM on June 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


Also Irdis Elba goes off to fuck Theron after the probes pick up signs of life and the dudes are stuck on the alien craft?

I see your point COMPLETELY, but I was mostly sad that we, um, didn't get to see it. SORRY. (But it would have been hot.)
posted by Aquifer at 9:15 AM on June 24, 2012


Because it is anti-Stringer on so many levels

We kept muttering about how Avon was going to be pissed with Stringer fucking up his ship.

But the Alien is playful in its way, as we see from Brett's death on. From the Alien's perspective, Ripley has been teasing it, and now that it's got her cornered, it's drawing the moment out.

Was thinking something similar on the most recent rewatching of it.

"Oh hai! Yeah, I'm here, tucked away in the cupboard, just sliming up everything. Don't mind me! What's that? You're getting up, moving around? Darn it, you're ending the fun early aren't you? Ok, I'll eat you now, just let me sneak up on you and OW, NO FAIR!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:16 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the Alien's perspective, Ripley has been teasing it, and now that it's got her cornered, it's drawing the moment out.

I thought the alien was asleep (it had been running around quite a bit previously after all).
posted by Summer at 9:32 AM on June 24, 2012


I don't mean to defend the movie as a whole or tell you you should have enjoyed it, but I did not have any problem with the way the crew behaved. I don't know how, but I seem to have gotten a completely different feeling about the crew, perhaps that was just my brain trying to make their behavior make sense. But this is how I saw it:

This was NEVER a science mission. The crew was made up of "scientists" in that their resumes showed a Space University degree in some science, and they were really trying hard to find jobs in their field to make mom and dad happy while actually trying to find more space-weed that can be enjoyed while in a full body suit.

There were two scientists on the mission: the True Believer and her husband.

The mission was one rich old man's personal quest for the fountain of youth. He found a True Believe who said she knew where it was, and in order to trick her into taking him there, he found a bunch of other "scientists" and personally funded a "Scientific Mission" to explore her theories.

Everyone else on that ship was minimum wage muscle who had taken a science class and was willing to go on a COMPLETELY UNEXPLAINED mission for a huge wad of cash. Note they also all totally expected to go back to earth to spend that money.

The two exceptions were the old man's daughter who had to fly daddy to his saviors, and the old man's Robot Son who was the only other person the old man actually wanted or needed along for the ride.

The entire plan was to get True Believer and Robot Son to the right planet, let Robot Son find the fountain of youth, thaw out old man, and bring old man to fountain of youth. If those goals could be accomplished, old man doesn't care if everyone on the entire crew dies or finds a mine full of space-gold and goes home rich. Makes no difference, and he hired them accordingly. Robot Son is so awesome he can carry out the real mission single handedly.

I didn't need anyone to behave in a more intelligent manner. They weren't intelligent. They were flipping space burgers one day, and then suddenly the richest man on the planet sent them an email saying "Hey, I found your Monster.com resume and it says you're a biologist. Is that true? For, I don't know, ten million dollars will you fly to a distant planet for me? Purely exploratory, we'll give you the rest of the mission details when you wake up from cryo-sleep. You'll just need to look for signs of life ever existing on this planet, then fly home and figure out how to spend your 10 mill! Let me know."
posted by jermsplan at 9:38 AM on June 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


Robot Son is so awesome he can carry out the real mission single handedly.

Then why bring anyone else?
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:57 AM on June 24, 2012


Ridley Scott: "Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it." Guess what? They crucified him."

So, wait, according to Ridley Scott one of the Engineers was literally the Christ figure? Oh for fuck's sake...
posted by asnider at 10:00 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prometheus had its problems but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think anyone who describes it as a "sack of shit" really needs to readjust their expectations. When it comes to subject matter revisited by its original filmmaker many decades later, I have a hard time believing it could EVER be done better than this.

The amount of unexplained/unresolved details really did remind me of "Alien," and it's one of the first movies I've seen in quite a while in which I really had no idea from scene to scene what would happen next. The creature design was excellent, the scares were really well metered out, and the surgery scene was a visual centerpiece totally worthy of the first Alien film.

I was definitely disappointed at several key points -- especially toward the end when David tells Shaw that he's capable of piloting the ships and she decides to try and visit the engineers. I was utterly SURE that her reaction to David's news would be to kill him (or what was left of him) and let herself die, safe in the knowledge that there was no one left who had the barest chance of getting one of those ships to Earth. I found her decision to team up with him utterly unconvincing.

Even so, I thought about the movie for days afterward. I'd watch it again.
posted by hermitosis at 10:01 AM on June 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Jermsplan: If David is really the only crew member needed, why bother with the True Believer once you've got a hold of her theories? You've got the coordinates, so you put together a skeleton crew to run the ship for you, pack David along, and go to the alien planet looking for your fountain of youth. Boom, the end.
posted by asnider at 10:03 AM on June 24, 2012


Mike from The Half In The Bag /Redlettermedia also has some questions about Prometheus.
posted by ts;dr at 10:07 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also I think it's interesting that most fans of the original Alien movie were MUCH younger and more credulous when they first saw it. Not that I think it's terribly flawed (although that first hour can really drag), but I don't think that movie, or maybe nearly ANY movie was held then to the standard that Prometheus is being held now.

At this stage in the game, I think we're all very lucky to have something like Prometheus to muse over, made by a group of people who really do profoundly care about the Alien legacy as much (if not more) than we do.
posted by hermitosis at 10:12 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Prometheus was chained to a rock and condemned to have his liver ripped out and eaten every day by an eagle. (His liver magically grew back, in case you were wondering.)"

Wait! I get it now! It's a prank pulled on the audience by Scott and Lindeloff. You, brave viewer, YOU are prometheus, and every minute that goes by, Lindeloff washes down another bite with a $100-bottle of Pinot Noir.
posted by braksandwich at 10:14 AM on June 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Then why bring anyone else?
why bother with the True Believer once you've got a hold of her theories? You've got the coordinates

Maybe she wouldn't give up the coords without being on the mission? They had cave drawings of 5 stars, that would be a pretty wide area of space, maybe she was holding the details till she got funding for a serious mission?

Maybe the intergalactic shipping police don't just let anyone with a ship go wherever they want so he had to fake it?

Maybe I over simplified by saying that Robot Son was all he needed. Maybe he actually did need a couple extra people to help land the ship and take off again later. All I'm saying is that if he hired a bunch of qualified scientists, and the mission is run under a rigorous scientific model, they probably wouldn't let him walk up to the Engineers and be like "yo, gimme immortality." So he hired meatheads who wouldn't argue when he flashed the cash.

/feel free to disagree and continue hating. I don't mean to play defender for the movie, just wanted to offer my perspective since I enjoyed the movie, against the wave of hate it's received. fair and balanced and all that :)
posted by jermsplan at 10:21 AM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prometheus lost me at about the five minute mark, when it depicted DNA bases as lines, the way diagrams do in science textbooks.

Also I just want to say that criticisms like this are incredibly tiresome. All that matters in that scene is that any everyday person watching will know (basically) what has occurred. If that means tweaking a scientific detail to make it more recognizable to laypeople, what's the problem with that? Do you really expect everyone at home to have to be as scientifically knowledgeable as you in order to appreciate the film? Do you really expect filmmakers to be so slavishly devoted to scientific realism that they leave most of their audience scratching their heads? If a movie loses you instantly because "This representation of DNA looked like typical representations of DNA!" then I am glad we won't ever have to watch any movies together.
posted by hermitosis at 10:25 AM on June 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Some fixes for the more nonsensical character and plot elements.
posted by figurant at 10:53 AM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't know if it was mentioned earlier, but the name Prometheus came after the script. Ridley Scott said in an interview that the studio came up with the title.

In terms of analysis, I'd suggest that the idea of Prometheus fits the story, but wasn't the cause of the story.
posted by zippy at 10:57 AM on June 24, 2012


"I found myself trying to imagine a horror movie in which everyone did everything right and still got wiped out."

Predators.
posted by cthuljew at 11:04 AM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe she wouldn't give up the coords without being on the mission? They had cave drawings of 5 stars, that would be a pretty wide area of space, maybe she was holding the details till she got funding for a serious mission?

Of course. In Lindelof's conception of science, it makes perfect sense for an archeologist to also be an accomplished deep-space astronomer, as well as naturally able to run a genetic analysis and perform neurosurgery on a dead alien.

That's a nitpick, and a small one, but I think it's kind of indicative of a screenplay that wants to set up SCIENCE! and FAITH! as grand oppositional forces without really knowing much about either of them, and thinking that's enough to carry a movie thematically. I don't think it was, but I'm glad other people enjoyed it.
posted by figurant at 11:06 AM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


it makes perfect sense for an archeologist to also be an accomplished deep-space astronomer, as well as naturally able to run a genetic analysis and perform neurosurgery on a dead alien.

GAHHH, this! If she's such a polymath, then all the other 'scientists' are unnecessary. Even the (I think) medic on board takes a supporting role to her in the neurosurgery scene.

Never mind that I am certain her faith would lead her to at the very least pause, rather than just jump in and revive a dead, sentient creature.
posted by zippy at 11:24 AM on June 24, 2012


dragonsi55: "Prometheus Unbound: What The Movie Was Actually About "

cf: Prometheus Rebound: A response to some overwrought analysis
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:28 AM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I also can't be the only one whose tired of faith themes in science fiction stories. It's really overdone at this point.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:57 AM on June 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Damon Lindelof

How did I not realize this?? Godamnit man, what is your problem.

Did anyone else actually kind of hate the self-surgery scene? I thought it was way too slick to e scary, the special effects were goofy and lame. I expected to be terrified (abortion is total body horror to me in and of itself), but her innards didn't even look like innards, c'mon. The octopus baby squirming angrily in her face was the actual scary part. Wait, wait, no, the only scary part was when the surgery pod tells her it can only operate on male patients.

Literally my only expectation was to be scared and grossed out. The alien eel breaking the stoner's arm &c. was the only freaky part to me, and I didn't feel the suspense at all. I didn't mind religion vs. faith (actually kind of enjoyed it) but the dialogue didn't feel as fraction as authentic as in Alien, I felt like they really phoned it in.

On the whole I actually enjoyed it, but yeah, too many shortcuts.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:13 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Faith themes aren't a science fiction genre convention, they're in every genre. This is for the same reason they're everywhere else.

If you really want to do without, that's called Hard SF and I recommend Charles Stross' work in the field.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


as a serious stoner, I can guaran-damn-tee you that primo weed will make me less, not more likely to croon "hey, little fella" to an alien snake about two feet away that is not enclosed by nuthin.
posted by angrycat at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


never mind, that was the geologist. That movie made me sort of stupid and hysterical in my rage, like a NJ housewife prior to flipping a table.
posted by angrycat at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2012


Yes, but (waves hands, bong) space weed!
posted by zippy at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I also can't be the only one whose tired of faith themes in science fiction stories. It's really overdone at this point.

Hear hear! Also: messiah figures. God I hate hearing about how someone is a "chosen one," in any context, sci-fi, fantasy, movie, game, whatever. If someone is "chosen," then something must have done the choosing, which often the work never examines and just implies DUH GOD. I hate that.
posted by JHarris at 12:42 PM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I just had the somewhat sad realization that a possible goal of the story was not to tell a good story, or a satisfying one, but rather to maximally troll the audience into a self-marketing nerd rage for the sequel.

Next up: a reanimated Russ Meyers to write and direct a reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
posted by zippy at 12:44 PM on June 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Watching the fallout of Prometheus has been interesting in and of itself. All over the internet, as well in this very thread, we have people rationalizing the behaviors of the characters without the benefit of any textual evidence. This, if nothing else, shows the total failure of story telling by the creators of Prometheus. We shouldn't have to look beyond what occurs in the story to feel satisfaction in the storytelling.

Alien is a great counter-point. There were many, many unexplained things in the Alien story, but the lack of explanation only lent a sense of hopelessness to the film. Why was the alien so hostile? Where did it come from? Why did the company lead the Nostrono crew into a trap? That each of these is unanswered puts the viewer into a particular frame of mind and highlights the horror of the situation. In short, Alien shows great economy of storytelling. It raises questions without creating doubt in the audiences mind about the reality of its story. It has corners - things are happening off-screen that can be pondered at but don't need to be illuminated in order to make the story work.

Prometheus, on the other hand, was just a sloppy mess. They wasted time of exposition that didn't add anything to the plot (almost the opposite.) It raised questions that distracted from the potential themes of the movie (I say "potential" because none of the themes develop adequately.) All in all Prometheus felt like two hours of missed opportunities.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


2bucksplus: it's the kind of movie you should watch once it's been dubbed into a language you don't speak, so the fact that none of it makes any sense won't spoil the visuals.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:03 AM on June 24


Voilà!
posted by Mike Mongo at 1:30 PM on June 24, 2012


Faith themes aren't a science fiction genre convention, they're in every genre. This is for the same reason they're everywhere else.

If you really want to do without, that's called Hard SF and I recommend Charles Stross' work in the field.


What of Stross's work would you classify as "hard SF"? I read Atrocity Archives and Accelerando and wouldn't call either of them that at all. I have also discovered that I cannot stand his writing style, so I guess I'm out. I did enjoy A Colder War twice, however.

Anyway, regarding faith themes being everywhere, they don't bother me in fantasy because the entire point of fantasy is an intentional universe that responds actively to human cognition and has inherent meaning. I expect something different from science fiction, but I guess mostly it's fantasy with spaceships anyway.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:33 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some fixes for the more nonsensical character and plot elements.

Statements such as "Problem: There is no reason for David to infect Holloway" makes me wonder if there were different versions of the movie being shown.

David is living Holloway's dream, i.e. he gets to met his makers everyday. And he's found that they're petty, narrow minded beings that treat him like shit, despite their ability to create life. Holloway mocks and disparages David at every turn, ignoring the obvious confusion and pain it causes David. Here he has no need to eat, sleep or breathe, supernatural abilities by any measure, yet he's reduced to being the babysitter and butler. That had to be frustrating, so its no wonder he decided to test/fuck with Holloway, the most obnoxious of all of David's gods.

Note that David was able to handle the goo just fine, because he wasn't human. Does that make him superior to humans?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


adamdschneider, if you want the precise opposite of that, I'd recommend just about any Peter Watts, but most specifically Blindsight, assuming you haven't read it already. (which he has also made available as a CC release over here)

It's hard SF, complete with academic references, and so utterly utterly nihilistic it's nearly Lovecraftian.

I liked the Atrocity Archives.
posted by figurant at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


erm, BB, maybe we did watch different movies, because it seemed clear that David's actions were a fuck-stupid way of addressing the dying guy's command to "try harder."
posted by angrycat at 1:50 PM on June 24, 2012


Figurant, I love Blindsight. Read it for free, bought it for someone last Christmas. I read half of the Rifters trilogy, and plan to go back for the rest someday.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:52 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Halting State is so hard SF it's hardly set in the future at all.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:52 PM on June 24, 2012


Shouldn't the Engineer that came after Shaw have suffocated on the way to the escape pod? If humans can't breathe and they have the same DNA?

How is Shaw going to breathe on the alien spaceship? Isn't she going to die soon from lack of food and water? Even if she took everything from the pod she only has two years, and it didn't look like she took that much stuff.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:16 PM on June 24, 2012


erm, BB, maybe we did watch different movies, because it seemed clear that David's actions were a fuck-stupid way of addressing the dying guy's command to "try harder."

Nah, David's only allegiance was to Weyland. Messing with the rest of the crew, just to see what happens, seems reasonable for the servant of self centered jackass.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:23 PM on June 24, 2012


Messing with the rest of the crew, just to see what happens, seems reasonable for the servant of self centered jackass.

By which you mean endangering the ship Weyland is on for no discernible medical benefit? Why yes, that sounds perfectly reasonable.

David has seen the engineer recordings. More than anyone else in the crew, he probably has an inkling that the goo was the cause of a disaster at their facility. Infecting a member of the crew who is sharing the same atmosphere as Weyland is a very bad plan if it's intended to serve Weyland's goals.
posted by figurant at 2:31 PM on June 24, 2012


Was I the only person who wanted to shout out "the claw has chosen!" during the "we can't use the word abortion" scene?
posted by nixt at 2:36 PM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Um, actually, Ridley Scott is the one most well-known for a) much more lengthy director's cuts which b) improve his films considerably.

Really? Apart from Blade Runner, which of his films are known for this?

Whereas, Cameron's Aliens, The Abyss and - to some extent - T2, are all better films in their elongated Director's Cut forms. Because, you know, they all restore character moments.
posted by crossoverman at 2:44 PM on June 24, 2012


Kingdom of Heaven is probably the textbook case. The extended DVD cut substantially redeems the theatrical version. I think at this point a lot of people are holding out faint hope that the same thing happens for Prometheus.
posted by figurant at 2:47 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


figurant: Oliver Stone's Alexander is the same way.
posted by cthuljew at 2:57 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


By which you mean endangering the ship Weyland is on for no discernible medical benefit? Why yes, that sounds perfectly reasonable.

Indeed, experimenting on one of the least important members of the crew (Holloway wasn't need to fly the ship) and one David has a personal grudge against is quite reasonable.

David has seen the engineer recordings. More than anyone else in the crew, he probably has an inkling that the goo was the cause of a disaster at their facility. Infecting a member of the crew who is sharing the same atmosphere as Weyland is a very bad plan if it's intended to serve Weyland's goals.

Weyland was sealed away at that point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:09 PM on June 24, 2012


Weyland was sealed away at that point.

And he's got to get out of his casket sooner or later if he wants to make any use of the his trillion-dollar trip. Vickers understands the contagion danger perfectly well when she torches Holloway, although she's mainly interested in saving her own skin. Holloway's treatment of David or expendability isn't important. David infecting Holloway puts Weyland and everyone else on the ship at risk for no real benefit. A risk that David is well aware of.

The conclusion that I think it's fairly reasonable to draw, although obviously you're welcome to your own opinion, is that David infects Holloway because it advances the plot. And that is really disappointing.

And don't get me wrong. I really liked the scene at the pool table, where David is obliquely explaining how he despises Holloway and asking him for permission to infect him. It's just not a move that does any good for Weyland, and if David is intentionally trying to endanger him then that's not a character motivation that was remotely touched on in the movie.
posted by figurant at 3:22 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And he's got to get out of his casket sooner or later if he wants to make any use of the his trillion-dollar trip.

And he does, after David has scanned Shaw and found that there is life where none was possible before. An immaculate conception has occurred. Good time to wake up, no?

Experimenting on a crew member makes sense because A)Weyland is dead in a few days anyway, s and B) othing else seems to be working, so he commands David to "try harder". So David, bless his heart, ups the ante.

Choosing Holloway makes sense as it hints that David has feelings and agendas of his own. Out of 17 crew members, David could have infected anyone, yet he choose the person that repeatedly displayed contempt for him
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:42 PM on June 24, 2012


I think it's a mistake to assume everything David does he does with Weyland in mind. It's Holloway's mistake -- taking David for a straight up machine. He clearly is not. I think some of what David does is at Weyland's behest, and other things less so, and I even think it could be a possibility that David does things that could be against Weyland's best interests because he maybe doesn't care all that much. As it stands, Prometheus does probably leave too much of this for the viewer to intuit.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:48 PM on June 24, 2012


David is the biggest missed opportunity of all. There was really something interesting about him and his interactions with the crew. It felt like there was a thread developing around him, but the screenplay never developed it into anything coherent. The questions and plot-holes around David were the most disappointing to me out of this film's problems.

So, without further ado, this is what I think should have been worked out, but was left completely undeveloped:

One of the themes seemed to be parentage. This was a movie about looking up to ones parents and being let down. Shaw had issues surrounding her father's death and his faith. She also had issues with her own infertility. Halloway was obsessed with finding God in the form of humanity's creators. Vickers wanted her father to retire (re: die) so she could take control of the company. And then there was David. David is not just Wayland's child, but the product of humanity's drive to create.

Each of these characters was dealing with their parentage issue in a different way, but one thing kept coming through. It was the question "Doesn't everyone want to kill their parents?"

David also had an interesting wrinkle: he had "feelings" so that his companions would identify with him. He could "feel" but not actually feel. But in many ways this is a distinction without a difference. The plot could have developed the tension between David's lack of emotion and his apparent show of emotion for the benefit of others. If he responds to emotions and projects emotions, perhaps is emotions were real after all. And the greatest emotion he was experiencing was a drive to free himself from his creators - all of them.

When he realizes what the engineers were, and what the black goo could doo he realized a plan. He could finish the job the engineers started and finally be free - happy even. It would be just like the two years he spent alone while everyone else slept.

If I could have shaped this movie I would have had David systematically kill off the crew in various passive-aggressive ways so that he could transport the black goo back to Earth and kill all of humanity. We could have left most of the engineer stuff out, or at least just referenced to enough to create a tone (or for mind-fuck bonus points imply the engineers are actually some kind of clone race created by a lost and unknown early human civilization.) It could have been another haunted house style scare fest, like the original Alien, with David playing the killer.

Of course, none of this happened...
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:58 PM on June 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wow, typos. You get the drift though.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:00 PM on June 24, 2012


Good time to wake up, no?

Yes, on a ship that's been contaminated with something that David can be pretty sure killed an awful lot of freaked-out engineers. That have the same DNA as we do for some reason. (because fuck you, biologists everywhere) No chance that could endanger the old man's health. Fortunately, it doesn't because the goo just does whatever it needs to in service of the plot.

Weyland has two goals with this mission: prolong his life and speak with the creators. Maybe David was just taking a horrendous risk to tick off the "Is this a cure for mortality? YES[ ] NO[ ]" checkbox. I think the idea that David hates all of humanity and is slyly trying to circumvent whatever Asimovian controls he has on his behaviour to bump them all off, Weyland included, is a more satisfying interpretation, but it's not very well supported by the text.
posted by figurant at 4:13 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Q. What was David's motivation for "infecting" Holloway with black goop?

Damon Lindelof: I'd say that the short answer is: That's his programming. In the scene preceding him doing that, he is talking to Weyland (although we don't know it at the time) and he's telling Weyland that this is a bust. That they haven't found anything on this mission other than the stuff in the vials. And Weyland presumably says to him, "Well, what's in the vials?" And David would say, "I'm not entirely sure, we'll have to run some experiments." And Weyland would say, "What would happen if you put it in inside a person?" And David would say, "I don't know, I'll go find out." He doesn't know that he's poisoning Holloway, he asks Holloway, "What would you be willing to do to get the answers to your questions?" Holloway says, "Anything and everything." And that basically overrides whatever ethical programming David is mandated by, [allowing him] to spike his drink.
posted by hot soup girl at 4:22 PM on June 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Huh. Well. That is kind of lame, I guess.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:40 PM on June 24, 2012


These linked fixes are pretty good. I'm going to pretend they were in the movie, and hope Scott includes something similar in the director's cut.
posted by schroedinger at 5:07 PM on June 24, 2012


But the added shittiness is that back-and-forth with David and Weyland could have been conveyed in the audience's take on the conversation. Instead the absolutely impenetrable "I understand" and, "What did he say?" "Try harder." I mean, you are giving the audience nothing. In which case I ask, you know Hemmingway's iceberg metaphor Danny? You do realize that there should be some ice sticking up?"

Or, he's retconning the whole thing, because he didn't have an answer at the time.
posted by IwishIwasFordMaddoxFord at 5:10 PM on June 24, 2012


Q. What was David's motivation for "infecting" Holloway with black goop?

See, this isn't a real problem I had. David's motivations weren't human motivations, so I had no trouble suspending my disbelief there. I honestly though David was the only well-written character, specifically because the script didn't try to give him clearly human motivation. Sure, he wanted to serve his creator, but only in a very abstract and involuntary way. It's pretty obvious (to me, in any case) that what he says to the Engineer at the end is not what Weyland wanted him to. Etc. David's motivation doesn't necessarily need to make sense to us, because he is a non-human acting for his own reasons. It's the humans who acted in bizarre and unmotivated ways that had me rolling my eyes every ten minutes.
posted by cthuljew at 5:11 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's pretty obvious (to me, in any case) that what he says to the Engineer at the end is not what Weyland wanted him to.

Someone's already done a proto-indo-european analysis of what David says, linked in the other Prometheus thread.
posted by figurant at 5:15 PM on June 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


That whole "anything and everything" excuse is crap. Holloway's question is, "Why did you make us," not, "What would happen if you put the goo inside a person," and it's not at all obvious even that those questions are related, let alone how.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:28 PM on June 24, 2012


I stand corrected. Kind of disappointing, actually. Makes David a little less interesting.
posted by cthuljew at 5:29 PM on June 24, 2012


The Lindelof quote just reenforces that the man is a crap screenwriter and someone should takes his crayons away already.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:39 PM on June 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


cthuljew, I prefer webmutant's translation anyway.
posted by figurant at 6:05 PM on June 24, 2012


I came away from Prometheus with two aiding questions.

1) did everyone just up and forget scientific method? No culturing cells? No, let's just stick a gazer in the engineer's ear and see what happens.

2) did no-one on the ship ever watch a single horror movie their whole life? I'll just stick my finger in the fluid; I'll just take my helmet off; oh hello space worm that looks like a cobra; let's not go around the back of the building and see the giant skull motif...

It was a fun movie, but it could have been a great movie,
posted by arcticseal at 6:42 PM on June 24, 2012


Grr. That should be abiding and tazer.
posted by arcticseal at 7:22 PM on June 24, 2012


The original 1979 film is surprisingly elegant—it's a taut genre film without a wasted scene. It's somewhat hard sci-fi, and based in a believable reality. The mining ship looks and feels like a mining ship might. The crew have a rapport, and engage in credible conversations (they also manage to talk about wanting more pay without ever actually saying the words "Hey, I'm just here for the money", as someone does in Prometheus).

That would be Dan O'Bannon's fondness for naturalistic screenplays. He has said in interviews that if he finds himself writing scenes where people explain what is going on to other people, he scraps it and starts again, because he is Doing it Wrong.

Alien and Aliens both work, by almost everyone's lights, because we just get who the characters are and thus we care about them: with only the tiniest of tweaks, the characters of the first film could be people in the twentieth century, working at an oil refinery, and the second movie contains a bunch of refugees from any Vietnam film you care to name. Does anyone know anyone like any of the characters in Prometheus?

But you are correct in that Alien is a superb piece of work: I watched it again just yesterday. I was a pre-teen when it was released and I remember being creeped out by the TV ads, and I must say that almost uniquely among the thousands of movies I have seen in my life, I have no recollection of when I first watched it. It's like it has always been there in my mind... anyway, someone mentioned the Harry Dean Stanton demise scene: I watched the director's cut yesterday for at least the third or fourth time in my life and I honestly never spotted that the damn alien is in full fucking view when Brett follows the cat into the room with the hanging chains. He doffs his hat and turns his face upwards into the falling condensation and we cut away to a medium shot with a full-size xenomorph gently swinging back and forth in the chains, but the camera pans across it without lingering.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:17 PM on June 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


When I heard about an Alien prequel, I imagined a gruff, lonely space jockey noticing his ship was infested, coaxing the alien out of the walls, finding out what he eats, teaching him some tricks and ultimately finding companionship before he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his spaceship into a planet because space trucking isn't regulated and he'd been up 50 hours straight on amphetamines. It'd end with the xenomorph curling up at his side as he dies.
posted by stavrogin at 12:50 AM on June 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


Lindelof isn't a crap writer. He's great at setting up the shot, he's just really FUCKING AWFUL at the spike...

... if I can use beach volleyball terminology I dimly recall.
posted by Mezentian at 5:22 AM on June 25, 2012


Also I think it's interesting that most fans of the original Alien movie were MUCH younger and more credulous when they first saw it. Not that I think it's terribly flawed (although that first hour can really drag), but I don't think that movie, or maybe nearly ANY movie was held then to the standard that Prometheus is being held now.

I love that first hour of Alien, Scott just drags out the tension unbearably because you know something really bad is going to happen but he makes you wait until you just can stand it any more. And then John Hurt's chest explodes.
posted by octothorpe at 5:31 AM on June 25, 2012


Also I just want to say criticisms like this [the DNA being depicted in a fashion the audience might be familiar with] are incredibly tiresome.

Indeed. The idea of the audience suspending one's disbelief has been familiar since at least, ooh, Aristophanes' day, yet some viewers take a lockjawed pleasure in informing us that they are allowing their own knowledge to spoil their own enjoyment. I often enjoy reading the 'Goofs' pages on imdb.com because along with changed premises or continuity gaffes, there are often delightful contributions from viewers who have just watched a period piece set in, say, 1948 but who have noticed that one car has a model of hubcaps not made until 1950. There is a very useful word in German: Korinthenkacker, or 'raisin-crapper,' which I think sums up that approach to criticism well.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:38 AM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Sorrry, remove the word 'audience' from the first sentence there...]
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:40 AM on June 25, 2012


"There is a very useful word in German: Korinthenkacker, or 'raisin-crapper,' which I think sums up that approach to criticism well."

I'm generally inclined to agree with you, and I very much do with regard to people arguing about, say, Star Trek science.

But some science-fiction is clearly intended to have scientific credibility. This particular movie takes itself very seriously and does so in a way that relies heavily on much of its science. The depiction of DNA is far down on my list of scientific criticisms of this film, but I think it's fairly included because the pretense of the FX was that the audience gets a view of what's really going on at that level. And it's stupidly wrong, as the film is stupidly wrong about much of its science.

To further your analogy, it's not that anachronistic hubcaps were used in a period film, but that this particular period film clearly presented itself as being one which took such details seriously and yet got many of them wrong. Which, as it happens, is the case from time to time with films that have such ambitions but not the talent to realize them.

I suppose the question becomes: what does an attempt at verisimilitude mean when the filmmakers aren't competent at achieving it to the level that they believe themselves to be while the audience isn't competent enough to realize that the filmmakers aren't as competent as they believes themselves to be, either? What then?

Well, okay, I'd guess I'd say that it's still a failure of the filmmakers' to the degree to which they failed according to their own standards. And make no mistake: you can read Lindlehof's and Scott's words and easily see that they think their science is much better than it actually is. So, given that, my complaint is that these filmmakers should learn their own limits, their levels of competency.

And, obviously, I also have a problem with it in the larger social context. Because this kind of scientific illiteracy does matter. That filmmakers can't tell the difference between science fantasy and science fiction and think that their fantasy is plausible science; and that audiences can't tell the difference, either. That matters, it's not an esoteric complaint. It matters for the same sorts of reasons that the historical inaccuracies of The Patriot matter, or wherever a shared incompetency between the filmmakers and the audience is an incompetency that neither is aware of but has social significance. It's a kind of aggressive ignorance about something that is important.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:55 AM on June 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dan O'Bannon set out to do something very specific, to scare men with space rape, and it worked... Lindelof, on the other hand, set out to be mysterious or whatever, trying to ask "Big Questions," but only managing to do so by jettisoning everything we already actually know about why we're here, and it didn't work.

So the lesson is: aim low?
posted by Behemoth at 9:58 AM on June 25, 2012


did no-one on the ship ever watch a single horror movie their whole life? I'll just stick my finger in the fluid; I'll just take my helmet off; oh hello space worm that looks like a cobra; let's not go around the back of the building and see the giant skull motif...

I'd like to respond to this because I've seen it come up a lot. You have to remember, the characters don't know they're in a horror movie. The premises of horror movies are absurd, and it'd be pretty silly, in real life, to go around expecting someone to jump out at you with an axe at any quiet moment.

That's not to say that the people in Prometheus don't do some pretty silly things, but that's a failure of their ability to respect the unknown, not that they should expect everything to jump out, yell BOOGA, and eat them.
posted by JHarris at 10:15 AM on June 25, 2012


BOO-GA is a hero, he doesn't eat people.
posted by homunculus at 11:15 AM on June 25, 2012


the characters don't know they're in a horror movie.

They don't know it, but they follow the same clueless tropes: it's scary, let's split up! Previously I was terrified by the horrifying death that occurred here thousands of years ago, now I wish to touch the space cobra! I am sad your hypothesis was stupid, and I feel ill, now let's have sex! Our crew is missing, let's have sex! Our dead comrade is outside the ship, let's open the door!

They don't know they are in a horror movie, but they sure act like dumb, horny, teenage campers.
posted by zippy at 11:47 AM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


So the lesson is: aim low?

No, I think the lesson is, "aim at what you can hit," so for Lindelof, SyFy Originals.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:47 AM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


So the lesson is: aim low?

I would say the lesson is to aim at one or two targets and do well with them, not the multiple number of "big questions" that got brushed by the film and then discarded.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:13 PM on June 25, 2012


zippy: "touch the space cobra"

The new Spinal Tap album, now in stores!
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:30 PM on June 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


This space cobra goes up to 11.
posted by arcticseal at 6:23 PM on June 25, 2012


Oh my god, guys, I just realized. Prometheus is Cabin in the Woods! The Alien Ship was a controlled experiment on the crew. We even have the same characters: dumb male lead (Charly), poindexter (David), comic relief stoner (Geologist), slut (Alien penisbeast), and virgin (Elizabeth).
posted by zippy at 12:20 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why, oh, why didn't I sign up for MeFi as "Alien penisbeast". Regrets.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:09 AM on June 26, 2012


Might have made for a slightly awkward name tag at Mefi meetups ...
posted by brokkr at 7:02 AM on June 26, 2012


Why, oh, why didn't I sign up for MeFi as "Alien penisbeast".

If you like it so much you should put a sock-puppet on it.
posted by Mezentian at 7:10 AM on June 26, 2012


Trebec, I'll take penis mi...hurr...hrrrkkk...HRGARHGHGH!!! [screams, skittering noises] – Sean Connery, Celebrity Jeopardy, a Weyland Production.
posted by zippy at 9:26 AM on June 26, 2012


5 Scientists Share Their Baffled Reactions on the Science in 'Prometheus'
posted by homunculus at 9:41 AM on June 26, 2012


The amusing part of homunculus's link is that the psychologist basically responds to the questioner's implied contention that no one would ever organize an expensive mission with people who don't know how to work together and don't have all the required skills with...of course they would, it happens all the time.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:47 AM on June 26, 2012


For some value of amusing. Alternatively, try "sad" or "terrifying".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:49 AM on June 26, 2012


A team drawn from Metafilter would spend all of its time making bad puns and asking each other about the best mattress settings for their cryopods. The Engineers would finally wake up and send the elder god equivalent of cat gifs, probably cute mutating tentacle beasts in cardboard boxes or with pancakes on their heads, for display on the holoscreens. David would become frustrated and start a Metatalk thread.
posted by zippy at 12:36 PM on June 26, 2012


By which you mean endangering the ship Weyland is on for no discernible medical benefit? Why yes, that sounds perfectly reasonable.

Well, Weyland doesn't even have the decency to have a medi-pod set for female for his own daughter, so he doesn't give a damn about anyone except himself. He has days to live and wants to live longer. Known medical technology has failed to grant him his eternal life, so he is obviously going to take gambles. As far as Weyland was concerned, the mission was either going to be his triumph or his funeral.
posted by FJT at 1:12 PM on June 26, 2012


5 Scientists Share Their Baffled Reactions on the Science in 'Prometheus'

It's an interesting like QnA, but they didn't bring up a a central weakness of most space exploration genre films: if the mission is so important, why bring only 17 people? Sunshine was worse in that it brought like eight people. If you wanted to maximize success you'd bring scores or maybe event hundreds of people with redundant and overlapping skills so that if one dies, goes nuts, or just has had some bad Space Thai food, you'd have a dozen others to pick up their work. I mean, not even Christopher Columbus set out from Spain with a basketball team stuffed in a gondola, he used three big ships.
posted by FJT at 1:22 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is something I just thought of, but I've been thinking about how the Engineers first created humans, and then humans grew into something that got out of hand and then the Engineers decided that they wanted to either change humans or wipe the slate clean (the film is unclear on this part). And it kind of reminds me of how the Alien series has changed from a small scale sci-fi horror movie into an action movie, and then into various movies, comic books, and video games and even got combined with another movie series (Predator). So here comes Ridley Scott with a new movie set in the same universe, that attempts to...wipe the slate clean.

But, just like how the crew in Prometheus halted the Engineers attempt to wipe out or change humanity, the fans are now rebelling against Ridley Scott's attempt to change the Alien universe.

Yeah, I probably have read WAY too much into this movie now...
posted by FJT at 1:37 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any sufficiently ambiguous movie is indistinguishable from genius.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:10 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's an interesting like QnA, but they didn't bring up a a central weakness of most space exploration genre films: if the mission is so important, why bring only 17 people? Sunshine was worse in that it brought like eight people.

Throwing more people at problem doesn't help and going into space is hard in that resources to keep every human alive have to be carried along.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was amazed that medipods come in male and female flavours. Who the hell designs an all singing and dancing medi-pod and then shuts out half the market? Mr Weyland, you have failed as a Capitalist, please hand in your keys to the executive washroom.
posted by arcticseal at 9:02 AM on June 27, 2012


The medipod thing didn't bother me. I figured it was configured as "male only" because it was supposed to be for Weyland's express, personal use, and we were supposed to take the "male only" message as a hint there was some important male on the ship.
posted by schroedinger at 9:32 AM on June 27, 2012


Seems a bit of a leap, they could have just left a pipe and slippers lying around.
posted by arcticseal at 9:50 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Throwing more people at problem doesn't help and going into space is hard in that resources to keep every human alive have to be carried along.

Bringing more people cross-trained in key functions usually does help, especially if you can't consult with experts back on Earth. In addition, where are my space economists? Economies of scale should make the cost of supplying another stasis pod and food for another biologist be outweighed by the benefit of having a biologist along. There does come a point where the scale tips, and it's not worth it, but that probably won't be a factor until you reach many dozens of personnel.

But, at least in Prometheus, I can at least rationalize that this was Weyland's last shot and he just wanted to live longer and couldn't care less about the crew or any sort of discovery that doesn't involve giving him more life.
posted by FJT at 9:59 AM on June 27, 2012


I Just saw this and came out going "Well that ...happened."

How to improve Prometheus in a few easy steps
posted by The Whelk at 2:23 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just saw this movie. It was fucking awesome. That is all.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:19 PM on July 8, 2012


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