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Prometheus: rebuilding hallowed vfx space
July 16, 2012 8:02 AM   Subscribe

An indepth look at the visual effects of Prometheus.
posted by chunking express (97 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Surely, at some point, the CG artists must have sent a series of puzzled memos back to the producers asking whether they really wanted their characters to run parallel to the long, narrow falling objects...

I mean...I just don't understand how that scene made it into the film without anybody on the production crew suggesting that maybe, just this once, the director should add some sort of detail that explains the character's completely ridiculous choices and/or profound lack of basic survival skills.
posted by schmod at 8:17 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


“We had mattes sent to us from production which would bend us a perfect left eye, where all the features are horizontal,” adds Cole. “But now that left eye relates to a camera that no longer exists. So you really need to solve a camera against the ones that exist – if you want to do science on the cameras you have to do it on the non-bent images, and take that faked out left eye as best as you can do it. Luckily for a lot of those shots we had there was stuff in the air.”

Well, yeah. How else would you do that? I tots knew that was what they did, with the solving against the existing cameras and the bent left eye and all. Just once I'd like to see an article like this tell me something I don't know.
posted by OmieWise at 8:22 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Engineer is introduced as a creature in the opening sequence. He’s an idealized human in a number of ways with alabaster skin and perfect physique. “He has come to what we discover is Earth to effectively seed Earth with life,” outlines Hill, “he drinks this black organic goo which effectively destroys him from within.”

From that opening shot, as the scene progresses, the audience sees right down to a molecular level and see his DNA being torn apart by this transforming substance. “We see this DNA reform and become Earth DNA, if you like, effectively creating life on Earth,” he says.
Is that what the CG artists were told? It would have been nice if Ripley Scott would have also told that to the audience. The opening sequence is shown, never explained, and never referenced again throughout the remainder of the movie. It's very pretty, but.....WTF....
posted by schmod at 8:29 AM on July 16, 2012


(Sorry. Didn't mean to turn this into a discussion on the film's (lack of) plot and characterization. We already did that a few months ago. This article is fascinating, and the movie was indeed visually stunning!)
posted by schmod at 8:33 AM on July 16, 2012


I wish this level of attention to detail and coherence had been applied to the script. This is a lot of hard work to produce something that is gorgeous to look at but not worth watching.
posted by Legomancer at 8:37 AM on July 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


5 Ways To Fix Promthesus' script
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was convinced that the landing sequence of the Prometheus going through the clouds was some new awesome volumetric particle tech. Disappointed that it was just composited footage from Iceland.

Nature can just be so fucking... ugh... PERFECT.
posted by hanoixan at 8:39 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is that what the CG artists were told? It would have been nice if Ripley Scott would have also told that to the audience. The opening sequence is shown, never explained, and never referenced again throughout the remainder of the movie. It's very pretty, but.....WTF....

Honestly, I'm not sure what's complicated about that scene. Dude drinks good, it kills him and his DNA begins reproducing, it's all in the visuals.

Which fits neatly with the later "invitation" from the Engineers.

I tots knew that was what they did, with the solving against the existing cameras and the bent left eye and all. Just once I'd like to see an article like this tell me something I don't know.

Believe it or not, there are other people in the world and they may be interested in the information and techniques.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 AM on July 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Legomancer: "I wish this level of attention to detail and coherence had been applied to the script. This is a lot of hard work to produce something that is gorgeous to look at but not worth watching."

Did anyone else notice that the guys they interviewed dropped a number of subtle hints that Ripley Scott was very difficult to work with? It sounded like the CG artists were given a lot of needlessly-challenging footage and unnecessary constraints to work with.

I know that difficult directors are more or less par for the course, but it sounds like Scott had a vision and working strategy that didn't really align well with the way that modern films are produced. That said, Weta are undisputed masters of their craft, and really came through to deliver some absolutely stunning visuals. It's also interesting to see that they've definitely got a signature "look," and you can pretty easily pick out which scenes they worked on...
posted by schmod at 8:53 AM on July 16, 2012


Disappointed that it was just composited footage from Iceland.

Actually, that's just what people in Iceland drive, as far as I can tell. They have a much more sophisticated technology than most people realize. The next time you are wailing "where are my flying cars?" the answer is "in Iceland."

Also, don't mess with Iceland; they have magma cannons.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:54 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Believe it or not, there are other people in the world and they may be interested in the information and techniques."

I'm 99% sure the original comment was sarcasm.

The article talks about some incredibly impressive work. More impressive than a lot of Physics journal articles that I've read (and tangentially interesting, because the Weta folks apparently draw from and contribute to a lot more "hard physics" research than I would have initially imagined)
posted by schmod at 8:54 AM on July 16, 2012


it's all in the visuals.

It wasn't immediately obvious that the action was taking place on Earth, though.
posted by elizardbits at 8:57 AM on July 16, 2012


whether they really wanted their characters to run parallel to the long, narrow falling objects...

I don't really get this criticism, and I've seen it everywhere.

In that moment of the movie, the ship is rolling but it's also teetering, and it looks like it could pretty much fall in either direction. As they run you can see both them sort of feinting left and right (though their main motivation is obviously to just get AWAY) but there's no telling which way it's going to fall. So like, where do you even run? The thing is dozens of yards wide and could land anywhere.

I mean, they kind of gave audiences a few too many seconds to think about it and decide it was ridiculous. But I didn't think it particularly dumb or irrational on behalf of the characters.
posted by hermitosis at 8:57 AM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also please stop saying "Ripley Scott." It hurts my brain.
posted by hermitosis at 8:59 AM on July 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


The article talks about some incredibly impressive work. More impressive than a lot of Physics journal articles that I've read (and tangentially interesting, because the Weta folks apparently draw from and contribute to a lot more "hard physics" research than I would have initially imagined)

Yeah, I was totally joking. The article blew me away. I was mostly commenting on my own complete inability to actually understand the complexity of what they were doing, which is pretty different from what I imagined I'd find (a bunch of cool pictures and some anecdotes about too much pizza and cigarettes) when I opened the article.
posted by OmieWise at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


It wasn't immediately obvious that the action was taking place on Earth, though.

Eventually, say about 10 minutes later, it was a foregone conclusion, yeah?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ripley Scott

Okay, look. What if that screenplay didn't even exist? Did you ever think about that, I didn't know! So, now, if I went and made a major special effects situation out of it, everybody steps in; 20th Century Fox steps in, and there's no coherent movie for anybody, nobody wins! So I made a decision to go ahead with a prequel, and it was... wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley Scott. It was a bad call.
posted by RogerB at 9:01 AM on July 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I say we grease 'im now.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2012


Eventually, say about 10 minutes later, it was a foregone conclusion, yeah?

I read an interview in which Ridley Scott said that it's not meant to be clear if the planet was Earth or some other, unrelated planet.
posted by mediareport at 9:14 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still haven't seen the film. I'm still angry about it unfairly stealing from Jay Sherman's student film "L'artiste est morte."
posted by Earthtopus at 9:15 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


The engineer was Xenu.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:17 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty movie, nearly unbelievably abysmal plot.
posted by Catblack at 9:18 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I still haven't seen the film. I'm still angry about it unfairly stealing from Jay Sherman's student film "L'artiste est morte."

Oh, no, Promutheus!
posted by adamdschneider at 9:20 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Prometheus Concept Art
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


hermitosis: "Also please stop saying "Ripley Scott." It hurts my brain."

Oh, shit. I have no idea how long I've had that wrong. God, that's embarrassing. (Mods, wanna fix my glaring mistake?)

posted by schmod at 9:35 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The special effects in this film were perfect. Seamless. I thought this was a fucking awesome movie. Your complaints are trivial.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:35 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I'm not sure what's complicated about that scene. Dude drinks good, it kills him and his DNA begins reproducing, it's all in the visuals.

Actually, the need to inform the audience visually that this is his DNA seeding life on earth is probably the reason it was shown in this ridiculous way, completely inconsistent with both basic biology and the rest of the plot (if it's breaking up to be reformed later, how is human DNA a match for alien DNA? If it reformed to be 99.5% the same anyway, why did it need to break up in the first place? Where do all the other primates (presumably less similar to the engineers) fit into this, never mind other life forms? ).

But I guess the other way of showing him seeding the earth with DNA would not be as dramatic, and probably lead to rating problems.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


How would a graphic alien prehistoric masturbation scene not be dramatic?
posted by elizardbits at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Duh. Fireproof alien DNA + lava = primordial soup that all life on Earth sprung forth from.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:40 AM on July 16, 2012


Bar the nitpicky silly ones i pretty much have all the same complaints as anyone else - the scientists were dumbasses, the bit with the head and the zombie attack nonsensical, etc... Etc... And yet overall, I loved it? It's Book of Alien fan-fic that riffs on Mountains of Madness and is visually stunning, how am I not going to into that that? And there's portions (the autodoc sequence, anything with David, the weird Kubrickesque foot washing scene that Noomi Rapace stumbles into) that are just superb.
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I cheerfully admit the movie has problems, but I love it for the thematic elements and visuals.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:49 AM on July 16, 2012


Ripply Scot?
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


schmod: "Is that what the CG artists were told? It would have been nice if Ripley Scott would have also told that to the audience. The opening sequence is shown, never explained, and never referenced again throughout the remainder of the movie. It's very pretty, but.....WTF...."

PROMETHEUS SPOILERS TO FOLLOW:




I thought it was pretty clear and it ties in with one of my biggest problems with the film. It wants to be about the "big questions" but the only one it really asks is "where did we come from?" It answers that for the audience in the first scene of the movie: these big bald dudes did it.

From there, it adds nothing. No elaboration other than a dun-DUN-DUN reveal of the bald guys wanting to kill us now for some reason, which is pretty dull to me.

I suppose if it had worked better as a simple, entertaining genre flick I'd be more willing to cut it some slack, but it's so dull and nonsensical. It's super pretty and has a good cast, but the more I think about it the more I think it would be at the bottom of my ranking of the Alien franchise.

(I remember Resurrection as being pretty godawful, but it moved quickly and it had some fun campy moments to it.)
posted by brundlefly at 9:57 AM on July 16, 2012


He’s an idealized human in a number of ways with alabaster skin and perfect physique.

Hi there, problematic attitude.

This movie was visually nice but I thought it stole a lot from Moon and AI, two movies which were both visually arresting and good.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:01 AM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, this image reminds me of something I've been wondering. I've never actually read the Barsoom books, but I noticed two moments in John Carter that I've since picked up on over and over again in other films--the first, where there is staring at/examining archaeological ruins with sexual tension, the second where someone stumbles through a magic 3d space map. Did these come from Burroughs or somewhere else?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2012


(Thanks for the link, chunking express. My problems with the movie aside, the effects were great and this is pretty neat.)
posted by brundlefly at 10:06 AM on July 16, 2012


Ripply Scot?

The well-known Dutch director.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:06 AM on July 16, 2012


No, that's Gus von Trier.
posted by griphus at 10:07 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, this image reminds me of something I've been wondering. I've never actually read the Barsoom books, but I noticed two moments in John Carter that I've since picked up on over and over again in other films--the first, where there is staring at/examining archaeological ruins with sexual tension, the second where someone stumbles through a magic 3d space map. Did these come from Burroughs or somewhere else?

A lot of cinema and TV owe a debt to German Expressionist techniques which date back to theater and early silent film. It's also derisively referred to as "Speilbergian", as the effect's been referenced extensively since the late 1970's.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2012


Well if you want quasi-orgasmic map scenes nothing beats Raiders...
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


From The Whelk's link, completely unrelated but undeniably awesome:

The best thing to do is watch Reading Rainbow clips and pretend it’s documentary footage of LeVar Burton just living his life
posted by odinsdream at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well if you want quasi-orgasmic map scenes nothing beats Raiders...

Right, but I was mostly wondering if this comes out of that or if it's something Raiders was referencing too (including old serials, etc.). Like how the Dark Haired Space Princess comes from Barsoom via Flash Gordon and then Star Wars.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2012


Interesting. I saw it in 3D and I thought it would have been better in 2D* and had, in fact, been designed so that the 3D was just pasted on. But it seems I was wrong.

*Not good. Better.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:40 AM on July 16, 2012


I think Spielberg may have invented the near-religious experience mouth dropping while looking at artifacts thing. Lovecraft certainly has a lot of people freaking out over bad-relief histories of the cosmos etc... But it doesn't have the choral music or the blessed out expressions.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2012


Maybe if he got laid every once in a while.
posted by The Whelk at 10:42 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting. I saw it in 3D and I thought it would have been better in 2D* and had, in fact, been designed so that the 3D was just pasted on. But it seems I was wrong.

For me it's on the very short list of movies that justify a 3D IMAX experience rather than use it as an excuse for gouging.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on July 16, 2012


Yeah, absolutely. As much as a disliked the movie, I'm glad I watched it in 3D IMAX. Really nicely done.
posted by brundlefly at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2012


The special effects in this film were perfect. Seamless. I thought this was a fucking awesome movie. Your complaints are trivial.

Plot, dialogue, and characters aren't "trivial". There's more to a movie than looking nice. Avatar was a grand technical achievement too. I don't think anyone's questioned how great Prometheus looked, it's the rest that was dumb.

Lovecraft certainly has a lot of people freaking out over bad-relief histories of the cosmos etc.

I wish Scott had gone more with the mystery and suspense of the original Alien and done more of a Lovecraft thing where the universe is just utterly incomprehensible to humans. I wish the Engineers hadn't been revealed so quickly but had data and hints about them uncovered bit by bit, each piece just making them more utterly alien and strange. And when we finally do see one, it should have been still completely covered by its armor to emphasize its ineffable qualities.

I really hated how they were just these big, ripped, bald white dudes. There was none of the mystery and horror of the original, where the creature didn't appear until over an hour into the movie and even then we only saw it for like a minute total.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:57 AM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, put it like this, next time I watch Alien I won't be thinking "oh yeah, that's a bald white skinned giant dude."
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on July 16, 2012


Ripley Scott

Oh man, if only this person existed and was a 3rd brother even crazier than Tony.

I'm gonna argue against the notion that Ridley Scott is either difficult to work with or out of touch with modern techniques. On the contrary, I'd say that his commitment to shooting this film deliberately for good 3D projection is pretty damn forward thinking for a man in his mid-70's who came from a world of all practical effects. I'm in technical post-production (not VFX) and have dealt with some truly horrendous tacked-on 3D and there is a dramatic difference.

Disclaimer: Ridley Scott came to my workplace a couple years back as part of an educational lecture series and:

1) fielded questions like a champ, speaking for a couple of hours despite just having come off some sort of hip replacement surgery, even answering nerdrage questions about Blade Runner

2) presented as a really talented artist from his advertising and storyboarding days

3) used the word fuck so many times and with such enthusiasm that the studio HR director who was minding him turned white as a sheet

That third one made me want to immediately have his babies. Just not bursting through my ribcage in the first week of gestation.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


And I certainly won't be thinking "oh yeah, that's some pointy headed monster thing that popped out of some a bald white skinned giant dude." - sorry pointless final scene.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on July 16, 2012


What if the blad white skinned giant dude and Ripley's "kid" got it on? That

Aliens 5: The Pounding.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on July 16, 2012


Josh Whedon never intended for this to happen!
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hi there, problematic attitude.

I had to resist shouting in the iMax. Really? We were created by giant bald white guys? Like really white guys? Really white guys with a black goo fetish? Yeah, nothing to see here; move along....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:38 AM on July 16, 2012


We were created by giant bald white guys?

*I* found that pretty terrifying actually.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even more terrifying, it appears to be China Mieville.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on July 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Kenner re-releases original Alien action figures.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


We were created by giant bald white guys? Like really white guys?

On a serious note, that's one of the things I loved about this film. God turns out be racist and sexist (note the lack of women) goth asshole, in love with his own image. He fucks up by creating us and then fucks up destroying us so badly that humans develop to be his equal.

My inner and renounced Catholic was absolutely delighted by this idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:55 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's people who say the end doesn't make sense, but I would totes be flying to the home planet of the Space Bastard with the spaceship that has all the biological weapons in its hold. Maybe with different intent.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


From there, it adds nothing. No elaboration other than a dun-DUN-DUN reveal of the bald guys wanting to kill us now for some reason, which is pretty dull to me.

I've seen Prometheus twice now and I think the reason was left open in order to make an excuse for the followup movie(s). Trilogies seem to be de rigueur these days.

He’s an idealized human in a number of ways with alabaster skin and perfect physique.

Depends on how you define "perfect". He looked kind of steroided up to me. Yuck. And dude could stand to get some sun--or a spray tan at least.

We were created by giant bald white guys? Like really white guys?

Ridley's got some 'splainin' to do. If Africa is the cradle of civilization how does a dark-skinned, kinky-haired woman evolve from a giant bald really white guy? The Engineers were probably really good at basketball though.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:12 PM on July 16, 2012


We were created by giant bald white guys?

When Prometheus SG-1 comes out, we're going to learn that evil parasites are controlling all those bald white guys. They're the ones to blame, the hosts are innocent.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:18 PM on July 16, 2012


From there, it adds nothing. No elaboration other than a dun-DUN-DUN reveal of the bald guys wanting to kill us now for some reason, which is pretty dull to me.


Sure. If you don't consider the fact that someone else created the bald guys.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:32 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


*dramatic chord*
posted by brundlefly at 12:51 PM on July 16, 2012


Larger white guys, of course.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was going to joke about all life in the universe being the child of Galactus, but it occurs to me that it would actually fit pretty well into the pseudo-Lovecraftian universe they live in to discover that the entire universe was brought into existence by superbeings whose sole goal was to have something to nom upon.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2012


I watched Prometheus for the second time becuase my dad was all upset that I had gone to see it without him. It was fun to watch it again with a slightly jaded eye, looking for the flaws and problems so many others pointed out but that I had sort of missed on the first go-round because of the spectacle of it all (yes, I am easily fooled by shiny things).

So, a few thoughts:

1. I really like the musical score throughout the film. It was this interesting juxtaposition of wonder and awe and then BAM SPACE MURDER in a way that really tickled my brain. Like, basically this how we should feel pretty much most of the time when trying to "get in touch" with certain forces of nature, even on our home planet. Because humans = fragile. I wish they would have done more with this idea. The terror of being an advaned monkey in a universe seeimingly designed to annihilate you.

2. I thought a lot about the "dumbest scientists evar" problem, and in the end I don't think it's a problem at all, really. I mean think about it, of course these guys are not-good scientists. They're all a little unhinged...I think you'd have to be to go on such a craaazy mission. Seriously, do the rundown:

a. Shaw and Whatsis Face, they are barely even scientists. Shaw even says that she "chooses to believe" in the existence of God. That sound like any competent, groundbreaking scientists you know? She's basically making a case for faith over science...which is pretty ridiculous but seems exactly like something a crazy rich person like Weyland would eat up.

b. The geologist flat-out says he's only there for the money, so is it really any surprise that he's no good at actual geology? Bottom of the barrel, I think that was the point. Same with the biologist. I mean seriously! Those guys are losers, and I think that was entirely the point. Maybe there are some deleted scenes that flesh these characters out more, shows how despearate they really are.

3. And this may be ahead-of-canon or something, but I'm pretty sure that the Weyland corp. makes most of its money in weapons and Evil Shit, and I'm betting most intelligent people would know that and thus wouldn't necessarily be willing to sign-on with them for some super secret voyage into space unless: a)money or b)desperate faith.

4. Now the DNA thing seems a bit ridiculous but I will let it slide for now because it's kind of a fun idea.

So in the end I think the script would have been a lot better with about fifteen extra minutes of scenes to better establish the characters. Really, most of the issues stem from not believing that the characters are plausible in their roles.

Also also: VICKERS IS TOTES A ROBOT
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:07 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


That sound like any competent, groundbreaking scientists you know?

The majority of them prior to the contemporary era?
posted by griphus at 1:11 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh and the male-calibrated medpod thing? Totally believable. I've seen similar goofiness in software design: like a $10 million software implementation and they forgot to build in auto-save?! It happens, people. All the time. Just because something is super advanced doesn't mean it wasn't designed/configured by morons, or possible rich dicks who only wanted men to be able to access it. Really this is not a plot problem.


The majority of them prior to the contemporary era?


Right, but this is in the future...so, one would think that this even less common. I still think the point stands.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:13 PM on July 16, 2012


Vickers is not a robot. She grew up with a robot. She fucking hates robots.
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on July 16, 2012


Oh and the male-calibrated medpod thing?

I saw that more as some pretty neat foreshadowing more than anything else.
posted by Artw at 1:16 PM on July 16, 2012


I think instead of the "Male-calibrated" medpod thing, it should have popped with a "Java is requesting an update" dialog instead.
posted by hellojed at 1:20 PM on July 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


This is about the third or thirtieth thread where people who probably enjoyed the movie feel they have to shun it in order to fit in. Terminator 2 is a "modern masterpiece", yet it features just as many trivial issues. The Herculean propping up of how time travel works in that universe is comparable to the Prometheus origin story. Break down Skynet's motivations and actions, let's see how that pans out.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:20 PM on July 16, 2012


Vickers is not a robot. She grew up with a robot. She fucking hates robots.

So did Rick Deckard and we all know how that turned out. Well, a mixture of hating and fucking and being. That's also some humans, come to think of it. Bah, too philosophical for a Monday. Team VICKERS TOTES ROBOT.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is about the third or thirtieth thread where people who probably enjoyed the movie feel they have to shun it in order to fit in

Ha! Well I like Avatar!

"Why would a moon with superconducting minerals and a magnetic flux tube have flying islands? THAT'S SO UNSCIENCEY!"- Bleh!
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2012


This is about the third or thirtieth thread where people who probably enjoyed the movie feel they have to shun it in order to fit in.

Where in the world are you getting that from?
posted by adamdschneider at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


So did Rick Deckard and we all know how that turned out.

Exactly. And remember in Blade Runner the line in the pivotal scene where Batty is about to kill Tyrell and he says "I want more life, fucker"...well I think in the Final Cut restoration they changed that back to the workprint version in which he says "I want more life, father".

Cue Vickers talking alone with Weyland and he says "anything else?" and she says "no, father."

I think Scott did that on purpose. I think it was an intentionally oblique reference to his other seminal sci-fi film, and furthermore I like to think that Blade Runner, Prometheus and Alien all exist within the same universe and have a shared mythology. And I would not be surprised if Ridley Scott felt that way too.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2012


I would rather you all try and fit into MY world where it is not only okay but totally awesome to admit that you have seen every one of Michael Bay's movies of the past 10 years.
posted by elizardbits at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2012


Heh, seems I'm not the only one with a pet theory about Blade Runner and Prometheus.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:40 PM on July 16, 2012


Vickers being a secret robot would, in my mind, be clever and tricksy but ultimatly less resonant and make the story worse.

/checks the name of the director.

So it's probably true then.

Exactly. And remember in Blade Runner the line in the pivotal scene where Batty is about to kill Tyrell and he says "I want more life, fucker"...well I think in the Final Cut restoration they changed that back to the workprint version in which he says "I want more life, father".

Man, he REALLY hates Bladerunner, doesn't he?
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on July 16, 2012


Team VICKERS TOTES ROBOT.

My personal headcanon is that Vickers was a gender-switched clone of Weyland. Weyland, desperate for an heir, couldn't have biological children of his own, so both David and Vickers represent his attempts to create offspring in his own likeness through technology.
posted by meronym at 1:46 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Damaged Y chromosome - he had to double up.

(would that work?)
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on July 16, 2012


It sounds plausible to me, but then, I'm basing all my knowledge of cloning on Jurassic Park.
posted by meronym at 1:51 PM on July 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Brocktoon: "This is about the third or thirtieth thread where people who probably enjoyed the movie feel they have to shun it in order to fit in."

Yes. Much more likely than people responding differently to the film.
posted by brundlefly at 1:52 PM on July 16, 2012


I think it was an intentionally oblique reference
Or it could have been tortuously bad over-explaining. Given the rest of the film, I like my theory better.
posted by smidgen at 2:04 PM on July 16, 2012


And remember in Blade Runner the line in the pivotal scene where Batty is about to kill Tyrell and he says "I want more life, fucker"...well I think in the Final Cut restoration they changed that back to the workprint version in which he says "I want more life, father".

Yup: Blade Runner Final Cut Is De-Fuckified

Maybe Scott will surprise us on the Prometheus DVD, and translate David's words to the engineer as "This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life. Fucker."
posted by homunculus at 4:23 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is about the third or thirtieth thread where people who probably enjoyed the movie feel they have to shun it in order to fit in.

Sorry you liked a movie that many people find mediocre, but I can assure we're being honest in our assessment.

Terminator 2 is a "modern masterpiece", yet it features just as many trivial issues. The Herculean propping up of how time travel works in that universe is comparable to the Prometheus origin story. Break down Skynet's motivations and actions, let's see how that pans out.

Different expectations. The Terminator movies were always basically action movies with sci-fi layered on, so there's more tolerance for plot problems. They just have to be awesome, which they were. Just like the Avengers is basically a comedy-action film, so its flaws can be excused if it hits the right notes.

Prometheus was billed as Serious Sci-Fi by a respected director working in the vein of his earlier, equally serious creation. The bar was a lot higher going in. It failed to meet that bar, sadly. It's very disappointing because we know Scott is capable of better.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:39 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow. Sure doesn't make me want to ever beat all kinds of odds and succeed at something difficult --unless I ever somehow managed to top it, people would patronizingly say know I'm capable of better...

Honestly I'm not sure Scott is capable of better, or ever was. Movie productions are complicated. If he and the exact same production team from Alien made a movie, I guess you might be able to say that. In this case he succeeded in some interesting ways and failed in some others, but the people groping for more than a hint of what they liked in the original movie are lucky that they got even that. That's what I got from Prometheus: just a hint of it.
posted by hermitosis at 5:41 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it's not serious Sci Fi, it's body horror in a Sci Fi universe. Terminator 2 is action in a Sci Fi universe. And frankly, how a movie is marketed should have no bearing on the movie itself. You wanted the second coming of Alien, and it was never going to be that. Just like Jimmy Paige in 2012 is not Jimmy Paige in 1977.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:06 PM on July 16, 2012


Except that it was explicitly described by its creators as Not Alien, and there's not much body horror going on - except for the gratuitous C-section scene: pretty squirmy in itself but Not Ripley is up and running again just minutes later.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:28 PM on July 16, 2012


Them are Future Staples!
posted by hermitosis at 9:52 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


So was it billed as "serious Sci Fi" and Alien Redux or not? And of course it isn't Saw with aliens, but it most definitely is a body horror movie. It really is.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:03 PM on July 16, 2012


Brocktoon: "But it's not serious Sci Fi, it's body horror in a Sci Fi universe. Terminator 2 is action in a Sci Fi universe."

I think Prometheus aims for entertaining SF/body horror and "serious" science fiction and misses both. It's too poorly paced and meandering to work as a fun genre ride in the Terminator sense and too half-baked in the handling of its themes to work as "big idea" science fiction.
posted by brundlefly at 11:15 PM on July 16, 2012


The only problem I care about with Prometheus is the demystification and dealiensing of the aliens. They're no longer actually Alien in this version of the story. They're just another of dad's fuckups.

I don't much care about the stupid scientist or inability-to-make-a-turn problems.

I'll agree that it was visually amazing. Thanks for the link!
posted by flaterik at 7:34 PM on July 17, 2012


Spaihts wrote the initial draft of “Prometheus,” which tied the story closer to the other films in the universe, as apparent in the scene’s original version. “In Jon’s draft, essentially Shaw gets a facehugger on her and gets implanted with a xenomorph, a traditional chest burster, so she used the med-pod to essentially extract this thing from her chest.”
posted by Artw at 7:50 PM on July 17, 2012


New Skintight Spacesuit Design Unveiled
posted by Artw at 8:10 PM on July 17, 2012


And then there's this guy.
posted by Artw at 8:13 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ellen Ripley and child
posted by homunculus at 3:12 PM on July 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


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