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Space Jesus vs. Robo Satan
October 6, 2012 12:36 AM   Subscribe

An alternative theory of the themes in Ridley Scott's Prometheus (SLYT)

SPOILER: It's time travel
Previously on the blue.
posted by Doleful Creature (67 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
(!) Also fair warning: at the end of the video he plugs his movie which is apparently an homage to Misty Mundae.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:36 AM on October 6, 2012


"or was it just weird alien cum?"
posted by bardic at 12:45 AM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


This review really resonated with me raise both hands into a fist then bring left back to chest in boyband move while cupping right ea...

...fuck.

(Seriously, thanks for blowing my mind. There's symbolism? It's something to do with the ancient astronaut thing? YOU DON'T FUCKING SAY MACROSS HAT)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:02 AM on October 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


I would like to propose an alternative critical world where ALL the movies that we would shallowly refer to as "BAD, BAD REALLY BAD - AVOID" are merely instances where we, the audience, have failed to delve sufficiently deep to reveal the subtext. For example "Plan 9 from Outer Space" could have selected that particular number because it was both the symbol of night for the Aztecs and the number of hierarchical choruses of the angels in heaven.
posted by rongorongo at 1:07 AM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"or was it just weird alien cum?"

Why did E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial love Reese's Pieces so much?
posted by DaDaDaDave at 1:10 AM on October 6, 2012


The "crucifix pose" he mentions is so common in Christian art it has it's own name.The Orans posture.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:42 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honest Trailers - Prometheus
posted by homunculus at 1:57 AM on October 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think this is a good effort. I also hope that there is more to the film than I gathered, but I suspect there is not.
posted by Hicksu at 2:00 AM on October 6, 2012


"They went looking for a prequel, what they found.. was a bald albino" AKA please don't do this to bladerunner
posted by phaedon at 2:07 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


This livejournal post, which was made soon after the movie was released, is the source of a lot of this. It took reddit and us by storm at the time.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:29 AM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


As fun as these kind of videos are, and as much as viewing Prometheus probably improves the movie... There's absolutely no way all that symbolism was intentional. Or if it was, Ridley Scott failed horribly... Thirty million people see a movie, and out of them, only one of them actually "gets" it?
posted by Green Winnebago at 2:45 AM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Blasdelb: Interestingly cacalorn's livejournal post seems to focus on an almost completely different set of hidden symbols from that in Eugene Baldovino's linked video (which was originally posted a couple of weeks later). In the former case the author starts by looking at the Greek legend of Prometheus while in the latter the emphasis seems to be more on Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods. The Jesus stuff seems to be a meeting point in the middle.

The analogy with Dali's Persistence of Memory is interesting. Dali was asked whether the painting was indeed about Einstein's special theory of relativity - he replied 'no' - it was rather a surrealist image of the way that Camembert cheese melts in the sun.

With Ridley Scott's film I would also, personally, side with a cheese based explanation.
posted by rongorongo at 3:55 AM on October 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


I thought it was all about how bad is fast food for us, substitute evolve naturally for prepare food. You rush the food processing, you get fat then die of a nasty cancer (stomach bursters, yay!). I wouldn't be against an explanation based on Gouda, either. Mm, Gouda.
posted by Iosephus at 5:34 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


My takeaway from this video is that there really is an extremely fine line between actual, reasoned analysis of a cultural text and going off into your own pseud pocket-universe where the last thing you saw on basic cable is OMGSORELATED to the topic at hand. This kid seems reasonably intelligent, but his choice of primary source material isn't doing him any favors.

(!) Also fair warning: at the end of the video he plugs his movie which is apparently an homage to Misty Mundae.

See my previous statement regarding source material. Our film culture has a rich vein of exploitation-cinema going back to at least the 1930s, and this guy decides to do a "retro" Misty Mundae tribute? Has anyone told him about Russ Meyer? Andy Sidaris, at least?
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:36 AM on October 6, 2012


hrmm... the list of cheeses/Ridley Scott films is so long... There must be a spot for Gouda.

The Duellists - Camembert
Blade Runner - Mozzarella
Legend - Processed cheese slices
Thelma & Louise - Marble
Gladiator - Pecorino
Black Hawk Down - Mozzarella again!
posted by shoesfullofdust at 5:39 AM on October 6, 2012


Interesting. I liked it. I also have an alternate theory on Prometheus, that I came up with to try to get rid of the whole self-sacrifice obsession, and the Space Jesus garbage.

My idea is that the Engineers were such a successful species, that they quickly outgrew their planet. They developed the black goo as a way to terraform planets in order to accomplish the extremely mundane task of providing food for themselves. Yes, an engineer had to sacrifice himself in order to kick start the process, but the main purpose of the terraforming and life-creating is purely practical.

Naturally, they would return to their terraformed planets in order to reap the rewards. On earth, strangely, one of the species that evolved ended up being very similar to the Engineers. So, they kept coming back to visit, and they hoped that one day we humans would be able to come visit. So every time they came to visit, they told us how to find their "main base".

On one of these visits, they decided that we humans had progressed far enough, that they could bring one back. So they put a "chosen one" (or two, or twenty) on the ship, and headed home. However, for whatever reason, when we humans interact with the black goo, it changes and it becomes poison. This was a surprise to us, and a surprise to the Engineers. Instead of being a life-creator, the black goo transforms and begins to infect and kill all the engineers on board. When the ship arrives back home, the infection spreads throughout the entire colony and species. The Engineers freak out (recall that infected Engineers were found in the pyramid) and decide that they must exterminate planet earth, the source of the problem. When the engineer wakes up and sees more humans, he kills them immediately because he see them as a threat to his own existence - he's angry! They are the force that corrupted their awesome black goo and made it deadly.

This theory helps to explain why they changed from wanting us to come visit them, to wanting to visit us and destroy us, without there being a stupid Space Jesus.
posted by molecicco at 5:50 AM on October 6, 2012 [26 favorites]


I saw Looper yesterday and would put it among the best science fiction movies I've ever seen. In a just world, it would do better numbers than the dreadful Prometheus. Unfortunately, we don't live in a just world and Ridley Scott will be permitted to squeeze turd after turd into the waiting mouths of the fanboy masses.
posted by dobbs at 7:38 AM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


OH I HAVE AN OPEN MIND. ALL I'M SAYING IS THAT I CAN RUN SIDEWAYS!
posted by Fizz at 8:25 AM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Got as far as his condescending "the main problem with symbolist art is that the viewer needs to understand cultural concepts" bit before I closed it. Grr, what a prick.

Seriously, we were picking out Jesus imagery when we read The Old Man and the Sea in 10th grade. The religious "symbolism" here is heavy handed and obvious. It's also just not very smart, interesting, or good.

On skimming the comments: oh, there's Misty Mundae stuff at the end of this? Time to skip to the end. I went to college with her and so will always be fascinated in a "I went to college with her" sort of way.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:33 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, that movie commercial at the end was pretty offensive and sexist, even for camp.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:37 AM on October 6, 2012


One of the reasons "Prometheus" is successful, even if it is rather incoherent: so much overthinking has been poured into it that it really stands up to this level of symbolic analysis. There is plenty to mull over and agree/disagree with, and always new details to examine which might not have stood out when you first saw them.

The worst movies are the ones where there are no conscious decisions being made -- except for cases in which the stream of consciousness effect itself so pronounced that it captures an interesting sort of anarchy, but usually instead you get something flabby and grey that leaves the viewer feeling completely unengaged.

I felt very engaged by Prometheus, even when I didn't get or didn't like its storytelling choices. I really did feel there was a riddle there, and maybe it's not even really a solvable one (a contaminated riddle which humans have bungled and made impossible to solve is actually sort of apt, considering its themes) but I enjoyed puzzling over it.

I really hate this philosophy of moviegoing where something that you didn't connect with personally or see the sense in is all-caps SHIT and a waste of your time. Sorry, that's not how the arts work. Obviously there is some insultingly stupid and craven stuff out there that is just pandering for your buck, but this ain't it, and I think there is a weird sense of entitlement in these extreme reactions.

I'm excited that movies as odd and complex and unpalatable as Prometheus can still get made. I want more of them, not fewer, because for every four or five that don't come out quite right, there might be one that becomes an incredibly significant part of our mythology.
posted by hermitosis at 8:43 AM on October 6, 2012 [20 favorites]


I really hate this philosophy of moviegoing where something that you didn't connect with personally or see the sense in is all-caps SHIT and a waste of your time. Sorry, that's not how the arts work. Obviously there is some insultingly stupid and craven stuff out there that is just pandering for your buck, but this ain't it, and I think there is a weird sense of entitlement in these extreme reactions.

Riddles and symbolism shouldn't come at the price of overall plot coherence or even thematic resonance. Frankly, having watched undergraduates tear apart poetry, using analysis of "symbolism" often based on misreading the primary source, I can tell you that just about everything can stand up to this sort of facile analysis. It's even worse with writers like Lindelof who scatter religious imagery about without ever thinking through the broader implications of the message. I can see why this appeals to many audiences--the symbolism is familiar, and the analysis of symbolism is one of the primary things we learn in high school so it's both accessible and makes us feel smart. But that doesn't mean the work deserves this level of scrutiny and it doesn't mean this kind of analysis will bear out . . . anything (particularly if Lindelof's previous works are any indication).

It also doesn't mean that people frustrated with the indulgence of this stuff are full of haterade. Hey, I'd love to see more conversation about what Moon has to say about either consciousness or souls; let's talk a little bit more about whether the characters from Attack the Block are sympathetic or unsympathetic and what the "blackness" of the aliens there means. But people, by and large, aren't having these conversations. Instead we're regurgitating Chariot of the Gods and stuff about the harmonics of the planets because "symbols!" And let's insult people who don't "get it," to boot, which is what this guy is doing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:55 AM on October 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's some real good alternative backstory, molecicco. I like it lots better than Eugene here with his inexplicable reading-in of LV-223 being in a different galaxy(?!) and time travel silliness. You should do a youtube! ^_^

To me the most important subtext or theme in the movie is the juxtaposition of parent / child relationships with ancestor / descendant and creator / created. What moral responsibilities do we bear towards our children and descendants, and (perhaps eventually) to our intelligent creations? What if we extend those relationships into a geological time-frame?

A lot of really odd details start to fall into place around that framework once you've watched the movie a few times. I don't think it's a coincidence that Scott has a character named Ford tell Holloway that LV-223's atmosphere is "just like home" only if you like breathing through an exhaust pipe. It's not a coincidence that when the landing party enters the big head room and the murals begin to change, Shaw says "oh no, we've altered the atmosphere in the room" or that the canisters of poison that cause all the trouble contain a black oily goo. It's not a coincidence that Vickers' (actually Weyland's) med-pod has a few tanks of chemicals attached and the one we see most prominently is labeled CO2.

I'm not saying that the movie is "about" climate change, fossil fuel and the state of the world as we leave it to our descendants, but it's definitely one of the threads that's deliberately woven into the subtext.

Anyhow the movie rewards repeated viewing, to say the least. There are a lot of ideas bouncing around in there and once you latch on to them some of the apparent surface flaws are either resolved or become irrelevant. I mean, Blade Runner for example doesn't even get the number of replicants right in the original theatrical release, but it's still a masterpiece in spite of that.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:57 AM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


And let's insult people who don't "get it," to boot, which is what this guy is doing.

You stopped watching the analysis at the very beginning, so you don't likely know what it is he's doing, right? The "cultural contexts" phrase was truly off-putting, but after sticking with it you might appreciate some of his ideas.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:02 AM on October 6, 2012


I thought the first half of Prometheus was amazing. the sets, Idris Elba and Michael Fassbender, the ideas it was starting to put forth. and so it was with incredible disappointment that I watched as the second half turned into a shitty monster/horror movie that seemed to only serve the purpose of expositing a movie that came out 26 years ago.
posted by ninjew at 9:03 AM on October 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


And let's insult people who don't "get it," to boot, which is what this guy is doing.

That isn't what this guy is doing. He's open about the fact that these are all just his opinion, he admits at the end that he might be wrong about all of it.

I think his tone can be a bit teacherly at times, but what is the presumed educational level of a YouTube audience? Good for you, you're smarter than them, and probably him. I guess you can either recognize that and work around it if you're interested in hearing his points, or you can just become furious and stop watching, and THEN tell us all about what he's "doing."
posted by hermitosis at 9:03 AM on October 6, 2012


You stopped watching the analysis at the very beginning, so you don't likely know what it is he's doing, right? The "cultural contexts" phrase was truly off-putting, but after sticking with it you might appreciate some of his ideas.

I actually skipped ahead to watch various points in his analysis, which included a patronizing definition of "RED HERRING," a discussion of string theory in the same breath as planetary harmonics, and pointing out several instances of Egyptian and Christian imagery. All of which seemed, again, pretty facile to me.

Generally, I think the fact that he's encouraging viewers to view this as "symbolist" art is a little rubbish, because it's a work that is only cohesive on that label. Not so for, say, The Graduate.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:08 AM on October 6, 2012


dobbs, I enjoyed Looper very much, as well. Still, even that movie is flawed.

In Looper, we are given a setting with certain internal laws, very carefully laid out (and it's a fantastically conceived premise). Events proceed in a logical manner; actions have predictable results. The characters make decisions confident in the knowledge that those laws will govern the outcomes of their actions. The storyline revolves around the eternal question of destiny and whether Man controls his own fate or the future is pre-destined to unfold in a certain way.

In Looper, the internal laws of the world assure us that, yes, under certain circumstances we CAN change our own future. Hence the existence of the Loopers, and the opening and closing of the loops. We are constrained by the physics of the loops.

I was impressed at the way the groundwork was laid out so well.

Which is why I was especially disappointed at the moment (more than one moment, actually, but to me there is one HUGE specific moment I can pinpoint exactly) where the internal laws are broken.

I loved the film for what it tried to do. I understand why the writers went the way they did. The emotional impact of the storyline hit me just as hard as it was intended to. But in recognizing that internal inconsistency and realizing the action in the film could not have played out in the way it did, an otherwise beautifully executed science fiction story was ruined for me, because the ending became nonsensical.

And, short of interjecting spoilers into this thread, that's all I have to say about that.
posted by misha at 9:18 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I haven't watched Looper yet, but do they justify the premise? It seems like if you want to eliminate someone, and you are rich and powerful enough to own a goddamn time machine, there would be easier ways to wipe someone off the face of the planet. Not to mention - why send them back 30 years? Why not 65 million years to let them get wiped out by a planet-devastating asteroid?
posted by ymgve at 9:30 AM on October 6, 2012


I think the fact that he's encouraging viewers to view this as "symbolist" art is a little rubbish, because it's a work that is only cohesive on that label. Not so for, say, The Graduate.

You might be right, although I don't think skipping through like that qualifies you to dismiss it.

But given that it was conceived as a two-part film, and they deliberately held back details that are meant to answer some of the nagging questions that may well be responsible for its "littered" appearance, maybe you could wait until the second part arrives to pass judgment. Maybe it will all come together in a way that satisfies even the most sophisticated movie palette.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:30 AM on October 6, 2012


I didn't say Looper was perfect but to me it is a better film than anything Ridley Scott has made in 30 years and it's a better science fiction movie than any I've seen in at least 10 or 15 years. Holes? Sure! It's a time-travel movie. They all have them.

But it had awesome characters and a terrific plot. Prometheus had running and CGI landscapes. It's no contest.

Misha, I sent you a memail.
posted by dobbs at 9:36 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like someone to explain to me what the image of the xenomorph, in an exalted pose, means, in the vase room. I think that's the key to it all, and I haven't seen a convincing explanation yet. My $.02--some interaction with the goo, perhaps with a human that went with (or was taken by) the engineers, produced the xenomorph. The engineers regard the xenomorph as something very special--either highly evolved, or a destroyer-god/demon which appeals to them--and they want to reproduce the result. So they are going to earth to do that to all of us when something goes wrong during the conversion/birthing ritual, like a xenomorph getting loose and killing everyone on the alien ship--the basic plot device of every Alien movie of the original franchise (not AvP)...at some point, a xenomorph is loose with prey in an enclosed space.

Human veneration/admiration of the xenomorph is expressed in each of the Alien movies--including the desire to harness/husband them, or cross-breed them. So if our creation is linked to the engineers, that they share the admiration for the xenomorph that some of us are capable of is plausible.

And what does this mean for the "invitation"? Maybe it wasn't an invitation. Maybe the various paintings were just records of visits, with the engineers describing where they came from, and telling our ancestors that they created us.

Why were they visiting? Perhaps we were a particularly interesting result of their intergalactic gardening, and they wanted to check on our evolutionary progress. But at some point, a human had a part in creating the xenomorph, and the engineers--or some of them--decided they wanted a lot more of that. Maybe they kept coming back to check on our population growth--waiting it to be large enough to create a self-perpetuating xenomorph world.

So when the humans wake up the engineer, he is furious because their presence is evidence that his ship's mission failed (he escaped the postulated xenomorph attack either because he was in stasis when in happened, or he was the lone survivor and put himself in stasis after killing the xenomorph--both echoes of Ripley). Because he does fight the massive facehugger squid thing at the end--he's not so into self-sacrifice then, perhaps because he had a mission to finish.


Okay, more like $5. And now my bags have arrived on the luggage carousel. Have a great weekend!
posted by oneironaut at 9:39 AM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Really odd to me, but I've never heard of Misty Mundae until now, despite her being from Illinois. And where are all the zeppelins?
posted by changoperezoso at 9:56 AM on October 6, 2012


Comicbookgirl19 did this 2 week before him and shes soooo much more entertaining. And cute.
posted by Damienmce at 9:58 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


You might be right, although I don't think skipping through like that qualifies you to dismiss it.

But given that it was conceived as a two-part film, and they deliberately held back details that are meant to answer some of the nagging questions that may well be responsible for its "littered" appearance, maybe you could wait until the second part arrives to pass judgment. Maybe it will all come together in a way that satisfies even the most sophisticated movie palette.


I just got through the whole thing. Phew, that ending was a one-two punch--Misty Mundae and an argument for intelligent design based on feels!

I think his argument for time travel is interesting, but unsupported, and everything that the writers have said extratextually confirms that this really is an ancient astronaut story. I would guess this is the case based on what I know about Lindelof's writing as well. He's simply not that deep of a writer, and tends to deliver pretty straightforward textual answers that are unsatisfying for a variety of reasons, first among them, most likely, his continued belief that the search for answers is unsatisfying. This seems to be the primary thesis in his work, and damned if he doesn't work hard to support it as a "creator" himself.

There's simply no evidence that the weapons are a "RED HERRING" or that we're meant to view them as such. Far more likely is that the primary explanation given in the text--the engineers are angry/negligent creator gods--is the correct one and the plot holes are there because the writing is sloppy, made sloppier by the late addition of Lindelof as scriptwriter of something that heretofore had been a straightforward action/adventure/horror prequel. Red herrings in narratives are typically resolved by the end. We're given no resolution to this one, and while I appreciate that the story isn't "done," there are plenty of vague gestures here that this was something that was supposed to Mean Something but was insufficiently contextualized or explained. The writing lacks clarity, and I don't think it's the fault of the audience for not grasping at enough straws. It's just bad writing.

It's the kind of story where typically the fans are much smarter than the writers, more perceptive and more creative. We'll wank the hell out of these plotholes, searching for connections where there aren't any because we want some kind of sense that someone who is driving this truck knows what they're doing. This has happened before--with LOST, written by the same man, but also The Matrix and The X-Files. Honestly, I'll eat my shoe if these aren't ancient astronauts. The writer told us they are. I'll eat my other shoe if most of the plot holes aren't just plot holes. I'm sure we'll get a few answers; I also suspect the answers won't be as compelling as the various fan theories.

I think Lindelof does something interesting, though, which is to co-opt the setting and the trappings of science fiction to deliver a "spiritual" Christian message. He incorporates iconography of other religions, but the meat of it is Christian in a thousand little ways (can't call an abortion an abortion, for example). Film Crit Hulk talked a lot about this, but the writer's primary message seems to be that of the futility of the search for answers and the importance of faith. Which I guess is fine, and a lot of people in our casually Christian, spiritual society seem to like it. But with Prometheus, the writers believed they were writing hard science fiction. And they're simply not--you can't have hard sci-fi predicated on Chariot of the Gods mythos. I mean, that's okay. I like soft sci-fi, but I think it says something about the wriggliness of these definitions in the public consciousness. Because people believe in cosmic vibrations and intelligent design and so hard SF can incorporate that even if these ideas are in some ways unscientific.

In a lot of ways, Lindelof's body of work reminds me of PJF's Riverworld series. Same compelling, driving sense of mystery; same promise of answers about larger concepts. But as I read further and further into Riverworld it became clearer and clearer to me that PJF didn't want to commit to his own worldbuilding, didn't want to give ultimate answers. And so overall, reading those books was a frustrating experience for me. Lindelof is okay with answers, but they're answers I can't get behind philosophically and I often feel like I'm being set up for something else when I go in. I can understand the urge to explore his work, in a way, but I do feel like it's ultimately a waste of time unless you have the same spiritual beliefs that he does.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:09 AM on October 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


silk purse. sows ear. not going to happen.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 10:27 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


But how does this all tie in with LOST?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:13 AM on October 6, 2012


The gods may have predetermined Lindelof for television. He might be unavailable for Paradise, which would really rock if it dashed all hope and got us back to real horror.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:27 AM on October 6, 2012


Fucking Prometheus.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:34 AM on October 6, 2012


Anybody who gives Lindelof a pass is an asshole in my book. I'm doing seeing that man's movies.
posted by phaedon at 12:18 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow you guys are really angry that you didn't get Alien Redux. So much angst that was never applied to films with major plot holes and cop outs like Terminator 2.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:44 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


ymgve: "Not to mention - why send them back 30 years? Why not 65 million years to let them get wiped out by a planet-devastating asteroid?"

Too many possible outcomes, I would guess. You kill that person that far back in time, it has farther reaching repercussions, like getting rid of any of their ancestors as well. Any one of those ancestors might be important to the discovery of time travel to begin with, or the crime families, or other considerations completely. His great-great grandfather might have cured the disease that would have made your own mother infertile, thus resulting in your own failure to exist.

You have to consider this kind of stuff, with time travel.
posted by misha at 12:45 PM on October 6, 2012


Somewhere, Ridley Scott finishes watching this YouTube video and sits up bolt upright. With joy, he exclaims: "He did it! Out of all the boys who saw the movie, only one of them - this boy Charlie - understood it, thus passing my test. Jeeves, fetch my car and give the Oompa-Loompas the rest of the day off! I've finally found somebody worthy to be an heir to my movie studio and fantastical chocolate factory!
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:02 PM on October 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Wow you guys are really angry that

...so much time and energy were wasted creating a movie that had the potential to be something really worthwhile if it hadn't been spoiled by the intellectual laziness of its scriptwriters?

It's a beautiful movie made from a brutally dumb script. Such a waste.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:34 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw Looper yesterday and would put it among the best science fiction movies I've ever seen.

From what I hear, Looper is a movie that tries to cover-up bad time travel logic with violence and blood.
posted by New England Cultist at 2:03 PM on October 6, 2012


Well, I actually saw Looper... and it is really good.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:15 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holes? Sure! It's a time-travel movie. They all have them.

One of the great things about Looper is it's the first time travel movie I've seen where the characters acknowledge the brain bleeding dangers of trying to wrap your head around time travel. It's like watching a zombie movie where the characters have seen a zombie movie.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:20 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would have preferred if the story was told from the android Davids point of view. As a narrator he's not only Omniscient but untrustworthy as well. He is also very Homeric in his capacity for approaching the eternal via his ability for Backup and upgrade.

I know the filmmaker has had issues in the past with voice-over. "...cold fish- that's what my wife calls me..." is unforgettable for the wrong reasons. With Michael Fassbinder I don't think his beautiful and confident delivery would be lost on anyone.

It would not be unusual as a character for him to muse "250 years ago..." in fact, it works better in this deep space and deep time in a truly cosmic scale.

His lack of desire to relate to the human crew would justify there wooden characters. Much of their exposition could be avoided by letting David tell the story.

During the exploring/action/big set-piece stuff incapacitate him by doing android things like math or tachyon beanplating while the red-shirts meet their demise.

Since this is a movie by Ridley Scott there is gonna be some heads that roll. David as a character is great at this. Just throw his head in a bag and escape.

Any future movies can begin by finding him floating in space like a message in a bottle. He could tell you his missions both true and secret. And he can be repaired/upgraded/transferred for the next round.

I hated this film and I wanted to like it so much.
posted by svenvog at 2:22 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with Prometheus is, it sets out to explain mysteries nobody wants to have explained. Who gives a shit? The thing that makes the Alien movies great is their perspective is trapped in a single series of events like the characters are... on some random colony, or in the middle of space. You have to piece just enough of the world building together for it to make sense, and even that doesn't really enrich the experience of watching the movie. Again, who gives a shit? I just want to see relatively unimportant people who I care about trapped in a claustrophobic situation with a terrifying monster and really cool design. I don't want the fucking mysteries of life and the universe explained to me in ponderous overly grandiose back story crammed full of symbolism. Why did the makers of Prometheus assume the audience wanted any of that?
posted by nathancaswell at 2:28 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


From what I hear, Looper is a movie that tries to cover-up bad time travel logic with violence and blood.

The time travel logic is no worse than any other movie I've seen. And I didn't find it gratuitously violent or bloody at all.
posted by dobbs at 3:02 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


From what I hear,

Great way to start a comment on a movie.
posted by phaedon at 3:08 PM on October 6, 2012


Great way to start a comment on a movie.

Especially when the people who told you are time travel buffs, film students, and enjoy the same movies you do. I have effective means of avoiding wasting money unnecessarily.
posted by New England Cultist at 3:12 PM on October 6, 2012


You know, Looper has an 84 on Metacritic, which is pretty high. A lot of time travel buffs and film students seem to be enjoying it.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:18 PM on October 6, 2012


I'm happy that this film provides ample fodder for the symbolism set, but frankly speaking, I found the mundane, regular dimensions of the movie - characters and go-ahead storyline for instance - to be tedious and melodramatic. *shrug* If the thing can't motivate and interest me at the basic level, then a deeper, symbolic exegesis comes off as a tad pretentious. I'm glad for those who're able to straddle both dimensions though.
posted by peacay at 3:21 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anybody who gives Lindelof a pass is an asshole in my book.
Ridley Scott: Christ what an asshole.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 3:44 PM on October 6, 2012


You know, Looper has an 84 on Metacritic, which is pretty high. A lot of time travel buffs and film students seem to be enjoying it.

Did I say a lot of people were not enjoying it? I'm sure they are.
posted by New England Cultist at 4:16 PM on October 6, 2012


Wow, ok. You win, enjoy not watching Looper dude.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:19 PM on October 6, 2012


I really hate this philosophy of moviegoing where something that you didn't connect with personally or see the sense in is all-caps SHIT and a waste of your time.

Honestly, the best way to experience art is to consume lots of it and see what connects with you, and move on from what doesn't connect with you. Otherwise, you end up slamming your head against the wall of stuff that just doesn't resonate with you when you could be experiencing something that does connect with you.

Sorry, that's not how the arts work. Obviously there is some insultingly stupid and craven stuff out there that is just pandering for your buck, but this ain't it, and I think there is a weird sense of entitlement in these extreme reaction

A lot of this stuff is like the theory about how Barton Fink is really about the foundation of Israel or how Inception is really a film about how films are made or how an episode of Mad Men is a parallel to the JFK assassination. And, you know what? In some cases, this might be true, but, while an example of some pretty clever artifice, at the end of the day, who really gives a shit? What we're slamming our heads against the wall about when it comes to Prometheus is something with a lot of complexity that ends up coming to nothing. Just because something is laden with a bunch of cultural references and homages doesn't make it good-- and let's be clear, Prometheus was not that great and didn't make sense. There's no reason we are obligated to spend our time wanking over a failed artistic experiment to convince ourselves that it was really good art once we find the "hidden meaning."

Maybe it will all come together in a way that satisfies even the most sophisticated movie palette.

I'm with PhoBWanKenobi on this. Maybe, like Lost and the X-Files, the writers aren't 11th-dimensional-chess-playing geniuses, but just making some stuff up as they go along and trying to inartfully put some ideas together and seeing what works.
posted by deanc at 5:07 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, ok. You win, enjoy not watching Looper dude.

I didn't say I wasn't going to watch it.
posted by New England Cultist at 5:19 PM on October 6, 2012


When I got to the point where Baldovino says "LV 223 may refer to the Bible passage Levitticus 2:23...." , 2 minutes into the YouTube video , it was then I knew everything else was going to be a load of B.S.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 7:16 PM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


This guy's interpretation was almost as much cryptic nonsense as Christianity.
posted by hellslinger at 12:36 AM on October 7, 2012


LOLPROMETHEANS
posted by fleetmouse at 6:27 AM on October 7, 2012


I have a bit of an obsession with Melville, so forgive me:

So when Moby Dick came out from what I hear peeps were all, 'Ohboyohboy, another rollicking sea adventure from the creator of Typee and Omoo' and then they read the thing and were all 'WTF 400 pages devoted to various whale shit is not interesting' and it wasn't until early-mid 20th century that people were all 'ooooo HE WAS TALKING about SLAVERY' and 'oooo Ahab shows traits of 20th century dictators kewl.'

So, do we have that with Prometheus or not? Well, arguably, the difference is that Moby Dick is cohesive and Prometheus is not. It's been a few years since I last read MD, but I really don't remember a Thing that just went nowhere and made no sense. Apologs if my Melville love has blinded me here.

Also, all that Melville shoves in MD can make it boring and hard to get through if you want to just read a rollicking adventure whaling novel. My memory of the last half of Prometheus is that it's just random scary thing after random scary thing that tries to scare you and fails.

Also, look at the trailer, which had me salivating for freaking months to see this movie. It was as scary as hell. If Scott was like "My Great Theologically-driven Exegesis on Something" then, for real, he was setting him up for some serious hate. It's like Melville saying, "Read my novel, Moby Dick! If you are bored, it will sustain you for hours with Excellent Diversions." Which, ok, maybe he did, but what a dumb mistake that would've been.
posted by angrycat at 7:34 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Come share what you heard.
posted by phaedon at 9:32 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ridley Scott Just Merged the Alien and Blade Runner Universes
posted by homunculus at 1:56 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ridley Scott Just Merged the Alien and Blade Runner Universes

I don't if I'm annoyed or aroused right now
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:20 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haunting 3-minute music video tells the panspermia story better than Prometheus did
posted by homunculus at 3:36 PM on October 12, 2012


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