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Ultramorph
November 12, 2012 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Alien: Engineers - the original script for Prometheus.
posted by Artw (162 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ooh, I searched for this months ago when I was lost in a cloud of nerd hate about Prometheus but found only a fake. Interested to read the real one.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:50 AM on November 12, 2012


I am only on page 25 and I like it better already.
posted by elizardbits at 10:56 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm still downloading it and I like it better already.
posted by Auden at 10:57 AM on November 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


I just heard about it and I like it better already.
posted by phaedon at 10:58 AM on November 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


I have not seen Prometheus and I like that better already.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:00 AM on November 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


WATTS

Why would they make such things?

DAVID

To destroy their wayward children.
(intoning)
"And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth... for it repenteth me that I have made them."
Genesis 6:7.

He regards Watts with something almost like pity.

DAVID
(cont'd)

I know. I met my creators the day I was born. I was disappointed too.

posted by Egg Shen at 11:01 AM on November 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm going to have to read this cuz I just saw it last night and I didn't understand the movie at all. Engineers were drinking black goop to create new types of lifeforms and were going to force feed it to humanity to get new and interesting creatures? Obviously they weren't going to just wipe out humanity, cuz that isn't what black goop does, sometimes it makes your head real big and sometimes it makes you give birth to squid.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:03 AM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think I've made this point repeatedly, but Prometheus becomes a much, much better movie when you realize that the crew on this ship is a whole bunch of mediocre scientists and engineers who are either freelancing due to the lack of steady work, or not so indispensable back home that they can't go away to god-knows-where for a few years and possibly not come back. It's basically Keystone Kops in Space.
posted by griphus at 11:04 AM on November 12, 2012 [56 favorites]


griphus, that explains the "hey, let's get to know each other, strange slimy alien thing that looks like an angry cobra" scene
posted by ninjew at 11:09 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's basically Keystone Kops in Space

That's a good point. Or, you could think of it as Idiocracy In Space. Those are literally the best scientists that they could find in 2093. Ow, my balls!
posted by Auden at 11:09 AM on November 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


Oh, it also becomes a better movie when you think of its connection to the Alien franchise as solely a series of wink-wink-nudge-nudge inside-jokey references and callbacks.
posted by griphus at 11:09 AM on November 12, 2012


I'd think that the best scientists they could find are sitting in their billion-dollar labs doing research and aren't about to shoot themselves to Abandoned Space Egypt or whatever.
posted by griphus at 11:10 AM on November 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Does this script explain why Guy Pearce was in greyface?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:11 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


...probably because Lindelof has a secret soft spot for "Nothing But Trouble"
posted by kaseijin at 11:11 AM on November 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


...because, really...who doesn't love that movie?
posted by kaseijin at 11:12 AM on November 12, 2012


scribd link, so you don't have to click on a gawker site.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:12 AM on November 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


It seems like a lot of critics of the film harp on the how stupidly the scientists behave, but that's actually the least of my problems with it.
posted by brundlefly at 11:12 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I had MUCH bigger issues with the film than boneheaded scientists. I don't find it too hard to accept that, when faced with something completely outside any normal frame of reference, people may forget their better judgment.

The constant "faith vs. science" badgering, though. And Guy Pierce in some really perplexing makeup. And several incredibly muddy subplots. And a completely shameless macguffin. I mean, there was just so much about it that was irritating.
posted by kaseijin at 11:17 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Neat!

Apparently the aliens that spring from the chests of Engineers are called Ultramorphs.
posted by painquale at 11:17 AM on November 12, 2012


Hollywood should just give up and outsource its script writing to India or China; it honestly cannot get any worse. It's gotten to the point where you've been desensitized to plot holes, weak characters, factual inaccuracies, etc, etc. Even for a creative industry utterly corrupted by big business it shouldn't be this difficult to create quality scripts.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:17 AM on November 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


They should have explained that. A montage where there assemble the rag tag crew. Wise cracking head tatoo geologist dude is in prison and they spring him, on one condition. The captain is living in a trailer on a beach smoking weed all day because he lost one too many ships. Snake dude is like working as a janitor at a zoo so he can be near snakes after every reputable lab fired him due to his obsession with snakes. A little backstory for each.

But really, it made no sense even ignoring the scientists acting crazy.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:18 AM on November 12, 2012 [29 favorites]


I wonder if Ridley Scott cares about how much we geeks hate him. I mean, probably not, but I hated that movie so much I wish he would feel a little sad, that he would look in the mirror and ask himself the question, "Why?"
posted by angrycat at 11:18 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Red Letter Media sums up the lingering questions pretty well.
posted by Muddler at 11:20 AM on November 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


angrycat: "I wonder if Ridley Scott cares about how much we geeks hate him."

I'm sure it crosses his mind briefly while he's driving from his beachfront estate in Malibu to the bank.
posted by mullingitover at 11:24 AM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Red Letter Media sums up the lingering questions pretty well.

And then H.R. Giger raises further questions. (SLERI)
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:25 AM on November 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


A montage where there assemble the rag tag crew. Wise cracking head tatoo geologist dude is in prison and they spring him, on one condition. The captain is living in a trailer on a beach smoking weed all day because he lost one too many ships. Snake dude is like working as a janitor at a zoo so he can be near snakes after every reputable lab fired him due to his obsession with snakes. A little backstory for each.

We could just splice in the first hour of Armageddon.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:25 AM on November 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Hollywood should just give up and outsource its script writing to India

You have to admit that a lengthy romantic dance number would have spiced up the movie considerably.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:26 AM on November 12, 2012 [36 favorites]


The whole premise of the movie is against the premise of the Alien franchise - we are alll alone in the universe, in the idea that we're all vulnerable organisms and prey for bigger, badder ones. We're not unique or interesting and can be way out of our depth in certain environments. Prometheus instead said we are HIGHLY interesting, because we've been engineered (whether by god or aliens, same old boring theology). IT IS NOT SCARY TO PROMOTE WARM FUZZY FEELINGS OF SPECIALNESS AND PURPOSE
posted by agregoli at 11:26 AM on November 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Please, Mike Judge, make Idiocracy in Space.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:28 AM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hollywood should just give up and outsource its script writing to India or China;

I think that was part of Romney's platform.
posted by lstanley at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really want someone to make a movie where we have discovered, completely and incontrovertibly, that there is intelligent life on some planet on some distant star. But it's so far away that we simply can't do anything about it. We know it's there, and we're really really sure that it's intelligent life; we've sent a communication to them but it's going to take like 40 years to hear back from them or something. And it would take like 10,000 years to travel their with the technology at the time of this film's story.

I'd like to see how people deal with that. Maybe some rich folks who try to make the trip despite all the scientists saying "no you can't" and then they all die horribly of starvation in space.

We could resurrect Tarkovsky to direct it and it would be like 4 hours long
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:35 AM on November 12, 2012 [47 favorites]


I was really hoping Prometheus was going to be piles of piles of Giger creations, realized in models and CGI to a degree they never have been before, that the space jockey and his ship would be the tip of the iceberg, acknowledged and moved beyond, and we would be horrified at the levels of behavior and transformation these beings would be capable of.

Instead, Mary Sue of God blundered her way through 2001: A Space Odyssey and hopped into the one part of the Alien franchise that wasn't overexposed and flew off to new and crazy adventures with her android sidekick.
posted by Brainy at 11:36 AM on November 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


I especially resented Lawrence of Arabia getting dragged into it.
posted by Egg Shen at 11:38 AM on November 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


My vote for the next installment is Reservoir Aliens.
posted by phaedon at 11:38 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I especially resented Lawrence of Arabia getting dragged into it.

Though it did remind me of my interest in that film, so when they re-released it for one night only at the local theater I went, alone, and sat with a bunch of pensioners (and one bearded guy in a flannel shirt who could have been my long lost twin) and watched it on the big screen.

What an incredible film. Goodness me.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:41 AM on November 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


We could resurrect Tarkovsky to direct it and it would be like 4 hours long

In an ironic third-act twist, Zombie Tarkovsky is a fast zombie. It's all handheld and jump cuts, like he's undead Paul Greengrass or something.
posted by RogerB at 11:42 AM on November 12, 2012 [21 favorites]


IT IS NOT SCARY TO PROMOTE WARM FUZZY FEELINGS OF SPECIALNESS AND PURPOSE

Is it warm and fuzzy if our specialness is expressed in how much they want to murder us? I mean, the ducks that people make foie gras out of are special, but I don't think they would find that existentially comforting.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:43 AM on November 12, 2012


flew off to new and crazy adventures

"We end with Noomi heading for the homeworld of the creatures who we’ve just learned are determined to immediately kill any human they see."
posted by Egg Shen at 11:44 AM on November 12, 2012


I really wish the ending was different and Prometheus kicked off a series of slapstick comedies where David the Android is assigned to all sorts of space digs and mining operations and just goes around throwing levers and poking at ancient evils until the planet blows up and then it's off to Xeta Ceti Prime because more levers
posted by griphus at 11:46 AM on November 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


basically just like this
posted by elizardbits at 11:48 AM on November 12, 2012 [38 favorites]


YES EXACTLY LIKE THAT
posted by griphus at 11:49 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also how much of this is Scott's fault and how much is Lindelof's? Because really, Lindelof is just such a self-indulgent and inconsistent writer I think we can lay of lot of the ridiculousness at his excessive feet.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:49 AM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think I've made this point repeatedly, but Prometheus becomes a much, much better movie when you realize that the crew on this ship is a whole bunch of mediocre scientists and engineers who are either freelancing due to the lack of steady work, or not so indispensable back home that they can't go away to god-knows-where for a few years and possibly not come back. It's basically Keystone Kops in Space.
Yeah, I was pretty much thinking "Real Scientists would never do this". For one thing, real scientists would have been terrified of contamination. Not being contaminated themselves but rather contaminating the planet with bacteria from earth.

They never ever would have taken off their helmets, and almost certainly would have sent probes in long before going in themselves.

What I came up with in my head was that Weyland was actually something of a rich nutter, and the two "scientists" in charge were actually somewhat charlatans, basically telling Weyland what he wanted to hear and, while not 'conning' him into supporting the mission - they obviously believed their own nonsense - basically appealing to his superstitions to get funding.

The other scientists (the geologist and biologists) only discovered that Shaw and Holloway were nuts after getting on board.

But yeah, the biology guy was a complete idiot in dealing with that snake thing. That was completely ridiculous.

Oh well. I didn't realize the guy they'd brought in to redo the script was the guy who did Lost. I never got into that show but from what I read it sounded like it was based on a bunch of silly new-age metaphysical B.S.

However, if you're willing to completely give up on any kind of scientific reality, the movie is interesting. Most movie goers aren't really going to have a really solid understanding of science anyway (although you might think people going to see a science-fiction move about space travel and aliens might have a better understanding)
"We end with Noomi heading for the homeworld of the creatures who we’ve just learned are determined to immediately kill any human they see."
Actually, (and interestingly) the Engineer just stares at them until David tries to ask him a question in his language. then he flips his shit.

(Oh and that was another ridiculous aspect, the idea we could somehow reconstruct their language. Pretty absurd)

Also, I was reading something about how this is an allegory for some christian mythology about heaven and hell, and the engineers on the planet might have been representative of fallen angels. Also, the next movie is going to be called Paradise apparently.
posted by delmoi at 11:51 AM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


"We end with Noomi heading for the homeworld of the creatures who we’ve just learned are determined to immediately kill any human they see."

Maybe, maybe not. For example, I'm not opposed to the existence of spiders. I quite like them for the most part. They're kind of neat, and they eat mosquitoes.

However, if I woke up to find myself surrounded by them, including a freaky mechanical spider that tried talking to me, let's just say that my immediate reaction would not be a high point in arachno-human relations.
posted by figurant at 11:53 AM on November 12, 2012 [35 favorites]


It seems most fans of the series have always considered the Alien franchise as an extension of Lovecraftian Space Horror (with an extra sprinkling of body horror), but it turns out Ridley Scott just never returned his rental copy of Chariot of the Gods. WHOOPSIE!
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:55 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "My Boyfriend Is an Engineer tumblr has completely changed my experience of seeing the 'engineer' dudes from Prometheus.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:55 AM on November 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


I especially resented Lawrence of Arabia getting dragged into it.

To be fair, those scenes, once you cropped out Prometheus, were the best-directed scenes in the movie....
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:01 PM on November 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


If I ever in the position to choose crew members some kind of away team exploring unknown planets, I will include one Psychopath on a Leash. All of their actions will be recorded; they will have shock collars possibly with remotely detonatable explosives in case they get twitchy, as psychopaths often do. Their sole job is to promptly kill any other crew members who begin so much as fumbling with the latches on their helmets. Preferably without contaminating the area.

OPTIMIST: Plenty of oxygen, around eighteen percent. No carbon monoxide, nothing out of the ordinary. Very Earthlike. I think we could even —

S/F/X *PFOOT*

F/X A self-sealing dart protrudes from the OPTIMIST'S suit as the helmet fills up with a coughed-up blood spray.

PSYCHOPATH: Base, can you hear me? Please begin thawing out the next archaeologist. And send a body bag, as per the usual protocols.

BASE (v/o): So excitable. Roger that.
posted by adipocere at 12:02 PM on November 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Egg Shen: I especially resented Lawrence of Arabia getting dragged into it.

To quote the MS3TK guys, "Don't drag my great movie into your sucky movie."
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:05 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


In the making of, the writer explains how the script was produced. He said that every couple of days he would go up to Ridley Scott and was told what important scene would be next and then he would go home until the next meeting and make up some action that would lead the characters to that scene. (Rinse, repeat.)

This approach perfectly explains the forced plot where everybody just seems to behave in a way that is only consistent with setting up the next scene but falls apart with respect to an overarching storyline.
posted by patrick54 at 12:15 PM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Could The Europa Report be the space horror film we’ve been waiting for?
posted by homunculus at 12:26 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Holy shit, that is like the user's manual for how to screw something up by committee.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:33 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK. I just finished reading it. It is not perfect, but it is much, much, much much, much, MUCH [big tag] MUCH [/big tag] MUCH BETTER than the film they ultimately made. None of the ridiculous non-sequitur revelations of Weyland being on the ship or Vickers being his daughter. None of the looney toons crew members smoking weed and giggling. None of the scientists being sad because even though they found the most amazing discovery in the history of humanity there are no aliens to talk to, so it's all a waste. Nobody on a fucking spiritual quest. NOBODY TAKING OFF THEIR HELMETS. People actually ask "What happened to you?" when Watts runs in covered in blood and surgery scars. The weaponization stuff actually makes sense. David has a character arc and isn't just suddenly an asshole. The medical pod is not designed "for men only" whatever the fuck that was about.

It's still got a couple of problems ("Jesus as Engineer" is such a boring/stupid idea and it still has the "Brown People buildings were only built to copy (SUPER-)White people Alien buildings" thing). But characters' actions make sense! The lifecycle of the xenomorph isn't completely fucked! None of the Lindelofian faith/science reductive binary bullshit that he thinks is super interesting. WATTS TRIES TO RUN PERPENDICULAR TO THE ROLLING SHIP! Holy fuck, this is so much better that I'm actually angry all over again thinking of how terrible the movie they actually made is. GAAAAAH.

I really enjoyed reading that, Artw. Thank you for pointing it out.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:35 PM on November 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


And Weyland militarizing the mission and being ready to fuck over anyone for a dollar fits much more into the Weyland corporate ethos we've come to know and love over the years.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:42 PM on November 12, 2012


Actually, (and interestingly) the Engineer just stares at them until David tries to ask him a question in his language. then he flips his shit.

David thought he was asking about extending Weyland's life, but what he really said was "I fucked your mom LOL". And Giant Albino Muscle Dude really doesn't like anyone talking about his mom.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:42 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I stick to my theory that there's a Prometheus launch every couple of years, and it's human civilization's way of B-Arking the billionaires and asshole "scientists" they just can't seem to get rid of. They've known about the insane murder planet for generations and they just keep throwing morons at it. Hell, it could be the moon. They just gas 'em once they're on board and tell them they've been asleep for eight years.

I mean, imagine if you could get Donald Trump, the guy that says vaccines cause autism, some of those "brain science proves men and women are different" jackholes and a dozen creationists, throw them on a spaceship, point it at a planet that you know for a fact will kill them horribly. Wouldn't you be at least tempted?
posted by Shepherd at 12:43 PM on November 12, 2012 [42 favorites]


Actually, (and interestingly) the Engineer just stares at them until David tries to ask him a question in his language. then he flips his shit.

In this newly posted version of the script, the Engineer (called "The Sleeper") talks to David before tearing off his head. David's severed head tells Watts that the Sleeper was mad because David killed him and that the Sleeper would die.

I think I like David better in the Lindoff script. In this one, David only becomes renegade once he interfaces with the Engineers' computers, and that somehow frees him from his slavery. He was more inscrutable in the movie that was actually made.
posted by painquale at 12:44 PM on November 12, 2012


Oh, and also in this screenplay we are not "genetically identical to the Engineers", despite our having evolved from other creatures and also not being 9-foot-tall diesel-ass Powder motherfuckers, so it has that going for it.

I still cannot fathom what they were possibly thinking by including that revelation in the finished product.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:45 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I assume it was to make it even more needlessly jesusy.
posted by elizardbits at 12:51 PM on November 12, 2012


There are certainly some dumb bits in here too, like David gaining independence when he learns to "think in trinary code."

Oh hold up, here is something interesting. The Sleeper is mad because David "killed him." And then, without being infected or attacked by an Alien, the Ultramorph later bursts from the Sleeper's chest. It seems that he had been incubating an Ultramorph all along, and been put into suspended animation in order to prevent the Alien from escaping. Maybe this was his purpose... maybe he himself was meant to be a bomb, and David set it off early!

People have complained that the Alien lifecycle in the new movie makes no sense, mostly because there is no reason to think that the huge tentacled starfish at the end should be able to infect the Engineer with an Ultramorph chestburster. But now I doubt that the starfish infected the Engineer at all... this was an erroneous inference. The starfish killed the Sleeper, but as we can see from this earlier script, the Ultramorph was in the Sleeper the whole time.
posted by painquale at 12:58 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or possibly he froze himself until Engineer civilization developed a cure for chestbursters?

That would kind of make sense, and dovetail with Weyland.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:59 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the making of, the writer explains how the script was produced. He said that every couple of days he would go up to Ridley Scott and was told what important scene would be next and then he would go home until the next meeting and make up some action that would lead the characters to that scene. (Rinse, repeat.)

This method was actually perfected by George Lucas while writing the prequels, and he didn't even need to bring a second person into the process!
posted by entropicamericana at 1:01 PM on November 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


without being infected or attacked by an Alien, the Ultramorph later bursts from the Sleeper's chest.

I distinctly remember this scene which is pretty much "facehugger implantation" or whatever you want to call it.
posted by mrbill at 1:03 PM on November 12, 2012


The medical pod is not designed "for men only" whatever the fuck that was about.

Vickers didn't need the pod, she was just holding on to it for Weyland. Because she was an android, like David.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 1:05 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I distinctly remember this scene which is pretty much "facehugger implantation" or whatever you want to call it.

Hmm, yeah, that does seem to imply infection. Could be a fake-out though... the starfish could have tried to infect the Engineer, but the Engineer's belly was already full of Ultramorph (which also explains why it gave birth so quickly, which some people had problems with). I guess we'll find out in the sequel.
posted by painquale at 1:10 PM on November 12, 2012


Vickers didn't need the pod, she was just holding on to it for Weyland.

Right, but *why* was it designed such that it could only work on dudes? When they actually make the Magic Surgery Robot I hope they don't program it to be frightened by anything with a uterus.

"Ladies and gentlemen... the Akin-Bot 3000!"
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:13 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"We end with Noomi heading for the homeworld of the creatures who we’ve just learned are determined to immediately kill any human they see."

I saw that ending more as "We're both pretty disenchanted, David, let's take this xeno-ship full of Exterminatus-style bioweapons to my creator's home planet and pretend that we can land it without accidentally releasing any more of the horror goo."
posted by Slackermagee at 1:21 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guy Pierce in makeup doesn't make sense unless you have seen the Weyland TED talk marketing bit beforehand and done the math on the dates.
posted by furtive at 1:21 PM on November 12, 2012


Ok, wait. I am on page 22 of the PDF, and Vickers says, "They volunteered blindly for triple pay" when the docs are incredulous that the crew of the prospecting ship doesn't know the mission.

But just a few pages back, the captain explained to the docs that the crew is unhappy about the mission because there's no percentage in it, so there's no chance they'll strike it filthy rich.

Why would you volunteer blindly for a mission where the pay did not please you?
posted by adamdschneider at 1:24 PM on November 12, 2012


"We end with Noomi heading for the homeworld of the creatures who we’ve just learned are determined to immediately kill any human they see."

They're a bunch of Last Chance-rs?
posted by Slackermagee at 1:27 PM on November 12, 2012


Why would you volunteer blindly for a mission where the pay did not please you?

See griphus' theory above that these people were all unemployable losers.
posted by elizardbits at 1:30 PM on November 12, 2012


Right, but *why* was it designed such that it could only work on dudes? When they actually make the Magic Surgery Robot I hope they don't program it to be frightened by anything with a uterus.

I think it said it was calibrated for men. I imagine if a technician was there they probably could have recalibrated it. Why does it have calibrations? So it could say it was calibrared for men to make people wonder why there was a man-pod in vickers' quarters.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:33 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm...not actually buying that as something the screenwriter thought of when writing the script.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:34 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the only reason the ship has two telescopes is so they can be called "her eyes" as literally as possible.

I hope it gets better from here.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:39 PM on November 12, 2012


It (the man-o-pod) is a tiresomely stupid device to make us feel badly for poor Ms. Vickers and to help us not like Weyland even more! And to wonder if, like, maybe somehow THE OLD GUY IS ON THE SHIP as if we didn't see THAT one coming.
posted by Mister_A at 1:42 PM on November 12, 2012


Yeah, I'm...not actually buying that as something the screenwriter thought of when writing the script.

This is why painquale's speculations about the alien lifecycle strike me as ultimately futile.

Even if, after strenous effort, one could knit the events of Prometheus into some semblance of sense, it would clearly be one's own achievement - owing nothing to Lindenhof and his craptacular incompetence.
posted by Egg Shen at 1:42 PM on November 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is at least some precedent for the crew not knowing where they were going right? Like in Treasure Island the captain accepted a sealed commission. I imagine the crew were hoping they would get there and it would be a diamond planet or something.

I'm not going to think about the movie anymore, it is breaking my brain.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:42 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really want someone to make a movie where we have discovered, completely and incontrovertibly, that there is intelligent life on some planet on some distant star. But it's so far away that we simply can't do anything about it. ...

I'd like to see how people deal with that.


With tears of joy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:45 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and before I forget...

STEPHEN FUCKING STILLS
posted by Egg Shen at 1:46 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


But yeah, the biology guy was a complete idiot in dealing with that snake thing. That was completely ridiculous.

Don't forget he and the other one were also stoned at the time.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:47 PM on November 12, 2012


Anyway, The Avengers was equally stupid, but it was a gleeful and action-packed stupidity that was forgivable because of the fun spectacle. Prometheus needed more alien (like Alien alien, not frickin Shawn Bradley alien) and spacecraft stuff, and less metaphysical baggage, and then some of its flaws would be forgivable.

For example, the giant starfish/squid thing was really cool; more of that! And the scene where Shaw cuts the thing out of her belly (man-o-pod silliness notwithstanding) was a terrific and harrowing set-piece. Really well done! I think maybe Ridley and Co. had a few scenes like that in mind and just stitched the rest up around it.
posted by Mister_A at 1:48 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, it bugged me that 'Elizabeth Shaw' didn't have an anglophone accent. Why not just give her a different name? No one named 'Elizabeth' has that accent!
posted by Mister_A at 1:49 PM on November 12, 2012


I imagine the crew were hoping they would get there and it would be a diamond planet or something.

This is why I brought up the percentage thing. It wouldn't matter if it was a diamond planet, because they would get no percentage of it, just their triple pay. Their triple pay they were unhappy with. That they volunteered for.

Blindly.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:50 PM on November 12, 2012


This is why I brought up the percentage thing

Yeah, I don't know why I am trying to make sense of it. Clearly it is futile.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:54 PM on November 12, 2012


Maybe the starfish / facehugger was the engineer, and the humonculous was just another construct / android.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:55 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, I really wanted to like Prometheus. The trailer was better than the movie.
posted by zzazazz at 1:59 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is why painquale's speculations about the alien lifecycle strike me as ultimately futile. Even if, after strenous effort, one could knit the events of Prometheus into some semblance of sense, it would clearly be one's own achievement

Well, the Engineer being pre-impregnated was clearly there in the original script. There's just a question about whether that idea was meant to survive.

Anyway, ugh, I went down with the ship fighting for a reading that most everyone hated in the last Prometheus thread, no way I'm doing that again. I'm too busy doing it in the Skyfall thread.
posted by painquale at 2:04 PM on November 12, 2012


I still haven't seen Prometheus; it remains high on my list. I think I'll read this first.
posted by landonmoon at 2:05 PM on November 12, 2012


Hang on, wait a second.

Wait a second.

Crazy old man with supervillainesque schemes?

Hard-nosed woman chief with emotional issues?

Asshole robot?

Token Asian and black characters?

Guys I think Prometheus is the Futurama movie.
posted by griphus at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2012 [31 favorites]


I just saw the movie this weekend, and was looking for some insight into the symbolism and theories on what the hell was going on. I found the various discussions that had been posted here, but also found some folks tying it to Sumerian myths of the Annunaki which seemed to fit well (perhaps mish-mashed with Christian symbolism as well).

This is a pretty good summary of that interpretation.
posted by history_denier at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2012


I didn't care for Prometheus at first mostly because David's actions didn't make a lot of sense to me. The next day I realized the meaning behind the scene where Vickers confronts him outside Weyland's cryo-chamber - it's our first view of David with his ethics module/3 laws of robotics rules turned off.

Up until that point he never did anything that directly jeopardized the crew. But in that scene Vickers asked him what Weyland said he replies that Weyland wouldn't want her to know (true: if what Weyland said was "turn off your ethics module"), then when pressed on the point told her that Weyland had told him to "try harder", which for an android probably translates as stop holding yourself back because of ethical considerations.

It's only immediately after that scene we see David begins to use the crew as guinea pigs.

Once I'd worked that out, enough things fell into place for me that I could forgive the two glaring flaws (lost geologist, rolling ship death).
posted by Ryvar at 2:11 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I had to go watch that 3 hour YouTube video debunking Ancient Aliens to center my chi after watching this movie.
posted by history_denier at 2:15 PM on November 12, 2012


I think Prometheus is the Futurama movie.

And the final scene is of Nibbler.
posted by painquale at 2:30 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is about the 10th Prometheus thread. I'm pretty sure you guys actually liked this movie. But it's not cool to like it, and don't worry, I got your back, I won't tell the other geeks, who also don't like The Legend of Korra.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:33 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Right, but *why* was it designed such that it could only work on dudes? When they actually make the Magic Surgery Robot I hope they don't program it to be frightened by anything with a uterus.

I was sad to see that this original script was sexist and stupid in entirely new and interesting ways.
WHITE LANDSCAPE

We pull away from the frosted crystalline horizon, the smooth white curves like snowy fields. Form becomes clear. It’s the body of a woman. It’s Watts.

INT. HYPERSLEEP FREEZER

Watts lies asleep in her underwear in a plexiglass freezer. Pale. Frost on her skin. Venus sculpted in ice. There are IV lines in her elbows and ankles. Shapes move into view beyond her, outside the freezer.

FACES.

Pressed to the glass.

HYPERSLEEP COMPARTMENT

All of the freezers are open and empty, save two. Holloway lies in one. In the next, Watts. Three men in blue coveralls crouch beside Watts’s freezer, staring inside.

They are DOWNS, 30, a lean fidgety crewman. STILLWELL, 40, a sturdy fellow with the geniality of a labrador. And KAMAROV, 26, whose dark, brooding air belongs to a man twice his age.

DOWNS

Look at that.

Kamarov opens the lid of Watt’s freezer. Leans over her. Watts stirs in her sleep, a drowsy angel.

KAMAROV

She wakes up slow.

Watts wakes to find three men looming above her. Disoriented, she pulls away. Tangles her hands in her IV lines.

HOLLOWAY (O.S.)

Get out of there!

Holloway’s voice cracks like a whip. The crewmen jump back.
Watts is super-hot for no discernible reason (other than so she'll be fun to gawk at in her panties, I guess), she's on a crew full of creepers but wow, thank goodness she has her boyfriend to keep her safe!

Between this version's crap and the filmed version's sterility-boo-hoo and sexist magic robosurgeon pod I wish I'd chosen staying home rather than wasting my $11.
posted by phearlez at 2:39 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah, Brocktoon, we definitely like it, in the same way one "likes" a kid brother or sister. I mean ultimately you're glad they exist but dammit why do they have to be embarrassing?

I mean Jordache acid wash jeans? Really you're 27 years old have some self-respect
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:40 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is about the 10th Prometheus thread. I'm pretty sure you guys actually liked this movie. But it's not cool to like it, and don't worry, I got your back, I won't tell the other geeks, who also don't like The Legend of Korra.

Nah, you're misreading what's going on. We talk about this movie because it's so frustrating: it should have been good (Ridley Scott back doing sci-fi! In his original universe!") but the result was just so mediocre.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:40 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Guys I think Prometheus is the Futurama movie.

Sweet engineer Jesus!
posted by shakespeherian at 2:41 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


In this screenplay, one person is described as having. "bristling mustache" and two with "bristling beards." SYMBOLISM?
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:42 PM on November 12, 2012


And it's over 100 comments on this one. It's OK, you're making it hard, but the other geeks don't have to know.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:43 PM on November 12, 2012


Lindelof talks about the Guy Pearce old man makeup in the blu ray director's commentary. And the director's commentary for Lindelof (there's actually two, one for the writers and one for Ridley Scott) is pretty much what you would expect, i.e., Lindelof talking about how he gets off on leaving plot holes in his work. But Guy Pearce was chosen as the old man because there was supposed to be a scene where David puts on the dream helmet and pals it up with Weyland while he's asleep in the cryo tube. And in the dream Weyland would be represented by his younger self, Guy Pearce sans makeup. It also goes along with the TED talk thing.
posted by Mr Mister at 2:43 PM on November 12, 2012


I'm pretty sure you guys actually liked this movie.

I'll have to ask you take my word for it (and have I ever lied to you?) but I truly, sincerely, independently hated Prometheus. And that despite having been excited enough about it to make that WHOOP... WHOOP siren noise from the trailer as I was driving to the theater.

Actually, "hated" is overstating it. It was too incompetent to hate. In the end, all I could do was jeer at its dumbness and pretension while resenting the money I squandered on a ticket.
posted by Egg Shen at 2:51 PM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Guy Pierce in makeup doesn't make sense unless you have seen the Weyland TED talk marketing bit beforehand and done the math on the dates.

But Guy Pearce was chosen as the old man because there was supposed to be a scene where David puts on the dream helmet and pals it up with Weyland while he's asleep in the cryo tube. And in the dream Weyland would be represented by his younger self, Guy Pearce sans makeup. It also goes along with the TED talk thing.

Yeah, but these are stupid and terrible reasons for doing it. The make-up just looks ridiculous. Just awful. It was jarring to see, and people everywhere comment on how bad it is. To include it solely to link up with a promotional video which only a small fraction of the audience had seen, or a deleted scene, is absurd. Just have Weyland played by an actual old man who looks like Pearce if you absolutely must have that TED talk be canon to the story.

I just can't see how having that talk be in continuity is so vital to the movie that it justifies a make-up job that looks like an amateur college production.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:51 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Depressingly stupid and stupidly depressing movie.

God is not a person but an entire alien race -- only now they've decided they want to kill us. Not make us extinct, not erase their 'mistake' but kill us --- each one of us, individually, painfully, brutally and gruesomely.

But before that, thousands of years ago, they left us a star map, one for each of the primitive human civilizations then extant.

A star map that leads to -- a minor military base and biological weapons laboratory, nowhere near their homeworld or anything else of significance.

Why? So that Earth's advance team can be individually, painfully, brutally, and gruesomely killed by their living parasitic biological weapons.

Oh, and maybe we'll wake up a hybernating god who will then decide to -- go home? See if the monsters they've created have destroyed his home planet during the centuries he's been asleep? No, he's set on a solo multi-year quest to deliver the painful brutal gruesome individual human killing biological weapons to Earth, in fulfillment of The Plan.

And also so there can be a sequel. Godless Gods In Space 2: Electric Bugaboo.

It's not even worth delving into the plot and characters. Who cares*? There shouldn't have been any characters.

Roger Ebert speaks of the idiot plot, a plot so corrupt that if a single character was not an idiot, there'd be no movie. Here's a case where if the universe in which it takes place made any sense, there'd be no movie.

I have now read this 'original script'. It doesn't fix any of these problems.

This is not a science fiction horror movie. It's a movie that proposes that the entire universe is just one big house of horrors -- designed to be that way, in fact.

They should have sent a poet the people who made this movie.


* I will note that when Mrs. H. saw Cardboard Punk-Rocker meet 2-D Bio-Hippie aboard the USS Amateurmetheus, she immediately said, "those guys are dead".
posted by Herodios at 2:53 PM on November 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Brocktoon: "This is about the 10th Prometheus thread. I'm pretty sure you guys actually liked this movie. But it's not cool to like it, and don't worry, I got your back, I won't tell the other geeks, who also don't like The Legend of Korra."

Yeah, that must be it. Either that or it's a spectacularly shallow, heavy-handed and dull installment in a much loved franchise.

Nah. Your first theory is much more likely.
posted by brundlefly at 2:55 PM on November 12, 2012


Roger Ebert speaks of the idiot plot

And yet he gave Prometheus four stars.

Worrisome.
posted by Egg Shen at 2:56 PM on November 12, 2012


>> I really want someone to make a movie where we have discovered, completely and incontrovertibly, that there is intelligent life on some planet on some distant star.

That's Spielberg-in-the '70's-level ambition, and no one's managed to pull it off since Close Encounters -- not even Spielberg in the '80s, '90s and '00s. (But weakly imitated by Roland Emmerich in Independence Day.) Can it be done without emulating some sort of 'found-footage' sensibility? On a low budget, or would it require some sort of Kerry Conran-style buy-in?
posted by vhsiv at 2:57 PM on November 12, 2012


Roger Ebert speaks of the idiot plot

And yet he gave Prometheus four stars.

Worrisome.


I meant "Roger Ebert speaks of the general concept of the idiot plot", not "Roger Ebert thought Prometheus had an idiot plot".
 
posted by Herodios at 2:58 PM on November 12, 2012


I'm pretty sure you guys actually liked this movie.

I really enjoyed the film, but I came in expecting all the logic and narrative cohesion of the average movie where monsters and robots run around and kill people and not the new adaptation of Dune others were looking for.
posted by griphus at 3:03 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I meant "Roger Ebert speaks of the general concept of the idiot plot", not "Roger Ebert thought Prometheus had an idiot plot".

I understood.

My point was that here was Ebert - established as conversant with the concept of idiot plots - failing to recognize this smacked-across-the-face-with-a-wet-mackerel example.

And it wasn't just Prometheus. His "Best of the 2000s" list left me disinclined to ever trust his judgment again.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:03 PM on November 12, 2012


One reason people keep talking about Prometheus is because Ridley Scott isn't done with science fiction yet. There's still that Blade Runner sequel in the pipeline, and the Prometheus sequel, so if we understand what was going on with this film it might help us properly appreciate (or maybe eviscerate) what comes next.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:04 PM on November 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I understood.

My point was


I see.

His "Best of the 2000s" list left me disinclined to ever trust his judgment again.

Well, yeah, there is that.

Ebert's good on the broad outlines (I hesitate to say 'theory'), but his individual judgements can be hard to understand. If he doesn't like a film, I usually agree. Some of those he likes, though. . . .
 
posted by Herodios at 3:07 PM on November 12, 2012


I really enjoyed the film, but I came in expecting all the logic and narrative cohesion of the average movie where monsters and robots run around and kill people and not the new adaptation of Dune others were looking for.

I think the thing that made Alien work is the same thing that Goethe says is at the heart of good poetry:
There is a great difference, whether the poet seeks the particular for the sake of the general or sees the general in the particular. From the former procedure there ensues allegory, in which the particular serves only as illustration, as example of the general. The latter procedure, however, is genuinely the nature of poetry; it expresses something particular, without thinking of the general or pointing to it.
So with Alien you have this parsimony and integrity of focus on the idea of a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space" and it's because of that focus that the movie ends up with a pleasing amount of thematic depth in addition to its more visceral attractions. That was really all I expected from Prometheus, but instead I got a half-baked attempt to tackle big themes and I think the movie really suffered from that. I think it would have been a million times better if they'd just sat down and said, hey, let's make another tight, no-frills monster movie in the Alien universe. I probably would have really enjoyed that movie.
posted by invitapriore at 3:17 PM on November 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


griphus, that explains the "hey, let's get to know each other, strange slimy alien thing that looks like an angry cobra" scene

Of the many, many problems with the movie, this one didn't bother me. Wasn't the geologist guy offering to share his Space Weed with the other guy just a scene or two earlier? I assumed they were, like, totally high, dude, by that point, but that the editing kind of got in the way of making that clearer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:19 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


So... given an excellent beginning and terrible ending, we can conclude that one hires Lindelof to write a script but also you hire three other people. Not to check his work, no. You hire one to restrain the man in a padded room, one to tear acts 3-5 out of his manuscript, and a third to write an ending lacking that pretentious stench which always ruins the beautiful set up.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:19 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not like the Alien franchise didn't have success changing its genre once in a while. But it seems like Prometheus tried to layer the new stuff on top of the horror story and was much worse off for it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:22 PM on November 12, 2012


So with Alien you have this parsimony and integrity of focus on the idea of a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space" and it's because of that focus that the movie ends up with a pleasing amount of thematic depth in addition to its more visceral attractions. That was really all I expected from Prometheus, but instead I got a half-baked attempt to tackle big themes...

The thing is that Alien and Texas are very, very good films where monsters kill people. I followed the production of Prometheus and absolutely nothing told me that anything but the art direction would be spectacular. An average movie will try to tackle Big Themes and fall on its face, and that is what I expected, and that is what happened. But for me, that expectation meant that I could enjoy the scares and the gore and excitement and not keep thinking about how this or that didn't hang together. Maybe that point of view is a grave insult to Lindelhof/Scott's vision, but I found enough to enjoy in it to handwave away the thematic elements.
posted by griphus at 3:31 PM on November 12, 2012


Does this script explain why Guy Pearce was in greyface?

1. A potential or deleted scene showing Guy Pearce when he was young

2. A potential or deleted ending in which the alien technology makes him young again.

3. Wanting to tease the audience with the potential for #2.
posted by straight at 3:35 PM on November 12, 2012


I literally watched Prometheus a few hours ago, for the very first time, so thanks for posting this. If ever there was a movie that could benefit from a director's cut then this is it. I'd gladly sit through a half hour of additional material in order for the film to resolve either the nit-picky details or the big meta-questions. If anything, they played the storyline too safe because we aren't given enough of either the small stuff (e.g., character development) or the big stuff (e.g., engineer motivations). Instead we're given a little bit of both but not enough to make a really fulfilling movie-watching experience.

One of the things I liked about Prometheus was the fact that it knows the audience has seen a lot of this before so it doesn't waste time belaboring the tropes. We can infer a lot of things without having to get the obvious thrown into our face . . .

The scientists were chosen for the expendability and not their brains. Spare me the back story about rounding up the group of misfits. David sees the engineers as a "superior species" but his measurement is based only on technological advancement. Spare me the scene where he gives a diatribe about how his makers are beneath him. Shaw has lost her parents and she can't conceive. She has no past and no future — only science and faith. Spare me the scene where she has some epiphany about how we need both to survive.

We were all spared from these scenes. And for that, I thank Scott.

However, editing out the tropes doesn't give someone permission to be willfully ambiguous about an entire story. The approach of "here's a little bit of information, but it's up to YOU to decide" works really well in lowbrow and highbrow art. It falls flat in this genre. I've enjoyed some of the theses about "what it all means" but it does get old pretty quickly.

Oh, what the hell . . . the Engineers once worked with a race of (unknown to us) Designers to create new worlds worlds teaming with life. War broke out between them. The Engineers developed weapons of incredible power and were on the verge of winning — but they overreached and decimated themselves in the process. As a final effort, the Engineers attempted to infect Earth with the black goo. Why? Because the outcome of days of alien-like mutations for every living thing on the planet would be an apex predator for the entire effing universe. The Engineers would unleash this force on the Designers, etc. etc. So Earth was really a weapons testing ground to the Engineers all along. No hard feelings. We're all just a line item in an Engineer's R&D budget.
posted by quadog at 3:53 PM on November 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Maybe that point of view is a grave insult to Lindelhof/Scott's vision, but I found enough to enjoy in it to handwave away the thematic elements.

Yeah, that's fair. In the context of that earlier thread about the movie channel that would keep you watching forever, I'd say Prometheus is one of those movies for me. It's beautiful and pretty fun to watch, but I still have trouble with that feeling I get when think through what's happening and I realize oh man, this is kind of stupid what's going on here (unless the camp is intentional).
posted by invitapriore at 4:03 PM on November 12, 2012


I think Pearce's old age makeup and its justification is quite silly. Audiences have been perfectly willing to accept different actors playing the same character at different ages for at least seventy years.

In fact, with the dream flashback to Elizabeth Shaw's childhood, that very thing actually happens in the film and nobody stood up during that scene and snorted "unbelievable nonsense!", ripped up their ticket stub, and left.
posted by whittaker at 4:12 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they put Noomi in the flashback scene I suppose y'all would call that youngface. I guess what I'm saying is that 'grayface' seems like an unnecessary term, and one that threatens to blunt the sharper and more historically loaded term 'blackface'. I don't like the implication that all the 'faces' are equally harmful, because they really aren't.

Also, old people's faces aren't gray. Why not 'oldface' if you must?
posted by Mister_A at 4:24 PM on November 12, 2012


Why not 'oldface' if you must?

I totally read that in Yoda's voice.
posted by Mezentian at 5:09 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I maintain that the human side of it -- David randomly creating havoc, the 'experts' being dumber than boxes of hammers, not introducing the people to each other before setting off on a multi-year mission together, Weyland being introduced as a surprise guest, etc. -- only make sense if you read the mission as reality TV.
posted by jiawen at 5:56 PM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is that 'grayface' seems like an unnecessary term

I guess that was me who put it in here first. FWIW I wasn't doing anything but regurgitating what I thought was a humorous usage I saw elsewhere on some blog or other. I apologize for my thoughtless usage and hope no one was upset by it.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:00 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah, you're misreading what's going on. We talk about this movie because it's so frustrating: it should have been good (Ridley Scott back doing sci-fi! In his original universe!") but the result was just so mediocre.

This. I was so excited about this and had such high hopes and it was just so lame. The trailers looked awesome and the cast was great and it was Ridley Scott doing Alien again and it just didn't work.
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ha ha and off you guys go! Movie geek angst. thread #10.

OK I'm going to help you guys out, I'm going to help you enjoy this movie by listing the fucking awesome aspects of it. Yes, I said fucking awesome. You already know the cons, one of which I will address after the list:

Special effects, most notably the map room

Costume design, most notably the space suits

Score

Prometheus design

"Abortion" scene

Dr. Shaw kicking ass, immediately leading up to and after the "abortion" scene

Michael Fassbender as David

Idris Elba as Janek

Now a major con of course is the idiotic way in which people behave, which angered me too. It helps if you change your perspective a bit, starting with Vickers. Not only does she not want to be there, but her entire career is based on nepotism. Big red flag. So the entire mission was mismanaged from the get-go. The only one even remotely capable of assuming a proper leadership role is Janek, but he's probably insufficiently trained for such situations. So Weiland (not quite sane anymore) and Vickers (disinterested and incompetent) get together to run this shit, and they fuck it up quite badly, going all the way back to the idiots they hired, including a scientist that believes in god. Big red flag!

So now you will come back at me and say that the story ruins everything, it's not original, blah blah blah. Well duh, the story has deficiencies. We get it! We got it 5 threads ago! Not Alien Redux! Watch move, enjoy fucking awesome aspects, eat popcorn, scratch head afterwards, applaud Scott for almost getting the entire thing to be fucking awesome. Now no more Prometheus threads. Hobbit hate go.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:19 PM on November 12, 2012


Ha ha and off you guys go! Movie geek angst. thread #10.

Jesus Christ how many times are you going to make fun of all the people in this thread that you are also participating in?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:24 PM on November 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


Brocktoon: "Watch move, enjoy fucking awesome aspects, eat popcorn, scratch head afterwards, applaud Scott for almost getting the entire thing to be fucking awesome."

Because, I don't think he almost got the entire thing fucking awesome. Not even close. People who don't agree with you about the film aren't pretending to dislike it or watching the film in the wrong way somehow.
posted by brundlefly at 7:12 PM on November 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


griphus: "Oh, it also becomes a better movie when you think of its connection to the Alien franchise as solely a series of wink-wink-nudge-nudge inside-jokey references and callbacks."

I have never seen another movie in the franchise, but recognized the more blatant throwbacks. Prometheus still made no sense to me. It could have been a good science fiction movie (expanded universe or not), but the characters made no sense, and the plot was full of holes.

delmoi: "What I came up with in my head was that Weyland was actually something of a rich nutter, and the two "scientists" in charge were actually somewhat charlatans, basically telling Weyland what he wanted to hear and, while not 'conning' him into supporting the mission - they obviously believed their own nonsense - basically appealing to his superstitions to get funding. "

Wait. I've seen this movie before...
posted by schmod at 7:44 PM on November 12, 2012


Guys, I can explain everything

self-link
yes, I'm the sort who laughs at my own jokes
but only the good ones

posted by zippy at 8:41 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really wish the ending was different and Prometheus kicked off a series of slapstick comedies where David the Android is assigned to all sorts of space digs and mining operations and just goes around throwing levers and poking at ancient evils until the planet blows up and then it's off to Xeta Ceti Prime because more levers

One of the levers releases a pudding (at 6:09)
posted by zippy at 8:57 PM on November 12, 2012


Maybe I've been reading too much Glorantha source material, but Prometheus is like: worst. heroquest. ever.
posted by fleacircus at 10:53 PM on November 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


We were all spared from these scenes. And for that, I thank Scott.

It reminded me of Avatar's unobtanium. It was not that we were "spared" anything, it's that we were not shown that any thought had gone into it at all. The plot still has to work. Shit has to jibe. You can't call your magic stuff unobtanium like a joke that it's not important, then tie it to your floating islands and your fairy smurf Amerind god-trees that your whole movie is just so darned serious about. Is it a throwaway thing, or actually something important which you can't be arsed to think through?

As a Prometheus example: the helmets. Yes, you want to take the helmets off so we can see the actor's faces better. We know, we understand. (Why they don't have invisible force-bubble helmets, I don't know.) But why make a big deal of them testing the atmosphere and doing all that shit without the extra line or two of dialogue ("Pathogen tests clear!") that would make it not seem quite so fucking dumb? The movie took a standard sci fi thing that is only mildly annoying and turned it into some kind of leap of faith, some insight. They made taking off the helmets mean something to the movie and characters, so it was on them to not make it stupid.

I don't think for a second that they intended for us to believe that the scientists aboard the ship were all incompetent losers. They didn't "spare us"; they just didn't give a shit.
posted by fleacircus at 11:20 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Can I suggest we engage with other users on the level, and instead of debating whether this post should exist we discuss its actual subject? That would be great, thank you.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:38 PM on November 12, 2012


[c'mere guys, facehugs for everyone]
posted by zippy at 1:11 AM on November 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


I hate Woody Allen, but I'll admit his presence would have improved Prometheus by making it clear we're witnessing a crew of idiots.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:19 AM on November 13, 2012


Mel Brooks's Prometheus
posted by adamdschneider at 5:25 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you all have this a little backwards. The point of the movie was not to go find the chariot-riding-gods, but to get rid of the idiot scientists and telephone sanitizers.

Mission Accomplished!
posted by arkham_inmate_0801 at 7:04 AM on November 13, 2012


Well, that's two B-ark references in this thread alone.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:25 AM on November 13, 2012


One of the levers releases a pudding (at 6:09)

The pudding is also cursed.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:36 AM on November 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


...but potassium benzoate-free!
posted by griphus at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


... because it's 100% unobtanium.
posted by phearlez at 9:32 AM on November 13, 2012


So now you will come back at me and say that the story ruins everything, it's not original, blah blah blah. Well duh, the story has deficiencies. We get it! We got it 5 threads ago! Not Alien Redux! Watch move, enjoy fucking awesome aspects

Brocktoon, I think your model for how people perceive movies is fundamentally flawed.

You seem to think that people watch the movie, think afterwards about the plot, decide it didn't make sense, and then conclude they didn't like the movie.

What actually usually happens is that people watch a movie, dislike it, and then afterwards have these discussions about poor writing, lazy characterization, and shoddy plotting to try to articulate why they didn't enjoy the movie.
posted by straight at 11:13 AM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, this screenplay was better. I wonder why it didn't get made?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 AM on November 13, 2012


I always try to defend this movie, so I'll emphasize the positive: my favorite thing about Prometheus was how goddamn bleak it was. I read all of the faith/Jesus stuff as misdirection, from a protagonist who's blinded by her agenda. It's a thin fig leaf of a spiritual blanket for mass market audiences. But the real concerns of the film are as Lovecraftian as any major movie I can remember - it's even worse than "we're all alone in the universe and human life has no purpose" - this is a movie that posits that creationism exists! We were created for a purpose! Wow! But the script cruelly twists fundamentalism so that this purpose ends up being as terrifyingly hollow and cold as anything we can imagine - it's a fate worse than us being alone in the universe. We were engineered to be dumb weapons in a war that makes no sense to us, our gods are dumb space jocks who hate us, and the only higher ideal or purpose offends every religious tenet we believe in. The "every culture has these mystical space signs and something out there must exist!" opening is the cruelest, blackest joke I've seen in a blockbuster sci-fi film, and I love it.
posted by naju at 11:37 AM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, seeing as I missed a chance at the file, because I missed the post and Fox filed a complaint, is there a chance someone might MeMail me about a second opportunity at the script?

Also, chalk me down as one of the really really frustrated fans of the Alien franchise when it comes to Promethius.
posted by Samizdata at 12:54 PM on November 13, 2012


Yeah, I know I mispelled Prometheus in my comment, but the edit pony timed out while a sleep-deprived Samizdata was googling the corrent spelling.

On the happy side (not so much), it looks like we might be seeing Prometheus 2 - Paradise in 2014/15.

Oh, joy, oh happy day. I can die now a complete soul (well, not until 2014/15 of course!)...
posted by Samizdata at 1:02 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So long as the sequel's working title is "We sacked the author of the previous script, stopped writing unbelievable characters, and are here to kick ass" I could get into that.
posted by zippy at 4:35 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually the sequel is called "We sacked the author of the previous script, stopped writing unbelievable characters, and are here to kick ass: Predator Invasion".

Paul WS Anderson is attached.
posted by Mezentian at 5:17 PM on November 13, 2012


Straight, you've seen the movie already, the only way to try and enjoy the awesome aspects is for you to watch it again. My point is, I think there is a lot to enjoy about this movie, and here is how you do that.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:22 PM on November 13, 2012


Predator vs Crossfit Engineers
posted by zippy at 7:58 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I tried to open the script, and the whole thing looked like this:

Bn OWABTB\FY d`fb|q en|f teo{: b q|uyl togea`o oruessol {e|gyfif|ea byhq. Iyekg| d`ffl`ekg|q iob| b| |go lbymnoqq. Enqelo|go afamse| ( b iuii`o fd k`bqq ( qe|q b IOB_\ED_@ [FHBN.

While I'm certain it's an encoding issue with my browser, my first thought was "MAN the original writer was committed to this in-world language."
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:31 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


WALL-ETHEUS
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:39 AM on November 17, 2012


prometheus and god
posted by homunculus at 7:10 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, so Scott (or Giler and Hill) allowed the premise of the Xenomorphs to be shifted. Brandywine Entertainment has been milking the Alien franchise for the last 30 years (see AvP:Requiem); I've watched it again, and can regard it as a very pretty film, but it has next to no substance.

Prometheus just wasn't as good as Alien was.

That's probably the issue for 80% of the haters here. Not as engaging, internalizing or smartly wrought.

The idea of reassembling teams of people for sequels, spin-offs and new productions -- the hope that they'll win another pennant. Sadly, 30 years have passed, the players have aged. And Lindelhof is no Dan O'Bannon.

The sticking point: Alien was a masterpiece of improvised performances and directorial luck. Everyone associated with the film was young, hungry and playful enough to create a masterpiece with long legs and plenty of resonance.

Thirty years on, the director and producers are shining-up their retirement plortfolios and looking for larger returns, rather than Art. Cynical re-investment is what got up BOTH AVP films.

There's a story somewhere in Prometheus, but it straddles a fence between the press releases that preceded the producers' goals. Scott's flourish with David during the film's first 15 minutes is a nice nod to Kubrick's 2001, but it's not the entire film.

In a world where all screenwriters were Lit. majors, Prometheus would have gone straight out of the park, but Fox is no longer run by visionaries like Richard Zanuck. Tom Rothman was no David Zanuck, and he was never going to preside over an era that would produce the next Godfather,Jaws and Star Wars.

(Younger filmmakers, please take note -- It's not all just Avatar and James Cameron out there.)

I'd like it if the extended cut (rumored to be 30 mins. longer) reversed my disappointments, but it is unlikely.

Has anyone seen it? Reportedly, this longer version was released on Blu-Ray last month.
posted by vhsiv at 9:35 AM on November 27, 2012


Prometheus just wasn't as good as Alien was.

That's probably the issue for 80% of the haters here. Not as engaging, internalizing or smartly wrought.


I think that leaves out a lot of nuance and implies it's all about viewer expectation in a vacuum. A creative work should be judged on its own merits for good and for ill, but I don't think we can judge a modern movie based solely on what comes between credit sequences anymore (if we ever could). Most of us are drawn into a film by marketing and advertising, so when it promises one thing and delivers another that's going to impact perception.

I think making something part of a larger universe/series is an even bigger obligation. If you're going to state/imply a connection to a previous film then you're going to be viewed not just as a movie by itself but as part of a larger work. "Well, viewed on its own merits" implies it's possible to do so, and I'm not sure that's reasonable.
posted by phearlez at 10:12 AM on November 27, 2012


Prometheus just wasn't as good as Alien was.

Hell, it wasn't even as good as Alien Resurrection.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:16 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I still say it was basically a remake of Alien vs. Predator.
posted by homunculus at 11:41 AM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Most of us are drawn into a film by marketing and advertising, so when it promises one thing and delivers another that's going to impact perception.

That sounds like the premise for a Mike Judge film, or something by Spike Jonze.

> I think making something part of a larger universe/series is an even bigger obligation. If you're going to state/imply a connection to a previous film then you're going to be viewed not just as a movie by itself but as part of a larger work.

Like many here on the blue, I was hoping for something fully immersive: Bits of that movie that have beenpercolating for the past 33 years. It's about some executive at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and explores he idea that he could use the crew of the Nostromo to mule a radical, new, illegal bio-weapon into Sol system.

It's not really an Alien prequel, per se, but rather a tale of human weakness and moral frailty. It has nothing to do with gods, chariots or fire. (And we could probably produce something you could shoot for less than $40M.)

(Recommendation to Ridley: Crowd-source either one of your upcoming sequels here on Metafiler. This is a community of highly talented, highly educated people. You are bound to get a tighter first-draft out of us, for less than you spent developing the Spaights draft and Lindelhof polishes onPrometheus.

We'll only charge you $1M.
posted by vhsiv at 1:05 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Spaights is sort of an idiot, or he's just young. On the additional material for the DVD, he announces that the Space Jockey is the central mystery of the story.

This is not a man who lived through Watergate, or understands its influence.
posted by vhsiv at 1:58 PM on November 27, 2012


Finally got around to seeing Prometheus last night, and I agree with most of the comments about the most glaring flaws. However, I did enjoy the overall narrative, and I'm looking forward to the sequel. My take is that it's not at all certain that all Engineers want to destroy the human race. What was going on in that first hologram? Why were they running? Why such a rush to shut the door, which led to the decapitation? To me, it looked as though they may have been on some kind of unsanctioned renegade mission.
posted by gimli at 10:18 AM on December 5, 2012


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