Friday, June 08, 2012

Escape to the Movies: "Prometheus"

Note: I just wanted to publically thank Justin Clouse at The Escapist, who jumped in and helped finish this episode (re: assembling all of the audio/video files into a cohesive finished product) when my equipment went to shit with very little notice and only my own "unique" interpretation of editing-"plans" to work from. Guy did a bang-up job, in my estimation, and I'm just incredibly sincerely thankful.

Anyway! SPOILER WARNING on "Prometheus."

Intermission responds to Sasha Stone re: The Avengers and The Oscars.


Phil said...

I really don't think the problem had much to do with so much media being put out there in regards to this movie. Look at how much footage there is on the Dark Knight Rises out there and people still don't know what the whole story actually is. Hell, those viral marketing videos that were released for Prometheus added little if anything to the movie itself.

The problem is that damn trailer pretty much shows you the whole movie. Seriously, aside from one or two twists, that trailer is pretty much the whole movie. And there really isn't that whole much to this movie.

The "questions" that it raises are not done in any interesting sort of way because if you already know what the movie is supposedly about (i.e. where we come from) then you know the movie. It isn't presenting anything in a thought provoking way. It's literally, "Hey, those things created us. Yup. They did it".

And I give you props for mentioning the fact that it uses the dead horse that is "Black and brown people couldn't have made things like the pyramids back in the day because us white people can't figure it out. You know, cause white people are the superior race and if something on their land is impressive to us then it must've been... ALIENS. Yeah, that's right! Aliens did it!" bullshit. It really is one of the most racist ideas that has ever been put forward. Some people even actually believe that stuff and the fact it keeps being used in stories to this day is quite telling of Hollywood.

Prometheus was well made except for the script which is nothing special. If you are going to hype a movie that much then you better make sure it's worth the amount of build up otherwise it can backfire badly. It doesn't help at all that it's pretty much a remake of sorts of Alien. That makes the whole "this isn't really a prequel to Alien" nonsense in the marketing quite ironic if not borderline insulting.

Tim S said...

I notice that MovieBob has reduced the amount of audio cuts in this episode. More pauses that sounded more natural then before.

While I would say this sounds better, ironically, it actually bugs me. ^^;

Ilkka said...

Hey, Bob, another great episode and a good article, too. Though I was wondering, whether you've ever thought to use the space in the end credits or Intermission to comment on other premier movies. Any additional comments and hints would be nice since you clearly have a lot to say, but for example today you just used Wreck-it Ralph twice...

Anonymous said...

Not having seen any of the Alien movies I think I'll enjoy it more than someone like yourself looking for references.

Anonymous said...

Just saw Prometheus and was blown away.... how awful it is.

Bad script, bad acting, bad effects. Just really really bad. Fassbender is the only one worth watching here, everybody else is just wooden, bland, noncharacters.

Anonymous said...


I gotta strongly disagree with a lot of the things you are saying here Bob. This movie explains NOTHING about the space jockeys or the aliens. It HINTS, but what it hints at actually makes no sense, and there are so many plot holes and problems with the alien creation thing that it makes the rest of the movie feel completely irrelevant. Especially the timescale of human evolution somehow fitting with the events the movie is showing us. Think about it. We are told that the jockey they find was 2000 years dead, that means 2000 years since all the stuff on the planet happened. The movies first shot shows us the supposed seeding of human life using the ooze (by way of suicide by something that was designed to destroy life? ummm, logic?) that we have to assume was created 2000 years ago. This fits with the scope of human evolution and darwinism...HOW!?

Silver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silver said...

Bob, how exactly Prometheus is an intelligent movie? All the grand ideas are boring recycled Daniken crap. There is no subtext at all, and probably because this is a Tom Rothman movie after all, we have a shallow pro-creationist propaganda, as subtle as the christian apologetics in Narnia. The characters are like taken straight out from Lost (nothing to do with the down-to-earth team in Alien), so I was actually wondering why this movie starts with the Scott Free logo, instead of Bad Robot. Ridley is there, of course - the visual mastery is at the highest possible level, but that's not enough to save the day.

Btw, Ridley announced the big mystery - the Engineers want to destroy Earth, because 2000 years ago we crucified one of them. How original.

Anonymous said...

Someone please tell moviebob about this!!!

Elessar said...

I said it on the Escapist and I'll say it again here Bob:
Thank you SO MUCH for talking up the unaccountably brilliant Moonrise Kingdom. Seriously, that is a movie everyone needs to see.

Lee Kalba said...


That's actually a really good point, about the ALIENS DID IT... meme, I guess is the right word. At least in Thor, they were dealing with white people, not brown people. There are a couple of other examples people that buy into this stuff point to, that are in Europe, but as I think on it, seems most of the ALIENS DID IT! explanations for freaky shit, are centered around Africa and South America.
The whole ALIENS DID IT! theme in fiction has gotten really tedious, and that freak job on the History Channel needs to be hit with a pipe wrench, if only for asking anyone to take him seriously, while looking like that.

Popcorn Dave said...

Okay Bob, you've made your point, you can shut up about the Avengers now.

ImadK said...

I thought that it was good, not great, pretty much as Bob said. There isn't much of an impression that this movie made, unfortunately. But then again, when has a prequel been a memorable movie (in the sense of being good)?

Should we be wary of Prometheus 2, anyone?

prometheus movie trailer said...

I watched the prometheus trailer a few day ago it is a very deep movie!

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob,

Just found this superman comic book cover while surfing the web.

I have no idea what this is from or where it's going, but I'd love to know more. More broadly, I think a "Comics Are Weird!" plus your usual awesome takes on gender and race in enthusiast media would make for a great episode of The Big Picture.

Popcorn Dave said...

Seconded - I'd love a Big Picture about the batshit CRAZY Lois Lane and (especially) Jimmy Olsen spinoffs from the Silver Age. Maybe Bob's not the biggest Superman fan but I know he's got a soft spot for that era and it would be nice to hear something about those infamous spinoffs besides the usual snarking from sites like Seanbaby and Superdickery.

Bolongo said...

Just wanted to say I agree with all the critiques from Phil, Anonymous and Silver.
Prometheus thinks it's a smart movie, but is in fact deeply, deeply stupid. Or maybe deeply shallow...
The more I think about it, the more I think Ridley Scott must have had some sort of small stroke or anuerysm or something after wrapping Matchstick Men, because there's been a pretty sharp drop in quality after that point. :P

Anonymous said...

Hollywood has an undeniable race problem, this is true. But I strongly disagree with pretty much EVERYTHING else that has been stated in this comment section thus far. The fact that a movie is being racist because aliens created us? WHAT? Just think that over for a second. The movie pretty plainly states that ALL of our culture and language is derived from them, this INCLUDES the achievements of white people. Why were pretty much all of the cultural renderings of the aliens from non caucasian cultures? Because almost all great civilizations in the BC's were not white. What on earth is racist about this? Never does anyone in the movie say "this explains how people made pyramids." Everything thing people are discussing has been inferred from almost nothing.

As for everything else it is just preference I guess. This movie chose not to slam its messages, questions, and themes into peoples faces and I dug that. apparently others didn't.

It doesn't have the simple elegance of Alien, but it is head over heals better than Aliens and reminds me why Scott is my favorite director.

Anonymous said...

PS the big difference between Prometheus and the other "chariot of the gods" movies is that in almost all of those other movies, the aliens come down to earth and show the non white savages technology and make them build pyramids etc.

The key in prometheus is that:

A. non of that is shown

B. they did not simply obscurely help a long dead civilization and did nothing for white men, they are said to have provided the roots for ALL of our language and cultures.

C. They literally CREATED ALL OF US. I find it hard to see how this singles any race out? They are the equivalent of god.

This seems quite a bit different to me. And I struggle to see the racism here where I did see it in AVP, IJ, SG, etc.

Joe said...


This movie was about a bunch of dumb people pretending to be scientists who spend $1 trillion dollars and two years to go halfway across the galaxy just to do dumb things and die. Everything Silver said about it is 100% accurate.

It was a gorgeous movie, and most of the actors struggled mightily with the crap they were given, but it was just dumb.

@Silver said...

Btw, Ridley announced the big mystery - the Engineers want to destroy Earth, because 2000 years ago we crucified one of them. How original.

If that's true, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Bolongo said...

@ Joe

I tried to justify the central mystery of "they made us, then they want to kill us" to myself by reflecting about the title of the movie. I said to myself "that Engineer in the opening scene is Prometheus - he's a rebel, he's seeding this planet with his DNA without the sanction or knowledge of the others. That's why they're upset when they find out."

But then I read the interview where Scott invalidates that theory (he says that the Engineers have seeded lots of planets and the opening scene might not even be Earth) and instead provides the dumbest possible answer (the Jesus thing). Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Director commentary should not effect a movie. Ridley Scott is well known for giving completely off the wall mind numbingly horrible explanations for things that are purposely left ambiguous in his own movies.

He was more than likely just fu**ing around. In the unlikely case that that was how he intended the movie. As someone who has a bachelors in Literature I can tell you right now they are living things, and the second a work leaves the writers hands they are generally viewed through a scope of objectivity with an attitude of "who cares what the writer intended, because this is what he said." Yeah we are pretentious that way. I would also say that this approach is even more true with a film which is a wholly collaborative process where the director is just one (albeit a very important one) of many different parts.

My point is, if the movie was clearly saying one thing (the question was meant to be left unanswered, thats the entire point) then a bullshit answer the director gives in an interview months after he touched the film for the last time should not effect the way the film is viewed or its quality.

Also I really REALLY think that he was talking bullshit and was probably just bored with all the interviews and just started ad libbing. The jesus thing makes NO sense in contract to what occurred in the film.

Bolongo said...

Normally I would agree with you about disregarding authorial intent.

It becomes harder when he's threatening to make a sequel that follows up on his batshit ideas.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let everyone know that the jesus thing is not true. They CONTEMPLATED doing it, but they decided against it (thank god). He just said it could easily have happened that way. look here.

I really dont know why people are hating on this movie so much... There is so much to love here. People keep getting hung up on the prequel thing. Look its not. Except for one stupid scene and the name of the company you could take the entire movie and it would have nothing but a cursory similarity (semi face huggers, but not really) to alien.

get over it. I completely forgot about it until the last scene.

Nicholas said...

The more I read about this movie after actually having seen it, the more I get the feeling that a lot of normally very smart people didn't get it... Like I hate pulling the "you didn't get it argument" out on a lot of the people that commented, but you it sounds like you didn't get it. I know its all subjective, but I get the feeling that people spent so much time viewing this movie through the lense of "alien prequel" that they saw plot holes that dont exist UNLESS it is a direct alien prequel, which it really isnt, and they hated 2 characters so much that they translated the stupid actions of two MINOR people to "everyone in the film is stupid."

I'm just a little stunned at how many people seem to not be getting what Scott is putting down. Maybe that is a fault of Scott's, but I was with him the whole time and I really dug the subtlety of some the things that he was doing.

Again not EVERYTHING in the movie was perfect, but a huge amount of the criticism I am seeing can only be explained in my mind by the nitpicking comparison of this film to two movies that have been held on a pedestal for 30 years and cant conceivably been matched. If this is the case, it is unfair. It is a completely different movie that is only really tied in with the other Alien movies by a cheesy CLEARLY studio mandated scene at the very end.

Maybe I am wrong, and I don't mean this in the sense that people weren't smart enough to "get it" I mean it in the sense that they were too distracted and watching it with the wrong mind set to "get it".

Just a thought.

Bolongo said...

Sorry, Nicholas, but my dislike has nothing to do with the movie's being a prequel or not. In fact, one of the few things I LIKED about it was that it was so light on the prequel-itis. I am judging this movie entirely on its own merits.

The plot holes that bother me don't have anything to do with "Alien lore", they come from completely unbelievable character writing. It's the rookie mistake of having people do things because it gets the plot moving, not because it makes any kind of sense. And it is NOT the case that "two minor people" act stupid, EVERYONE does at one point or another, and the main scientist characters are impossibly stupid all the way through.

As for "what Scott is putting down", please enlighten me. Because I have a hard time getting past the underpinning of the whole thing, which is not at all subtle, it's right there in the opening scene. I'm talking about the "life on Earth came from space" idea here, which is so far beyond just plain ordinary stupid that it leaves me almost speechless. And to then posit that people with any kind of scientific training would not just laugh it off... I mean, they must have gotten their doctorates via mail-order.

Anonymous said...

I've seen this movie and, despite seeing quite a lot of the pre-film shorts, really liked it. Yes there is a lot of unanswered questions in there in relation to the intent and what happened exactly.

Nicholas is also right in that while it is a Prequal to Aliens it is not a direct prequal. What emerges from the Engineer at the end is not a xenomorph. Instead it is the carving that is on the back wall of the room which contains the giant head. Most likely a warning to indicate this is what is created if you are infected. This then poses the question that did the Engineers try to destroy us because Xenomorphs are created if we are infected?

There was one thing at the end that caught my attention and annoyed me a little. The android head, able to understand the aliens speech/writing and operating their technology, being carried around. If anyone has read the book Alien vs Predator Hunters Planet then this bit looks like it was lifted right from its pages (The previous book pretty much being a good deal of the script for the first Alien vs Predator film.) and if Ridley Scott is going to make a sequal to Prometheus I pray that he does not go down the route of David's head being a sort of swiss army knife for Engineer technology as the film will suck as badly as the first Alien vs Predator film did.


Megabyte said...

Can I just comment on everyone having a canniption fit over race? On a FICTIONAL movie based on actions of ALIENS (those or another kind, doesn't matter) against the HUMAN RACE?

Do you guys see racial issues if someone has "black forest ham" on their sandwich or something? Which one of you is suing Subway for that? Seriously... get a fucking life.

Nicholas said...

Bolango: please enlighten me as to how EVERYONE acts so incredibly stupid? I only saw two characters acting in ways that seemed completely illogical.

As for what scott was putting down. In what way is a group of aliens who have spent millenia mastering biology creating our species any less stupid than any of the religious theories currently in existence? Of all the unbelievable science fiction concepts we readily accept in cinema and literature what exactly makes "aliens through extensive evolutionary and biological experimentation brought about our existence?" so hard to stomach?

When I talk subtlety I speak of things like as an example the actions of Dave and what they mean for the movies principal questions and messages. I speak of the evolution of Rapace's character, things like that. The fact that instead of just answering the questions brought up in the movie from long and blunt exposition sequences (something that is so common in sci fi) Scott instead chooses to show them, and instead of giving concrete answers that defeat the purpose of asking the question in the first place, he just gives us possible answers that we can either take or leave.

Give me examples of major plot holes not relating to Alien cannon because I am having trouble seeing more than a few very minor ones, and other than people saying that they are there, I havent seen any actual examples.

Bolongo said...

Nicholas: the "aliens made us" theory is perhaps not STUPID in itself. It's just incredibly BORING because it doesn't actually explain anything. It doesn't answer any of the questions science actually asks. The stupidity comes in when characters that are supposed to be scientists act as if they thought this was a fascinating theory. This shows that the scriptwriters don't understand anything about science or philosophy. In a normal Hollywood blockbuster I don't care so much that the scientist characters are cardboard cutouts. But in this case they're supposed to be the center of the whole plot.

As for plot holes, OK here's a few:
- The big one that is actually called attention to in the movie itself is of course... if the Engineers created life on Earth billions of years ago, why did they suddenly decide a few thousand years ago that they wanted to end it? I suppose you can say they wanted to leave this as a cliffhanger for the sequels, but for reasons mentioned above I don't trust Scott to give any meaningful answer.
- Related to that, how did the Engineers themselves not evolve at all in those billions of years?
- Why did the Engineers leave clues all over Earth pointing to a moon that's just a bioweapons lab?
- Why is the dream sequence from a third person perspective?
- Why does the Prometheus find the Engineer site by just sort of cruising around at random?
- Why are they so quickly disappointed in not finding live aliens? They've only explored a small portion of one complex.
- In fact, why do they assume this one complex is the only thing of interest on the whole moon?
- Why not bring weapons? Do you think "we're scientists" gives you some sort of immunity that alien species will respect?
- Taking off helmets just because the air is breathable? Really?
- In fact, apart from a throwaway mention of quarantine, they seemed to have no idea at all about protective measures.
- I mean, even leaving aside the possibility of catching an alien virus, the researchers themselves are contaminating the site they're supposedly so concerned about.
- Why can't the guy who actually brought the mapping devices find his way out?
- Why does a geologist seem to have claustrophobia?
- Why does a biologist think that poking at an unknown snake-like entity is a good idea?
- Why does the captain care so little about his stranded crewmen? I can sort of understand leaving his post to chase some tail (cue the Pacino quote from Heat) but he could at least have gotten someone else to take his shift.
- Why does the company first care very much about preserving the alien baby, and then flip over to not giving a shit?
- Why do people trying to get away from a falling object run straight in the same path it's falling?

Whew. I could go on.

Anonymous said...

Visually the movie was amazing and the acting was good but the movie still sucked overall. There was no real character development so you didn't care when anybody died. None of the monsters were cool-looking or all that scary. The one 'engineer' was nothing more than another lame monster (guy didn't even speak). I just hated it. total waste of my time and money.

James said...

Hey Bob, this is OT, but are you finally willilng to acknowledge that Obama's as bad as Romney?

Anonymous said...

Nicholas, the biggest problem is that the movies theory of aliens kickstarting life doesnt work even in the movies internal universe.

- Theory: The clip showing the Engineer killing itself and a strand of its DNA floating away is supposed to be what starts life and evolution on Earth, and as such happens a long time ago, explaining why we have found fossils and carbon dated stuff etc.

-Problem 1: Anyone with a basic knowledge of primary school biology can tell you that dropping a piece of skin, blood, hair, whatever in water on a planet devoid of life will NOT in any way cause this strand of your DNA to evolve into even the most basic of single or multicelled organisms. It would just float for a bit and deteriorate. Also, since the movie goes to great pains to state that engineer dna and human dna is not only similar, but identical, is shoots itself in the foot again, suggesting that after millions of years, evolutuion and mutation, going from dinosaurs to apes to modern man, the DNA has somehow bounced back to its original form, untouched by change? Primary school teaches us that this is downright impossible. Central idea of the whole movie doesnt work. Movie doesnt work, cause you are wathcing scientists who ARE NOT SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER be paid a trillion dollars to explore and ask a question you already know is wrong.

-Problem 2: The black ooze is seen used in the movies first clip, and as such you have to ask the question, is this supposed to happen around the same time as the bio-weapons facility is lost? Needles to say, a couple of thousand years is way to short to fit with the evidence we have of lifes development on earth. The alternative is that the Engineers have been producing and storing a highly dangerous poison for no good reason for millenia.

- Problem 3: The black ooze does whatever the hell the writer wants it to do at any given time. In the movies first clip it straight up kills the Engineer. Later it mutates earth worms we can only assume were placed in the chamber specifically for this into snake facehuggers. One of these snakes kills a man, does not make an alien, and the ooze turns the other into a rage zombie. Later it is shown to not kill Noomis husband immediately, and even when it takes effect he doesnt become a rage zombie. And also apparently them having sex made her pregnant with a facehugger baby, which grows to a size that seems designed to kill Engineers.

As you can see, the movie has no internal logic or rules for what the black ooze does, which is stupid since it is manufactured by a highly intelligent race, which means it would have been designed to do something specific, not just waffle about with the laws of the movieverse.

All ofm these things have nothing to do with the aliens movies, just logic. I have only touched on the holes in the movies central idea. Once we start looking at the characters and the smaller plot threads things only get worse. So there. Thats why the internet is split down the middle. Some of us cant shut down knowledge of evolutionary theory at will. Kudos the the people who can and as such enjoyed this movie.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Everything You guys are saying are plot holes are things that are simply left unexplained. You are placing your own assumptions in place of nothing. You assume the planet at the beginning has no life on it at all, you assume it was just dead cells floating in the water when I think it very clearly insinuates that they are reconstituting themselves into a completely new organism. Of course this is impossible. But I do not understand in what way this is outlandish compared to other sci fi (including the other alien movies).

In what science fiction story is 90% of what occurs not impossible? Come the hell on. We see they have the ability to create organic life using their bodies and some chemical. It goes unexplained how they do this. All for the better. They are not using bogus science, they are simply stating the aliens can do this. It does not break any of our laws of science because it does not give us enough information to know whether it does. Do what you do with EVERY OTHER MOVIE accept it.

Why do you assume the black ooz on the ship is the same as the black ooz on the planet. They dont act in the same way, they are similar but clearly different. They do everything but come out and say that one is used to create life and the other to destroy it. The ooz on the ship is discovered to be a biological weapon meant to destroy humanity. They literally come out and say this.

Bolongo said...

The last poster is again calling for suspension of disbelief as a cure-all.

I'm perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief in scientific impossibility when it doesn't affect the core of the story. Say, if all you want to make is a suspenseful little horror story set in space.

But if you make a movie that wears its pretensions to address BIG QUESTIONS on its sleeve, that excuse won't fly.

The other Anonymous explained why the science is bunk mechanically, so I guess I should elucidate why I disagree with it philosophically.

It's like this: the only real question remaining about life on Earth is how it got started. As long as we have single-cell organisms to start with, we have a model for how they evolved into us. What we don't know is how the transition from inorganic to organic happened. In other words, how did the first replicators appear? The movie posits that alien interference kickstarted the process somehow. We don't even need to go into the details of how they did it to see that this "explanation" doesn't tell us anything. It only shifts the line of inquiry to "OK, so how did life get started on THEIR planet then?"

Anonymous said...

In response to the above Anon:

First off, not saying something about something mayor in a movies plot should be called a plot hole. Giving us a vague explanation that makes sense is fine, but Prometheus seems to go far beyond vague into "i was writtten by the dude that wrote Lost, whats internal consistency anyway?" teritory.

Most sci-fi can keep our BS alarm from activating beacause they employ a simple defense. All the stuff its about happens/comes from the future. We have seen, from our own examples, that we are terribly bad at predicting what technology will do in the future, hence if the average sci-fi movie takes place in a time far enough removed from our own, we can sit back and enjoy it because, hey, who knows, it might happen! Prometheus has the problem of trying to fit its big fantastical element into our history, our past and we happen to know a great deal about evolution and the beginning of life (well not the early details, but still). Prometheus therefore cant just deploy the normal sci-fi defense, and should have stepped up to the plate by atleast agknowledging the issue, and giving us something in the way of an explanation of how it would work around this issue.

To directly counter your arguments, i believe most would agree that nothing is "clear" about the movies first clip. Again, including something to agknowledge that DNA doesnt NORMALLY work this way would have solved the problem for me, but it never adresses it. If i am an elitist for demanding a bit more than "beacuse i say so" from the main point in this movie, so be it.

If it isnt Earth, without any life, the movies main point is moot, so really it has to be. The alien DNA somehow mixing with an already established fauna/flora is even stranger, and changes them from our possible creator into just a foreign contaminent, which again is a possibility the movie never bothers to explore or even mention, so safe to say that isnt the case. So it has to be earth, and that has to be the beginning of life according to the movie, and as i mentioned earlier, that is a bit too far into scientific territory to just skirt by on the "because i said so" argument.

So i should not expect an alien black ooze that looks and wriggles just like some identical ooze i see later to be the same ooze, because thats what they really meant, and yet never brought up or hinted at later? Because no character in the movie i watched ever says anything about the ooze used in that first shot, or that it was used to create life. Oh sure, they say that the structure is a bio-weapons lab and the ooze a weapon intended to destroy earth in the movie, which is funny, since the fact that they pull this out of thin air is a bit of a plothole in itself. Movies are a visual medium, and i trust Mr.Ridley would have made it look and..errrr...wrigle, differently if he meant them to be deifferent.

Nicholas said...


1. I am not sure if you know what a plot hole is because not knowing the answer to something is not a plot hole. We are not supposed to know the answer to this question at the end that is the point and you not trusting Scott to have a good answer in 2 does not make it a problem in the first movie.

2. Exactly how do you know they did not evolve in those billion years? Do we know their internal physiology? Do we even know that the first Alien is on earth? It is neither time stamped nor is a location given. Even if we assume it is earth and assume it is a billion years ago, we have an alien speicies who has the ability to create and destroy life with little difficulty and clearly has a mastery of evolution. Is it so hard to believe that they have mastered their own evolutionary track? Going further in the context of the film they are near gods why would it be so far a stretch to think that they may not have near perfect bodies and thus have no where else to go in the evolutionary ladder. So many potential explanations, especially the "they are gods" one.

3. If they created us and guided our evolution as a species atleast for a time, why is it difficult to believe they may have wanted us to meat them when we were ready. It stands to reason that the facility was the closest location to earth that they had a presence on. It makes sense that that is where they would send us and even more sense that when they changed their minds about us that that is where they would plan their attack against us.

4. Really? I don't think this one dignifies an answer. This is so nitpicky. It is grasping at straws. But for fun I will answer it anyways. I cant remember almost any of my dreams, but when I think about them I am pretty sure atleast a few were actually third person out of body stuff... Maybe Im just a freak but thats what I remember, and if I am wrong, this is just not an issue... ugh...

5. They aren't cruising about randomly. They are looking for a good landing site and one of the doctors sees a rock face that cannot be natural while they are flying, so they land. It saves time in a movie so packed with stuff and I fail to see how this is a plot hole. Holywood convention I suppose but not a plot hole.

6&7. The captain states after their first visit that this was clearly not their home planet and it is a military outpost far away from anywhere it might infect somebody else. This would certainly explain 7 ( the assumption being the captain scanned the planet or something). As for the doctor being upset so early. Well walking into a facility where their are a bunch of dead engineers just lying around that have been untouched for thousands of years wouldnt tip you off that they are all dead? If their were still living aliens in the facility why on earth are all of its comrades lying dead on the floors unmoved...

8: They did bring weapons, security officers wanted to go with the scientists. They assisted on going alone because they did not want to antagonize their creators. Their was no need for the security officers anyways, they would have all been gone when the two dumbasses got trapped and they were all killed in the "rage zombie" attack.

9. breathable air that passes all of their tox screens. Yes SOO dangerous. I don't follow you here.

to be continued

Nicholas said...

10. When they enter the main room Shaw specifically tells everyone not to touch anything, David just doesn't listen, because he is David. Really the only time where the contaminating environments comes into play, and once they fear the crew might get contaminated they do all the tests and everything. Then when they go back to the cave Shaw tells them to not take off their helmets again as a precaution, but is overruled by Dave, who knows the air is not what caused the sickness.

11-13. All of these pertain to the two characters I mentioned in my original post. There is no defense for them. They are horribly written and acted. It kinda sucks, but is not a huge deal considering how early they kick it.

14. They are not his crew. His crew never leaves the ship. They are scientists that go with his crew. He does not care about the mission, or wont admit he does, until the end and just wants his money. Also they have no reason to believe the people in the cave are not perfectly safe, they dont think their is any life in the facility. Also seeing as how this relates to the two morons I am inclined to pool this with the "those two characters and everything relating to them suck" portion of the movie.

15. The company doesn't even know about the alien baby. Dave finds out about it while doing the scans. Other than being interested in it probably he wants to put Shaw in cryo not because of the baby, but to get her out of the way. She is no longer useful and he knows she will cause problems when Weyland comes (ding ding ding ding). This segment has nothing to do with the company.

16. They are desperate, crazy with fear, and have no time to think. This is an instinct only situation. On instinct Shaw rolls away just in time. Theron freezes in fear. It falling really fast it is easy to say oh change direction, but in the moment I am not so sure what I would be thinking.

Almost everything you point out is either an extreme nitpick, not relevant, or not a plot hole at all. Again, I have no defense for the two dumb scientists, they were really only part of the movie I didn't like and should have been cut entirely.

Anonymous said...


That is the ENTIRE POINT. The question will just always shift to a new level. You find out aliens created us. Ok why did they create us? You find out that, well ok who created them? etc etc. The point is that every question will lead to a successive question, and our quest for the answers are what makes us special. The questions themselves and the journey we take in search of them are far more important and interesting than whatever the answers in the end may be.

You are missing the point. Nothing is answered for a reason.

Nicholas said...

I had a minute to reread my explanations and I apologize for little grammar and my extensive use of their instead of there. I had a lot to say and didn't want to take forever in sending it. My bad.

Bolongo said...

Nicholas: Well, your detailed defense only proves that if you're determined to like something, you can always make up arguments to support it. I'm not even going to say you're wrong necessarily, it's just that we have different views of the core of the movie, and that colors our perceptions of surface events very differently.
You are wrong about #1, though. For the reason I will explain in the next paragraph.

Anonymous: No, the infinite regress is not always going to happen. It will if you insist on the answer being something culled from everyday human experience, of course. This is what the movie does: it says that just like we make robots, someone made us. Then someone else must have made them and so on ad infinitum. But insisting that explanations must always be of a comfortably familiar kind is too limiting. Science would never have gotten very far that way. To provide new knowledge, we need to find new ways of explaining things. Naturally I don't know what the explanation of how life can spontaneously generate will look like when it is is eventually found, but you can be sure it won't be through an analogy with premeditated actions.

And to get back to the point about stupidity: the fact that the two archeologists choose the label "engineer" to apply to the aliens proves that they're stuck in the builder metaphor, and that makes them stupid. Or at the very least, poorly trained and a disgrace to the scientific community.

Nicholas said...

Bolongo: Fair enough, we clearly have two very different perspectives going into the movie, however, I will say I could say the same for your fairly detailed first explanation. If you are determined to hate something you can justify it no matter what. It goes both ways.

I would also by no means say that the Prometheus explanation of life is "comforting," far from it.

How on earth does that name make them stupid? It is nothing more than a name, there are countless examples of worse reasons behind the names of scientific things than the builder metaphor. ESPECIALLY, when in the movies universe we were engineered...

Seeing that it seems your largest complaint(though obviously you have other issues with it) is that aliens created us, rather than some great mysterious and mind-boggling other. That is fine and you are entitled to your opinion and on one level I agree with you.

However, Scott only puts forward this explanation so that he can toy with different far more interesting concepts and questions that tickle my fancy very much. It is a means to an end, nothing he could have put forward could have been what you desire because if he could think of it it would then be inside the world we can comprehend. In order to get past that initial question he had to come up with an explanation that didn't in and of itself take up the entire film.

Again I guess it boils down to can you just accept the movies premise for what it is and follow Scott down the rabbit's hole as it were. If you can the movie is a real treat replete with deep questions, awesome visuals, and two outstanding performances. If not, well like you you are just going to spend the entire movie thinking how much you dislike the opening scene and from then on out you will find every reason you can to dislike it.

Bolongo said...

I wasn't really expecting a movie to solve the mystery of life. ;)

I was just hoping for a more interesting use of the Prometheus myth. But I guess not all writers can be Mary Shelley...

(Any SF that includes an AI of course implicitly evokes Frankenstein, but I thought this movie did a rather slapdash job of it.)

Nicholas said...

haha wow I never really thought of AI as Frankenstein clones(I have associated it more with cloning), but now that you mention it I am never going to be able to unsee that comparison...

I will agree with you on one thing, Prometheus is no Frankenstein. I still think its pretty great though.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the posts but I did get through enough to make me want to post this, sorry if it's a repost.

The engineers created humans to host the xenomorphs cause they don't want to kill a bunch of their own to make their crazy army. They developed it on that moon so that stuff wouldn't get out and kill them all like Idris said. That ship was set to take all those containers of the black fluid to earth to make the army of xenomorphs. We exist to create the xenomorphs. Not that complicated really. The movie had a lot of flaws yeah but it has enough good stuff going on to be watchable.

Omorka said...

Finally saw this tonight - I thought the secondary characters were reasonably well fleshed out, at least for an action/horror movie, and the acting was generally quite good, but ugh, the dialogue - and the science was execrable. Two clunkers that haven't been covered already:

1) The Engineer at the beginning isn't wearing a rebreather. The moon has an atmosphere that's about 20% oxygen. You know already that life exists on both worlds, and you have a decent idea what some of it looks like, because free oxygen doesn't happen otherwise. It's crazy reactive stuff. The only reason a planet would have a significant amount of molecular oxygen in its atmosphere is that something is converting carbon dioxide to oxygen - these planets have algae/plant life, or something close enough to be doing the same job. So in the opener, that's not the beginning of life on the planet, and on the moon, they already know they're on a life-bearing planet, so finding some should not be a surprise.

2) In the talk about the "maps" after everyone wakes up from stasis, the archaeologist identifies one as Egyptian, another as Babylonian, and the label on a third clearly says "Ugaritic." He then says these cultures had no contact with each other. I nearly laughed out loud - Egypt, Babylon, and Phoenicia are practically neighbors and had extensive contact back-and-forth even in the earliest days of writing. Those three should be considered a single contact.

Also, the idea that Dr. Shaw would be physically able to run with her stomach muscles severed makes no sense. Clearly no one involved in the script has ever has a c-section, or had to take care of someone who had one.

Any one of these alone would have yanked me out of the movie for a moment, but these, the bad genetics, the telegraphed revelations, etc. just kept me from ever getting back in. I was pretty heavily disappointed, even though the effects were stunning.

paddy said...

"Really smart"...? In no way AT ALL is this mess "smart". These are the most stupid characters I've ever seen in a move, and that's saying a lot. They are DUMB AS CRAP. The story is assembled from a million half-assed ideas and the "tension" and "drama" is laughable.

Shame on you Bob. Shame.

Nicholas said...

of the three 1. is pretty laughable. It is the creation of INTELLIGENT LIFE that is the aliens goal. They are creating intelligent life on these planets. His cells did not create all life on the planet, they created ours... I thought that kinda went without saying. Otherwise all life on our planet would have identical dna... And again with the moon, they literally say in the movie that it is a life baring planet. Again, they are looking for, wait for it, intelligent life.

We have discovered without a shadow of a doubt that their is life in the universe past us. What we do not know about is intelligent life past us. Likewise that is what this movie concerns. Not an error, sorry.

2. Yes that is true but seeing as there were 3 other contact points that did not have contact with those that you mentioned I would say it really is not a big deal.

I love how with intelligent movies like this (same thing happened with Inception) everyone and their mother want to take a crack at breaking them. Everyone wants to "outsmart" the movie. 90% of the plot holes are always manufactured. Yet The Avengers comes out replete with an unbelievable number of inconsistencies and no one questions, and those that do are called nitpickers and idiots etc etc. It drives me nuts.

paddy said...

Bob, for the love of god ... we beseech you ... look at that movie again and help us understand why such incredibly poor dialog, bad characters, invisible motivation and laughable logic is considered to be okay in a major movie. Because your viewers - you fans - simply aren't getting it.

This movie spat in the face of intelligence and makes science fiction look dumb. It's nothing but insulting. Please, help us out here!

Nicholas said...

paddy: You aren't getting it, that doesn't make it the only or correct opinion. This movie has a very large following, and is quite divisive. There is a large segment of us that love the movie, then there are quite a few that hate it. It is divisive and has created a TON of discussion. Guess what, that is what sci fi is supposed to do.

Do not act as though you speak for everyone, or even the majority of everyone. A lot of people love this movie, and a lot of people hate it. It is one of those. To be honest that is the type of thinking movie I love the most.

Bolongo said...

Sigh, I really didn't want to get into this again....

But Nicholas is right about one thing: the Prometheus myth isn't so much about life itself, but about sentient life. The fire represents tool use, thought, culture and civilisation.

However, IMHO the movie does a piss-poor job of actually bringing about any interesting discussion of this topic. The characters all have goals or questions that are short-sighted, selfish and/or childish, and none of them are really challenged about it. (David's needling of the drunk archeologist seems like it might be going somewhere, but ultimately fizzles.)

The rabid apologist might say: well that's the point of the movie, that we should realize that these people are misguided. I don't buy it. There is no hint within the movie that this is the message. I don't need all stories to be overtly didactic, but the teller should at least give us a clue what he's aiming for. said...

nice pics

Anonymous said...

Saw this a week ago and I've found myself doing something I rarely do with movies: seek out answers to questions posed in the movie after the fact.

Love it or hate it this movie is generating a lot of conversation one way or another... As my trusted resident all-things-movies-guy I'd like to hear some more from Bob on this topic...