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Prometheus: pandering to anti-science

So a lot of you have, by now, probably seen Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, the highly anticipated “prequel” to his 1979 classic Alien. (Its actual goal seems more about hitting the reset button on the whole franchise.) And so I suspect a good many of you are seething about it in the way I and many of the people I’ve been discussing it with have been.

It’s a staggering disappointment, but I think those of us in the skeptical/atheist/pro-science community will find its script — co-written by Damon Lindelof, best known for the TV series Lost — especially insulting. This is a story that just plain shits on science, and how science works, in ways that openly pander to and reinforce American attitudes of religiosity, anti-science and all-around scientific illiteracy. And its sins go beyond the ludicrous dialogue mistake — called out by Neil de Grasse Tyson — where Charlize Theron’s character describes a voyage of 35 light years as “half a billion miles” from Earth, something the writers could have fixed had they not been too goddamn lazy to use Google.

Prometheus spaceship

And this thing gets at least 40 light years to the gallon!

Of course, the movie looks dazzling, because Ridley Scott made it, and nothing he makes looks less than dazzling. And it has a number of small virtues, not the least of which is Michael Fassbender’s devilishly charming performance as the android David, who patterns himself after Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia but actually comes across as more of a walking, talking HAL 9000. His character is the one truly likable one in the whole movie, and you wish he had a better movie to appear in.

Throughout the story, characters act without discernible motivation (David at one point deliberately infects one of the scientists with alien goop without the man’s knowledge, with no clear explanation why). They behave in such stupid and illogical ways you wonder how they qualified for the job of traveling to an uncharted world on a voyage funded by the biggest corporation on Earth in the first place.

Of all the available geologists, the best guy they could get was an emotionally unstable headcase with scalp tattoos and a glassy stare who practically has “I Am Totally Going to Lose It and Then Be Horribly Killed” written on his forehead from the moment you first see him? And I think it would occur to most of us that when you’re exploring an ancient alien ruin, in which you’ve already found a pile of horribly mutilated bodies, and a freaky snake-like alien critter pops its head out of a pool of green slime and hisses at you menacingly, reaching out to touch it is probably not the smartest idea.

Also, here’s a thought. When the wreckage of a horseshoe-shaped spacecraft is rolling towards you, and you do not wish to be crushed to death, why not run to one side rather than in a straight line directly in its path?

Prometheus movie still

"Oh...right! Thanks."

But what is most irritating is the movie’s conflation of science with religious faith. Lindelof takes a postmodern approach in which all ideas are equally likely to be true, and gives Noomi Rapace’s character the most infuriating line any “scientist” in a science fiction movie has ever uttered. When asked to defend her thesis that aliens genetically engineered the human race, which defies the evidence of evolution (here called by the creationist term “Darwinism”), she admits she can’t, “but that’s what I choose to believe.”

Scientists aren’t free of beliefs. But the good ones know that whatever belief or idea you go into an experiment with, you have to be prepared to overthrow it should the evidence you uncover fail to support it. But audiences don’t get this message in the story. In fact, what they get is wafer-thin at best, superficial dialogue exchanges designed to make you think Big Ideas are on the table when they’re really not. “I believe this,” “Well, I believe that” is as deep as science-vs-belief discussions get between the characters.

We eventually learn that tycoon Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce, in the worst old-age makeup I’ve set eyes on) has gotten it into his head that the alien Engineers know something about either immortality, or life after death, or something. But you’re never sure why he thinks this, to the degree of funding a trillion-dollar mission into deep space. Possibly, if Noomi is right and we were engineered, we have no souls, which Weyland wants to believe we do have. But why does he think he’ll get the answers he seeks by barking questions at the first engineer they awaken from cryogenic sleep? (Which proves to be a remarkably bad idea. He should have at least let the guy fix a cup of coffee first.) Again, whatever profundities the movie is after just get bulldozed by bad writing on all fronts.

Also, Noomi’s character wears a cross throughout the movie, a little prop that is often front-and-center in most of her scenes. The clear intent here, I think, is pandering to Christian audiences, who are simply asked to think of her as a Good Person by mere possession of this cross, and aren’t expected to realize (which indeed they may not) that if she’s right about humanity’s alien origins, that defies not only evolution but Biblical teachings too.

Noomi Rapace in Prometheus

Though I wonder what the anti-choicers will think about her self-performed C-section scene.

In the end, Lindelof’s script really does its utmost to avoid taking any kind of clear philosophical or epistemic stand on the whole origins question. I think he’s leaning far more on the side of woo than of science, if not in as headache-inducingly stupid a way as, say, M. Night Shyamalan. The movie wants to be seen as a religious allegory, in the end: we have done something to displease our “gods,” but we know not what. But what we’re left with is a story that does what no well-written science fiction should do: pretend to introduce Big Ideas, then, in a misguided effort to please all and offend none, back away from any intriguing insights or speculation regarding those ideas, so that what remains is gorgeous sound and fury, signifying nothing.


Addendum: Well, it only took four comments for someone to invoke Moff’s Law. But if you think I’m being too anally nitpicky about the bad science and bad writing in the movie, my analysis is nothing. Check out this archaeological take on it all, with truly epic snark levels.

Comments

  1. lol mahmood says

    Yeah, it’s a badly written but beautifully filmed mess. One dimensional character s doing stupid things.

    I found this blog ( http://cavalorn.livejournal.com/584135.html#cutid1) which attempts to analyze some of the symbolism in the piece, and actually strikes me as more interesting and thoughtful than the film itself. See what you think. It’s not my blog, and i have no connection to the author.

  2. Kyle says

    That’s really sad, I heard it was a great movie, but apparently only on the surface. I was hoping Rapace would be in another movie as great as The Millenium Series. How disappointing! D:

  3. Josh says

    that’s heartbreaking. I thought I would enjoy this movie since it’s apparently a prequel to Alien.

  4. John Griffith says

    I don’t mean this as rudely as it is going to sound but do you always have this sense of entitlement when you go to view someone else’s work. It’s a science fiction movie – science because it is futuristic, fiction because it’s fantastical made up bullshit – designed to entertain. Sounds as if you went into it with expectations that well outstripped the movie’s capabilities. I will tell you what’s more annoying than the bad philosophy in “Prometheus”, all of the whining and crying about incorrect science and lacking motivations. I guess you bitch about this stuff when you go to art museums or read fiction. There’s a time for rigidity in the face of woo and bad science and tgere’s a time to realize that a movie has been made to entertain, not inform, and you are only entitled to suspend your disbelief and have a good time or avoid the fucking movie.

    Very surprised you didn’t complain about the two years it took them to travel 25 light years or the announcing of The Messiah’s feet. Please get over yourselves.

  5. George From NY says

    …where Charlize Theron’s character…

    My blood froze when I read that.

    …the best guy they could get was an emotionally unstable headcase with scalp tattoos and a glassy stare…

    Also known as the ‘Starring Jack Nicholson’ trope.

    …reaching out to touch it is probably not the smartest idea….why not run to one side rather than in a straight line directly in its path?

    What Roger Ebert (Thumbs Be Upon Him) would call an Idiot Script, wherein characters must act in the dumbest/most reckless way possible to advance the plot.

    As for the larger, science/faith issues… it’s too depressing to rehash. I’m going to take some cough syrup and watch Dark Star.

  6. PanPan says

    Great job summarizing all the things wrong with this movie. I was so very disappointed with this piece of tripe. I was hoping that with Ridley Scott at the helm we’d get a return back to form to the original 1979 Alien movie, which is an amazing piece of cinema.

    If anyone is looking to kill an hour and die laughing, then I can recommend Spoony’s review of the movie. It goes into everything that’s wrong with this movie in a very hilarious fashion.

    http://blip.tv/the-spoony-experiment/vlog-6-8-12-prometheus-6194523

    I find it extremely sad that listening to 2 guys and a dog sitting on a couch and talking about everything wrong with Prometheus is more entertaining than actually watching the movie.

  7. says

    Since when does having an opinion about something that happens not to be favorable constitute having “a sense of entitlement”? Do you honestly think that the only opinion anyone should be allowed to have of a movie is to like it? Is there any movie you have ever seen in your entire life that you didn’t like? Do you think you have good reasons for not liking it? Then do you consider your own opinion reflective of a “sense of entitlement” on your part? I suspect you don’t, and only think I do because the movie I happen to be criticizing is one you liked. Well, this is your problem, not mine.

    I do not subscribe to this view that you apparently embrace that to be “entertained,” I must shut off all of my intellectual and critical faculties and allow for bad writing, bad character development and an illogical, poorly constructed plot. The movies that entertain me are the ones who do those things well, and this one did not. And yes, I am just as critical when I read fiction and encounter bad writing there. What can I say? I actually respect art and writing enough to want to reward people who do it to a high standard of excellence, rather than none at all.

    You’re free to have no standards at all in your choice of entertainment, of course, and Hollywood loves you for it. You’ve made guys like Michael Bay rich.

  8. Aratina Cage says

    Billion can mean either 10^9 or 10^12 if you use the short scale or the long scale respectively, but that still doesn’t make sense for 35 light-years.

    Other shit in this movie: a homophobic joke. The captain (that ship needs a captain? really?) tells the two men stuck in the cavern during the storm to “try not to bugger each other” while they spend the night together. Hahaha-ha-ha-ha–haaa… not funny. It’s only funny if you’re a heterosexist douchebag. Besides, that kind of “joke” has no place in a serious science fiction film in 2012. It significantly lowers my opinion of Ridley Scott. This Alien prequel damages Scott’s reputation almost as badly as the Star Wars prequels did to George Lucas.

  9. says

    It’s a film.
    It’s fiction.
    It’s very flawed, but let’s chill out about it.

    Can anyone logically explain Alien’s fast development and acid blood? Not really, but does anyone care?
    No.

    I am as staunchly atheist as anyone, and despair at the average person’s lack of understanding of evolution (even those who ‘believe’ in it). But, let’s not get too arrogant when it comes to a summer blockbuster movie.

  10. Aratina Cage says

    Oh, and right out of the gate, the plot to this film fell over dead. The whole “all these early societies painted the same image on the wall” was the stupidest possible reason EVER for traveling to some planet 35ly/0.5bm away.

  11. Daemon6 says

    I dunno what to think about this to be honest.

    On one hand, I’m a little aggravated because I absolutely loved the Alien movies. So when I saw the previews I was ecstatic, but now I read this and I’m expecting a bunch of pseudo-scientific nonsense.

    On the other hand…
    I have a pretty low opinion of horror/thriller movies. I typically expect them to have poor-to-horrid writing because they’re more about the audience’s visceral reaction than intellectual stimulation.

    So I can’t help but think that the type of people who are going to find relevance in the crap-science described in the OP are the kind of people who are already too far gone to be effected by logic or reason :P.

  12. thewhollynone says

    Not going to waste $6 on this one. I will wait until it’s free on Amazon Prime.

  13. Michael Scott says

    It’s a science fiction movie – science because it is futuristic, fiction because it’s fantastical made up bullshit – designed to entertain.

    That is not what science fiction means. Actual science fiction is science because it’s based on plausible if extrapolated science, and fiction because it is not events that have actually happened.

    Real science fiction makes you think, it doesn’t require that you stop doing so. PROMETHEUS is not science fiction — it’s bullshit with spaceships.

  14. John Griffith says

    Martin, if you can’t enjoy a movie as it was made because the science isn’t correct you are missing the point of entertainment. Of course good writing and good science is entertaining but so can bad writing and bad science. That’s why I detect a sense of entitlement from you – you admittedly can’t or won’t suspend your critical faculties in favor of enjoying yourself. You therefore feel entitled to accurate science snd logically coherent plots. I can appreciate both and all shades in between. Before you go to your next movie ask me what to expect. Monster movies are about people dying gruesome deaths – I give you Prometheus.

    Look, all I’m trying to say is relax your sphincter and just try to ENJOY a crappy movie for the sake of ENJOYMENT.

  15. Michael Scott says

    ALIEN doesn’t spend the whole movie philosophizing about faith and having scientists characters behave like babbling morons. PROMETHEUS is trying to have a message in the way ALIEN wasn’t, and the message is insulting anti-science claptrap.

  16. says

    Again with this idea that having a critical opinion is “arrogant.” Seriously, what the actual fuck? Aren’t we critical thinkers?

    In Dan O’Bannon’s script for the original movie, the acid blood is explained as a biological defense mechanism, preventing the alien from being easily killed and heightening its danger as a predator. It also did away with anyone in the audience wondering why the crew couldn’t just shoot the alien dead right away. So in the context of the story, the acid blood was given a logical rationale.

    Similarly, in James Cameron’s Aliens, the acid blood no longer presented the same problem, so what to do to enhance the threat now that shooting aliens is okay? Throw hundreds of them at you.

    Conversely, in Prometheus, things happen and we don’t know why. Why did David infect the scientist? Why did the alien goop turn the engineer into some kind of 28 Days Later rage zombie? Why did Weyland feel he needed to conceal the fact he was on the vessel all along? What did he think he would gain by interrogating the space jockey?

    Good storytelling is just like forming a good logical argument. If you can’t give, within the context of the plot you’ve created, reasons for things happening that actually make sense in resolving the story, then your story is flawed by bad writing.

    Consider developing some skills in analyzing and critiquing storytelling. If you had, you’d understand why Alien‘s script works and Prometheus‘s script does not. It will actually enhance your appreciation of good work, and help you get over this crazy idea that moves are stupid, are supposed to be stupid, and must only be accepted on a stupid level, and that any demand for a movie to be less than stupid is “arrogant.” It’s attitudes like that that give us “blockbusters” like Battleship…and Prometheus.

  17. gfunk says

    he didn’t even have to act in such a dumb way- he could’ve backed up and bumped into another one that grabbed onto him, but for some reason, they chose that incredibly unbelievable moment. I suspect the writers just thought it would be wonderfully tense because they knew everyone in the audience would be saying “don’t be a fool, back off man!!!” when, in my case anyway, I just groaned and said “come on, no one would really be that naive.”

    Don’t get me started on them taking their helmets off and just trotting down the winding hallways.

  18. sivi_volk says

    What’s up with all these people coming and complaining about the “arrogance” and “entitlement” that come from critiquing bad parts of a film?

  19. Gralgrathor says

    I walked away from this movie. Despite the impressing graphics I was so monumentally annoyed by it that I seriously considered asking my money back as well. Wagner, you could probably have written pages more about everything that’s wrong with this flick, but it’s probably not worth it. Let’s hope the whole issue dies a silent death and is buried equally silently.

  20. Riverton says

    I thought I was the only one who noticed that shitty “joke.” This movie was terribly bad, every character was unlikable and stupid with the exception of David who is pretty much the VILLAIN.

  21. Michael Scott says

    Expand your critical faculties by turning them off, and work to delude yourself into finding bad things good?

    I’m sorry, any “enjoyment” that requires such a load of doublethink isn’t worth it. I’d rather demand a storyteller do the job I paid him for and tell me a story.

  22. Brice Gilbert says

    Funny that Ebert gave the film 4 stars. I’m starting to get a portrait of him based on his 4 star reviews of Watchmen, Prometheus, and Knowing he seems to like movies that seem to ask big questions. To me these films fail with these big questions (some of which aren’t big), but he seems to like that they tried at least. He’s certainly not anti-science either. He doesn’t believe in God, hates liberal new-age bullshit, and has an interest in evolution. He’s an interesting guy.

  23. John Griffith says

    Arrogance is suggesting because one enjoys shallow movies one has no analytical faculty and does not know the difference in quality between Prometheus and The Descendants.

    What the hell is it to you if someone prefers movies like Battleship over Little Miss Sunshine? What are you the culture police?

    I don’t disagree that there were a lot of unanswered questions, but again, what makes you feel entitled to clear cut or obvious answers. Maybe these questions will be addressed in the sequel, maybe we’re not supposed to be told, or maybe we can answer them for ourselves. But who the fuck cares?

    I understood David to have infected Noomi’s partner under direction from Weyland. Doesn’t change the outcome, but just because the motivation isn’t spelled out doesn’t mean there wasn’t one?

  24. says

    …you admittedly can’t or won’t suspend your critical faculties in favor of enjoying yourself.

    And this is because — and I’ll try to explain this clearly — I don’t equate being entertained with suspending those faculties, especially concerning movies where I’m not being asked to suspend them.

    Are there dumb movies I like for being dumb? Sure there are. My DVD racks are full of them. I have every MST3K episode on either tape or disc.

    But there is no indication Prometheus asks to be seen as a dumb movie, like, oh, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Troll 2, and there is every indication it means to be the direct opposite of that kind of dopey “entertainment.” It very much wants to be seen as intellectually fulfilling, philosophically stimulating, even as art. It wants to introduce big ideas about the nature of our very existence, and be thought-provoking in the extreme. And in addition to the shitty writing, it fails at this.

    This is what’s so ironic about everything you’re trying to say to defend this movie with. You think its goal is to be mindless entertainment for lowest-common-denominator, nose-picking chuckleheads, when that’s very obviously 180° in opposition to both Scott’s and Lindelof’s intent. I’m critiquing Prometheus on the basis of the movie it is (or tries to be), you’re defending it on the basis of the movie you think it is, but is not.

  25. John Griffith says

    Come on Michael, you’ve used suspension of disbelief for years and it never hurt you before.

  26. says

    Because they are upset by opinions that differ from their own, and think that they’re being told they’re stupid for enjoying something. It’s a lot like the backlash skeptics get for attacking people like Sylvia Browne, who’s then defended on the basis that she’s giving people “hope.”

  27. Sarah says

    I’ve just come back from seeing this and have been trying to find a few answers (unsuccessfully) to questions that really bugged me throughout the film and kept taking me ‘out’ of what would otherwise have been a good film. (As an aside I can normally forgive scientific errors if they are made for a reason and not just because someone can’t be bothered to do the research. I try my best not to be pedantic otherwise I’d never enjoy any fiction!)

    My first problem came when they were looking at the cave paintings. I may be wrong but I thought that Scotland was covered in ice sheets during the last glacial period. If that’s the case how can there be cave paintings? The location seemed completely arbitrary so why pick somewhere that was probably under ice at the date they gave. Also, how the hell did they date it? I know they used some sort of rapid carbon dating machine later on (and how the hell was that calibrated, given they have no idea of the proportions of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere on that planet or wherever the aliens were from?). Maybe the cave had organic material that wasn’t shown but it just seemed that they got the date by magic.

    My second problem was the DNA. Oh god, the DNA. So either that alien at the beginning of the film was seeding life on earth, which then evolved into everything, or else he came later on and just seeded humans. In either case there’s massive problems. If it’s the first scenario then how the hell did that DNA evolve into something that looked so like the alien morphologically and also had EXACTLY the same DNA despite millions of years of evolution and adaptation? If it’s the second scenario how come human DNA is related to the rest of the DNA on earth? Why isn’t it a completely different molecule completely unrelated to anything else?

    I really wanted to enjoy the film. I’d seen enough reviews to go in with low expectations and given that I did enjoy it but the science was so appallingly wrong that I couldn’t stop trying to figure it out, to hope there was some sense there that I was just missing. But on reflection it seems like the ‘science’ part of the plot was written by someone who slept through most of their science lessons and only woke to hear a few random words and thought they’d understood what was being said.

    Sorry for the long post from a long-time lurker. I’ll probably go back to hiding now but if anyone has any explanations I’d love to hear them!

  28. Miles says

    If it helps, it doesn’t look like Prometheus run will be a long one. It lost the weekend to Madagascar 3 and suffered a horrible 24% drop in the Friday to Saturday totals (a really bad sign for Scott, every other movie in the top 10 rose over that period). Opening weekend will be 50 million, and a total of about around 150 million is expected.

    The bad news is there is a sequel planned, but not guaranteed. Hard to say if 150 million (domestic) would be enough to get it there (131 million budget).

    I fear for Blade Runner.

  29. Aratina Cage says

    @Michael Scott
    Exactly. The first rule of good films and stories is to show not tell. Prometheus treats us all like mindless idiots who won’t get it without exposition in a way that none of the original Alien films did.

  30. John Griffith says

    Far be it from me to tell you what I think when you are ready to do so but Ridley obviously reached for the stars and fell short. I’m not harping on because I think your critique is off base, O’m harping on because your conclusion is wrong – Prometheus can be enjoyed. I don’t think Scott was going for quite the depth you appear to have been expecting, but it is clear Prometheus is intended as a monster movie and not as a work of art for the Library of Congress.

    Glad to hear you can enjoy rubbish movies too.

  31. says

    what makes you feel entitled to clear cut or obvious answers.

    What I feel entitled to is good writing, period.

    I understood David to have infected Noomi’s partner under direction from Weyland. Doesn’t change the outcome, but just because the motivation isn’t spelled out doesn’t mean there wasn’t one?

    In good storytelling, you find a way to make the motivation clear. This doesn’t necessarily involve spelling it out, but at least showing that what was done had some relevance to the overall outcome of this plot. This movie was full of scenes that didn’t do any of that.

    There are many ways to leave unanswered or unresolved questions in a story, but this isn’t an example of that. It’s just poor writing.

  32. John Griffith says

    So you’re saying Prometheus isn’t science fiction because it doesn’t meet your shoehorned definition? Movie guides will have to be edited!

  33. Brice Gilbert says

    I find unsurprising that the two people in my Twitter feed who are extremely liberal Christians who love Science and Religion cooperating loved the film and its questions. Of course me the atheist didn’t love it.

  34. Brice Gilbert says

    As if movie guides definitions are what matters. What matters to his experience is his definition.

  35. Brice Gilbert says

    I think a good counter to this movie is Sunshine for its Scientists as heroes, and horror at man’s irrational worship ideas. An example of a film that is similar to Prometheus in some themes and its flexibility with science is Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Which works because it’s a well made film in all the areas this one isn’t.

  36. Aratina Cage says

    @Riverton

    every character was unlikable and stupid with the exception of David who is pretty much the VILLAIN.

    Yeah, even at the end when he was supposed to have been rehabilitated of sorts, we had David going “let’s take this ship full of bio-weapons back to Earth”. Luckily (I guess?), Shaw had other plans.

  37. Riverton says

    Absolutely love and agree with the post, but one minor nitpick. The mohawked gentleman was a geologist, not an engineer.

  38. John Griffith says

    Happy to answer that one even with Martin putting words in the proverbial mouth – but I’ve had it up to here with the wall-to-wall whining about movies like Prometheus being “anti-scientific” or “pro-Christian” or some other bullshit. Feel entitled only to your personal definition of “good writing” then go see a film with good writing and quit the belly aching.

  39. Daemon6 says

    Oh how I enjoy thorough critics lol

    I’d already discarded any thought of going to see it in the theatre, and that review pretty much put the final nail in the coffin.

    This movie sounds like one of those films that go well beyond any acceptable suspension of disbelief, at least for me..

  40. Aratina Cage says

    The film itself was cognitively dissonant as educated liberal Christians tend to be. When Shaw learns that there is absolutely no possible way that the Jesus story happened and that there is definitely no god–at least not one who created the humans on Earth themselves, she still clings to the cross. Her beliefs (in theistically sparked evolution or whatever) have been spectacularly proven wrong, but it doesn’t phase her at all, and this is portrayed as A Good Thing™.

  41. RyGuy says

    Biggest faith-palm of all time come right near at end. Noomi grabs her stolen cross back from David and slings it around her neck with pride…. wtf???

    This is a Christian who believed aliens created humans, not a god. Then when this belief is confirmed by meeting the very same aliens who did in deed create us, she clings to her religion in utter defiance of the truth that just tried to kill her 5 minutes ago.

    I nominate Noomi for a future Crockoduck Award.

  42. naturalcynic says

    @ Aratina: Sounds almost as smart as “All those societies have a Big Flood Story”

    When the wreckage of a horseshoe-shaped spacecraft is rolling towards you, and you do not wish to be crushed to death, why not run to one side rather than in a straight line directly in its path?

    Ahh, one of the oldest tropes in movie making. So common my eyes automatically rolled and I snickered when I read it. Goes back to silent films. It comes from the general trope that supposedly smart people will always do the dumbest thing to get the action going. They just can’t seem to hear to the spooky music in the background that should tell them that something evil is about to happen.

    Sounds like something worth a free second feature at your favorite multiplex.

  43. Daemon6 says

    I dunno how your scale works, but equating it to what Lucas did to Star Wars is pretty harsh :P.

    Don’t get me wrong, from what I’ve heard so far Prometheus sounds like an atrocious movie, and I *may* watch it when if my friend rents it. That said, I grew up with the *original* star wars (as in, HAN SHOT FIRST GOD DAMMIT!! style), and when I watched the prequels I was thoroughly demoralized.

  44. sivi_volk says

    Nope, still pretty fucking confused. You know there’s a thing called literary criticism right, where you break down media in terms of the messages, symbolism, characterization, etc? Where you look at how media reflects real world thoughts and ideas?

    Every sci-fi fan I know is willing to suspend disbelief, but they do get annoyed with bad writing, poorly done characters, and science that could have been done right (like Star Trek doctors blithering about needing to find a ribosome match for an injured person).

    Honestly, you’re the one who needs to grow a thicker skin, if you can’t handle having media you like critiqued, since it’s a short step from that to not being handle critiques of anything you like, be that movies, people, or ideas.

  45. Gralgrathor says

    But, the bad storyline and -telling aside, it *is* anti-science. This is an undeniable, observable and verifiable fact. The whole “this is what I choose to believe” attitude pretty much permeates the whole movie.

  46. says

    even with Martin putting words in the proverbial mouth

    You’re the one who accused me of acting like the “culture police.” Don’t be a hypocrite just because your ego needs a band-aid, John.

  47. Daemon6 says

    *Or*

    If you don’t like someone complaining about a film, don’t read the blog… :p

    It really seems like you’re the one being arrogant. From what I’ve seen, all of the posts critical of the movie are directed *at* the movie. I.e., I don’t see any reason to conclude that Mr. Wagner, or any of the other “critical” posters are being negative toward those who enjoy(ed) the movie.

  48. says

    I initially planned to see this with a date and the Pacific Science Center’s 3D IMAX theater. This interview with Damon Lindelof about the film aroused my suspicion enough to cancel my date and see it alone. I was right to cancel my date but I wish I had elected to avoid seeing it all together. I found this film was very insulting for all of the reasons Martin illustrated and many more.

    http://io9.com/5916601/is-prometheus-anti+science-screenwriter-damon-lindelof-responds

  49. Gralgrathor says

    O, o, o, o, and how about the bit where the alien DNA (which is an exact match to human DNA) is somehow “older” than the human DNA? Uh?

  50. freebird says

    Honestly, this far in the thread and no one has brought up the insane number of Christian allegories in this film? I thought I was watching Narnia all over again: Elizabeth, the barren woman conceives a bears a child on December 25th…Elizabeth who happens to share a name with the parthenogenic Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who was barren? A “child” that David reckons will “is no ordinary child”? Oh, and the idea of the Engineers as self sacrificing gods – remind you of anyone? That’s the central theme to this movie – self sacrifice so that others may live.

    Religion aside, I was deeply disappointed by the plot holes – if Shaw went to find the Engineers origins at the end, did she have any food to eat? Or cryo sleep to avoid that?

    If the Engineers have identical DNA to us, how do we now explain the DNA of the rest of life on Earth?

  51. Gralgrathor says

    I think though that this might simply be an unsurprisingly tacky addition to the MST3K collection, *IF* you are entirely unfamiliar with the Alien series, and *IF* you have no knowledge of matters relating to any kind of science and/or philosophy altogether, and no interest in acquiring such knowledge either, and *IF* you are unaccustomed to critical thought. *IF* you could suspend all those things, then this movie might simply be considered surprisingly well endowed graphically. Given that it’s a low-grade B-movie in all other respects.

    Frankly, I don’t understand how the people responsible for this production could not foresee such reactions, given the media attention they generated for its release.

  52. Cunning Pam says

    I was slightly disappointed in general in the movie, but some of the things that people are pointing out seem very nitpicky to me.

    Charlize Theron’s character describes a voyage of 35 light years as “half a billion miles” from Earth, something the writers could have fixed had they not been too goddamn lazy to use Google.

    Yeah, the movie is filled with supposed scientists doing stupid things. But calling this out is a failure to really think about characters IMO. Vickers was no scientist, she was a corporate suit who couldn’t care less exactly how far they were from Earth. She just throws out a really big number, because for her it’s an irrelevant data point. I find it irritating that people (including NDGT) are making such a big deal about this particular nit.

    Shaw’s wanting her cross back…it was her *father’s* cross. She was close to her father, and is still haunted by his death, IMO. By the end of the movie Shaw’s thought processes have lost any religious underpinnings and she just wants the cross back because it’s a link to her dad.

    There are a lot of bad decisions regarding science in the writing, I absolutely agree. The biologist character was either horribly written or the world’s worst biologist! I’ll admit that I haven’t read any other deconstructions of the film, so perhaps my views are too charitable, but I still have the feeling that people are rushing to judgement just because they feel a sense of let down over the movie not living up to what they felt it “should” have been.

  53. Gralgrathor says

    I can dig a movie with lots of christian allegories, if there’s any kind of sense in presenting them. I can appreciate the occasional bit of Hollywood-wrapped religious mysticism. But this movie just planted them, didn’t do anything with them. This movie basically just takes christianity and von-Danikenism, and presents them on par with science.

  54. says

    Studio heads are notoriously indifferent to the actual merit of the scripts they get. If you pay millions of dollars for something, you’re going to tell yourself it was worth it.

  55. says

    “Then along the way there are certain questions that we as humans should not be asking. When we get too close to the answers, we suffer severe consequences.”

    That one made my blood pressure rise!

  56. John Griffith says

    No I’m pretty sure even Martin will cop to his unveiled denigration of people like me with attitudes that demand for intelligent movies is stupid. I’m honestly surprised at how quick people are to stereotype and generalise about persons they know nothing about.

  57. Gralgrathor says

    Vickers was no scientist

    And the astronauts sent to the moon were no geologists. They were military, test pilots mostly. They did however receive fairly rigorous training in relevant fields of science, and would probably not describe the moon as being “a thousand miles from home.”

    It is likely that almost everybody in the audience has sufficient grasp on interstellar distances that they will understand that describing such distances in terms of miles would lengthen the movie appreciably.

    Other than that, yes, this is not actually an issue. It’s nitpicky to bring it up. The real issues with this movie are far more fundamental, far more pervasive.

    it was her *father’s* cross

    Taken out of a container with materials possibly contaminated with an unknown alien substance, of which she had already witnessed the effects when her lover was burned to a crisp. Also, not a major issue; just one of a million issues in themselves insignificant.

    The biologist character was either horribly written or the world’s worst biologist!

    Never mind the geologist, the captain, the archaeologists, the… o, hell, everybody else.

    just because they feel a sense of let down over the movie not living up to what they felt it “should” have been

    If you’re going to do a prequel to Alien and your name is Ridley Scott, then hell yes, you can expect some serious expectations. And if you then produce a piece of annoyingly bad fluff such as this, then hell yes, you can expect some serious critique.

  58. Gralgrathor says

    This guy is probably seeking to piss people off. He’s probably got offers lined up for more crappy scripts, now that he’s done this. All publicity is good publicity, right?

  59. Cunning Pam says

    From the OP:

    Of all the available engineers, the best guy they could get was an emotionally unstable headcase with scalp tattoos and a glassy stare who practically has “I Am Totally Going to Lose It and Then Be Horribly Killed” written on his forehead from the moment you first see him?

    He’s referring to the geologist, not the alien Engineers.

  60. Cimorene says

    I agree. This one had serious writing issues. The first hint was when a character that supported evolution called it Darwinism. Do creationists just not realize that they are the only ones that use that term? I guess we should be glad they didn’t call it Evilution. There was also a scene where one of the characters used the word Skeptic as an insult.

    The andriod had issues too. He started out with a seemingly endless curiosity about everything. He spent the entire trip learning everything he could about human society, history, language, and other things. However, at the end there is this weird scene with him and the female scientist. He shows absolutely no curiosity about a major plot point, which is completely out of character for him. His lack of curiosity is then attributed to him having no soul. This exchange just felt really forced, but most of the religious references did.

    His characterization was horribly inconsistent, and he also kept trying to get the overtly religious scientist to give up her religion. Remember how there was a story a while back about a christian sending emails to himself claiming they were from some atheist trying to convince him to give up his faith? Yep… the robot is also one of those horribly insulting representations of how conservative religious people think atheists act. The script felt like it was written by an inept creationist.

    Sorry about the rant. I just had to vent after seeing that movie.

  61. says

    I find it irritating that people (including NDGT) are making such a big deal about this particular nit.

    Well, I wasn’t making a big deal out of it, only pointing to it as an example of the kind of careless little mistake that any undergraduate screenwriting class, or any experienced reader at an agency, would catch as a matter of course, and how Hollywood all too lazily lets stuff like this slide with their big-budget blockbusters.

    Simple script fix: When Vickers says the “half a billion miles” line, you have either Noomi or her boyfriend (both of whom, remember, are supposed to be scientists) say, “We’re a lot farther than that…ma’am [sarcasm].” In two lines, you’ve established two more things to give your story some character depth: Vickers’ indifference/ignorance of scientific facts, and the scientists’ disrespect for her on that level. As it is, there’s no way to distinguish that the line was intentional on Lindelof’s part, to show Vickers’ ignorance of science, or that he simply got lazy and fucked up.

    What seem nitpicks are often symptomatic of larger problems. And audiences need to be aware that once you start reaching for justifications for things in movies that others are pointing out as problems, you’re doing work that the screenwriter should have done.

    For instance, I have a similar criticism of E.T., which, apart from all that mawkish sentimentality, is a movie I find completely undermined by a plot flaw at the heart of its premise. The inciting incident of the story is that E.T. misses his ride home. But later on in the movie, not only do we discover that E.T. can fucking fly, but that he can make himself, a boy on a bicycle, and several other boys on bicycles fly all at the same time. So how could he have possibly missed his ride home?

    I point this out to people, and the ones who really love the movie and don’t want to lose that love immediately start scratching their heads to come up with justifications. “Uh….maybe he couldn’t fly as fast as the ship.” But all of that misses the point. Just as Christians bear the burden of proof for their claims, so do writers bear the burden of establishing the rules of their stories, and being consistent within those rules. If you want me to feel sad for an alien because he missed his flight, don’t make him a magic flying alien. Just as atheists don’t bear a burden to disprove the unproven, audiences shouldn’t have to be the ones to clean up writers’ messes. Point #3 in this Cracked article basically makes the same point I am (and probably does a funnier job of it). It also pretty much sums up what’s wrong with all the other “why can’t you just turn off your brain and enjoy it?” complaints that have turned up here.

    The only expectation I wanted the movie to live up to was to be a great story, a return to form for a classic franchise. Should I feel let down that the movie didn’t deliver that? Well, why not, as that was what I was promised.

  62. Rob Huber says

    Well said. Every other line in this movie was an assault to science. The “half a billion mile” journey, the atmosphere somehow rendered “toxic” by 3% CO2 (does Ridley Scott not have access to Wikipedia?), the magical carbon-14 dating of creatures from an unknown planet with an unknown C-14 atmospheric content (which may or may not be absorbed by unknown alien plants to be consumed by the Engineers), all of it … all crap.

    It’s sad to see so many people defending this as acceptable science fiction. I wonder if such people would also consider “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer” as acceptable historical fiction?

  63. says

    Yeah, you’re right, there’s a lack of clarity in the OP. In that passage I mistakenly referred to the geologist character as the ship’s engineer (making the correction now), but later in the post I refer to the alien “Engineers” (as in the ones who engineered the human race). Sorry for any confusion there.

  64. Daemon6 says

    @John Griffith,
    Do you have evidence to back that up? Or are you just asserting that because otherwise your complaints are meaningless?

    How about this:

    @Martin Wagner,
    Mr. Griffith’s contention seems to be that your critique of Prometheus also includes a denigration of those who enjoy(ed) the movie. Is this the case?

  65. Gralgrathor says

    Don’t mess with E.T., dude!

    Anyway, E.T. was *all* about sentimentality. It was a friggin’ Disney flick. People watching the movie don’t expect to have to do any critical thinking because right from the start it’s clear that it’s *supposed* to be all just a load of sentimental horseshit. It’s just the “sci” fi equivalent of “The Goonies” or some such piece of fluff. (Although I can still enjoy the Goonies thoroughly, but haven’t felt the urge to watch E.T. since the eighties…)

  66. Gralgrathor says

    Sorry about the rant. I just had to vent after seeing that movie.

    Seems to be a common reaction. I was actually ranting *during* the movie. And not too quietly either. Until I stepped out, of course.

    (Well, I say that, but I still watched the end illegally at home – rather stupid, given that I’d already wasted my money)

    The script felt like it was written by an inept creationist.

    I’m sticking with my hypothesis that he is a lapsed catholic von-Danikenist.

  67. says

    Yeah, well, Christianity is all about sentimentality with a strong appeal to people who have no interest in critical thinking. I’ll give you three guesses as to how likely I am to stop criticizing it on rational grounds because of that fact. :-)

  68. Mandrellian says

    Arrogance is showing up repeatedly in someone else’s movie review to insist that they’re “wrong” or that they’re displaying “entitlement” for, what, exactly? For expecting slightly better scifi from the director of Alien and Bladerunner – two films made long before the advent of super-awesome CGI but which nonetheless changed peoples’ impressions and expectations of scifi forever.

    Everyone’s expectations were already elevated by the existence of Scott’s two previous smart, thought-provoking scifi films. They were raised further by Prometheus being a prequel to Alien, an exquisitely-realised piece of scifi – and now you’re sitting there expecting people to just STFU, forget Scott’s previous work in this genre and view this as another cookie-cutter spaceship movie? Sorry, you don’t get to tell other people how to watch a fucking movie.

    Your concern has been noted. You’re so close to trolling here as makes no difference.

  69. Gralgrathor says

    Hm. Well, Christianity isn’t sold as entertainment. Usually. Mostly.

    Other than that, I guess I agree. Although I must admit that I can enjoy the occasionaly VB-class SF movie (as in Very Bad) as long as it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than simple, meaningless entertainment.

    Are you familiar with the countless “christian disaster movies” around? I can’t recall any titles, but I’ve watched more than one B-grade movie in which impending doom (approaching meteors, solar disturbances, etc) was miraculously averted after much referring to deities and prayer. This movie did not exactly remind me of such works while watching it, but it might have.

  70. M Groesbeck says

    I don’t think SF necessarily needs plausible science; some of it can work with a bit of hand-waving and blurring and suspension of disbelief.

    On the other hand, JG’s definition of science fiction as, basically, “bad science stuffed into crap stories for the sake of making things futuristic“, which I’m used to hearing from people whose sense of SF jumps straight from the worst of the pulps to Star Wars, is the cancer that periodically chokes SF. It’s what lets people like James Cameron think they’re doing something new and innovative by rehashing plots that were already stale 40 years ago when he cooked up Avatar; it’s what encourages an endless supply of “serious authors” to bring something “new” to SF by tripping over every cliché in the genre as they’re convinced that nobody has attempted well-written SF before.

    (Actually particularly disappointing to see SF on the JG definition filmed by Ridley Scott, who clearly was aware at some point that better SF exists — dude adapted a Philip K. Dick novel!)

  71. says

    …reaching out to touch it is probably not the smartest idea….why not run to one side rather than in a straight line directly in its path?

    Actually IIRC my EVOpsyche class this may be a realistic reaction. The flight response may default to “get distance away from” and the idea of running sideways, while reasonable isn’t intuitive to a panicked brain. Similar reason to why animals act idiotic (from our POV) when caught in car head lights.

  72. Fentex says

    I saw it, I disliked it as a badly written mess that hit a few plot points without a story (which angers me because it insults all the good hard work the artisans do on sets, costumes and effects etc).

    The obvious religious woo in it didn’t bother me as much as it would have if there’d been a good enough movie for it to ruin, but I did catch the Engineers died 2000 years ago bit, and an interview with Ridley Scott confirms what that suggested…

    http://cavalorn.livejournal.com/584135.html#cutid1

    Ridley Scott should stop making movies now (at least any SF orientated ones) before he destroys what remaining credibility and reputation he has.

  73. Chris from Europe says

    Everyone who contributed to the writing or production of Lost should be forced out of the movie business. Two of them messed up Star Trek (the writer also commited the Transformer movies). I came across J. J. Abrams new series Touch were anti-science, religious claptrap is the central concept.

    There is one consistent theme, where they nearly literally agree with Shyamalan’s movies: That there would be things that can never be explained through science (although they already are explained or no reason they couldn’t be) and that we really need some spiritual, magical (*) crap. You probably remember the scene in The Happening in which Mark Wahlberg as the science teacher has these lines in this caricature of a movie.

    (*) I like real phantasy movies, but this kind of “science phantasy” movies just make me angry.

  74. Steve says

    >”that the alien Engineers know something about either immortality, or life after death, or something. But you’re never sure why he thinks this, to the degree of funding a trillion-dollar mission into deep space.”

    The idea that highly advanced aliens have some sort of deeper understanding about life the universe and thus something to teach to younger species is basically a sci-fi trope

  75. unixlad says

    I was describing the main problem I had with the movie (the evolution is just an idea bit) to a friend as essentially being the same plot as the end of the second book of the HHGG. That these aliens arrive and create human beings (or in HHGG ARE human beings) that slot perfectly into the fossil record, genetics, embryology, etc, as though they had evolved as a result of an unbroken line of millions of years of changes, but that was just a MASSIVE coincidence that we shouldn’t worry about too much.

  76. says

    I know that, I just wanted there to be more depth to Weyland’s character.

    It’s interesting to contrast the way the characters in this movie pursue questions about their creation with the way Roy Batty pursued Tyrell in Scott’s classic Blade Runner. The confrontation between Tyrell and Roy in that movie, I thought, had all the substance and meaning that Prometheus was desperately striving for.

  77. Randy Walters says

    Thanks, Martin, for your incisive writing. I walked out of the IMAX thinking “well, that was an amazing audio/visual spectacular… so why am I so totally cheesed off?”

    Our characters had – I don’t know – 30 seconds to step to one side or the other, and out of the path of the rolling spacecraft. I was tearing my hair out.

    And any film that cares more for crosses than one of the most brilliant insights humanity has produced – evolution – is just insulting its viewers.

    From the moment I saw the Christmas tree – are you serious? – I knew we were in trouble. I stuck with Damon Lindelof after the end of Lost, but now I’m pissed. Sarah Palin would love this movie.

  78. says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who found the religious overtures far too much and blatantly anti-science/anti-skeptical. In a few discussion with people, I really was starting to think it was only me and my date who felt that way. Responses ranged from someone who “personally felt, the religious motifs were very subtle and enjoyable” and that I’m “pretty perceptually vigilance on that shit”, which is the only reason I “picked it up”.

    It was a subtle as being hit by a semi-truck.

    Although, I must admit, I initially rolled my eyes when Logan Marshall-Green’s character said his line, “Don’t be skeptical.”, yet was frankly laughing when they all died (primarily because they weren’t skeptical about anything). Sadly, I don’t think many other people are going to see the irony in that and are going to cling to the “subtle” religiosity/anti-skepticism of the film.

    They gave me an opening weekend survey to fill out while watching the film. The only thing I could do was write “bad” as large as possible on the back of it. Wasn’t worth my time.

  79. says

    If I know going in that a movie wants me to do nothing more than munch fattening popcorn while stuff blows up real good, I can do that. Hell, I couldn’t be such a huge fan of stuff like this if all I wanted was High Art all the time.

    Moff’s Law is the best thing ever.

  80. says

    Daemon6

    I was paraphrasing Martin from an earlier post. All you had to do was go and look.

    “You’re free to have no standards at all in your choice of entertainment, of course, and Hollywood loves you for it. You’ve made guys like Michael Bay rich.”

    “Consider developing some skills in analyzing and critiquing storytelling … It’s attitudes like that that give us “blockbusters” like Battleship…and Prometheus.”

  81. says

    Or just get better writers. Since he has no input on his scripts, the quality of his movies is all down to the source material he chooses to work with.

  82. says

    What I’m actually averse to, if you’re at all interested, is the perpetuation of the myth that one cannot enjoy a movie if it has bad science, plot holes, and other scruffiness. The conclusion does not follow from the premises. Martin’s big on flexing his critical thinking muscles so he should be down with that.

    It seems a shame if someone who thought they wanted to see Prometheus didn’t because Martin thinks it’s pandering to anti-science.

  83. says

    Well, it is pandering to anti-science, as I make clear in the OP, but I still wouldn’t tell someone they shouldn’t see it. Indeed, I saw it in 3D IMAX and for the visual splendor alone it was totally worth it.

    And yes, you can enjoy a bad movie, as I’ve also made clear, many times. But I have to be expecting and even wanting a bad movie in order to revel in that kind of enjoyment. Given the track records of the talent involved and the expectations built up around Prometheus, this is not a filmmaker from whom I expect cheesy badness. I have higher expectations of Ridley Scott than I do from a Troma video.

    Why this is a point you can’t seem to process is a mystery to me.

  84. tosspotovich says

    Thanks for the heads-up, Martin. These sorts of shortcomings irritate the shit out of me too. It’s weird, I can suspend my disbelief for Superman’s character but when he catches a falling plane by the fuselage without destroying it or saves a pedestrian by accelerating them out of the path of a bus at a higher rate than the bus would have, it ruins the moment (let alone reversing time by counter-rotating the earth -aaarrrgh!).

    Suffice to say our expectations have developed somewhat since Wile E Coyote.

  85. MarkB says

    Am I nuts or did anyone else find the initial premise of the “star map” unlikely? What were there, a pattern of five dots that we are supposed to believe could be picked out from the billions of stars in our galactic neighborhood? Notto mention the fact that they would have moved since they were inscribed.

    A couple of people commented that David doses Holloway for “no apparent reason”, but I think he was motivated by Weyland speaking to him through that weird yellow-visored helmet–doubtless he reported on what was in the vases and Weyland told him to “try harder”, meaning to see what the substance would do when introduced into a human body.

    I didn’t find the Christian overtones that offensive, if we were supposed to equate the birth of Rapace’s alien symbiont to the baby Jesus, well I guess JC was a face hugger? (hmmmm…)

  86. John Griffith says

    You seem to have a very low opinion of me so I am not sure why that would surprise. Bug in fact it was clear to me from the get-go that you expected far too much from Mr. Scott. That’s a problem. He ain’t Jesus, man.

  87. says

    But when you think about it, it makes no sense for Weyland to have asked that of David.

    Consider: he hires this team of scientists and ships them across 35 light years of space at tremendous expense, because they’re the experts who made the alien discovery. He counts on their expertise in solving whatever mystery they find there, and is so invested in the answer that he comes along on the flight himself, keeping that fact a secret from the two scientists (for no other apparent reason than that there can be a “surprise” at the onset of the movie’s third act) but not others in the crew (who are seen attending him).

    Yet at the same time, while he’s relying on these scientists and their findings, he secretly instructs David to expose one of them to an unknown substance of alien origin, which could well (and in fact does) kill him. And he does this simply to see what the effect on a human body would be? When David could just as easily experiment with tissue samples in a lab?

    And you’re right about the star maps. If the system was too far for primitive civilizations to detect, how did they know of it, let alone consider it so important that they all featured it in their cave paintings and pictograms? Race memory? Did the aliens pay regular visits to deliver maps and invitations to drop by whenever humanity gets around to inventing FTL travel?

    Bad writing….I’m soaking in it….

  88. nomuse says

    This is such a shallow — though oft-repeated — diatribe. The unexplored assumption is that there is only one form of “Entertainment.” It is like saying there is only one true form of female beauty, or one true genre of music.

    I know a man who works out subroutines in assembly code for recreation. I myself cling to plastic rocks until my arms ache and my fingertips are bloody. Who the HELL are you to say that we aren’t “enjoying” ourselves? That we aren’t being “entertained?”

    There are many different ways that a movie can reach out to its audience. Not all are intentional, either. There is, for instance, a thriving culture that reads same-gender relationships into stories that never were consciously designed to hold them. Because that culture needs and wants this in its entertainment, and will construct it for itself if need-be.

    Some movies are didactic. Some are to make a political or philosophical point. Some are to share discoveries of a place or time or culture. Some are to instruct — from basic how-to to history. How DARE you determine that the only meaning that can be encoded into a movie is simple and visceral, and that nothing else dare contaminate your pure popcorn enjoyment?

    You simply aren’t thinking here. At best, you are echoing the shallow and defeatist idea that being able to understand optics makes one unable to appreciate a rainbow. Some of us, my dear sir, can get the thud and blunder out of a movie and appreciate it for that — and go on to get added value by discussing it in terms of shot composition, or what it implies about currency standards, or how the CGI was done, or the backstage drama of the actors, or the intentions of the director, or the original book on which it was based, or the real history it purports to be sent in, or any number of other things that appear to be beyond your ken.

  89. John Griffith says

    Speculating as to Weyland’s motives is utterly pointless. There’s no more reason to think he had no good reason to experiment on Noomi’s co-star than tissue in a lab or not at all. Weyland-Yutani has never been portrayed as giving a shit about people so there’s no reason to think Weyland has the slightest interest in keeping any of the scientists alive. Afterall, David is the only one who is absolutely loyal to the old man and who can inexplicably decipher the alien language having never encountered it.

  90. Gralgrathor says

    I think the assumption is that one can expect a certain level of quality, given the movies antecedents, and that if one isn’t being given that level of quality, then disappointment follows. Sounds like a healthy assumption to me, moviewise.

  91. Gralgrathor says

    There are many different ways that a movie can reach out to its audience.

    Yes. For instance, a movie may be consistent, or it may be inconsistent. It may deal with questions of great import, or it may simply introduce those questions, and then do nothing with them. It may be plausible, or it may make its characters behave in ways entirely contrary to everything we know and understand about people. These are just some of the ways a movie can come across.

    Some are to make a political or philosophical point

    And some movies *pretend* to want to make a philosophical point, set up the question and refer to the issue in an unmistakable fashion, and then fail to address the question entirely.

  92. Gralgrathor says

    discussing it in terms of shot composition

    Okay, great imagery. Fucking awesome graphics. I think even Wagner admitted that much. But what good is good cameraworks and state of the art CGI when you have a shit script and completely neglect to make anything about the story seem even remotely plausible or internally or externally consistent?

    You know, it is possible to present a fairy tale like Hans and Gretl in such a way that the characters at least act consistently with what we expect from people under the conditions portrayed. And then again it’s possible to tell the story in such a way that even a three year old will tell you to stop being silly. And that’s what happened here. The characters in this movie were made to act silly. In a graphically superb manner.

    or the intentions of the director

    Yeah, about that. Read this interview with the scriptwriter that @tanockaharris came up with:
    http://io9.com/5916601/is-prometheus-anti+science-screenwriter-damon-lindelof-responds

  93. nomuse says

    I’ve been getting bits and pieces of Ridley Scott’s statements via other reviews; enough to know I don’t want to know more, enough to wish I hadn’t read that much, and enough, even, to drive me deep into the arms of the Deconstructionists.

    I’m reminded of a comment a Japanese Language student and fan of anime made; while he was fumbling through incomplete translations the works he was viewing seemed grand and complex. When he finally started understanding the language properly he discovered to his dismay the stories were more often trite and generic.

    But the above was my response in haste to John Griffith, yet another in that long list of “everyone else is stupid but me” posters who just have to run into forums complaining about how everyone is taking things far too seriously.

    Whatever the intentions of the filmmaker, regardless of how well they were communicated in the final product, I can see no good argument against discussing how we as individual viewers respond. I do not believe this harms the viewing experience of any of us, or the rights of the original creator. In fact, I think this extended dialog is a necessary part of living art.

  94. Gralgrathor says

    Speculating as to Weyland’s motives is utterly pointless.

    Why!? Why is it necessary that we suspend all thought in order to enjoy a story? Shouldn’t enjoyment stem from our being able to relate to the story and the characters in it? Otherwise, what’s the point of even listening to the story?

  95. nomuse says

    There’s another problem with that objection. It seems to assume that thinking about a movie is a conscious, willful decision. That you could have been happily sitting in your seat, enjoying the movie. But, oh no. You “decided” to stop, press “pause,” and carefully critique what is on the screen at that instant. Madagascar! They mentioned Madagascar! Quick, open up Wikipedia and make sure they got the latitude and longitude right! Oh noes! A mistake in the third decimal place! Now the movie is ruined and I can’t watch it no mores!

    The only time my brain is completely unable to figure out that most cars can’t fly and most people don’t breath underwater is when I am asleep. If I am watching a movie, I am by definition aware and thinking. And in that state, if anyone — from the person in the seat next to me to twenty-foot diameter talking head on the motion picture screen — tells me that a 3% CO2 atmospheric content is instantly deadly…

    Which is a full rant in and of itself. It was probably meant to be carbon monoxide. That works with everything else shown and stated. But multiple times, someone says “CO2.”

    And you can’t escape by saying “Well, they just goofed. It’s a mispronounced word.” Please, PLEASE tell me that if Charlize once referred to the android as “Daniel” that the filmmakers would go “Oh, it’s just a goof. Why should we bother to fix it?”

    What the repeated “CO2″ goof says is that on the set, with the director, the assistants, whatever writers, producers, and production team were around, dialect coaches, continuity persons, and every other person didn’t notice or didn’t care. And all the way through editing, ADR, and test screening not a single person noticed or cared. All this in an environment that can and does fix a single bad syllable of dialog (if through nothing fancier than a nice bit of trimming of the location sound recording).

    Or it says “We would have said CO but the audience are morons so we’re just changing it to something they’ve heard of.”

    Either one is a direct insult to the slightest pretension of getting the science right, or honoring the idea of science fiction.

  96. says

    I’m disappointed. This movie looks gorgeous, and I thought it might be a another sci-fi great with interesting ideas in the tradition of Blade Runner/Neuromancer. I’ll probably still go and see it, but I’m glad to be forewarned of the antiscientific attitudes and subpar writing.

  97. Gralgrathor says

    Weyland has the slightest interest in keeping any of the scientists alive

    And as long as we’re focusing on particular details, I thought that enlightened self-interest would be sufficient. He’s just put several trillion dollars and his life on the line in a bid for immortality, and his local supply of scientists is limited. It’d make sense not to waste them without very good reasons. And if the movie suggests those reasons are present, it might care to not keep the audience entirely in the dark about along which general lines such reasons might be found – after all, the public’s long ago grown weary of inexplicable dei ex machina. They are boring.

  98. Jef says

    Actually, her final decision irked me almost as much as everything else in the film. Having discovered that the only reason that all life on Earth wasn’t wiped out 2000 years ago is because our creators had bungled the job, she decides to go to their home planet to remind them that they forgot to take out the rubbish. Thanks a bunch.

  99. Zengaze says

    Oh Martin don’t you understand that theron’s mishap with time/distance was intentional! Blonde in catsuit sorry spacesuit, has spacial awareness deficiency and therefore shouldn’t be trusted to drive the spaceship.

  100. Zengaze says

    To know because you know is a virtue, it demonstrates a person of unshakeable loyalty, such people are required when you plan genocides.

  101. MarkB says

    Isn’t there frequently credited in the movie an individual known as a “Science Advisor” or something like that?

  102. MarkB says

    You’re right, real people don’t act that way…although as far as I could tell David was all Weyland needed…hell, he even figured out how to fly the damn ships.

  103. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Yep, I read that after finally seeing Prometheus last night. It actually makes the film a lot more interesting.

    Although that doesn’t stop the whole “universe’s stupidest scientists” award being granted to the team as a whole.

  104. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Goddamnit, I hated Alien3 because of the egregious continuity error right at the beginning of the movie! Something like that puts me off entire movies/books/etc.

    Scifi/fantasy geeks are precisely that – geeks. And tend to be bitchy about shit like this, hehehe. ;-)

  105. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Wellllll, I think that Scott (who has a track record in micromanaging on his sets) has a lot more leeway with script than most Hollywood directors. If he wanted something changed, I have a feeling that it would come back revised the next day.

    I don’t know if this makes it better or worse!

  106. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    My thoughts on the “infection” argument:

    This happened at the end of a conversation. David asked Holloway “what would you do to find the answer” and answered “anything.” It was only after this that David dipped his finger + substance in the drink. Essentially Holloway – unwittingly and rather literally – gave David permission to make him “meet his maker”.

    Then compare against the scene that David was watching in Lawrence of Arabia – one can decide not to care about pain.

    In this context the infection makes sense. To me, anyway!

  107. Riverton says

    You’re good Martin, after the first reply to mine I was rather confused, but now it’s all cleared up.

    I think why I was personally so dissappointed in this flick is because I’ve been somewhat of a Ridley Scott apologist. I defended Hannibal, I defended Robin Hood (once or twice), and I ADORED Kingdom of Heaven. I simply cannot defend this, the plot was somewhat interesting but never really went anywhere, the characters were all morons (besides the lovely Michael Fassbender), and the science was softer than butter on flaming toast.

    The only good thing I can say is that the movie is GORGEOUS. See it just for the sets and effects, I promise it’s ALMOST worth it for those, plus H.R. Giger is still fantastic.

  108. says

    …I don’t mean this as rudely as it is going to sound but do you always have this sense of entitlement when you go to view someone else’s work.

    Since when was criticizing someone else’s work indicative of “entitlement?”

    Sounds as if you went into it with expectations that well outstripped the movie’s capabilities.

    Are you saying this movie was absolutely incapable of getting facts right, creating believable characters with believable lines, or avoiding pandering to anti-rationalist attitudes? If a movie seems to be pandering to any sort of dangerous attitudes, such as racism or some other irrational prejudice, what’s wrong with pointing this out?

    I will tell you what’s more annoying than the bad philosophy in “Prometheus”, all of the whining and crying about incorrect science and lacking motivations.

    If all this criticism is so annoying to you, then why the fuck are you here at all?

    What a breathtakingly stupid comment. Seriously, John, do you really think it’s possible to take your concerns seriously?

  109. John Griffith says

    It’s not necessary in all movies but it is in some – Prometheus for example. Has nothing I’ve said sunk in? For all the whining about the rottenness of this script it still has managed to get y’all racking your brains for the reasons why character do-and-so did such and such. Sounds like a partial win for the writers there. Inspite of the snobbery about good writing making motivations and reasons clear, good writing can also conceal motivations and reasons in favor of not spoon-feeding to us everything.

  110. says

    …what makes you feel entitled to clear cut or obvious answers.

    What makes YOU feel entitled to question our “entitlement?”

    PS: you’re entitled to use question-marks where appropriate. Just thought I’d reassure you of that, since you seem so concerned about people going out of the bounds of their respective entitlements.

  111. says

    Yeah, my first thought was “Oh look, they’re going all Stargate and trying to base a movie on Erich Von Daniken’s old ‘Gods From Outer Space’ tripe.”

  112. says

    Has nothing I’ve said sunk in?

    How deep is your shallow “stop expecting depth and STFU!” message supposed to sink in? And how arrogant and self-important do you have to be to ask such a question?

    Let’s see…a laughably self-important jackass getting all upset because we’re questioning the entertainment our corporate elites have so graciously served us…I’m guessing John Griffith is a Republican.

  113. says

    The scientist infecting people for no apparent reason is not too far fetched. That what Dr Cornelius Rhodes did in Puerto Rico when he injected cancer cells in his patients. It also happenned with STD’s in Tuskegee University in AL. Some scientists are just immoral.

  114. cultureclash says

    “Billion can mean either 10^9 or 10^12 if you use the short scale or the long scale respectively, but that still doesn’t make sense for 35 light-years.”

    This is nitpicking I know… but nobody uses long scale any more,
    and certainly not in any scientific context.
    And if you do you have to specify clearly that you are using long scale.

    However in this instance it just means a difference between being wrong by 3 orders of magnitude instead of 6 orders of magnitude.
    [35LY appx 205 Trillion miles (short scale)]

    However I agree entirely and whole heartedly with your more important point about the homophobic joke, which has no place in any film let alone a (supposedly) serious sci-fi film.

    I suspect most people will miss it amidst the incomprehensible stupidity of just about every character in this film.

    Almost nothing destroys my enjoyment of a film faster than an idiot plot and bad dialogue.

  115. dysomniak says

    To be fair, I don’t think Lindelof needs to generate controversy to boost his carerr. Lost (which was brilliant) and Star Trek (I sure hope the second one is better) were pretty big deals.

  116. Fyrebrand says

    *SPOILERS BELOW, IF ANYONE CARES*

    Yet again, Hollywood makes scientists out to be pretty much the stupidest bunch of people in the world. It’s weird, though, how Prometheus sort of painted Noomi Rapace’s character in a different light, as some weird kind of “faith scientist.” A different sort of character than how scientists are usually portrayed in movies — haters, doubters, and people who keep saying there’s no such thing as ghosts when ghosts have been killing people the whole movie — but still, she ends up being just as moronic.

    The worst part, I think, was the ending. She voices her plan to sail off alone to the home world of the “Prometheans” (I don’t know what those big gray guys are called), essentially because she wants to know why humanity was such a disappointment to them. Android David actually comes close to making a profound point, asking her if it really matters, in the end, what they think. But of course, she doesn’t dwell on this point for a moment and decides: YES. Yes, it’s the most important thing in the world, what those weirdo aliens think of me. We have to figure out what we did that is so bad! That ends up being the whole message of the movie — so, off she goes. And though you’re probably just supposed to assume the whole trip goes well for her and she makes it to Space Heaven, in all probability she probably just gets her head ripped off the moment she arrives. If David can resist the urge to hatch another of his zany schemes, along the way, that is. By the way, when is he planning on telling her that he’s the one who infected her boyfriend in the first place?

    Aside from overarching, philosophical messages, though — nearly everyone in this movie seems to have no regard for safety precautions whatsoever.
    “This space cave has breathable air? Okay, let’s take off our helmets — never mind what ELSE might be floating around in here.”
    “This man has contracted some manner of horrible space disease? Let’s bring him immediately back on the ship and make no attempt to quarantine him.”
    “I just gave birth to a horrible alien squid monster? Maybe I’ll just sweep it under the rug and not mention it to anyone. Gosh, I sure hope no one ever opens the door to the medical bay and lets it loose…”

  117. Rory says

    I absolutely agree with you, but my agreement in no way ameliorates the bemusement I felt watching Vickers run directly away from the giant rolling alien donut.

  118. George From NY says

    Then they should be. Within “the bizz,” there has long been a distinction made between Science-FICTION versus Science-FANTASY. Rendezvous with Rama and Flowers for Algernon would be examples of the former; Star Wars and The Lensman of the latter.

    Larry Niven has returned to his Ringworld books repeatedly to revise elements of the titular device when fans who were physicists, architects and engineers showed him certain things just wouldn’t work. The science behind the Ringworld matters.

    We’re not going to see George Lucas re-think the dog’s breakfast of half-assed, New-Agey Taoism that is “The Force” because nobody really gives a rat’s ass how it works. Star Wars is a fantasy setting in which The Force is a plot device to enable – let’s just come out and say it – MAGIC.

  119. OirishM says

    There’s the tiniest (sarcasm) difference between discussing the motivations of a character because it’s genuinely thought-provoking and because it’s just shittily written.

    And as for the Moff’s law invocation, I really don’t get why such criticism is never well-received. Surely a film with decent characterisation and better science is by all accounts A Better Movie than one with neither? Why settle for less?

    On a personal level, the peak of good storytelling harmonising with good science is Tau Zero by Poul Anderson (the ending notwithstanding).

  120. Rory says

    Unfortunately it seems like the Science Advisor in most films plays a role rather akin to the referee in a professional wrestling match: just don’t get in the way of the action and we’ll pretend what you’re doing matters.

  121. says

    Regarding the star map, IIRC, one of the trailers has dialogue from the scene that apparently didn’t make it into the final cut. Charlie shows the crew an image of the stars that match the paintings.

    Hairy Chris @ 40, the thing is is that David had plans to infect Charlie before their conversation. “Big things have small beginnings.” Again, we still don’t know why. It’s possible there is a deleted scene with Charlie and David that sets up the infection scene.

    The only possibility I can think of is that David wanted to see if the alien goo might have a beneficial effect, such as rejuvenation, and then telling Weyland “you might want to drink some of this.”

  122. jacobfromlost says

    Finally, a thread where I get to disagree with just about everyone. The movie has a lot more depth than people are giving it credit for (see the link in the first comment). It doesn’t spell everything out for you, but all the pieces are there.

    Moreover, you could just as easily charge this movie with being atheistic. Weyland goes to the very edge of his life to meet his maker to possibly live forever, and finds…nothing. David seems to suspect as much in his response to Weyland, and when Shaw asks him to help her find where the engineers came from…for a long beat it looks like he has died in the middle of the conversation. Indeed, he seemed to be contemplating oblivion (should I just let go and die here?), but instead agreed (or will he doublecross her?).

    Moreover, when Shaw is confronted with the last surviving engineer (ie human creator), she yells “die” at him…and he is killed by HER creation. Antitheism indeed. (I know, I know, she put the cross on after that, and then asked who created the creators. I’m not sure that invoking an infinite regress makes the film solidly theistic.)

    The creator/created dynamic (and reversals) were subtle throughout. Vickers and her father, David and Weyland, David and humans, the engineers and humans, the humans/engineers and the aliens. Do you love your creator/father/engineer/etc, or do you want them to die so you can take your rightful place in the cycle?

    Life/death/sacrifice/rebirth. That’s what the story is about in a mythological framework.

    Martin: Conversely, in Prometheus, things happen and we don’t know why. Why did David infect the scientist?

    Me: Because Weyland told him to try harder to make contact with the engineers (do whatever it takes), and a little because the humans were treating their creation (David) like garbage. David chose Charlie because Charlie’s attitude toward his own human creation was “special”, while his attitude toward David’s was dismissive. Again, the tention between creator/created–is the creator more exalted for his power to create, or is the creation more exalted for being more advanced…or being able to turn around and kill the creator…or even outlive him.

    Martin: Why did the alien goop turn the engineer into some kind of 28 Days Later rage zombie?

    Me: There are many plausible explanations, but the one in the link in the first comment is also the conclusion I came to before reading it (and have seen elsewhere independently).

    Martin: Why did Weyland feel he needed to conceal the fact he was on the vessel all along?

    Me: His mission was a selfish one, while Shaw’s was completely different. If she (and the others) were aware of the real agenda behind the mission, she may interfere (as she did when they finally met the last living engineer). Weyland had one goal–to meet his maker and hopefully continue living. That was exactly the WRONG goal to have in the face of his creator as death is a part of life (the link goes into this in more detail).

    Martin: What did he think he would gain by interrogating the space jockey?

    Me: Life. He had nothing else to lose, as he was on death’s door anyway. He felt like he was on the same level as his own creator. His creator felt differently, lol.

    Martin: Good storytelling is just like forming a good logical argument.

    Me: I don’t agree. A logical argument feeds into it evidence from reality to come to a dependable conclusion. Good storytelling doesn’t work the same way. Stories use metaphors, symbols, inference, psychology, emotions, etc, to explore an idea, an issue, a human experience, etc, in a complex way, but the elements you feed into a story to explore the idea or issue don’t have to be real. There is always a balance among ethos, pathos, and logos, but I think many of the criticisms of logos in this movie miss the point.

    Also, if anyone has any questions about “Lost”, I can answer those too! lol (I don’t want to get into a whole big thing about “Lost” or “Prometheus”. I might respond to a few responses, but both of these stories play in myth and SOME ambiguity, although less than many people think. If you don’t like them, you don’t like them. They were both designed–dare I say created?–to foster just this kind of argument. The fact that there are a lot of people on both sides of the argument suggests they were both successful, but that’s just my opinion.)

    Also, the box office was solid for Prometheus. It enjoyed the 12th highest opening of all time for an R-rated movie, according to box office mojo dot com.

  123. Gralgrathor says

    Charlie shows the crew an image of the stars that match the paintings.

    It did make it into the movie. But it’s hardly a realistic ground for mounting a multitrillion dollar five year mission and risking dozens of lives. Try telling people in the Real World that you’ve found a few cave paintings that match (how closely, given that they were hand painted by primitives?) a newly discovered constellation of stars (stars that remain motionless relative to one another over the course of the millennia?) and o, would you like to invest a couple of trillion bucks and risk a bunch of lives with no guarantee of any return, please?

    I like sci fi. I like the imagery of spaceships zooming through the void for whatever reason, and the thrill of an imagined alien encounter – but you’ve gotta keep it at least slightly within the realm of the possible, or you might as well call it fantasy. Correction, even fantasy tries to keep its human reactions and interactions in the realm of the plausible.

  124. Gralgrathor says

    Again, we still don’t know why.

    Which is the point. No explanation is given or even suggested, and no realistic explanation can be inferred or even imagined within the realm of plausible human (or android) behaviour and reasoning. If you’ve got stuff happening for no good or discernible reason, what you haven’t got is a story.

    It’s possible there is a deleted scene with Charlie and David that sets up the infection scene.

    It’s possible the movie was originally three times longer. Doesn’t change a thing about the quality of what remains. Nope. Scott will have to do it again, and properly this time.

  125. says

    Read Ridley Scotts attempt to answer some the the questions left unanswered in the film. In case you don’t have the stomach for it I’ll paraphrase. The Engineers used their own DNA to seed life on earth.

    We got out of control, so they sent an emissary to get us back on the path and we crucified him. That was the last straw, they were about to head to earth to wipe us out with their acid blood, killing machine, bio-weapon.

  126. says

    It’s possible the movie was originally three times longer. Doesn’t change a thing about the quality of what remains. Nope.

    Oh, I totally agree!

  127. says

    Stories use metaphors, symbols, inference, psychology, emotions, etc, to explore an idea, an issue, a human experience, etc, in a complex way, but the elements you feed into a story to explore the idea or issue don’t have to be real.

    But a story — especially if it is genre fiction — still has to establish a cogent set of rules for itself, and follow them. Ambiguity is fine, but incoherence is not. Writing a story that gets your audience arguing about its themes and meaning is good (2001, Blade Runner). Writing one where the audience has to engage in speculation and justification simply to make sense of what’s unfolding on screen, not so much. Still, I tip my hat to your defense of it all.

  128. says

    Fine. But in a story, you have to establish character motives. Let me reiterate a point I’ve repeatedly heard in screenwriting workshops.

    In life, random stuff happens. A dude can be going along and get hit by a train, and it’s a tragedy, no one saw it coming, but that’s just life. In a story, though, you don’t really have the luxury of “well, this happened just because.” In life, you might run into an immoral doctor who poisons you just to see what it will do. But in a story like this, where you have an employer potentially murdering a valued employee, you need to establish a reason and motive within the context of your narrative that makes it believable such a thing would be done. Why kill someone you’ve invested trillions of dollars in, in the hopes that person can solve a mystery for you? Without that, it’s just illogical writing.

  129. jacobfromlost says

    Martin: But a story — especially if it is genre fiction — still has to establish a cogent set of rules for itself, and follow them.

    Me: I think the rules are there, and half the fun is putting the pieces together to find them.

    Martin: Ambiguity is fine, but incoherence is not.

    Me: Totally agree. I don’t see the incoherence, though.

    Martin: Writing a story that gets your audience arguing about its themes and meaning is good (2001, Blade Runner). Writing one where the audience has to engage in speculation and justification simply to make sense of what’s unfolding on screen, not so much.

    Me: It’s not speculation, it’s inference based on everything we see, the allusions on screen, and the various myths and background material it draws from (not the least of which are the other alien films). The fact that many others made the same inferences I did–and liked the movie as a consequence of those inferences–suggests to me it’s not speculation. Also, the use of inference works well in stories that are informed by background information and consciously written by a creator. The same use of inference in reality (ie science, for example) doesn’t always work. That’s why I say that good storytelling is not like a logical argument.

    Martin: Still, I tip my hat to your defense of it all.

    Me: I went to “Blade Runner” with my family in the early ’80s, and in the middle of the movie my mother had us all get up and leave. I thought someone was sick or something. Come to find out she thought the movie was terrible. Lots of people thought “Alien” and “Blade Runner” were terrible at the time (in fact, if they had never been released back then, and were released today, I think it is apparent that many people TODAY would think they were terrible).

    Also, I never forgave my mother for that, lol.

    BTW, if anyone has not seen the “Assembly Cut” of Alien 3, it is 10 times better than the theatrical cut. I was not aware of it until recently, and have been kicking myself for days for not seeking it out years ago. (And reading the various alternative scripts for Alien 3 is also a lot of fun–William Gibson’s is probably the strongest. Those who are sticklers for scientific accuracy better not read the Vincent Ward script, lol.)

  130. nomuse says

    Yes — we humans want to have explanations, we want there to be some sense in what happens. Outside of some nihilistic genres, fiction is all about selecting what is shown and what happens so a core narrative is constructed.

    If all your story about is “raising the big questions” then you could have two guys sitting in a bar wondering if humanity had actually been created by aliens. Scott doesn’t have two people sitting in a bar. He has the aliens themselves. He shows the moment of creation. He isn’t “raising the question,” he is proposing an ANSWER. He is implicitly offering an explanation. This obligates him to, well, make sense. To say “Here is my explanation” and then to show random nonsensical crap is breaking the contract with the viewer.

  131. Chris from Europe says

    Well, in all Alien movies the company engineers the death of its employees and other people without absolute necessity. And it isn’t convenience either.

  132. Daemon6 says

    @John Griffith

    Considering that your arguments have been against standards I’d say Mr. Wagner’s assessment is spot on, and I don’t see any explicit, or implicit insult in that at all.

    Here’s an example of why your reaction to criticisms seem inane *to me*.
    I liked the G.I. Joe movie. Nearly everyone I’ve discussed this with has pointed out how utterly juvenile the movie is, and elaborated on how awful the acting was. I listen to these, and I agree wholeheartedly. The movie was completely asinine and utterly without any depth. However, I still enjoyed it because it reminded me of my youth playing with action figures with my brother.
    Point: My personal opinion of the movie did not impede my ability to thoroughly critique it.

    Personally.. Someone else’s opinion about something I like is wholly irrelevant to my opinion. On that same hand, another’s opinion of my opinion is just as irrelevant, if not more so.

    Subjective assessments are the purview of those who hold them, and those subjective assessments are completely irrelevant to objective facts.

    Objective fact:
    -The plot and writing *do* contain glaring inaccuracies.
    -Paying money to see the movie *does* put money into the hands those who made those obvious mistakes.

    Subjective assessment:
    *how people feel about this.*

    What you seem to be doing is the equivalent of getting angry that people don’t like the kind of music you like. It’s an irrelevant and fruitless argument.

  133. Gralgrathor says

    who created the creators

    The creator/created dynamic

    Do you love your creator/father/engineer/etc

    Life/death/sacrifice/rebirth

    Again, the tention between creator/created

    to meet his maker and hopefully continue living

    the WRONG goal to have in the face of his creator as death is a part of life

    Seriously, did you think we missed the few pitiful attempts of providing some “depth” to this telling?

    Stories use metaphors, symbols, inference, psychology, emotions, etc, to explore an idea

    Then let that idea be explored! But all the moviemakers did was drop a few (not very subtle) hints here and there that the movie intends to explore those issues, without actually going into them. Creator/created, yes. There are questions there to be asked. Some are asked. But in the end, is the viewer given the idea that he is any closer to a resolution, to an insight? No, in stead, the setup is used for a few cheap thrills and an equally cheap open ending.

    the elements you feed into a story to explore the idea or issue don’t have to be real

    But they have to at least be believable within the setting of the story.

  134. Gralgrathor says

    That’s hideous! No, I could not stomach it, if it were true. Is that really what’s behind the story according to Scott? Have we gone from Alien to *that*?

  135. says

    Yes but when a character justifies spending money because it’s a trope of their genre that usually makes the story a comedy.

    This is the equivalent of one of Hannible Lecter’s potential victims not having sex because they know that virgins always survive slashers.

  136. Gralgrathor says

    Still, this story does nothing to make the story or the science any more believable.

  137. says

    Prometheus may be one of those movies people come around to later. I didn’t like Blade Runner in 1982 either. But I think audience’s rejection of that movie had less to do with its being badly written than its utter defiance of expectations. Harrison Ford’s appearance, at a time he was best known for being Han Solo and Indiana Jones, led audiences to expect swashbuckling action and derring-do. What they didn’t expect, or want, was a dark, somber European art film about the moral ramifications of technology, in which Ford gets beaten up more than doing the beating. (Especially coming out in the same summer as E.T., which unabashedly enfolded its audiences in a warm, happy hug.) It took time for Blade Runner to find its audience.

    I honestly think Prometheus‘ problems aren’t merely of the “ahead of its time” variety, but of the “bad writing” variety. And unlike Alien 3, which had loads of extra footage on the cutting room floor (which does make the movie vastly better in its assembly cut), Scott has said that the theatrical release of Prometheus is very much his vision of the movie.

    So maybe in 20 years, it will be hailed as a classic. But I’m skeptical.

    (Though you’ve reminded me: My impression of Prometheus is that it’s what Alien 3 might have been had Vincent Ward’s script ended up as the shooting script. :-) )

  138. says

    Hell compare it to a sci-fi comedy like Red Dwarf or Futurama, where everything is bullshit to set up the jokes, but at least they explain it and characters are clear in why they’re acting (even if it’s as simple as “I’m acting like an asshole because it’s funny to abuse Zoidberg!”)

  139. says

    In point of fact, I would have been totally okay with that premise. Far from being an endorsement of Christianity, it would have been the ultimate middle finger. Oh dear, turns out Jesus wasn’t the son of God, he was just AN ALIEN! BURN!

    There’s a science fiction writer named Scott Mackay who did a book a few years back called The Meek, the premise of which is that Christianity was this Trojan Horse stealthily introduced to the human race by aliens, for the purpose of softening us up over the centuries in preparation for invasion.

  140. nomuse says

    Don’t confuse morality with sense. The horrific experiments performed by Unit 731 were logical and useful to their task of better killing their enemies via chemical and biological warfare.

    The objection to David’s actions is not that they are immoral. It is that they are illogical. Heck — he doesn’t even have a control group (since pretty much everyone opens themselves up to contamination at one point or another). At best it indulges a sort of mindless curiosity: because unleashing the weapon that killed all the Engineers onto your own ship is a sure prescription for ending the mission and killing the employer who sent you on it, too. There is no logical way that infecting the man then allowing him to mingle will result in any external goal being accomplished.

    I suppose you could make an argument that David is acting the golem, or genie; taking the excuse of Weyland’s cryptic instructions via lucid dreaming to nihilistically destroy everything; all the humans that despise him and the flawed human that created him. Choosing, that is, to take the literal meaning of his orders knowing full well it violates the intention.

    But, backing off again to the larger questions, good story-telling would reward the careful viewer who reached this conclusion via some subtle confirmation. And I can see none here.

    Bah. A few more weeks in script workshop, and you’d think you could come up with some clever way to let the audience know that what David tells the awakened Engineer is intentionally designed to piss him off and get everyone killed. In fact, you could even make the Larry of Araby stuff pay off by having him quote (to the complete befuddlement of all the humans) something Lawrence was shown as saying just before performing a similar act.

  141. John Griffith says

    Except that that is not at all what I am either feeling or arguing. You have either not read my points closely enough or I have been unclear. Indeed you and I appear to agree about the ability to enjoy a movie like GI Joe despite its many faults. That is the very thing I have been arguing and taking heat over. The opposing argument is that the faults with Prometheus are unforgivable and make it unenjoyable. Which is utter tosh clearly. No one is disputing the faults, just whether we should be satisfied with entertainment for entertainment’s sake.

    I dare say if those comments were correct you would not be so quick to give them a pass. There’s not a definition of denigration and condescension I can find in any dictionary that doesn’t fit those comments. You asked, I answered. No idea why you are trying to defend someone else’s snarkiness except that you feel you don’t like me for some reason.

  142. says

    It would have been nice if the Lawrence thing had amounted to more than window dressing, true. The scene where Lawrence executes the guy whose life he’d saved earlier, then makes the rather alarming confession that he liked it, could have had an analogous moment here. That would have been neat, actually.

  143. jacobfromlost says

    You didn’t like how it treated those themes. That’s fine. I’m just pointing out that similar criticisms were made of “Blade Runner”, “Alien”, and “2001″ at the time they were released. You could even take verbatim snippets of reviews of all of those movies and be hard pressed to distinguish them from negative reviews of Prometheus today.

  144. says

    But that still doesn’t mean that every movie universally disliked upon its release goes on to be hailed as a work of genius. Critics and audiences have warmed to Blade Runner and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Godfather Part III, The Postman and Heaven’s Gate, not so much.

  145. John Griffith says

    How could you possibly know it was a question unless it had a question mark, right.

  146. nomuse says

    Which makes the movie play pretty well to my kind of atheism. To wit; “I don’t believe in your god, but if I did I’d have to be agin’ him.”

    The Engineers (terrible timing, should have been able to call them “Titans”) created humanity, then got pissed because we didn’t do things their way and decided to kill everyone.

    Great. I don’t give a flying feghoot how nice they were to create all life, when they pull out the most disgusting biowarfare weapon ever invented to commit genocide, they lose all right to my worship. Or even my sympathy. When your child misbehaves, do you launch a nuclear strike on him and his family?

    But what makes this interesting is this is apparently how some christians view their own genocidal creator. And they apparently feel he is fully justified, and should be worshiped despite repeated acts of mass murder and a torture program beside which Gitmo isn’t even a blip on the moral radar.

    I have a feeling, based on what bits of those Scott and Lindeman interviews I’ve been able to understand, that this is what they intended and how they meant their grumpy but buff albino meatheads to be perceived.

    Really, tho, when Liz Shaw said “We’re going to fly to THEIR home planet” what I thought and hoped she was saying was “…with this handy cargo of biological weapons they manufactured.”

    Nuke it from orbit. It’s the best way.

  147. jacobfromlost says

    Martin: Prometheus may be one of those movies people come around to later. I didn’t like Blade Runner in 1982 either.

    Me: I actually liked it. At least, what I saw of it, lol. Damn I’ll never get over seeing only the first half in the theater.

    Martin: But I think audience’s rejection of that movie had less to do with its being badly written than its utter defiance of expectations. Harrison Ford’s appearance, at a time he was best known for being Han Solo and Indiana Jones, led audiences to expect swashbuckling action and derring-do. What they didn’t expect, or want, was a dark, somber European art film about the moral ramifications of technology, in which Ford gets beaten up more than doing the beating.

    Me: And it isn’t an irrational argument to say that many people expected an “Alien” movie and instead got a thriller that contemplates the creator/creation dichotomy.

    Martin: (Especially coming out in the same summer as E.T., which unabashedly enfolded its audiences in a warm, happy hug.) It took time for Blade Runner to find its audience.

    Me: I love E.T. too. The little guy was just so scared, he never thought to fly up in the air as a glowing ball of red to be easily shot in the dark sky by a gang of key-jangling government agents, lol. Plus, it’s hard to fly through trees in the dark.

    Martin: I honestly think Prometheus‘ problems aren’t merely of the “ahead of its time” variety, but of the “bad writing” variety.

    Me: I don’t think it is bad writing as much as it is an approach that some just don’t like, especially initially before conversation, debate, and thought.

    Martin: And unlike Alien 3, which had loads of extra footage on the cutting room floor (which does make the movie vastly better in its assembly cut), Scott has said that the theatrical release of Prometheus is very much his vision of the movie.

    Me: And it works as such.

    Martin: So maybe in 20 years, it will be hailed as a classic. But I’m skeptical.

    Me: Ah, but what would you have days after seeing Bladerunner? The same thing, I suspect. :-)

    Martin: (Though you’ve reminded me: My impression of Prometheus is that it’s what Alien 3 might have been had Vincent Ward’s script ended up as the shooting script. )

    Me: Well, we didn’t have planet five miles long made of wood. That’s one thing. Whatever criticisms you have of Prometheus, they can’t be in the same league as the wooden planet.

  148. jacobfromlost says

    Sure. But those movies WEREN’T universally disliked, and the reasons they were liked by some were similar to the reasons Prometheus is liked by those who like it…and the reasons those movies are NOW liked by film buffs, if not the general public.

  149. Gralgrathor says

    This would be more like a huge pile of middle fingers, dropped right on top of the lead archaeologist, right at the moment he steps out of the cave in the opening scene: comedy.

    The Meek, yes, I’ve read it. But that was based around the premise. Here Scott seems to use it merely as an excuse for poor craftsmanship. Were so many questions regarding content and storyline asked in the media right after Alien came out?

  150. John Griffith says

    Peace Raging Bee. I don’t have a beef with you. I imagine you are a very decent person at heart. Let’s get along OK. No need to get so riled up about a stupid movie.

  151. says

    Yeah, again, Logic Fail for $1000, Alex.

    Shaw now knows for a fact that the aliens made us then intended to destroy us. But she still wants to go to their home planet…for answers. She still expects to be able to make nice with them on some level, while all she’s doing is letting them know their plan didn’t work, and returning some of their weaponry to them, so they can try again.

  152. nomuse says

    On the Stargate television series, they had an Air Force adviser. And he liked to sit around and watch them film. And you better bet that when he stood up from his chair and said “Ah, Mr. Director, that’s not how a commissioned officer returns a salute” they listened and responded. Because if the adviser walked, then so did their access to all those cool airplanes and other stuff.

    One almost wishes NASA was as all-encompassing as some people seem to think it is, so that a Neil de Grasse Tyson could stand up from his chair and say “Ah, Mr. Director? That line is wrong. Fix it, or no more access to NASA planetary imagery for you.”

  153. Gralgrathor says

    You didn’t like how it treated those themes

    It hardly did, is what I have issues with.

    similar criticisms were made

    Possibly. But I’m making them now. About this movie. And from what I read here and there, an above average percentage of the general audience seems to have its objections to the movie as well, often along the same general lines. Usually, that’s an indication of something.

  154. says

    Heaven’s Gate wasn’t universally disliked? I beg to differ. It bombed so hard the studio went out of business. And The Postman (9% at Rotten Tomatoes) is not exactly considered Costner’s shining moment, even by his defenders.

    In any event, bringing up older movies that didn’t fare well upon their release is really very much beside the point.

  155. jacobfromlost says

    Well, the tomato meter has it as fresh, and the audience “liked it” is at 74%.

    Metacritic has a 65/100 rating, with 24 positive reviews, 17 mixed, and 1 negative.

    I don’t think Bladerunner would have gotten that high in ’82, if the internet had existed then.

  156. John Griffith says

    Cheers Jacob. Enjoyed your thoughts. Feel thoroughly vindicated although admittedly I had not thought about it as extensively as you clearly have. Still, you made my day.

  157. jacobfromlost says

    Martin,

    Sorry. I was referring back to “2001″, “Alien”, and “Bladerunner” again.

    However, “Alien” and “Bladerunner” were both from the same director as Prometheus, and they weren’t universally reviled, so I think it is fair to make the comparison.

    “2001″ could easily be charged with pretention, not explaining anything, being “badly written”, etc., so that comparison works as well imho.

  158. says

    I suspected the plot would head in that direction when the Engineer remains were dated at 2kyrs old. I agree, that would be the ultimate burn. However, the History Channels Ancient Aliens ruined any chance of me enjoying that plot line. I’ve had 2 co-workers in the last 4 months watch that show and try to engage me in a serious conversation about Alien Jesus and aliens aiding Nazi’s. One of them actually initiated the conversation with, “Hey, your into science…what do you think about that ancient aliens stuff?” I just don’t have the stomach for it anymore.

  159. John Griffith says

    I’m surprised you would take such a cheap shot as to impugn my intelligence Martin. Way not your style I would have thought. I assure you I do know what it means, and I’m sure you know what it means but you seem to begrudge its use in this case.

  160. John Griffith says

    You understood perfectly. That’s the opposite of bad construction. Grammar is for clarity, nothing more. You’re sniping just to snipe.

  161. says

    John, just stop it with that crap, okay? This whole ploy of replying to every disagreement you get as if it were a personal attack is bullshit and you know it, and I suspect a lot of us are long tired of it.

    “Suspension of disbelief” does not mean that you accept everything a story throws at you — no matter if it’s a steaming heap of logic flaws, poor character development, bad dialogue — in the name of “being entertained.”

  162. Gralgrathor says

    @Wagner

    Check out this archaeological take

    Quoting:

    After an extended sequence of events we shall classify as ‘shit happening’, everyone dies except for Noomi and Fassbender

    F*ing brilliant. That sentence alone just about sums up the entire movie.

  163. says

    Well, the tomato meter has it as fresh, and the audience “liked it” is at 74%.

    Metacritic has a 65/100 rating, with 24 positive reviews, 17 mixed, and 1 negative.

    I don’t think Bladerunner would have gotten that high in ’82, if the internet had existed then.

    I said that it would have gotten even better. So there.

  164. says

    It was announced recently that Damon Lendelof was brought in for script rewrites and reshoots on World War Z. Lindelof is said to be focusing on fixing up the film’s third – and final – act. I don’t know much about that particular story but I’m sure it’s not a good thing.

  165. John Griffith says

    Stop it yourself. You, and solely you, have been snide, condescending, and insulting. The first I can live with but the other two I reserve the right to call you on.

  166. says

    You don’t have any rights on a blog I admin other than the ones I give you. And they’ve just been revoked. Now you needn’t worry abut how anyone responds to you ever again.

  167. says

    I didn’t see the joke as being intended as a homophobic slur so much as the captain’s way of insulting these two idiots who hate each other’s guts but are now stranded and having to spend the night together. But it’s just another case of lousy dialogue, and I certainly understand how it would offend.

  168. jacobfromlost says

    we are ing: I said that it would have gotten even better. So there.

    Me: Well, it’s not like all the available evidence doesn’t indicate it would have gotten a rotten tomato. The box office numbers are available (it tanked), as are the critical responses back then (Scott said the critical reaction was so hostile it was as if people thought they were “boiling babies” or something). My personal anecdote of my mother leaving the theater (the only time I’ve ever walked out on a movie) and Martin’s memory of not liking the film in ’82 don’t even have to come into it.

  169. Daemon6 says

    I think you missed my point

    My point was:
    Why does it matter if other people take exception to what is, as far as I can tell, an expensive B-rate movie. Why does it matter what others think of whether or not you enjoyed it.

    Even if their comments *were* meant as a personal attack towards you for liking the movie (which I don’t think that’s the case at all), why does it matter.

    Personally, I won’t be spending money on the movie, but it might turn out that I enjoy its awfulness. However, that doesn’t mean that I won’t agree with, and contribute to, a wholly aggressive denigration *of the movie*.

  170. says

    Jacob…again…what’s the point? I know that Blade Runner was not well received when it came out. But so what? Some movies go on to become appreciated later, many don’t. It’s a fallacy to argue that because Movie X was panned and later became a classic, that the same fate is just as likely to befall Movie Y.

  171. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Maybe he did, however it’s telling (for me) that he deliberately dipped the finger after Holloway said that he’d do anything and not when he poured the drink…

  172. jacobfromlost says

    Martin: It’s a fallacy to argue that because Movie X was panned and later became a classic, that the same fate is just as likely to befall Movie Y.

    Me: Sure. But respectfully, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying Movie X was directed by the same guy as Movie Y (they have similar sensibilities), that a lot of people panned Movie X for the exact same variety of reasons as Movie Y (most of them use the very same language), and that those who LIKED both Movie X and Movie Y initially cited similar reasons for liking both. All of those factors TOGETHER suggest the movie is better than those who are panning it suggest, but these facts do not require anyone to like the movie now, tomorrow, or ever.

    I liked the film and I’m defending it with a reasoned and supported argument. No offense to anyone else.

  173. says

    This is nitpicking I know… but nobody uses long scale any more, and certainly not in any scientific context.

    Since we’re nitpicking, I’ll just interject that no English-speaking countries uses long scale anymore. There are, however, many non-English speaking nations that use the long scale, among them my own little neck of the woods.

  174. says

    No no, and I appreciate you’re defending it, which I encourage — so please don’t think I don’t like to hear a hearty defense of the movie if you really loved it. If that wasn’t the point you were making, then cool.

    Still, all I can say is: Sure, my mind (as did those of many others) changed regarding movies like Blade Runner and Alien 3 over time. (It might be a good time to add that I’ve also seen a number of movies that I loved upon initial release, only to watch them years later to find they didn’t hold up well at all.) All I know is that my opinion of Prometheus now is as it stands. Whether I see it with new eyes at some future date, well, I won’t be able to tell you until then.

  175. BaronSamedi says

    I think the key point here is the significance the director gives to the question “where did we come from?”

    If this movie is meant to be an exploration of that theme, then the plot points, backstory, nature of the engineers all are open to criticism as pseudo science.

    In Alien there is no significance attached to the Aliens themselves, they are a nameless, loveraftian horror and what we are really watching is how normal people respond to that horror.

  176. says

    I think it would have worked better if David had learned more about the Engineers from their records that made him see humanity as a threat. Instead of Weyland being an old man looking for eternal life, he wants to get his hands on the arsenal of weapons left behind by the Engineers. It would have turned David into a reverse Ash. Instead of sacrificing the crew to help the company, he would have tried to harm the crew to avoid helping the company. It would play into the David video when he is asked what makes him sad, and he replies “War, poverty, cruelty, unnecessary violence.”

  177. says

    I cannot deny that. But it was the sucky theatrical cut that garnered the huge VHS fan base, that eventually allowed the subsequent director’s cuts to happen.

  178. luke says

    Oh you goddamn atheist experience people got to go and ruin everything, with all your fancy science shit, well if this movie offends you all so much why did you all see it? Also are species was totally started(and evolved by aliens)seriously haven’t you seen Ancient Aliens on the History channel? I mean if that wasn’t true why is it on History channel,and why aren’t any of you fancy pants scientist on there to refute what they’re saying? I think it’s cause you can’t. Also Noomi Rapace is amazing.

  179. Gralgrathor says

    All of us were. Don’t worry. Your experience won’t be ruined anymore by us talking about the movie than it will be by actually watching the movie itself. You were going to get disappointed either way.

  180. Gralgrathor says

    all are open to criticism as pseudo science

    I’m perfectly okay with pseudoscience as a means of advancing a good story. The problem here is that the story is crappy, and it’s being told even more crappily. The horrible science is just the last drop.

  181. Ross says

    Your elitist stance that science-based faith trumps religious faith reveals your need for training in epistemology. The film is primarily about the search for an explanation for the origin of life on Earth – one of the very few things that science is currently terrible at accounting for. In this way it’s an important piece of speculative science fiction. The film is consistent with perfectly reasonable theories of panspermia & exogenesis and explicit about the pertinent details, which puts it above basically every other science fiction movie where humans travel light years and just happen to stumble upon humanoid aliens. And the film’s plot is completely consistent with the theory of evolution, for which it should be commended.

  182. says

    “…science-based faith…”

    Fail.

    “…perfectly reasonable theories of panspermia…”

    Those exist? I understand there is a hypothesis of panspermia, but since when is there a theory? Can you cite the paper?

  183. nomuse says

    You are making the same mistake Ridley Scott made; thinking that what he heard from “NASA and the Vatican” (!?!) was an actual part of modern science, instead of what it really is — careful lies promulgated towards retaining and expanding their own group of worshipers. Some of these lies have been so carefully crafted and so widely spread, and seem so very reasonable, that many people outside of the sciences are misled to think that these are actual stances from within evolutionary biology and related fields.

    And, no, the film is inconsistent even within what it shows. If the Engineer from the first scene is seeding “all life” then why were there plants already growing (and an oxygen atmosphere, to boot)? If he is giving the basis of all DNA, then how after a billion-odd years of evolution does a creature arise that just so coincidentally shares its complete genetic code down to a fraction of a percent? If on the other hand he is a late-comer, and specially creates just humanity, how to explain the genetic similarity to all other life on Earth?

    There are more elegant ways to deal with these problems. And many science fiction stories have done so. What this screenplay smacks of, however, is the mainstream author who goes “slumming” in the SF field and tackles what he thinks are exciting new themes — in complete ignorance of all that has already been done (and done to death) in the field already.

  184. Gralgrathor says

    Your elitist stance that science-based faith trumps religious faith

    Is entirely justified in fact.

    The film is primarily about the search for an explanation for the origin of life on Earth

    No, it’s not.

    one of the very few things that science is currently terrible at accounting for

    Uh? I know the explanations we have are incomplete – but “terrible”?

    In this way it’s an important piece of speculative science fiction

    It’s important only as an example of how a lack of writing skills and sound scientific advice can kill a story.

    The film is consistent with

    Nothing. Not reality, not even its own setting.

    perfectly reasonable theories of panspermia

    Like @Wagner, I have to ask: Uh? Which ones are those?

    explicit about the pertinent details

    Even if it’s particularly vague about many details, it’s explicitly wrong about the details that it provides any clarity in.

    which puts it above basically every other science fiction movie

    Yeah, it’s right up there with Transformers and Pokemon The Movie.

    Seriously, you too are a Poe, right?

  185. Emil says

    How did that robot know how to speak the alien language? How is it possible that in a world where scientists can create robots that look perfectly human women still suffer from infertility? Why do those idiots take their helmets off in the cave? How does a geologist get lost in a cave? And what kind of ‘professional’ aborts the mission like that for no apparent reason and walks away? Why does the entire crew seem totally disinterested in these two when they become trapped in the alien building? The captain even sees possible life signs and casually mentions this to them, then seems to go to sleep. There are possible live aliens around and he goes to sleep? Then those two freak out and run in the opposite direction, but five minutes later seem relaxed enough to play with space cobras? Why was the alien ship buried under ground? It must have been a major project to dig up a hole like that. How did they manage to land on the exact spot where the alien building was? That planet must have been about the same size as Earth. What were the odds? So they spotted what seems like a landing strip. But why would they need a landing strip if the alien ships can take off vertically? Why does no one follow Shaw into the operating room? She hits a couple of guys and runs off, but they never follow her or follow up on what she did. In fact, no one seems to bother to check the operating room until the end of the film. How do they deduce that aliens are making bio-weapons? And that they mean to use them on Earth? Because the robot saw Earth in a hologram that by the way contains a million galaxies? Plus he never seems to tell this to Shaw. Yet Shaw is convinced that aliens want humans dead and instructs the captain to ram the Prometheus into the alien ship. And he does it without any questions asked! And on top of it, Shaw says at the end that she is wondering ‘what made the aliens change their mind’ about killing all humans. What??? You just killed everyone on assumption that the aliens hadn’t changed their mind. That woman just keeps jumping to conclusions, first about the engineered nature of humanity, then to bio-weapons, then to ‘changing their mind’…. That bald guy never said a word, how the hell do you know what is going on? And why would Weyland stay in hiding and go see the aliens alone? Wasn’t contacting the aliens the purpose of the mission? Would the other members of the team (he himself picked!) somehow stand in his way? Or is it to be explained in one of the prequels or sequels, like pretty much everything else? How about this? Why would the aliens draw a star map on Earth showing the way to some desolate planet where they make bio-weapons? Why would they invite people to go there? You’d think they would send you a map to their planet or something. You know, fuck it, I can’t type any more.

  186. Josh1415dr says

    I quit watching spoony about a year ago, but this was actually a pretty entertaining review. Thanks for the link.

  187. says

    Bullshit. It’s a HORROR movie, with all the obvious flaws and transparent dishonesty that permeate that genre, and its sole purpose is to pander to mindless fear of the unknown, and incite hatred of people who try to probe the unknown and expand our knowledge. The only thing that separates “Prometheus” from most other horror movies is the visual-effects budget.

    And the fact that you would call this lame splatter-fest an “important” anything, speaks volumes about your mindset and your values.

    (And no, nothing in this movie is consistent with the theory of evolution. Neither is panspermia.)

  188. says

    I think that’s all pretty much the last word on the movie, Emil. :-)

    Just thought of another thing. If the geologist and the other dude were lost inside the alien vessel, but the ship’s sensors could still pick out their location, why didn’t the captain use the holo-map to simply guide them to the exit (turn right…now left…) instead of just saying “We’ll come get you in the morning.” Everyone just assumes they’ll be safe there overnight.

  189. says

    Plus, you would expect that they would have rigorous protocols in place regarding what to do if they encountered alien life forms, got separated, etc. Shit, a real expedition would have sent in robot probes to map the structure, lights or other markers laid down to show the way in and out. These people were basically teenagers from a Friday the 13th movie in space suits.

  190. pipenta says

    Words won’t describe how much I hated this movie. It was spectacularly awful. Folks are sayin’ those of us who are angry about the treatment of science and scientists in this film are nitpicking miss the point. If you were making a movie about horse racing, you might take the trouble to learn that the saddle goes on top of the horse and that the animals eat grass, not cheeseburgers.

    But frankly, the treatment of science in the film WAS a small detail compared to the rest of the failures. The plot was constantly confusing. There wasn’t a single major character who behaved in a remotely logical way. I guess if the writer wasn’t familiar with scientists and science culture and the way scientists act, he was didn’t know any scientists and was too lazy to do research. But he didn’t seem to know how human beings act, and surely he knows some humans. The Alien franchise, even under Cameron’s campy direction, had some gravity to it. These characters had about as much mass as the ones in Robocop. And, for all that it was goofy, I quite liked Robocop. There was no character here that I liked. I didn’t care what happened to them. The two lead scientists, I couldn’t even remember their names. He was Mr. Annoying and she was Miss Drippy. And when she tried to shame the android at the end, telling him the reason he didn’t care why the engineers tried to destroy humanity, she said it was because he was a robot. If he’d been human, he would have cared. And I thought, hey, I’m HUMAN, and I DON’T CARE, not about the engineers’ motives or about any of this. I just want the movie to end so I can get up and leave without disturbing the two nice people sitting on either side of me.

    What in hell happened to the redheaded geologist who reanimated? He looked like the guy who fell into the acid vat in Robocop? Was every goddamn snippet of this movie pulled from some other movie and then strung together in a random sequence. Is this the recombinant cuisine of filmmaking? OMG I need to go read some Neal Stephenson right now to soothe the pain of having sat through Prometheus. I wanted to bolt, I should have bolted. But somehow I was paralyzed with HORROR, and not the good kind.

    The only part of the film that I really liked was the opening sequence with all that spectacular landscape and geology. It was all downhill from there. People are saying that they liked the android character who wanted to be Lawrence of Arabia. But he just seemed like a regurgitated Data from Star Trek. You want interesting, you want weird? How about Brad Dourif’s scientist bound in slime, crooning “You are a beautiful butterfly” to the alien baby who is about to kill him? The whole Alien 4 bears revisiting. And you know Prometheus had plot issues when French science fiction makes perfect sense by comparison.

    I felt used and abused. For the first time I could empathize with the pain of the Star Wars fans cringing at their first exposure to Jar Jar Blinks.

    The anti-science thing was nauseating and says a lot about Scott. But he was not pandering to the fundies, even if they are dim and desperate enough to think that he was. Nope, he was pandering to the Deepak Chopra crowd, to the Shirley MacLaine crowd. Cuz, hey, it’s a big market. Stupidity sells.

    But Atheist moi was praying by the end of this film, praying for St. Ripley to arrive in her badass leather outfit and deliver us all by flamethrower.

    Amen.

  191. says

    It’s weird, though, how Prometheus sort of painted Noomi Rapace’s character in a different light, as some weird kind of “faith scientist.” A different sort of character than how scientists are usually portrayed in movies — haters, doubters, and people who keep saying there’s no such thing as ghosts when ghosts have been killing people the whole movie…

    Maybe we’ll see “Promethius” on the Hallmark Channel soon?

  192. MudPuddles says

    @ Michael Scott, #2 under #4

    PROMETHEUS is not science fiction — it’s bullshit with spaceships.

    HA! I love that. Science fiction without the science is just fiction.

    Emil (#40) says enough, but because I’m mad as hell and in need of a rant:

    I loved the huge spectacle of the movie, but hell they were just the worst, most f&cking insanely stupid excuses for scientists the cinema has ever seen. “I’m a biologist, here’s an undescribed creature that looks like a snake, I think I’ll call it cute and pet it as if I could possibly know for certain taht its friendly and will not try to defend itself or eat me.” Yeah… Even the first Christian Missionaries to Africa had more common sense.

    And the mowhawk geologist dude – surely, when selecting people to blast off into space to explore unknown reaches of the universe, “not being a complete coward likely to pee his pants and go into meltdown when he doesn’t understand what’s happening” would have been an important criteria? Ability to hold up under pressure, anyone?

    @ Sarah, #14:
    You’re dead right about Scotland. This was the first BIG sign that (despite their claim to have done loads of research for the movie with actual scientists), Scott and Lindelof did not bother to do ANY research, or even use Google, to determine basic facts like when humans were present in Scotland. Scotland was totally inhospitable to life prior to about 15,000 years ago due to glaciation. (Neanderthals may have been in southern Britain prior to the last ice age, but there is no evidence they made it to Scotland.) There certainly were no humans in northern Scotland 35,000 years ago as the movie claims, and there is no evidence to suggest there were any wild lions in Scotland at any time, as depicted in the cave drawings.

    And that DNA thing you mention also totally wrecks my head – which came first, the space dude or the genome? If it was the second of your choices, what about the fact that humans share DNA with Neanderthals? How could the big alien folk also have Neanderthal DNA? Soctt and co basically ignore just about everything we know about evolution and human origins. Its not like they even create an intersting alternative concept – they just take a Texas high school science book and add new bits of stupid to it.

    @ Emil #54
    Also, when the captain and Charlize Theron look at the screens and watch her daddy and the others get all squashed and ripped up by a giant alien, they seemed neither to be terribly worried, hurt, shocked or nor even particularly suprised. Expressionless, they basically switched off the TV and said “Lets go home”. Followed a few minutes later by “Lets crash on purpose”, with just as much nonchalance and actually an odd sort of levity.

    Though, to be honest, I did enjoy most of the rest once I deactivated my facepalm reflex.

  193. Ross says

    More ignorance from a man whose armchair scientist status renders him bold enough to disregard philosophy. Anything one believes or is taken to be true without evidence is an expression of faith. If you actually believe that you (personally) have evidence for all the science-based things you believe, you are just as deluded as the spiritual people you denigrate. Science is a system for testing the nature of the universe. That’s it. Scientific evidence exists, and humans interpret this to generate models. You buy into these models because you have faith in the scientific system, just as others have faith in theological systems. One may be more methodological than the other, but this doesn’t eliminate the disconnect between you and the evidence. Own your ignorance and accept the limitless expanse of things you will never know with certainty.

    Here’s your citation – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20655931 – if that’s inadequate to compel you, I have more!

  194. nomuse says

    That’s a long-winded way of saying “But you can’t PROOOOVE it! Ghosts could really do exist! And monkeys really could fly out of my ass!”

    More seriously, rationality/skepticism/science is a stance of choosing to ACT based on the strongly probable, instead of being paralyzed in fear of the unlikely. If you want to sit around discussing the Purpose of Life then it is worth investigating the low probabilities. If you want to live life (and if you want to do things like build a bridge, plan a scientific experiment, organize a trip, teach a child, climb a rock face…) then you go with what can be known to a high degree of certainty.

  195. Gralgrathor says

    you (personally)

    You’re not one of those wackos who think that you *personally* need to have all the data with you in order to (tentatively) accept a conclusion, are you? If things worked like that, then nobody could ever accept *any* conclusion, even tentatively. Scientific progress exists because we can depend on the scientific method to produce reliable results more often than not. And since science is required to be verifiable, per definition, faith is not required, even if you personally do not have all the data.

    you have faith in the scientific system

    Faith is not required: its results speak for itself.

    Here’s your citation

    That’s a paper presenting evidence *against* a *hypothesis*, not a paper on a theory. You are aware that there is a difference between hypothesis and theory, and that your paper presents neither, are you?

  196. Ross says

    I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that people are getting hung up on the fact that there are multiple definitions of the word “theory” – some more strict than others. And even if we are talking about the perfectly reasonable hypotheses of panspermia and exogenesis, would that undermine my point that the movie should be commended for tackling one of science’s most glaring unanswered questions?

  197. Ross says

    “then you go with what can be known to a high degree of certainty” Sure, and my central point here has been that Prometheus is about something that is currently known with a very LOW level of certainty: the question of where/why/how life on Earth first arose, and attempting to investigate that question with an open mind. This is the essence of science. Complaining about someone being off by a few orders of magnitude when talking about interstellar distances is missing the point. The film’s heart lies in a thoughtful and scientifically-friendly place.

  198. Gralgrathor says

    if we are talking about the perfectly reasonable hypotheses of panspermia and exogenesis

    I still wonder why you, in defense of your point, present a paper titled Biological evidence against the panspermia theory.

    You’re right about ‘theory’ though. It seems the writers of this thesis use the word in the same manner as you did.

  199. Ross says

    [You’re not one of those wackos who think that you *personally* need to have all the data with you in order to (tentatively) accept a conclusion, are you?][Faith is not required: its results speak for itself.]I’m not going to restate the clear and effective counter-argument I already made to Mr. Wagner’s first response. All I am pointing out is that if you don’t have the evidence in hand, then you are putting your trust in the system of science to draw your conclusions and form beliefs about the nature of the world. Science has generated incorrect “truths” countless times, and people believed them on faith. None of your current science-based beliefs may be quantitatively better, but they’re qualitatively equivalent.

    [That’s a paper presenting evidence *against* a *hypothesis*, not a paper on a theory. You are aware that there is a difference between hypothesis and theory, and that your paper presents neither, are you?]The paper is presenting evidence to address the panspermia hypothesis. To conclude with any finality that exogenesis/panspermia hypotheses should be discarded, we’d need data from the entire universe. These are open questions and still valid testable (theoretically if not practically) hypotheses.

  200. says

    science-based faith

    I think we’ve set a new standard for “oxymoron”.

    If science works, it’s not faith. If faith is “science based”, it’s not faith.

    I’m thinking you’re using a non-standard definition of faith (or science.

  201. Gralgrathor says

    if you don’t have the evidence in hand, then you are putting your trust in the system

    And again, no. Science per definition requires that results be verifiable. Furthermore, it is a system set up to enable continuous retesting of previous results. So even if you do not yourself have all the data, it does not require faith to tentatively accept a scientific conclusion.

    To conclude with any finality

    Science doesn’t do “final”. There are no absolute truths or final conclusions in science. Results are tentatively accepted, while they appear to be consistent with the available data. But panspermia is not a conclusion. It is a hypothesis. An interesting idea some people are toying with.

  202. nomuse says

    And even if we are talking about the perfectly reasonable hypotheses of panspermia and exogenesis, would that undermine my point that the movie should be commended for tackling one of science’s most glaring unanswered questions?

    Err, no.

    1) SCIENCE is tackling the question of abiogenesis, and is making good progress. It is far from a single unanswered question. Instead, we have multiple identified stages in the journey towards life as we recognize it, and many of these stages have been mapped out.

    2) Panspermia has a little more to it than “maybe life came from elsewhere.” That little bit is some arguments about whether biological material could survive long-duration space travel and re-entry on a micro-meteorite (the answer? Possibly.) The film in question doesn’t go near this theory or add anything to it.

    3) What the film offers is so simplistic as to be useless. Aliens with unknown technology and unknown motives are exactly the same as gods with unknown powers and unknown goals. There is no further reasoning you can do, no further work you can base, on that presumption. Because there is no possible falsification of any conclusion. For instance; I argue the aliens from Prometheus were trying to develop the Predator species. That if you attacked humans with enough black goo, eventually they would mutate into a super-killer species of their own. Now prove me wrong, using anything you like from the film as presented.

    4) SCIENCE FICTION (the real stuff, not this crap) has been discussing variations on exogenesis for a very long time. Compare say Larry Niven’s Pak, which offers not just explanation for life on Earth, and the origins of humanity itself (or, rather, a conveniently distant ancestor), but also purports to explain bad teeth, arthritis, baldness, and why men of a certain age go out and buy sports cars!

  203. Gralgrathor says

    Larry Niven’s Pak

    Bad example. The ‘Pak thesis’ has the same problem the ‘Alien thesis’ has: it completely ignores the nested hierarchies of biology and the overwhelming mountain of evidence supporting common descent.

  204. Ross says

    [And the fact that you would call this lame splatter-fest an “important” anything, speaks volumes about your mindset and your values.]I’m not suggesting it needs to end up in the National Film Registry; I’m saying that (at its core) the plot is a mature examination of currently open scientific questions and the philosophical issues that pertain to those questions. I didn’t find it to pander to “believers” whatsoever, as it presents absolutely no hope that there is a caring deity looking out for us, or out there at all. The film is nihilistic at best, and plunges us into Lovecraftian cosmic terror territory, which is based in fears generated by the holes left by science’s shortcomings. Check out At the Mountains of Madness for this story’s progenitor; it was set in Antarctica because it was a realm of the unknown at the time. Today’s stories have to reach into space to access the boundaries of scientific understanding.

    [And no, nothing in this movie is consistent with the theory of evolution. Neither is panspermia.]How does the idea that life can travel between star systems undermine the idea that organisms evolve and improve under selective pressure over time? It’s apples and oranges.

  205. Ross says

    I’m absolutely not a Poe, rather a thoughtful biochemist who is tired of the rigidity of supposed “free thinkers”.

    I think I’ve addressed most of your other points to the best of my ability elsewhere in this mess of a comments section. Cheers!

  206. Gralgrathor says

    the plot is a mature examination of currently open scientific questions

    And again: if it suggests that life in general was seeded by aliens, then it brings nothing new to the table that might lead to insights, and is inconsistent with statements made in that same movie. If it, on the other hand, suggests that humans were specifically engineered, then this contradicts what we know of evolution and common descent.

    In either case, the science is off. The movie does not present any useful insights. Of course it’s not meant to, but I find I have trouble enjoying a movie that calls itself science fiction but is so far from being plausible as to be laughable.

  207. Gralgrathor says

    I’m [...] a thoughtful biochemist

    I don’t believe you. In fact, such assertions are so typical of certain folks that it makes the claim that you are a Poe all the move believable.

  208. Ross says

    [Science doesn’t do “final”. There are no absolute truths or final conclusions in science.]Hahahaha! This is your response to MY response to your suggestion that a reasonable hypothesis for the origins of life on Earth be discarded. That’s the finality I was talking about – the one you have suggested. There is practical finality in science: when something has been shown to be so reasonable or unreasonable that people no longer waste their time testing it. I don’t think the exogenesis/panspermia hypotheses are even close to that practical finality.

    Whoever cited abiogenesis: it’s probably the most reasonable explanation we have, but it’s still a huge stretch. I understand the gap that needs to be closed better than most, and it strains credibility. So I don’t think abiogenesis has won practical finality on the other side of the spectrum, either. At least it’s more testable on Earth, though!

  209. Gralgrathor says

    your suggestion that a reasonable hypothesis for the origins of life on Earth be discarded

    The fact that science doesn’t do absolutes doesn’t make accepting, even tentatively, the ‘Aliens’ hypothesis any more reasonable.

    However, I may agree that it may be reasonable to consider the hypothesis – to ‘play’ with the idea a little. However, the movie does not do so in a fashion that is even remotely plausible.

  210. Gralgrathor says

    it’s still a huge stretch

    No, accepting as fact any particular proposed hypothesis for abiogenesis may be a huge stretch. But that Earth life originated on Earth, and did so through chemical processes, is certainly not simply an unsupported hypothesis. You as a

    thoughtful biochemist

    should know this.

  211. nomuse says

    Bad example. The ‘Pak thesis’ has the same problem the ‘Alien thesis’ has: it completely ignores the nested hierarchies of biology and the overwhelming mountain of evidence supporting common descent.

    I don’t disagree — I was saying only that other works had considered the question before, and at considerably more depth and internal consistency than this movie has.

    And, actually, give Niven partial credit. Since the Pak seeded the food yeast from their homeworld biome, and already brought the Breeders, there is at least a general continuity of genetic material, cell structure, proteins et al. Where it falls down is, well…start with Class Mammalia; an entire branch that evolved on Earth, was NOT exported from the Pak homeworld, and yet ends up being highly consistent with the history of structural development that leads to the primate lines.

    On the gripping hand, the one core lesson of the Ringworld series is that anytime anyone tells you the True story of the origins of Ringworld, they are wrong and will be shown so in the next book.

    Still, it is hard to imagine the Pak managing to insert anything resembling higher animals into an existing pattern of evolved species. Like Hogan before him (the “Giants” series), Niven is running out of gaps big enough to make the game believable.

    And I want to compare with the movie, which shows an Engineer breathing the air on a planet with existing plant life, dropping fragmented raw DNA into running water, and coming back in some ten millions of years to find his entire genetic sequence has been reconstructed. There’s a LOT the film hasn’t explained yet about how that was supposed to work!

    I might be a little unfair. There’s a suggestion in the background materials that the Engineers were practicing directed evolution — that they were tinkering all along, throughout the geologic ages. That seems a really stupid and inefficient way to create humanity, though, and I refuse to believe that any amount of herding the genetic cats is going to get you back to a 100% accurate clone of your desired template.

  212. Gralgrathor says

    Since the Pak seeded the food yeast

    Ah, no. The first Pak seeding mission would have happened within the past three million years or so, according to Niven’s story. Still, I give you that Niven makes a better effort at making his stories plausible than Scott in this movie. Still, that’s not difficult, given the glaring inconsistencies in the story.

  213. says

    I’m saying that (at its core) the plot is a mature examination of currently open scientific questions and the philosophical issues that pertain to those questions.

    Yeah, and Chuck Norris movies are a mature examination of criminal justice issues in America, right?

    Also, if a movie gets so many KNOWN facts dead wrong (like, you know, how many miles are in a lightyear), how can anyone trust it to be a “mature examination” of anything?

    How does the idea that life can travel between star systems undermine the idea that organisms evolve and improve under selective pressure over time?

    If, as others have said, the movie shows life being seeded or created on an Earth that already has indigenous life, then that’s a flat contradiction of our current theory of evolution.

    I didn’t find it to pander to “believers” whatsoever…

    I said it pandered to “mindless fear of the unknown,” and you accuse me of saying it pandered to “believers.” Your misunderstanding of what I said is telling.

    But hey, if you really think a big-budget horror movie with so many factual holes and crappy characters is “mature,” that’s cool — but it says a lot more about you than it does about the movie. For what my opinion is worth, you can get more mature examination of philosophical issues from “The DaVinci Code” and “Angels and Demons [and Agnostic Harvard Symbologists, Oh My!]“.

  214. Gralgrathor says

    that they were tinkering all along, throughout the geologic ages

    Another inconsistency I find annoying. In itself it’s not that hard to justify, but add it to all the other little inconsistencies and you get the impression that the storywriters just didn’t care:

    Imagine where we went from first taking to the air to today. Moore’s law applied to society and technology in general.
    Now imagine an alien race with technology far beyond ours. Why does it plateau? What makes it that their society is advanced yet stable for geological eras? And why, after all that stability does an advanced society that’s **spread to the stars** and taken its eggs out of the single basket, suddenly fail exactly around the time we start developing technologies ourselves? It’s just too implausible and too coincidental.

  215. says

    Uh, well, to be fair, this is the first time Scott’s been back to the franchise. He hasn’t been involved in any of the sequels to his original.

  216. says

    But remember, Ash was acting under direct orders from Weyland-Yutani. Ripley was the one determined to go by the book, and this was the major source of the character tension between them.

  217. says

    A “thoughtful” biochemist? Seriously? Are you trying to say other biochemists aren’t thoughtful? And free-thinkers are too “rigid” for your taste? I smell a religious apologist.

  218. says

    You cite me a paper listing evidence against panspermia in order to support panspermia?

    The rest of your rant, loaded with straw man hysterics and a total failure to grasp epistemology, actually made me feel dumber reading it. It was almost like being exposed to a rational damping field, where IQ points noticeably drop until you escape its pull and recover. Your whole false equivocation of “faith in science” with “faith in religion” is what I expect to hear from the likes of Ken Ham or Hugh Ross.

  219. says

    I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that people are getting hung up on the fact that there are multiple definitions of the word “theory”

    Science uses a very specific and unambiguous definition of theory. So colloquial definitions aren’t even up for discussion.

    And even if we are talking about the perfectly reasonable hypotheses of panspermia and exogenesis

    Annnnd I see what you did there: presto, just like that, you pretend that your incorrect use of theory was intended to mean hypothesis all along, when of course, the two do not have the same meaning.

    would that undermine my point that the movie should be commended for tackling one of science’s most glaring unanswered questions?

    Had the movie done that anything other than ineptly, we would be commending it.

  220. says

    Science has generated incorrect “truths” countless times, and people believed them on faith.

    Bullshit: people believed what the currently-available evidence indicated, as they understood it. That’s not at all comparable to believing in a God with no evidence at all. There’s a HUGE difference between the blind faith of religious belief, and accepting the available evidence.

    Your misuse of the word “faith” proves your anti-rationalist dishonesty.

  221. Gralgrathor says

    @Wagner:

    Note, though, that the scientific paper he cites demonstrates the colloquial use of the word ‘theory’. Given that, I am inclined to let him use the word in the same way, to indicate a hypothesis or idea.

  222. nomuse says

    Heh. As silly as Known Space is, is significant we can have a lot more fun discussing how to make IT work, than to make the stupid movie work.

    The thought occurred that you could still rescue the situation by having the Pak transplant their entire ecology ca our 3 MYA, Breeders included (they aren’t THAT human). And wipe out whatever was left of the (my goof!) SLAVER food yeast. Tnuctipin tinkering aside, I don’t think Bandersnatchi would last long against Protectors.

    Still gives you a really weird jolt in the fossil record and proteins clocks at 3 MYA. But at this point, the real first rule of SF could take over — commit one clear and obvious bit of rubber science within the first few pages, then play it straight from then on.

  223. Gralgrathor says

    is significant we can have a lot more fun discussing how to make IT work, than to make the stupid movie work

    Well, besides the inconsistencies, the movie doesn’t give us anything to work with. There’s nothing to discuss. Annoying as hell, for people like us. Half the fun of a good movie is imagining all the ‘what-ifs’, to really try and visualize the world portrayed by the moviemakers and storywriters, imagine living in it. But that doesn’t work when there’s no logical consistency or coherency.

    you could still rescue the situation

    Extensive genetic engineering, keeping the genetic differences below 1.5%. Directing evolution, in other words, with primates as basal stock. Not very plausible, given Pak xenophobia.

    But if you assume that Niven describes an alternate reality, in which common descent is not so much a fact as it is in the real reality, then it could all make sense.

    Unfortunately that doesn’t work with the Prometheus movie. Even if you assume an alternate reality, the internal inconsistencies kill it.

  224. George From NY says

    Your elitist stance that science-based faith trumps religious faith reveals your need for training in epistemology.

    Oh dear.

    I suppose it falls to me, then, as someone who did receive formal training in epistemology – in a philosophy/divinity program no less, thus not bound by naturalistic presuppositionalism – to warn that invoking canards like “science-based faith” is the rhetorical equivalent of washing one’s face with acidic xenomorph blood.

  225. Yocco says

    I think something that is overlooked is the context of the mission.

    This was not a mission that was led by a government or on behalf of the people of earth or by the scientific community. It was a splurge of ridiculous resources on a mission that was declared to no one who did not need to know, by a dying man who believed in woo and wanted to use woo to extend his life. We get bad science because he specifically chose rare scientists who either believed in woo or were willing to go on a journey without knowing the full details of the mission. That is the scenario we are presented with and it is a great recipe for the bad decisions that lead to an exciting popcorn film.

    I don’t think it is anti-science because the scenario doesn’t give the impression that these are best scientists earth has to offer. These are the people who either supported the agenda of a creepy millionaire or were willing to take a paycheck without asking questions.

    There are certainly flaws such as the light year math and the ridiculous biology that is carried over from the Alien films, but this is not in the league of stupidity of a movie like “Children of Men” Half of the complaints made about the movie are a result of assuming that the movie is something that it never claims to be.

  226. says

    They still could have been guided to the exit, so they could wait there and not deep in the bowels of the place where there are scary alien snake things.

  227. josh says

    I don’t know about Rhodes but the Tuskegee researchers didn’t infect anyone. They started a study on already infected people at a time when no good cures were available and tried to monitor them. The ethically ugly part is that they continued the study longer than they should have without informing the participants about the availability and success of penicillin once it had been validated. In fact, they prevented or discouraged some of them from getting treatment when it was available. (They also apparently didn’t tell the subjects that they had specifically been diagnosed with syphillis. )

    So, not a happy chapter in history, but it’s important to get the facts right.

  228. Gralgrathor says

    by a dying man who believed in woo

    And who just happened to believe that the best way to achieve his aims was to get together the poeple worst suited to achieve those aims? Hm.

    We get bad science because he specifically chose rare scientists who either believed in woo or were willing to go on a journey without knowing the full details of the mission

    So, somebody as rich as he is can’t affort decent (science) advisors?

    that is carried over from the Alien films

    No, the Alien films don’t suggest that Earth life or the human species are the result of alien meddling.

  229. MarkB says

    Why does no one follow Shaw into the operating room? She hits a couple of guys and runs off, but they never follow her or follow up on what she did.

    Not to mention how she could do ANYTHING AT ALL after having her abdominal muscles completely cut through.

  230. jacobfromlost says

    I agree with Yocco (while ducking flying lamps).

    Also, the alien in “Alien” was NOT disconnected from humanity. In fact, it was BORN of humanity–it came right out of Kane, and couldn’t even be born WITHOUT a living human host. It even had a discernable human form with two arms and two legs once it was born of Kane.

    The life/death/rebirth cycle of the alien connected its very existence to humanity. It wasn’t until Alien 3 that we even saw it use a different host (nonhuman).

    This is JacobfromLost…last surviving member of the Prometheus Defense League…signing off…for now. lol

  231. says

    Oh, didn’t you notice the industrial stapler scene? She got stapled up. Explains everything.

    By the way: Why do you have to criticize everything? It’s just a silly science fiction movie, dummy!

  232. nomuse says

    Ross —

    “Science friendly” is not quoting figures that are off by several magnitudes, or getting basic facts wrong.

    And to a more general argument; if you want to get up in front of one of the giant science fiction conventions and proudly say “Look at my new science fiction movie!” then you had better be playing by the rules. Otherwise they have a perfect right to tear you apart.

    Prometheus was promoted as being science fiction. It isn’t. It isn’t the bad science by itself, it is the pretensions to having good science that makes it in season for anyone who actually knows, say, how far a light year is or the difference between CO2 and CO.

  233. says

    Speaking of lousy dialog, what the heck was with that shoehorned exposition scene between Dr. Shaw and the Captain Janek?? Jarring.

  234. says

    It even had a discernable human form with two arms and two legs once it was born of Kane.

    In part because the technology in 1979 required that the alien be played by a guy in a suit.

    It is assumed that the creature could gestate in any sufficiently sized biological organism from anywhere in the galaxy.

  235. Yocco says

    The ridiculous biology is the rate of growth and metabolism issues. In Prometheus and Alien/s/III etc., the organisms have ridiculous growth rates and grow to enormous sizes without an evident source of food to sustain the rate of mass growth. There is also the acid blood etc. The origin of the biology is a different story because we aren’t given a back story in the other films.

  236. says

    I think the whole concept was that the aliens absorb a massive chunk of the DNA of their host organisms. Hence the dogburster/oxburster in Alien 3.

  237. Aratina Cage says

    I hated Alien3 because of the egregious continuity error right at the beginning of the movie!

    Which was…?

  238. Aratina Cage says

    @Jef

    Actually, her final decision irked me almost as much as everything else in the film. Having discovered that the only reason that all life on Earth wasn’t wiped out 2000 years ago is because our creators had bungled the job, she decides to go to their home planet to remind them that they forgot to take out the rubbish. Thanks a bunch.

    It irked me, too. The only way it would have worked is if Shaw was dead set on loosing the bioweapons onto the protohuman’s home planet(s) in an act of ironic revenge (in the style of “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.”), but it wasn’t clear what her motivation was.

    What irked me even more was how Scott plagiarized his own ending of Alien and not in a haunting or artistic way but basically by ripping off the original. Are all future Alien Prometheus films going to end with “This is so and so, last survivor of so and so, signing off” or what?

  239. OzKrenske says

    It is actually amazing how many of his consistent themes sort of melded in this film. Generally to create a mess.

    Strong women characters – Check
    Child father/creator issues – Check twice over (daughter and android)
    Cinematic vistas – Check
    Atmospheric effects – Check
    Hero saved by dieing person – Check

    All occurred in this film sometimes several times over. For example his common idea of child fatally/badly interacting with parent could be seen in David/Weyland, Vickers/Weyland, Humanity/Engineers, BioWeaps/Engineers. Vickers and Shaw are both strong female characters.

    A story I find amazing is that the pretty flat character of Vickers was apparently greatly improved by actor feedback during filming to give the character a lot more depth, apparently three scenes were actually added to expand her character. (I suspect the Sex talk scene was one of them) How bad was the Characterisation to begin with? The fact she was also body Doubled for action scenes as she was unable to perform in heavy boots or run due to weakness and strong smoking habit is absolutely astounding to me. I’m sure there must be other actors capable of carrying that character and running.

  240. OzKrenske says

    I can only assume the engineer Civ was actually wiped out by the escaped Bio weapons. Because if a Bio weapon like that escaped at a facility or planet and the knowledge got out (and it would, Time to go into sleep and make recording allows them to be broadcast and sent as well) would see the facility and or planet wiped clean.

    Also if it had escaped why do we only see the snake, they had infected the Engineers so there should be other end stage Aliens running around. Also who stores Bio weaps in fragile canisters that are held together by gravity, disolve in humidity and are left free standing. Also who the hell were they developing the weapon for use against. It is effectively a doomsday weapon, use makes the target planet unuseable due to infestation without complete geologic reset, wiping out all life.

    I also find the Engineers motivation of waking up out of sleep, to find aliens (several types) wandering around and a long period had elapsed and your three shipmates didn’t survive, to continue an obvious out of date mission to wipe out earth somewhat strange.

    Then again if the Engineers can bio engineer lifeforms to the extent they could why did one need to suicide to infect the earth with Human life. Note it obviously wasn’t life (for those thinking it was) it was purely human life as the DNA was a complete match. How exactly did the first zygots survive and be nourished floating in a stream, How did the babies not drown or starve to death. The more you look at pivotal scenes, they simply collapse into Meta magical silliness. I guess using ‘Chariots of the Gods’ as your science reference leads to this stuff but wow it doesn’t half stink.

  241. OzKrenske says

    Apparently even the actors were confused about stuff and the test audiences were lost so several clarification scenes were added.

    I think your scene was one, as was one of the Weyland preparing to venture out scenes and one of the david scenes towards the end and apparently the whole Sign off by shaw pre credits bit was added. Un called for explanation and exposition out of nowhere indicates failure to get ideas across without later edits.

  242. MudPuddles says

    Ridley Scott has said that he had a meeting with scientists as part of his research for this movie, half of whom were apparently religious. Take from that what you will… Scott obviously didn’t take much good from it, judging by this quote relating to a Q&A session before the movie was released: “As he says, at some point, scientists hit a wall, and must invoke imagination and the transcendent to address metaphysical questions their science [...] are not equipped to grapple with.” Oh dear, oh dear… We don’t understand something yet, therefore God.

  243. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    How did Alien eggs get anywhere near the sleepers and cause the Sulacco to crash at the start of the film?

    The Alien queen had all of here egg-laying equipment splattered, and also didn’t get out of the docking bay in “Aliens.” No-one went back to the ship with eggs as 1st dropship was written off, 2nd was the one that the characters + queen returned on.

    No chance. Therefore entire premise of film failed IMO. An easy catch if you had watched Aliens as many times as I did.

  244. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    I heard a “You’re fucking kidding me!” from my significant other during this exact sequence. As, I think, did anyone else sitting near us in the theatre…

  245. StevoR says

    Saw this movie the other day – beatifully filmed but such a nonsensical plot.

    So much that just didn’t make sense. Entertaining, fast moving if somewhat predictable, a fun ride if you switch your brain off and go along with it but that was made rather harder to do than it could’ve been by having so many points where I just couldn’t help thinking : “What? Why? How? Huh?” that, yeah, ruined the suspension of disbeleif and movie generally.

    Also the whole anti-evolution, ancient astronauts meme – bleech.

    The first two Alien’franchise movies were awesome but the sequels and prequels, not so much. IMHON.

  246. Aratina Cage says

    That doesn’t matter. It isn’t something he would have said to them if they had been a woman and a man who hated each other. Would people (and by people, I mean heterosexist people) laugh if he had told a man and woman to “try not to fuck each other” or “try not to screw each other” or even “try not to fall in love”? I submit that they wouldn’t, that saying something like that to a man and a woman would elicit WTFs from the audience, and that the only reason that people find that line funny is because they think there is something wrong with one guy fucking or loving another guy, as if being trapped overnight in an alien cave would make them “go gay”, to go against their natures–a serious no-no in heterosexist land.

  247. says

    Yeah, the growth rate bothered me from the first movie. A little baby alien eats its way out of a human, doesn’t even finish its dinner, and skitters away, still small, then somehow grows up bigger than a human, BEFORE killing its next human, with extra slimy crud to spare to drool all over itself.

    And what about all the slimy organic crud they dollop all over the human habitations they colonize? The organic material used to contain a human for their young’s consumption is more than the human that gets eaten, and that’s BEFORE the human gets eaten!

    These movies are nothing but asinine horror movies, with a bigger budget. We might as well be quibbling about the science behind the “Friday the 13th” movies.

  248. DW says

    If I had known ahead of time that the LOST writer wrote the script, I would not have been looking forward to Prometheus as much as I did. I was sorely let down. Ridley Scott did a great job with the direction but the script was terrible. How is the acting supposed to be any good when the characters have constantly changing motivations and personalities throughtout the movie?

    For instance, Charlize Theron’s character is confusing because at first she seems like a effective and efficient crew leader. She’s handpicked members of the crew and she refers to the ship as hers. But as the movie goes on, she seems more like a petulant child, jealous of her android brother because he’s their father’s favorite. She also seems more of the corporate type, rather than a space ship captain. (Why is Weyland surpised that she came on board if this is her ship and her crew?) At the end of the movie, she totally freaks out and loses all of her cool, even running away from a rolling spacesphip in the worst direction. It’s like they changed the script completely after they started filming.

    I think the David was not supposed to be the villian of the movie though. He poisoned Halloway with the alien goo because he was ordered to by Weyland. It’s clear from the first Alien movie that Weyland (and the company) thinks of the crew as expendable in his search for an immortality potion. At the end, he helps Shaw because Weyland is dead and she is the only person left he was told to take orders from. He’s not a Hal–he’s functioning exactly as intended. And there is no indication that he is acting out of his own conscience or moral decisions.

  249. Fyrebrand says

    You do make a solid point, that we’re never meant to believe that the assembled team represents the best of the best. No one signed up for the mission because they are sticklers for responsible procedures. After all, it is related to us that at least some of the team are less than desirable. That may explain a few of the stupider moves on the parts of some minor cast members, but it’s never implied that anyone isn’t really a scientist. We’re still supposed to believe that they’re all more or less qualified to be there, and that what they’re doing is still real science. The “smart” ones take their helmets off as much as the “dumb” ones, both literally and proverbially, throughout the film.

    Halloway was kind of a douche, but he wasn’t introduced to us as stupid, reckless, or incapable. Yet he’s the first to take his helmet off in an unknown alien environment, and when he discovers he’s contracted a monstrous infection he alerts no one.

    Our heroine Elizabeth Shaw is never painted in a bad light, and it’s never implied that she is anything but a capable expert. She is never portrayed as having any character flaws, no impure motivations, and no wavering integrity. When she discovers she’s carrying an alien within her, she suffers no unflattering growth or unsightly veins or other side-effects. She is essentially under the watchful protection of the Hollywood Gods, who have a vested interest in ensuring that the simple-minded Christian woman is shielded by a protective aura from any permanent damage or unfortunate circumstances. We, as viewers, are meant to see her as perfectly good, intelligent, and admirable.
    When she sneaks off to forcibly expel her alien baby, she leaves it in the med bay and tells no one at all about it, on the off chance that no one will open the door and look in there, setting it free. Not only is this irresponsibility not addressed or punished, but it in fact SAVES HER LIFE at the end of the movie.

    I get that the crew is a mixed bag, and some of them can believably be smarter, or more careful, than others. But the thing is, EVERYONE in this movie behaves stupidly or unrealistically at some point — and the movie does not consistently call a spade a spade when it’s the “good guys” who screw up.

  250. nomuse says

    In the first movie, I joked it got big and strong by licking the slime off all those pipes. There certainly was enough dripping organic-looking crud around that refinery!

    In the others…well, maybe the Aliens are puffer fish. Sure would explain how that acid blood sprays so violently, and how they can seemingly get into the tiniest spaces…

    On an unrelated note — so Jesus was supposed to be one of the Engineers, according to Ridley Scott? Boy, that sure must have made Judas’ job easier. “Jesus? He’s the bald albino body-builder. Can’t miss him. He’s, like, eight feet tall.”

  251. Aratina Cage says

    Oh. Well, there are several possibilities, none of which are too far out there. I just assumed the Queen laid them (or laid it, if there was only one egg) while in the dropship. Would losing her ovipositor really have prevented that?

  252. says

    Actually, if you had a male and female astronaut stranded together, whom the script had established as hating each other with a passion, you might very well have a joke where the captain tells them “try not to fuck all night.”

    I’m not denying that the line is offensive, just that there is a story context for it.

  253. Ross says

    There are plenty of people who earn a PhD without giving due consideration to philosophy (the origin of the “Ph”!).

    As for religious apologism… no. I don’t enjoy how this place reeks of the same dogmatic rigidity, though.

  254. Ross says

    [Annnnd I see what you did there: presto, just like that, you pretend that your incorrect use of theory was intended to mean hypothesis all along, when of course, the two do not have the same meaning.]
    We’re in the comments section of a blog written in the vernacular (note how I’m not tearing you down for using non-SI description “truly epic snark levels”) and you continue to harp on my use of the casual, non-scientific definition of the word “theory”. Of course I know the difference, but since this is not a peer-reviewed anything I will speak as casually as was written the original source material. The way you rely on this semantic crutch is quite telling: I’ve presented plenty of valid conceptual arguments that you brush off, but you’re sticking to surface-level dictionary issues. So yes: all along I meant a hypothesis, which can casually be referred to as a “theory” in modern USA English. Should I really be embarrassed or apologetic about this?

    [You cite me a paper listing evidence against panspermia in order to support panspermia?]
    It demonstrates that it’s an open question worthy of serious consideration in a modern journal. The paper even says “Francis H.C. Crick is not the only great scientist to embrace the panspermia theory. More recently, eminent men of science like Stephen Hawking, Freeman Dyson, Richard Dawkins and Edward O. Wilson have all spoken in favour of the panspermia theory.” – but I’m sure you are brighter than all those nobodies. As far as the analysis within, it’s largely conjecture which is to be expected due to the lack of evidence; this dearth doesn’t mean too much when it’s so difficult to collect the most desirable data.

  255. Ross says

    It’s only not faith (in the system of, and answers provided by) science if you perform the experiments or analyze the data yourself. Believing anything else takes a degree of trust in the system: faith.

  256. says

    A funny spoof of the beginning of the movie would show the Engineer, after consuming that gooey substance, chugging down a beer and can of beans. Then, after showing a look of discomfort come across his face, he starts having a massive attack of diarrhea which gradually turns the waterfall brown before he slips on his own shit and stumbles off the cliff. And thus life is birthed on Earth from alien fecal matter.

  257. nomuse says

    Bah. False equivalence.

    If I buy a road map, and find Cedar Ave where the map says it should be, and Rose St., and Magnolia, and Primrose, am I taking it on faith that Mequite Boulevard is going to be where the map claims it is?

    Well, yes — but this is far, far, far, far, far, far from saying my faith in the map is equivalent to fingering my crucifix and waiting for a sign that I’ve reached the right turn-off.

    I have never personally tested a webbing or carabiner to destruction. By your reasoning, then, when I trust my life to them I am in exactly the same position as a person with no rope and no placed pro who believes their St. Christopher medal will keep them from face-planting from four hundred feet.

    How about, I trust — I have “faith” in — the well-documented work of the UIAA, the experiences and reports of my fellow climbers — including accident reports and investigations which are carefully passed around — and the standards and testing of the gear companies, and of the generalized performance of the materials involved.

    No-one in this chain is asking me to “have faith” that a thin piece of some unknown material will bear my weight. They are asking me to have faith that 8mm of woven nylon fibers will do so, and that they will perform as they have for other climbers and in the lab, and it will do so within established parameters given in real-world values (kilo-newtons, for instance).

    And…I HAVE taken a factor-1 fall on many of these pieces of gear. I haven’t fallen on all of them, and I haven’t done a nice lead fall on them yet, but this is the point; how many of the tested materials and conditions do I have to personally duplicate before my trusting that it will behave as documented is no longer what you call an article of “faith?”

  258. nomuse says

    I must be one of the few people who wasn’t bugged by the run-in-front-of-the-rolling-spaceship gag. Because it was rolling so slowly, and so unsteadily, it was obviously going to do what it in fact did shortly after — stop rolling and topple over.

    If you zig or zag, you have committed to a 50% chance of getting crushed when it does fall over. Which Shaw nearly was — she lost the coin toss but got lucky. Meredith chose to try to get completely out of danger, but misjudged her own speed and how little the craft’s roll was slowing down. Another ten feet and her gamble would probably have paid off.

    Incidentally, the friend who saw it with me was extremely amused by the ballistic path of the life support module and the escape pod. Especially in the Aliens universe (where ships tend to explode in big thermonuclear booms) you’d probably want a life pod with a little more to it than a big spring.

  259. BlindToReason says

    Perhaps you’ve not taken the time to look at the quandary of providing knowledge (location to search in the stars) without guidance. I did not think of this film as anti-science, I think it raised the question of ‘what if’ humans believe too strongly in a force which they do not take the time to fully analyze. Yes, they should of waited for the geologist to finish mapping before wandering haphazardly through, “another tomb.” However, the most blatant moves forward were via David, who was acting as a proxy for their benefactor, a man who blindly wished for a solution to the ultimate equalizer, death.

    It’s rare when a movie leaves you questioning anything, or for that matter leaves you with a single thought at all. I’ll take 1 thought provoking film, even with it’s obvious undertones, to the majority of drivel put out. Personally, the film left me in a wondrous state of contemplation; not on the limitations of science but on the ignorance of blind actions, be they based in faith or out of a greedy sense of self-preservation. P.S. don’t be so negative or you might miss the underlying philosophical questions raised.

  260. Orlando says

    Well, based on a thorough analysis of above comments, I’ll pass and just re-watch Contact, which, while not perfect, was interesting. Or “Never Let Me Go”, which takes more than one viewing (for me) to understand the nuances of this alternate universe. The book is more detailed, but both are brilliant.

  261. says

    The most interesting character for me was the captain of the ship, played by Idris Elba. He is the equivalent of Hercules, who rescued Prometheus. He doesn’t weigh in on the god/belief/origins stuff, he just observes it from his tower and helps people when they need it. And he enjoys life, the “love the one your with” reference was awesome. The god seekers, whether benevolent like Shaw or evil like Weyland, just screw things up with all their seeking and meddling with forces they don’t understand and in the end, the captain and his crew have to save the world for them.

    Shaw lives, which makes her somewhat of the hero, but she is more of the innocent hero, the bumbler, representing the common people. Vickers is evil, and is destroyed by evil. But the captain and his crew die by sacrificing themselves for the greater good. That makes them the real heroes.

  262. StevoR says

    37. nomuse :

    “The only time my brain is completely unable to figure out that most cars can’t fly and most people don’t breath underwater is when I am asleep. If I am watching a movie, I am by definition aware and thinking.

    I dunno ’bout that. I’ve fallen asleep in front of the odd movie on many occassions! (Admittedly not usually in the theatre but in front of the telly instead.)

    ‘Prometheus’ did seem to have a sort of “dream logic” to it – you know the sort of logic you have in dreams and go along with at the time then when you wake up you realise what happened in the dream made no sense at all!

  263. StevoR says

    54.Emil :

    “Why does the entire crew seem totally disinterested in these two when they become trapped in the alien building?”

    Because like the movie viewers they can’t stand these unlikeable characters (well, one more than the other) and have already decided they’re too stoopid to live?

    The captain even sees possible life signs and casually mentions this to them, then seems to go to sleep. There are possible live aliens around and he goes to sleep?

    Nah, he goes off to have sex with Charlize Theron (Ms Vickers) thus somehow proving her non-robot~icity. Which is kinda understandable albiet a dereliction of duty and culpable neglect.

    Options to choose from – stay where not much is happening monitoring two idiots that have gotten themselves lost and seem otherwise fine or go play with the sexy, super-rich boss who may be able to greatly help your career or harm it depending on whether she’s kept happy or not. Pretty despicable but understandable.

    Now of course he could’ve got one or more of the crew to go do the monitoring of the yeah-these-two-are so-gonna-die-now duo whilst he was off keeping Ms Moneybags entertainined but that would have made sense and been a reasonable procedure to follow and thus broken with this movies tradition.

  264. StevoR says

    PS. You’d also have thought that everyone going in there including the alledged geologist and biologist mercenaries would have been constantly recording and that the situation with messages being sent and recieved was also being recorded for posterity and later study wouldn’t you? (Shrug.)

    The more youthink about it, the dumber they seem.

    Adds another nit : And the space jockey skull / head / helmet “fossilised” in just two thousand years? Really? Mummified I could beleive esp. in a sterile cold or dry environment but fossilisation takes a bit longer doesn’t it?

  265. LuminiferousEthan says

    I was actually ranting *during* the movie. And not too quietly either.

    I’m sorry, but if you liked the movie or hated it, please SHUT THE FUCK UP IN THE THEATER. I very much doubt you were there by yourself, and other people have paid their money to watch it, not listen to you. There is nothing I hate more then people being fucking douchbags while a movie is playing. I’ve come real close to knocking a good friend of mine for doing exactly this.

  266. says

    Meanwhile, the Engineer was like “Dammit, I was just going to fly to Earth to deliver the cure for cancer and the asshole flying the Earth ship had to ram me out of the sky!”

  267. nomuse says

    They probably meant “mummified” but were either lazy or figured the audience was stupid. Full fossilization would have made it difficult to do the stupid brain jolt thing, and as well made problems for the Magic Carbon Dating machine.

    As an aside — after the Stallone action movie “Cliffhanger” the climbing community kept joking about where they could find a magic bolt gun. This is, if you’ve managed to scrub the movie from your tortured memory, the pistol-grip, powder-actuated tool that puts a three-eights inch steel rod into solid granite deep enough to hold a falling person. A trick which is more often accomplished by a long and sweaty bit of work with portable drill and hammer!

    Anyhow, I expect archeologists to be joking the rest of this year about “Hey, pass me the instant carbon dating probe, will you?”

  268. mutt50 says

    The deep philosophical meaning eludes me. It just sucked. Every bad stereotype (asocial scientists), was used. My teen age grandson describes the ending.. “Jesus lady flies off with robot head to find evil aliens and ask ‘em why they hate us for our freedom, or whatever”.
    At least the mean corporate CEO lady got squished.

  269. LuminiferousEthan says

    There are a few things I have to disagree with on this one

    YES. Yes, it’s the most important thing in the world, what those weirdo aliens think of me

    How do you know that this was her intention? What I got from it was that she knows these ships are full of biological weapons, the alien eggs, she knows that this race, the Engineers, are out to destroy humanity, how do you know that she does not intend to attack them? That was my initial reaction to the ending. And besides, I’m pretty sure we can expect a sequel, which will tell us for sure.

    “Let’s bring him immediately back on the ship and make no attempt to quarantine him.”

    I guess you missed the part where Charlize Therons character would not let him in, and you know, burned him.

    “I just gave birth to a horrible alien squid monster? Maybe I’ll just sweep it under the rug and not mention it to anyone. Gosh, I sure hope no one ever opens the door to the medical bay and lets it loose…”

    I actually thought that a little strange at first that she didn’t even mention it to anyone, until I remembered that two scenes earlier, they burned her husband to death for being infected. She just had one pop out of her stomach. I would try my damnedest to hide it too.

  270. says

    Well, considering how desperately she wanted it out of her, and how she fled from it once it was out of her, I don’t think you can say she was thinking “I must hide this precious creature from the bad people.” Remember, they were the ones who were trying to keep it inside her.

  271. Escuerd says

    Your elitist stance that science-based faith trumps religious faith reveals your need for training in epistemology.

    This statement, and your later defenses of it are just sophistry, and if you are a biochemist, you really should know better.

    Certainly, if you’ve ever published, you’ve written in a good deal of detail about the specific methods you use, and it should be obvious why trusting a system that requires this is more reasonable than trusting a system that doesn’t.

    Perhaps you’re arguing that if someone isn’t a scientist or hasn’t seen how science typically works firsthand, then they’re not justified in trusting that scientists actually do this, but I think that to any thoughtful person it should be obvious why this is wrong. Sure, they’d be justified to a lesser degree, but they still have plenty of evidence (from living in the modern world) that many conclusions derived from scientific research work.

    If you think this sort of trust is on an equally shaky ground with trust in various religious texts and such (simply because, hey, they’re not both firsthand, through our always-reliable senses), then you probably don’t have as good a grasp on epistemology as you seem to think. But then, if you don’t think that, I’m not sure why you brought it up at all.

  272. Escuerd says

    And the film’s plot is completely consistent with the theory of evolution, for which it should be commended.

    Only in a trivial and abstract sense.

    It’s not at all compatible with what’s fairly common knowledge among decently educated people about how humans fit into a very Earth-based phylogeny.

    Incidentally, the movie indicated it was about the origin of humanity, but not Earth-life in general.

  273. Escuerd says

    How did that robot know how to speak the alien language?

    It was supposed to be a reconstructed Proto-Indo-European (as set up earlier). Because, um…the alien would be expected to understand that for some reason.

    PIE is just a wee bit more recent than the dawn of humanity, though I guess it was supposed to be implied that the aliens had made subsequent visits (what with the cave paintings and all).

    Why was the alien ship buried under ground? It must have been a major project to dig up a hole like that.

    Wind, maybe? There were big dust storms, and it’d been there a while. Odd, though, that wind the dust would leave the inexplicable landing strip and a convenient entrance to the ship, though.

    How do they deduce that aliens are making bio-weapons? And that they mean to use them on Earth?

    Yet Shaw is convinced that aliens want humans dead and instructs the captain to ram the Prometheus into the alien ship.

    Well, to be fair, the one alien they had encountered did seem pretty hostile, and was carrying a ship full of horrific living monstrosities. The robot did say he knew how to operate the ship (somehow), so presumably he might have known that the ship had actually been programmed to go to Earth. Not sure how he could have known that in the first place. Did the aliens speak PIE among each other too?

    And on top of it, Shaw says at the end that she is wondering ‘what made the aliens change their mind’ about killing all humans.

    I heard that as changing their mind about humanity as an experiment or whatever we were supposed to be. I.e. why they wanted to kill us after having created us.

    But yeah, can’t find much else to disagree with. Your review actually helped make the movie worth it for me.

  274. StevoR says

    Not sure if someone’s already linked this here – apologies if so, just too many posts and links to go back through now & yes I am a lazy sod I’ll admit it – but check out :

    SPOILERS WARNING (if anybody who’se reda this thread now cares.)

    http://m15m.livejournal.com/23209.html

    Whole entire movie SPOILED on that link repeateed WARNING Seriously.

    Wonderful snarky funny accurate take on it.

  275. StevoR says

    My take FWIW.

    Prometheus : The Engineers pre-filming cut

    Engineer 1 : Okay, so our goals are terraforming a whole planet and spreading our seed, our copies, our children who will evolve to 100% genetic matches at some distant date right?

    Engineer 2 : Well, I can already see one major problem with what you just said but yeah, go ahead.

    E1 : Problem? {waves hand dismissively} Never mind. Okay this is the plan. You take this toxic gloop and go stand and drink it by the waterfall whilst we fly off.

    E2 : Toxic gloop eh? Sounds tasty.

    E1 : Dunno, never drunk it myself. Anyhow, you’re body starts to die and break apart your very DNA being destroyed by the toxic gloop ..

    E2 : So, not a cocktail then?

    E1 : We-eell kind of a cocktail of something if you want to call it that. You could say that you’ll get really blasted by it. A-n-y-h-o-w.

    E2 : Think I’ll pass but carry on ..

    E1 : Right, so you drink this gunk and die and fall into the waterfall as you die and that kind of somehow spreads your seed and our species DNA and creates life on this planet.

    E2 : My DNA and seed? Like, that same stuff that just got, like, totally destroyed by the potion of death stuff you’re giving me?

    (Why yes, the Alien spacejockey engineers do sound like teenage girls why do you ask? Hey, they gotta have ‘emselves some kinda accent with that gap in time right?)

    E1 : Yeah that. Whatever.

    E2 : You did say we’re after 100% genetic matches after aeons of evolution right?

    E1 : Wut? I Forgot. Don’t interrupt. Now after you’re dead and have seeded the planet via falling into a waterfall ..

    E2 : Or just had my mortal remains buried in estuarine sediment or swept out into the ocean depths to be subsumed with oceanic sima plates and, tell me again, how exactly does this stuff seed, like, our DNA everywhere using just one corpse with mutated split apart DNA as a trace contaminant diluted in all the planet’s waters?

    E1 : Quantum mechanical nanotechnology with its neutron polarity flows rotatingly cycle reversed and tachyonic sub-space singularity-holes.

    E2: Gotchya.

    E1 : Where was I? Right. You’re dead, planet’s terraformed, life takes hold and evolves. We’ll need just a bit of patience here, Maybe four and half billion years worth, maybe just a couple of million if we’re lucky.

    E2 : Nice error bars. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    E1: Or take your helmet off in an apparent pocket of breathable air in an otherwise deadly atmosphere, but never mind that.

    So, viola we’ve got our 100% genetically engineered clones. Except maybe not gigantic albinos with nasty tempers. But otherwise identical~ish.

    E2 : I think you might’ve missed a few steps.

    E1 : {Shrugs} Mebbe, still don’t be so fussy, we haven’t got all day y’know.

    E2 : Eh, no rush. I can last two thousand years then some in cyrosleep. You’re sending me there now.

    E1 : Nah, I’m sending you to your death for the greater good at the end of this remember, better get along.

    E2 : (Slaps palm) D’oh! Course, wouldn’t want to be late for that would I?

    E1 : Well you will be Late for it but anyhow.

    ‘K. We’ve got our daughter species, let’s call ‘em I dunno, Newmans or somethin’ like that. We’ll guide them with a whole lot of things so they worship us but leave stuff all trace of ourselves anywhere, just a whole set of ancient cave paintings in which we’ll be shown in black (hah-ha just like photographic reverse images of ourelves man!) pointing and inviting them to the star system where we develop and store our worst bioweapons.*

    E2 : Because bioweapons factories are the first thing you want to show the young ‘uns as they start to grow aren’t they?

    E1 : Exactly.

    E2 : In-ter-esting childhood you must’ve had.

    E1 : Yep, anyhow. We’ve got these newmans to jot the accurate star map paintings down, k’?

    E2 : Make sure you allow for proper motion and stellar evolution won’t you.

    E1 : Yep, then we’ll disappear for almost all of their recorded history -in fact never mind the ‘almost’ make that absolutely all of their written history with one possible unfortunate ever-so cryptic exception at about the 2,000 years ago mark their time, so we’ll be totally mysterious. Very few of them if any, will even believe we existed.

    E2 : Yes. That should get our relationship with the kid species off to a Brin-ian Uplifting start and see our new species, oops new colony of not-quite-as-albino-as-us, getting on together well when we meet up next.

    E1 : Shut up already, you’re distracting me. Meanwhile, we go off and develop some bioweapons just in case we need to nuke ‘em all later or something.

    E2 : We could consider that possibility now, y’know, maybe not do this to start with or do it better? Try another plan, say one that doesn’t involve me dying from poison, I’d like us to consider that actually!

    E1 : Shhh! Concentrating. Yes, some sort of new alien genesis bioweaponry should be the best failsafe, sure nothing there could backfire on us or go wrong ..

    E2 : Natch.

    E1 : Aaand there we are. That’s the plan. Now, you go grab your poisonous Waterfallingapart cocktail, I’ll just go get my funny helmet, y’know the one that makes me look like I’ve got a trunk and have different skull shape altogether for no good reason.

    E2 : Well it does suit you. Where’s my trunk-helmet btw? Oh & want to swap jobs here for the Lolz?

    E1 : Nah, I’m good.

    E2 : And my helmet?

    E1 : Fuggeddaboutit! The air out there is entirely breathable and you can stand outside quite comfortably when you go kill yourself with drink.

    E2 : *Facepalm* So I’m doing this because?

    E1 : Ridley Scott said so, that’s why! Enjoy.

    E2 : Oh, go get eaten by a mutant-squid-baby thing. I’m outta here!

    E 1 : Indeed you are, don’t forget your refreshing beverage, I’ll toast your health!

    E2 : (Grumbling as he leaves the airlock.) Ah heck, I’d rather face a xenomorph but, well, she’s the boss!

    ++++++++

    * Now, okay, I’ll grant that maybe the LV-223 world wasn’t a bioweapons factory at the time and perhaps didn’t become one till much later. But I’m keeping the line. I like it is why.

  276. StevoR says

    BTW. That star pattern as seen in the screenshot in the link I gave in # 69 looks quite similar to a pattern of bright stars in Canis Major – for compasrison see :

    http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/cma-t.html

    Top to bottom – Upper left – Mirzam (Beta Canis Majoris)

    Next down diagonal to left – Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris) – Brightest star in our skies aside from our daytime star the Sun plus wanderng stars aka planets

    Middle star point of the triangle – Wezen (Delta CMa).

    Middle Star in line with Wezen on the head side of the figure’s arm in line with Mirzam – Adhara (Epsilon CMa)

    Lowermost star below arm of figure (Eta CMa)

    Hmm … Not an exact match but as a general mud map type symbolising of it not too far off.

    All these stars are blue giants except Wezen a yellow supergiantand Sirius an A-type main-sequence star which ha s awhite dwraf companion. None are suitable for hostinglife -tooshortlived and hot.

  277. StevoR says

    Ack! Typos. Sorry. Take II :

    All these stars are blue giants except Wezen a yellow-white (Type F) supergiant and Sirius an A-type main-sequence star which has a white dwarf companion. None are likely suitable for hosting life or even habitable planets – too short lived and hot.

    But they do make a prominent pattern in the sky that can easily be seen most of the world and easy to imagine them being painted in caves and used by early peoples for telling seasons, Nile river flooding, etc …

  278. Jay says

    I cringed the moment I heard Shaw say “its what I chose to believe”. I know from that scene that I was going to have serious problems with this film. Can you imagine a scientist presenting a thesis to a room full of other scientists and actually uttering some nonsense like that? Those other guys laughed at her and rightly so, but they are portrayed as bad here for responding rationally.

    Its not just that the film panders to the religious, but it doesn’t it in the most elementary of ways. One of my favorite shows, House, is definitely more atheist leaning, but they deal with these religious/faith debates in a far more intelligent way than this. The only thing Shaw should have believed from those murals with the maps is that perhaps humans had been visited by giant beings in the past, her idea that they had created us was based on nothing, but a whim. Weyland likewise believes the aliens can help him live longer also on a whim. The characterization and pacing in this film, especially in the second half is really off. Its like there are a lot of scenes missing. And in the end the motivations of these giant men aren’t explained and the movie raises more questions than it answers.

  279. Jay says

    Charlize Theorn’s character was more of a corporate type. She was an executive of the Weyland Corporation sent to oversee the mission. Idris Elba was the ship’s captain not her. I think Theron’s whole persona was based on the jealousy she felt towards her father’s favoritism of David. David is an android, so she acts cold and calculating, perhaps subconsciously trying to please her father. I don’t think it came out of nowhere, it was apart of her character, we just begin to understand that at the end.

  280. Ross says

    Escuerd: you’re right. I was being unreasonably hyperbolic with the statement you quoted. The point I was hoping to make was that faith in science or religion are not qualitatively different (in this sense neither trumps the other). But if one were to reasonably choose one to trust, of course I’ll advocate science without hesitation. A lot of my irritation here is at the people who are NOT trained in science and think they’re on some higher plane once they decide to trust in science. It’s most bothersome because it tends to be a philosophical dead-end for a lot of these people. Religion is frustrating in the same way.

  281. Gralgrathor says

    faith in science or religion are not qualitatively different

    You’re right, they’re not. The difference between religion and science is that science does not *require* faith, while religion does.

  282. says

    “Try not to fuck all night” is exactly the sort of thing which a person in a leadership position should not say. If you absolutely must have a joke like that in your script, put it in the mouth of a character established to be an asshole. Or, better yet: why would anyone with serious jerkitude problems be allowed on a mission where they’ll be trapped in close quarters for extended durations? Clearly, the thing to do is establish them as a nice, reasonable person at the beginning of the movie, and the change in their personality is due to being infected with alien brain parasites.

    (In a “Who Goes There?”-style story, you could have the characters all growing paranoid about one another, wondering which one is infected, looking for personality changes which might or might not be signs of an alien in their midst…)

  283. Ross says

    NPR with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on panspermia with regard to Prometheus:
    http://tinyurl.com/6uaxc7d

    And I agree that *his* interpretation doesn’t sit well with the reasonable mechanisms of panspermia since the Engineers’ DNA (revealed to be human DNA) would not be a reasonable seeding point for all life, since it would skew things towards Homo sapiens and we’re no more the center of the evolutionary universe than we are of the astronomical universe. However, a decomposition of the DNA is clearly shown (which hilariously depicts fine-detail rotting at the atomic scale!), which may have represented a dispersion of our building blocks of life, which brings us very close to the abiogenesis model.

    More thoughts – sorry if this is too long: a curious thing is that the Engineer’s DNA was shown with a chirality (handedness, or direction of twist) that’s inverted compared to ours. Ours is right-handed, which means it has the same threading as a traditional screw that you twist clockwise to go “in”. I’m pretty sure the Engineer’s DNA was backwards and left-handed. The prospect of life that’s a mirror image on the molecular level is sort of a fun sci-fi one: you’d be absolutely indistinguishable on the surface (and maybe even in a DNA comparison that grants a “100% match) but you would not be able to utilize the nutrients in food and you wouldn’t be able to reproduce with someone of the opposite handedness/chirality. So if these guys were identical to us but flipped on the atomic level… that’s sort of a neat idea. The black goo could act as a molecular Rosetta Stone that does whatever. Now I don’t know if this is all a slight goof-up that I’m over-interpreting, but , I think their backwards (left-handed) DNA had righted itself to match our DNA after the digestion and upon reassembly. I need to see that scene again. That would be great but there’s absolutely no reason to expect that level of thought to be put into something that even scientists mindlessly flip (in images) all the time.

    A visual aid for the curious:
    http://tinyurl.com/6scdr3l

  284. Tempel says

    I find it quite pathetic that the majority of people who claim to be pro-science, skeptical, anti-religion, atheist, etc.:

    A. don’t really seem to understand science

    B. have little to no imagination beyond their capacity for sarcasm

    C. are apparently just frustrated individuals looking for an infallible cause to stand behind and justify their aggressive behaviour

    These people would do well to remember that without belief, you there is no logic, i.e. the basis of reason (belief=>premise for logical operations), nor can there be experiments, i.e. the basis of science (belief=>untested hypothesis). Stop giving science a bad name with your ignorant moaning and groaning about belief and be grateful that there is still plenty of room for improvement in science and education through sharing and cooperation. Go use your massive intelligence for something more constructive, like solving the hard problem of consciousness, understanding UFOs, or improving on Darwinism. ;)

  285. jamessweet says

    Addendum: Well, it only took four comments for someone to invoke Moff’s Law. But if you think I’m being too anally nitpicky about the bad science and bad writing in the movie, my analysis is nothing. Check out this archaeological take on it all, with truly epic snark levels.

    I have not seen the movie, but the consensus seems to be that it’s a good flick — if you have a near infinite capacity to suspend disbelief.

    It seems John Griffith is being really disingenuous in pretending like people are calling out this movie just for being a little fanciful. I mean, I think pretty much all of us are willing to accept FTL travel as a sci-fi trope, even if we don’t believe it is possible (and in fact would result in a seriously screwed up universe). We even accept the convention of there being a universal Newtonian simultaneity across light years, even though anyone who understands General Relativity knows that is utter rubbish.

    But from everything I’ve read, Prometheus isn’t just bending the rules a bit to make a good story, it seems that it is utterly preposterous from pretty much every scientific angle. There is a difference between fake-but-feels-real vs. fake-and-feels-like-it. When we see the Enterprise race across light years at Warp 6 to rescue a vessel under Romulan attack, while we might know from GR that the whole idea is hogwash — but our intuitive notions of time and space have no troubles accepting it, and we don’t find it deeply dissatisfying. When Jeff Goldblum creates a virus on iOS to infect an aliens computers, we’re starting to have trouble… By invoking the idea of a computer virus, we’re asked to think about what a computer virus is, and the fact that such a thing could never possibly work is sort of staring us in the face.

    From everything I’ve read, Prometheus takes this to a whole other level. A rule of thumb might be… if you have to think about it to realize that the science is bad, then don’t think; just enjoy. But if even following the plot of the movie is shoving the badness of the science into your face, then maybe it’s the movie’s fault after all.

  286. toddsweeney says

    I think it is the attitude that is bugging people. Not just getting science wrong. Not just making pretensions about having good science then proceeding to get it wrong (like Star Trek the Next Generation). But having an attitude that science isn’t real; that it is a game played by certain poseurs, and real truth is found by people who use blind belief instead. It takes the common attitude of far too many movies (“science is about lists of random facts which don’t really matter”) and carries it even further into Creationist territory (“science is a bunch of lies scientists repeat so they can get tenure”).

    On the defense of Jeff Goldblum and his Powerbook, he did have the alien OS and hardware to study, and they’d already worked out the internal logic and communications protocols. I’d still hate to try to write software for a system having only encountered a sort of smart terminal for it! But when you get down to the metal, it is just bits (assuming they use bits.) No matter how funky the serial protocol, given a fast enough machine you can bit-bang it.

    That said, I’d never try to leverage the stupid high-level ports on a Mac to do bit-banging, nor try to stuff whatever funky voltage conversion or even the hardware connectors inside that cramped case. Show Jeff plugging into a obviously hand-made black box with a couple blinkenlights and a chunk of alien cable soldered to it, and I’d have a LOT less trouble with that scene.

    The rest of that movie is too stupid to defend. Although it is fun to think about the Endor Holocaust that visits all the major cities of Earth a few minutes after the end of the film…

  287. PJLandis says

    I disliked this movie, completely aside from the light-years comment, and I’ve also run into a lot of flack after being asked my opinion. Part of it is just bad writing (the biologist and the geologist getting lost and eaten), but the worst part are the good ideas that don’t go anywhere (e.g., David, a life-form we created while searching for our creators).

    As for the complaining this review, I think some people just don’t like movie criticism that isn’t a thumbs-up or down; this either accept a movie as it is, or don’t, attitude is pretty stifling to anyone who enjoys discussing movies beyond quoting them or advising others whether to see or not to see.

    Anyway, to get sense of the bad ideas that didn’t get onto the screen see this interview with Ridley Scott: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/ridley-scott-prometheus-interview/8232?wssac=164&wssaffid=news

    Worst idea: Jesus was a White Aliens (Engineer) who we crucified and the Engineers were on their way to kill all human life as revenge.

  288. says

    Dear Martin Wagner,

    Yesterday my friend and I went to see the movie looking foward to it. As you said everything looked good and the AI character was spot on. This past year i’ve been listening to alot of Neil De Grasse tyson, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins. So when the insecure directionless character say” thats what i choose to believe” to a robot. The fact that the robot was rational with the questions leading up to that hilariously narrow minded statement made the robot the metaphorical scientist.
    So i’m sitting there enjoying the visuals from Ridley Scott when a patch of dialogue practically ruins the movie in my eye’s. It also doesn’t help when character development is lacking…

  289. The Dude says

    Well I have this much to conclude; I for the most part agree with the review posted and John Griffith is self-important pseudo-intellectual who spends his time trolling, and trying to start pointless arguments in order to show how he can talk about semantics rather than face the fact he has no life. John, a lonely and egocentric individual with a need to tell others they are not entitled to an opinion that differs with his.

    John, the point is not whether this movie was attempting to ask questions, or whether it was trying to be science-fiction or science-fantasy. The point is did it satisfy the reviewer and it didn’t and the reviewer stated clear and logical reasons why it didn’t appeal to him. You didn’t like that for whatever reason and thought “Well… I’m just gonna have to lash out and start something as if I am offended and then act like a snide and self important ass.”

    At this point you would like to respond “You don’t know what I was thinking.” or perhaps correct my grammar or maybe go look up the literal definition of some word I have used to describe you so you can refute my opinions of you in order to make yourself feel justified in being an uncharismatic bore.

    The fact of the matter is that you have went out of your way not just only to state your opinion about a movie that is according to you “fantastical made up bullshit – designed to entertain” and are not particularly passionate about, but you also are upset when others are passionate about what you don’t give a rat’s ass about. It seems that you are so upset that you have repeatedly tried to start an argument with those who feel that this movie failed their expectations. And when they make a good point you try and change the subject by arguing about the definitions of words.

    And yeah I am attacking you personally since this is obviously what you want. If I had simply disagreed with you; you would take it personally anyways so why not just go for it.

    John please go to Hell!!

  290. nomuse says

    Ah, yes, because I always learn about how to do good science by asking my local Creotard.

    The “Science is to a religion, because you just believe it works” shtick has gotten old.

    And, by the by, if you actually READ the comments made on this movie, you will discover imagination, creativity, humor, and delight. Light-years (at least 35 of them) from your characterization.

  291. The Dude says

    Well, first of all I do understand general relativity and in Star Trek they use warp drive in order to get around that by warping space so the ship is pushed along by a warp bubble. This is entirely scientifically plausible without breaking any laws of General Relativity. So, I think while you understand GR you misunderstand how they use theoretical technology that in a fictitious setting which btw is what make Star Trek true Science-Fiction. If you don’t think I’m correct you can buy books written by physicists about how most of the technology in Star Trek is based on actually scientific theories proposed by legitimate scientists.

    Also, I would recommend that you watch Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible hosted by Michio Kaku.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci_Fi_Science:_Physics_of_the_Impossible

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michio_Kaku

  292. Gralgrathor says

    Sure, the Alcubierre drive is a possibility. What is unlikely however is that an away party would trust the gravity and atmosphere aboard a fatally struck ship, or that space weaponry would have trouble getting through a forcefield but then be stopped by a mere hull, or that photon torpedos, supposedly based on M/AM reactions would cause such measly damage to ships, or that space warfare would ever have to depend on human reaction times (and such s-l-o-w humans at that). Star Trek is fun. Not for its physics: for its dated outlook on the future and life and moral issues.

  293. The Dude says

    Well 1st of all not science fiction or fantasy is perfect you can pick holes in anything if you try hard enough even the great author’s Bradbury, Asimov, ect. But the point is it attempts to be real based on real physics. However, most of the points you made are about how their military is organized which has nothing to do with physics.

    And as far as say photon torpedoes how come they don’t have homing capability like missiles did when the show was first aired… you could go on and on. That’s not the point the point is the technology is based on real science and not just some made up bs. The best science fiction take a scientific premise and asks the question what if? But, I don’t think you should sit there and tell anyone what they should be getting out of any show they like you have you reasons for liking Star Trek and I have mine and I don’t think your reasons for finding it fun are going to be the same as everyone else.

  294. Jay says

    I’m a fan of the alien trilogy and I am a fan of TAA.
    The reason for David secretly giving Shaw’s boyfriend the drink full of that black substance was because he was being controlled and David even asked him what he would do for knowledge and he said he would do anything. As for the religious pandering….that got on my nerves and pissed me off too. At the same time you’re wrong. In this universe the engineers aka space jockeys HELPED us along, evolution DID in fact happen but their DNA helped. No where is it implied that evolution did not happen. It’s basically anspermia. Also want to note that according to Scott the director and co-writer……jesus christ was a engineer and THAT is why the space jockey’s hate us and wanted to kill us. As for the horseshoe ship…..watch Honey I shrunk the kids. As for the science. I think you can make the excuse that this is more then a hundred years in the future. I do agree it sucks that Hollywood has to pander to the religious but the fact is that jesus was an alien and now his race wants to annihilate us. Also keep in mind the fact that this is only part 1 of 3 supposed prequels, who knows if Shaw will be a christian for long. Maybe in part 2 or 3 she will find out that Jesus was a space jockey and give up her faith who knows. I kind of doubt it though since it’s Hollywood and they don’t want to offend people.

  295. Lee D. says

    For anybody trying to defend this movie, SHAME on you! It was TERRIBLE in every possible way! I completely agree with Martin about this one… suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with enjoying this movie or not… it’s just plain bad.

    The part of Vickers (dumb blonde smooshed by a giant rolling space ship) was obviously written into the script just to give Charlize Theron a part and for no other reason. Her entire role in the movie was pointless…

    The complete and utter lack of reguard for physics is astonishing… and I’m not talking about nit picky bullshit either. Example — giant space ship crashing into the ground from about a mile in the air… no, it won’t roll, it’ll crush. I don’t care what kind of materials are in use or what kind of ‘integrity fields’ are employed, something that big hitting the surface that hard isn’t going to stay in one piece like that.

    The list goes on… besides the ridiculous dialog, the absurd behavior that everybody exhibits is simply unbelievable. No biologist who encounters a snake-like creature that clearly looks dangerous is going to reach out his hand to it like that. No. Sorry. Not buying it. That was stupid to no end, even for an idiot.

    There was no actual character development. None. Nothing. Just shallow, hollow characters that regurgitated their lines into the camera. Granted I don’t always care about character development in movies but this was just unforgivable.

    I went into the movie wholly expecting to be entertained by a probably ridiculous science fiction movie. Instead, I got a boring, recycled movie that did nothing new, nothing interesting and nothing profound.

    I think the worst part about this is that there’s going to be a second movie and it’ll probably be written by the same moron who wrote this movie.

    Anyway, done rambling — Martin, you’re spot on. This wasn’t a good movie by any angle.

  296. Gralgrathor says

    evolution DID in fact happen

    Not according to the movie. The movie says human DNA and Engineer DNA is an exact match. No evolution, in other words. At least, not for humans.

    jesus christ was a engineer

    You’d think someone would have mentioned JC being an eight foot albino.

    I think you can make the excuse that this is more then a hundred years in the future

    What, a hundred years into the future everybody has forgotten basic physics? Not to mention common sense? Good to know. I had planned on thawing to check out the scene, but now I’ll think I’ll just sleep through that era.

  297. Gralgrathor says

    who knows if Shaw will be a christian for long

    I’d be surprised if anyone cared after seeing this movie. At all. Who’d want another sitting of entirely forgettable characters doing stupid things for no good reason?

  298. DanTheMilkMan says

    I finally saw it yesterday, and I enjoyed it. If you didn’t like it for whatever reason, fair enough, but it was a fun night out at the movies for me. Even the religious themes didn’t bother me, that’s where religion belongs, in fiction. It was certainly better than Alien 3 and the AvP movies.

  299. Jay says

    To Gralgrathor. All it says is that human evolution was helped by aliens. As I said anspermia.

    “You’d think someone would have mentioned JC being an eight foot albino.” This should be obvious but in the world of Prometheus it could be the same as our reality where it was naturally built into what it is now than what it originally was, or the alien could of been wearing a disguise, who knows?! But Scott did say quote

    “If you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, ‘Lets’ send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it. Guess what? They crucified him,”

    As a result the space jockeys act exactly like Yahweh in which they damn the entire human race and want to exterminate us.

    So your “no one mentioned he was a 6.2 albino.” Can easily be dismissed by the fact that in the REAL world we have known forgeries and other myths put into the jesus myth. Who knows what really happened and how much was in the original story. Even the resurrection is a question as Richard Carrier has pointed out. So clearly that is what happened in Prometheus.

    As for the physics. I agree. I was only replying about the distance. I’ve read about some distance speed of light inaccuracy.

    As for characters. I remember pretty much every character. Maybe not all their names. But I do remember they’re scenes, they’re character as a whole, etc.

    I will admit this though. The mere fact that it’s tied into aliens HELPS the film. If this wasnt tied into the alien universe I wouldnt of liked it that much. I consider it a decent movie.

  300. Gralgrathor says

    I was only replying about the distance

    Perhaps you should consider the rest of the review as well. And some of the comments.

    It’s not about the distance remark, or about the gravity shift at arrival, or about the alien spaceship rolling instead of pulverising or about somebody running around with their tummy stitched up or about any other specific physics or biology detail of the movie. They’re all props, no worse than any Star Trek prop.

    But Star Trek, while complete bullshit from a scientific viewpoint, was, at times, enjoyable. Why? Because at least from a human point of view, the plots and actions were plausible. People did things for reasons that, within the setting of the world of Star Trek, were understandable and believable.

    Here we have a movie that begins by setting up a premise that is in itself entirely unbelievable: that a multi-trillion dollar mission would be set up based on the word of two utterly naive (or so it appears from the movie) archaeologists. That that mission would then be crewed with a collection of misfits, and that so little preparation would be made for this mission that these people didn’t see one another before they embarked. That these misfits would then turn out to be so utterly inept and incompetent that they’d remove their helmets in a possibly hostile atmosphere, try to pet a completely unknown lifeform that is acting agressively in a hostile environment, or get lost while having fingertip access to a complete holographic mapping of the structure they are in, and… well, like I said, read the review, read some of the comments.

    To recapitulate: it’s not the physics or the biology details that make the movie so bad: it’s the premise, the characters and their actions. Like I said before: in order to enjoy a movie, you have to be able to be part of the world it depicts; you have to be able to empathize with the characters, to believe their actions. And you might even disagree with those actions. You might think at times “you shouldn’t have done this; you should have done that”. But the movie doesn’t even offer this: the characters are so thoroughly shallow and incoherent that you cannot even imagine alternative courses of action without in effect rewriting the whole movie and its characters. For me, this made the movie thoroughly unenjoyable.

    Perhaps they will try again in a sequel. If so, I hope they use a different writer, and simply forget trying to build on the very thin basis the first prequel set up.

  301. Gralgrathor says

    But Scott did say

    Well, I don’t care what Scott said. I am judging the movie by its own merits, by what I saw at the cinema.

    Even so, Scott’s words sound like a particularly poor defense, don’t you think? That such words should even be deemed necessary – a director offering some childish story in explanation of such basic elements of the movie plot? The interview with Scott tells me that a lot of people, including perhaps the interviewer, think like I do. And Scott himself doesn’t really manage to change anything about that, in offering his poor excuses for the lack of scriptwriting craftsmanship.

  302. Aaron says

    Oh for f***’s sake. This isn’t a case of bad science. It’s not an error on the part of the writers. It’s a non-scientist character making a goof, which you know, humans tend to do. The movie clearly shows in big letters on the screen how many miles from Earth they are. Not every word out of someone’s mouth in a movie should be scientifically accurate.

  303. Ron says

    As for the accusations that the team of scientist was the stupid bunch, this may have been done on purpose by Peter Weyland or whomever was in charge of selecting the team. In either case it would have been at the direction of Weyland. The reason I say this is if you go to the “fake”/ promo website for the movie “Weylandindustries.com” there you can take an aptitude test of sorts in order to be considered for the fictional mission of the Prometheus Project. I took it a few times and when I scored high it told me that I was not basically “fit for this mission” however when I purposely chose wrong answers and got a low score I got a more accepting message at the end of the test. One that indicated if it were a real mission that, “staff at Weyland Industries would shortly be in contact with you.” So I see that as an indication that people whom would make bad decisions in the various fields were purposely chosen except of course the characters of Shaw and Holloway since they were the ones who discovered the cave drawings.

  304. says

    Another weird part of that whole medical bay was that it was apparently the personal property of CT’s character, yet it was not configured for females (had to select foreign body removal instead of terminating the pregnancy). I still don’t understand why David infected the ‘father’ in the first place.

  305. irden says

    Why is the old guy a young guy in makeup?
    - to make the audience expect a rejuvenation scene
    - because a rejuvenation scene was originally planned but left out
    - because that makes the character look unnatural, like he tried to draw his lifespan out by all means
    - because it makes the viewer sympathize with the character, he looks like a young man who has aged too quickly and still wants to live

    Why are all the scientists bumbling idiots?
    Because the whole thing isn’t a science mission started by any scientific body. It’s more the equivalent of a crazy rich person deciding to fund an expedition of “ancient aliens” believers. Space travel is relatively common in the movie’s world, so it’s believable that Weyland would be able to organize such a mission on his own.
    The evidence for the alien creators is very weak, which is why no serious mission is sent. Weyland decides to go for it because it’s his last stab at eternal life.
    The crew does not seem to be highly professional, in fact, it seems they’re only informed about what they’re actually expected to do once they’re almost at the end of their journey.

    Why is the Prometheus huge and full of luxury items?
    Weyland expects that they’ll be able to enjoy a leisurely cruise home, having been made immortal by the Engineers.

    Why is the robot the most sympathetic character?
    Because he’s supposed to be. He’s the character who knows exactly who created him and why. He’s not invested in the Engineers question and only cares about it at all because his owner instructed him to. Therefore, he’s an interesting foil to all the human characters scrambling for an explanation of their origins.

    I believe the movie is supposed to show fallible humans who actually don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re looking for answers, but they don’t get any. I don’t think the movie makes any claim about the science vs. religion question. Shaw keeps pointing out her beliefs, but she’s an idiot. In fact, in the very last scene the robot (the most sympathetic character!) mocks her unshakeable beliefs.

    Now I personally found the movie unsatisfying. It opens up a lot of questions and answers none of them. The plot is sometimes confusing, with some threads being dropped and other events coming out of nowhere. But to nitpick about things like “the characters are dumb” and “the science is bad” like it’s inconceivable that a movie might have bad scientist as its characters just seems to miss the point.

  306. gralgrathor says

    It’s not an error on the part of the writers

    But it is. The plot – what there is of it – was an error on the part of the writers. The characters – again, insofar as the word is applicable here – were errors on the part of the writers. The bad science is the *least* of the problems with this movie.

  307. gralgrathor says

    To me, this indicates that the writers are desperate to pursue this silliness. It’s certainly not indicative of a good plot or a plausible story.

  308. Paul says

    First of all we were robbed by this movie.
    The Alien is not an Alien anymore if it comes from the same genetic stock as us.
    And we have still never addressed the poor science of the first movie, namely how did the chest burster get from being a small lizard sized thing to being eight feet tall without eating anyone?
    So its been bad science right from the beginning. But the original had an interesting political element that just got thrown out the window in favor of quasi alien god garbage.

  309. Ray says

    Nail on the head! Great article. I was glad though when the engineer put the lab rats in their place :-). I don’t get who in hollywood thinks they are going to win overmall these anti science people and get them liking sci fi. Why not keep the sci fi fans happy? Its not like we’re not loyal. Look at how many stand by Star Trek even though Jonathan Frakes tried to kill it or the abortions that were the new star wars movies. Even Falling Skies has a christian theme and a annoying disney family theme too. Once again, good article. True sci fi fans (not fantasy! Its not the same!) will have to keep sorting through the stupidity and keep reading our books. :-)

  310. says

    Alastair Reynolds, David Brin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Asher and Peter F. Hamilton all have new books either out or on the horizon. With that going on, SF fans don’t need Hollywood.

  311. toddsweeney says

    The written form is a different form. Probably better for a lot of the reasons to do science fiction. But sometimes it is nice to have some eye candy.

    Oddly enough, that was mostly my response to the FIRST movie. I mean; I don’t care much for horror, the cast was lots of fun (yay Harry Dean Stanton!) but a lot of what I got out of the first viewing was a series of, “THAT’S what those spaceship landings I’ve been reading about look like. THAT is what it is to walk into a really alien structure.”

    Because at the time, you didn’t have a whole lot of near-future stuff out. A lot of anti-gravity techno-babble white-and-shiny stuff, but previous few B-29′s In Space with consoles covered in toggle switches, blasting at the ground with liquid-fuel rockets.

    Of course that became the dominant look, and fewer and fewer hyperclean hyperscience hyperships were in the movies of the following decades.

  312. says

    I enjoyed your review and agree for the most part. One thing you left out – how about the chick who aborts the squid that’s simply GIGANTIC, and then gets stapled back together, and then does the New York Marathon, and an Olympic Decathlon as if nothing happened. Do you really think this fine young lady would not have shit herself, seeing a damn squid come out of her body? And why? Why a squid? All in all, I thought this was a movie made, not to answer questions, not to change any minds, not to explore the roots of humanity. It was made to make money. And it did. You and I should make a bunch of scenes that coerce into…nothing, and make a hundred million for the effort. I have ideas for scenes. You must as well. One overarching idea for all to come together? Hey, that’s not required, so fergetaboutit.
    Good write up, thank you.

  313. Alberto Montoya says

    I think you’re missing the point. The movie, bad as it is with all those mistakes and somewhat poor editing, is not a pro-religious movie. At least for me. I am a proud atheist and I find that the woman at the end is shown just as ignorant, because despite the huge evidence she still believes. But notice that this is not shown in a way of hope or goodness.

    She during the entire movie refuses to stop believing the impossible and the idiotic. But that’s not the reason why she saves herself in the end, she is able to make it because it desire to survival, not because she was praying or something like that.

    I am positive that this movie goes FAR beyond what you exposed in your article.

  314. elmo says

    The one thing I cannot get my head around is that in the opening sequence when the alien killed himself and “seeded” life on earth, you can see green vegetation on the aerial shots. So, did life happened twice? If so, according to genetics, why are we related to plants?

    Needless to say, this movie is stupid and doesn’t make sense.

  315. billy says

    The conclusion to this post received a hearty laugh from me, thank you. To each their own I suppose, where some people see crap, others….don’t. I for one found the plot terrible and the science even worse. On two separate occasions I failed to make it through this movie in its entirety. I still haven’t seen the sterile girlfriend give herself a C-section.

  316. billy says

    I’ve enjoyed the original Star Wars trilogy many times. That being said, everytime I see Harison Ford use the word ‘parsec’ as a measurement of time, I cringe.

    I agree, there is definately a difference between science fantasy and science fiction.

  317. ahundredbabyspiders says

    it IS a great film; it just doesn’t suit the agendas of the people on this site. i say that as an atheist.
    and forget alien; this is something else.

    no other science FICTION [please note] has ever been subjected to so much excoriation for not being factual. i don’t remember one single remark anywhere about the bit in that stupid mars thing with tim robbins about the jellybeans or whatever they were continuing to ascend in a spiral to show how wunnerful zero G was. what bollox! this goes deeper. it’s managed to get everybody’s goat precisely because of the depth of the themes explored and NOT because they are not explored plausibly.

  318. ahundredbabyspiders says

    Actually Martin a lot of people would beg to differ with you on a few points. Firstly the ‘art’, though how that’s relevant to this blog is another question as you clearly position yourself away from the realms of the subjective. Simply put, ‘art’ is in the eye of the beholder. The artist might equally say the beholder ‘fails’ to be receptive. If you doubt that there are varying degrees of receptivity try an experiment; listen to a piece of music you like at lunchtime. Listen to the same piece as you pass through a hypnagogic state on your way to sleep. For some reason you haven’t been very receptive to Prometheus, and that has impaired your reasoning and rendered you excessively subjective in your viewpoint.
    Your ‘high standard of excellence’ once again positions you as – how to put it- a pre-modernist consumer whose appreciation of art accords with the degree to which it attains certain ‘standards’. For someone who decries the philosophy in Prometheus you appear to have missed a fair few years of cultural theory, another branch of that exalted discipline. At least you couldn’t be accused of relativism. Especially where it’s appropriate.
    Secondly, you presume to state the auteur’s intentions. That’s overstepping things, particularly the bounds of your knowledge.

    ‘Philosophically stimulating and thought provoking’; imagine! I found it to be both. Perhaps you’d like to ask to view my credentials, IF I don’t agree with you or Gralgrathor. Gralgrathor, fyi here’s a punter who’s
    1. pretty much uninterested in the Alien series
    2. Actually does have knowledge of [matters relating to] science and/or philosophy *AND* continuing interest in acquiring [such knowledge] it
    3. Has a passing familiarity with critical thought processes.
    4. Doesn’t feel much need to then set aside all or indeed any of the above
    5. Disagrees with your claim that it is a low-grade B-movie in any respect. It’s not perfect, but it IS moving, wondrous and thought-provoking to some non-embecile/philistines.

    Frankly, I don’t understand how you think you can get away with that kind of tone. I doubt your own accomplishments would measure up to your own standards *IF* you’re genuinely this “exacting”. I do agree with you on one point though; the director never saw coming how very defensive people could become when their core belief systems are challenged [whether fundamentalist or militantly atheistic], and how badly they’d behave in their attempts to externalise that. Both of you are a case in point.

    As for John Griffith, it’s more than a monster movie and you know it. You come across as cowardly here.

  319. says

    If you’re talking about Mission to Mars, I will concede that that is not only a far worse film than Prometheus, but one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I saw it in 2000 at a preview screening and the whole audience booed.

    As a lifelong reader of science fiction, I take exception to your apparent attempt to dismiss the bad writing in Prometheus on the grounds that it is science fiction, and thus no rules presumably apply. On the contrary, good science fiction writing follows the same rules of good storytelling that apply to all other genres of fiction. And that involves not only not being rife with technical inaccuracies, but offering well-developed characters and a cogent narrative whose themes are a muddled swirling blob of incoherence. Perhaps Ridley Scott should have employed some of the better writers of actual science fiction out there — Kim Stanley Robinson, Gregory Benford, Connie Willis, and on and on — to develop his script, and not a woo-minded TV hack like Damon Lindelof.

    Just my humble opinion. Thanks for sharing yours, of course.

  320. ahundredbabyspiders says

    the dog doesn’t give a crap. god knows why he loves those idiot humans who deify his literal antithesis

  321. ahundredbabyspiders says

    When you say “period”, is that supposed to silence all possible further retort?
    Could you recount some of the many ways to leave unanswered or unresolved questions in a story, and outline exactly how to distinguish those valid means from the invalid means used in Prometheus, apart from the critical signal of your dislike of them?
    Please define “good” without resorting to petitio principii.

  322. says

    Do you often lose it to this degree every time someone tells you they didn’t like a movie you liked? Why do you think I’d be especially bothered by the fact you disagree with me (in the same way you’re clearly bothered by that fact I disagree with you, that is)?

    For some reason you haven’t been very receptive to Prometheus, and that has impaired your reasoning and rendered you excessively subjective in your viewpoint.

    WTF? Well duh. Yes, I wasn’t “very receptive” to Prometheus, because I found it poorly written tosh. Not the first movie I’ve felt that way about, and hardly something to make a federal case about.

    …a pre-modernist consumer whose appreciation of art accords with the degree to which it attains certain ‘standards’.

    Uh, yeah — art has to be good for me to appreciate it. Why is that an unreasonable standard? And apparently I have to have “years of cultural theory” before I’m allowed to dislike any movies? Good grief. Don’t be such a pretentious tosser.

  323. ahundredbabyspiders says

    and some would no doubt take exception to your apparent attempt to dismiss the themes presented in the film [left, unsatisyingly for you, unresolved] as mere bad writing. note that the quality of the writing is not of interest to me here and now. i’m saying that there is a lot more to people’s vehement reactions to this film than ‘plot holes’ or ‘crap writing’. it’s got under your/their skin and has pricked you into a frenzy.

    that’s one concept of good art incidentally.

  324. ahundredbabyspiders says

    “Federal case” :D Coming in here I see something over 300 posts about this film. I don’t think you can fairly single one person out as overreacting. Be honest. As for ‘pretentious tosser’, I can live with that coming from you.

  325. gralgrathor says

    ‘art’ is in the eye of the beholder

    I would surmise that consistency in the storyline, not just internally, but externally, is actually more or less quantifiable. As well as character-development.

    But you’re right about one thing. The main reason I didn’t like the movie wasn’t the inconsistency, the lack of common sense, the poor plot or poor characters. The main reason was actually one of personal taste.

    Remember the Gigerian impressions of the first Alien movie. The feeling of remoteness, alone on a grubby spaceship lightyears from anywhere. That movie actually gave you a feel of the immense distances involved in interstellar travel, even if it didn’t go into the specifics. And the scope of that movie was relatively small. Now compare that to the shiny little toy raceboat seen in the first scenes of Prometheus. Given that the writers of Prometheus sought to expand enormously the scale and scope of the original story, I’d simply expected to be more impressed. What we got in stead was the introduction of an entire new, age spanning, star spanning civilisation without any of the emotional impact something like that by all means should have generated. It felt like something potentially awesome reduced to trivialities.

    But yeah, the inconsistencies didn’t help any either. Really, a galactic civilisation resorting to suicide potions to seed a military testbed? Come now.

  326. gralgrathor says

    when their core belief systems are challenged

    I have to ask though: in what way did this movie challenge any core belief systems?

  327. says

    Please stop projecting, it’s unbecoming. The only person in this conversation in a “frenzy” over encountering an opinion that differs from his own isn’t me.

    People arguing over something’s merits is sometimes an indicator of good art. It is just as often an indicator of bad art. Anyway, I bear no responsibility for any opinions expressed here other than my own. If you think other people here are reacting to the movie in a “vehement” way out of all proportions to the movie’s actual artistry, then you’ll have to take it up with each of them.

  328. gralgrathor says

    it just doesn’t suit the agendas of the people on this site

    And what’s this about agendas? Ah, you mean because of us all being atheists, and this film poking fun at the scientific method, right?

  329. lisa visitor says

    Hi There! i don’t really belong here because I’m not an atheist, but i happened across this searching for something else. Prometheus was gorgeous but the script definitely needed another pass or two. (Lawrence of Arabia android was the best part) One thing us Christians and Atheists can agree on is that ALIEN is one of the best movies EVER!

  330. gralgrathor says

    i don’t really belong here

    Everybody belongs here. This is where people end up when they’ve stopped living.

  331. Tim H says

    Hi, I am an atheist living in Ireland, and I’m actually a fan of the movie, and I drew a very different conclusion from it.
    I think Ridley Scott is being a gigantic Poe with this film, and panders to just about every religious or nutjob theory on origins out there, but _deliberately_ gives them all flimsy evidence to cling to, and has lurking in the background unstated, clues to entirely unreligious explanations to the plot (other than the ridiculous Snake bit, and the amazing healing powers of giant staples) .
    A few thinks I think he was throwing at them (like cheese in a mouse trap) are the LV + Leviticus reference.
    Fifield and Milburn dying first, (damned evolutionists), one of them being entranced by a snake, one having imperfect eyesight, near the altar, one having tattoos and shaved temples, and also a couple of hits, that Milburn is actually gay, and attracted to Fifield (and no I am not assuming this just from the Captain’s crude remarks.) If I had a fundamentalist mindset, I would probably enjoy this scene where these “reprobate sinners” are punished in such a biblical manner. I really think it’s Trolling on an epic scale.

    The film is full of mythological references, mostly unspoken, Janek /Janus and almost in the end a Jesus like stance in death, etc. Meredith is the name of an ancient Celtic Sea deity, who loses her power on land, (Vickers first name is Meredith, we first see her wet footprints, and the first time she steps onto the surface of LV 223 is when she is running towards the lifeboat, falls and is crushed) There are many more examples. This seems designed to pull in people to pick up on their pet belief (or perhaps their pet peeve)… and a slot of people, already assuming they’ve got what the film is ‘about’ then suspend their critical thinking and analysis.

    The film is NOT pro faith. One of the central characters is, but unlike the other Ellen Ripley, Elizabeth Shaw is often completely wrong about what is happening, and this assumption that she is the ‘ripley’ character for this film leads some to assume, that she’s supposed to be providing the narrative. I think the fun of this film, is figuring out for yourself just how poorly some of the conclusions of characters, and fellow audience members are. And seeing if people noticed any of the things that were not explicitly mentioned by characters, but suggest entirely plausible sci fi horror plot, with no religious overtones at all. (Eg. the starmap being the one from the Betty and Barney Hill case, and hints relating to atmosphere and urn spacing that suggest that the ‘Engineers’ are actually a ‘caste’ of slaves, modified from abducted humans, used to collect more of us, as raw material for a weapons program – xenomorphs.)

    Also, I think people who get either very annoyed with the film, or very engrossed with it, seem to have imagined details not there, or missed details that were very clear. (Monolith in the scene the follows the opening titles.)

    I’ll take one very common complaint – Vickers and Shaw running in the shadow of the rolling ship.
    Almost every single person commenting on this seems to have forgotten that the Prometheus is in thousands of burning pieces which are falling, landing and exploding left and right of the ships shadow. As long as the women keep running in a straight line, they won’t be hit by burning debris. In fact, if they hadn’t fallen, they would have outrun the ship, because, as we see, when Vickers fell, that was where the ship came to a stop, and did the biggest Wile E Coyote steamroller joke ever seen on screen. The dumb part was Shaw ‘miraculously’ finding a hollow to lie in when the ship falls on her.

    The main thing I wanted to ask is whether fundamentalist christians in the US like this film? I’ve met a few online arguing for how it totally proves evolution is rubbish and ID is legit.

    If so, the film is a great analogy for debating holy books, because I happen to think, that the film quietly puts out the clues to suggest that Shaw, while 100% certain of her conclusions is 100% wrong, and is searching the universe, hoping to have a religious dialogue with a species that is in fact, a bunch of warmongering slave masters. And that to me is tragically comical.

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