Prometheus – what a pile of shite

Blade Runner is still the greatest movie of all time. Alien is still the benchmark movie by which all space-horror should be measured. It’s hard to believe that the man who brought us these amazing films is also responsible for the execrable mess that is the long-awaited Prometheus. I saw this movie last night and I’m still angry about it. I had to teach a tai chi class this morning and it was hard because underlying my calm, professional exterior was a seething, unavoidable rage at a film that couldn’t have been more shit if it actually tried to be the shittest film ever made. There will be spoilers here, but don’t worry – you should save your money and not see the film anyway. But I’m assuming most people have seen it already.

From a simple film-making point of view, it was a stunning achievement. The design, the effects, the atmosphere were all excellent. But that matters not when the story makes no sense. Seriously, a script written by randomly pulling letter tiles from the Scrabble bag would be more coherent. Now, before anyone thinks I’m totally missing the point, I know it’s a massive allegory for Creationism with an extremely heavy Christian agenda, brutally mixed with various other mythologies. It is written by Damon Lindelof, after all, who brought us the atrociously unacceptable Christian Shepherd ending to Lost. (Talking of scripts that make no fucking sense.) That allegory would annoy me anyway, in this case even more so as it’s rammed down our throats like a face-huggers egg tube. But I might be prepared to forgive the great exogenesis bullshit if it was tied into a credible story. But it’s not. It’s so far from a credible story that the film should be called The Great Incredible Anti-Story.

It should have been awesome. The cast are one solid bunch of capable professionals, but they can’t be expected to save a film when the script is delivered to them as shit stains carefully shaped into letters on used toilet paper. That’s the only way I can imagine that this script was “written”. The character inconsistencies and plot holes in this film are breath-taking. I’ll just look at the first few things we see:

We open with a possible Earth and a huge, white, muscly alien dude drinking some goo that disintegrates him and seeds the planet with his DNA. Okay, I was prepared to buy that – there are surely better ways to mix their DNA with the goo, but if they use this whole sacrifice method, then sure. It’s absurd, but I’ll roll with for now.

Cut to humans investigating cave paintings. They spot a recurring theme – big dudes pointing at six dots. With absolutely no evidence or explanation whatsoever, this is interpreted by a Christian scientist as an invite by Von Daniken’s aliens to come and visit. Why!? What possible reason could there be to immediately assume that’s an invite? Well, we’re told later in the film, “Because that’s what I choose to believe.” Fuuuuuck!

Anyway, this is enough to trigger a trillion dollar expedition to the planet in question. Wait, they found a planet in the vastness of infinite interstellar space using a cave painting of six dots? Yes, they did. Apparently. Because “plot”.

So they fly there and there’s this moon, right, and that’s where they’ve been invited to. So they break orbit, cruise in, see a big mountain and say, “Let’s cruise that valley.” They turn a corner and voila! There’s the alien installation. How do you instantly find the correct valley on a planet the SIZE OF A PLANET!? On top of this, we later learn that this isn’t the homeworld of these big, white, muscly alien sacrificial DNA vendors, but it’s actually a massive production depot for weapons of mass destruction that they intend to use to destroy humanity. Why did the cave paintings “invite” humans to their massive WMD moon? What the fuck possible reason could they have for that? Anyway, back to the timeline. (Bear in mind that I’m only a few minutes into the film at this point.)

The crew immediately decide to explore this installation and send off these 3D mapping drones. Without waiting for the mapping to be finished or for any explanation of why the air is suddenly breathable and not full of pathogens, they take off their helmets and start running around inside, because complete lack of science or any kind of brain.

Suddenly and for no discernible reason, a holographic history lesson starts up and tells them things they need to know, because “plot”. Incidentally, this same inexplicable hologram happens later, giving androidDavid the password flute tune he needs to operate all the things. Yes, you read that right. Aliens with massively advanced technology turn their computer systems on with a quick tootle on a flute. Sure, that could be conceived as a very clever password system, assuming you don’t have a randomly triggered hologram show up and give that password to anyone who happens to come along. Why were there holograms of past events showing up all over the place!?

Anyway, back to the opening twenty minutes of the film. Our intrepid selection of the most unscientific scientists ever assembled discover the fossilised remains of a big alien. The geologist immediately freaks out and says, “I’m only here for money and rocks, fuck this noise” and says he’s going back to the ship. He asks if anyone else is going and the biologist says, “Yep, fuck this noise.” The biologist! The one who is presumably along on the trip because he’s really into biology and that, yet he’s not going to investigate a new, alien species. So off they fuck. And even though the geologist is the one with the mapping drones, and even though those drones are live-feeding a three-dimensional layout of the entire complex to the ship, and even though the ship is in constant contact with everyone and can see on the map exactly where everyone is at all times, the geologist and the biologist get lost and inexplicably left behind.

They end up stuck there as a convenient plotstorm comes out of nowhere and decide to wait it out in a scary room full of inexplicably replicating alien goo. Then a weird alien snake thing appears. The biologist, who was moments ago terrified of a 2,000 year old fossilised humanoid, is suddenly and inexplicably besotted with this up-standing, threatening, hooded, hissing alien snake thing. After all, he’s a biologist, so he’d know you never have to be concerned when a snake thing that pops out its hood stands up and starts hissing at you. That’s completely unthreatening. So he tries to play with it and it kills him. And sprays acid blood on the geologist. All because “plot”, of course. Incidentally, said geologist, who dies facedown in the goo, comes back later as a violent zombie-hulk thing. For no reason at all he travels back to the ship all folded over like some contortion-zombie showing off his crazy, uncanny crab walk, then just stands up and fights everyone like a normal zombie-hulk until he’s burned to a crisp. And just going back to that snake thing – where did it come from anyway? We can only assume it spontaneously evolved from the black goo in a couple of hours because.

Anyway, I’m going to stop now. You’ll have a pretty good idea of just how fucking awful this movie is and I’ve barely scratched the surface of plot holes and character stupidity – people who see worms in their eyes but don’t seek medical help, for example. Or people who die because they can’t turn left or right while running. And so on. Not to mention the complete lack of any consistency in any of the “science” randomly thrown at the film like poo from the monkey cage.

Other people have done excellent work deconstructing this piece of shite from various angles:

This post does an excellent job of exploring the allegory, even though the allegory is senseless and is hammered home at the expense of all story and characterisation.

This post is an excellent exploration of many of the plot holes, including several that I’ve mentioned here.

This post explores the massively mysoginistic plot basis.\

And this four minute video covers a lot, but certainly not all, of the plot holes and nonsensical “story”:

I am so fucking angry with Ridley Scott right now. After being so excited about this movie, it couldn’t have been worse if it tried.

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25 thoughts on “Prometheus – what a pile of shite

  1. Aaaand you just described EXACTLY why I loved it. 🙂

    I went into the movie expecting stupidity on a massive scale with pretty effects and good acting. I got exactly that. I love a good snark at a movie with good production values, decent acting and a script made of shit. LOVE IT. All I can think of is how fun this will be at home with a couple of snarky friends and a bottle of vodka. Oh, the LOLs to be had!

  2. Alan, you’re forgetting the huge potential in Prometheus drinking games. This film sounds like a godsend for the competitive drunk.

  3. I survived the Southpark movie swearing drinking game (Granted it got messy and I can’t remember much after the first 30 mins) so I’d be willing to give it a crack.

    Having yet to see the movie, what would you suggest as triggers?

  4. “Because plot” is my new favourite everything.

    I think Scott has created a film that manages to offend people on the following levels: religion, feminism, plot, characters, history, geography, biology, and astronomy. If only he’d included a cat that could have died he might have riled up the animal activists, too. I’m disappointed.

  5. I feel your pain. I also agree that if a giant wheel is rolling towards you, you DO NOT run the same direction the wheel is going. Stupid stupid stupid scene, amidst other scenes also remarkable for their complete idiocy. Fuck me, after this disappointment, Dredd had better be bloody good!

  6. Thank you Alan, excellent review and compilation of the PROMETHEUS debacle…I feel your disappointment and I like your categories of Allegory /Plot / Misogyny ….while nothing can save this movie and conversely mankind [as you can see I have excluded women for their own good]…I took a perverse pleasure in the upmarket wrappings of this turd of a cultural artifact…the audacity was mind boggling. It is on par with Stephen Sommers Van Helsing and I enjoyed both flawed epics immensely ….for PROMETHEUS the viral rage and debate it has provoked is in itself more interesting. Regarding Scott; he is a 75 yrl old man helming a 150 million dollar movie and while about as successful as Weyland in achieving his goals with 30 trillion……managed to stir up a shit storm that would put the red eye of Jupiter to shame. I still like the old bastard, the naked emperor himself…rock on baby boomer, don’t ever let it go…get down in that arena and battle it the fuck out! For the Lost writer, JJ Abraham collaborator AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER ON PROMETHEUS i save my particular kind of black goo…I actually loved Star trek 2009 [ there were some ridiculous things but greatly outweighed by real emotional clout-he didn’t write this one though ]…but yes executive producer is a credit that is little understood by Australian audiences…Americans take the word EXECUTIVE very seriously…no doubt there was pandering and the LEGEND was given his dues…But Damon Lindelof WROTE and EXECUTIVE PRODUCED that little face fucking flick…and may he meet his CREATOR as we met them in his abomination…

    Plot-0; Character-0; Hard Science-0; Misogyny-10; Allegory-10

    = 20%

    The trick to watching this movie …is not minding that it hurts.

    Live Long and Panspermia

    B. Djinn

  7. Maintain the rage, B Djinn. I’ve addressed the subject of the raging debate in a more recent post. You’ll find it under the title of Maintain the rage.

  8. Ohgodohgodohgod…………. I… um….. quite liked it. Until talking with you Alan, I had not analysed it too much. Maybe I have an inbuilt protection device that blocks any bad Ridley Scott thoughts from surfacing. That device is now splashed to the four winds.
    Incidentally, I just had a look at the Dredd trailer. Ohhh dear. Karl Urban seems to be aping Sly Stallone for some reason . Why didn’t they spend the money on making another Hulk reboot?

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