I saw Prometheus last night. Instead of enjoying the drive home with my head filled with appreciation for a provocative, inventive retelling of the ancient astronaut myth, my mind busied itself on how many ways I could mock this under-achieving, unimaginative bore of a film for my PaleoBabble readers. In one sentence: the History Channel produces better science fiction than this movie. Or perhaps: Prometheus: In Space, No One Can Hear You Snore.
It’s honestly difficult to express how poor of an effort I consider this film. It’s kind of like reviewing a Sitchin book: I can find see problems everywhere, so where to begin?
Let’s start with some generalities. While I was in line I overheard someone who had just seen the movie say, “It was good, but it was no Alien.” I only agree with the second half of that assessment. This was not a good movie. There were no surprises at all; predictability in a sci-fi movie is unforgivable. After all, if you are at liberty to detach yourself from reality and you still manage to be banal, you’re project is a failure. Given the hype, this was an historic entertainment FAIL. Let me go back to this year’s box office mega-implosion John Carter (but not the last Indiana Jones movie — that was criminal; Prometheus was merely inept). Honestly, how can anyone fail to be stimulating in any way when it comes to the ancient astronaut mythology? But that is Prometheus: one groggy, dull ride. Basically the problem is that the movie begins with the core Sitchin / von Daniken nonsense talking point, that humans were created by aliens, and just stops right there. It adds nothing. No development of the idea into a clever meta-narrative. If you already have had the thought that human life was created by aliens planted in your mind (thinking it stupid or not), there’s no need to see the movie. It literally doesn’t take you an inch farther. Just a two-hour reminder of the one basic point that everyone going to the movie already had in their head because of the internet, the Ancient Aliens sitcom, or Coast to Coast AM. A quintessential example of what it means to be uncreative. Sort of like the cinematic antonym to either of the Sherlock Holmes movies.
But the real insult was to the Alien franchise. Was it worse than Alien 3 or 4? Hard to say. Those misguided sequels just enraged viewers or made them say to themselves, “Thanks for destroying the best things about the first two movies.” This one doesn’t ruin anything because it doesn’t convey anything. It’s just an intellectually stultifying bore. The first two Alien movies were great because they were filled with clever surprises and truly edge-of-the-seat suspense. This offering had neither. It didn’t even try to surprise. The film unfailingly tipped viewers off to what (I guess) were supposed to be later revelations (the old gazzillionare was on the ship and the “remind us why this character is in the movie” played by Charlize Theron is his daughter; one of humanity’s alien creators is still alive on the planet; the cavernous structure the crew discovers is a spaceship; the ship is filled with the alien muck that spawns the killing machine alien in the original film; etc. I don’t consider these plot spoilers, because unless you’re still thinking about the commercials you were forced to watch before the film started, you can’t miss these “plot” elements. They are transparent and completely expected.To give a specific example of how Prometheus does something badly that Alien would have done more more cleverly, the robot (David) plops some of the alien DNA/egg-stuff into the drink of a crew member, knowing that the unfortunate guy will become host to the alien. I say “plop” because there’s actually a loud plopping sound in the film after David pours the drink and leans his finger over the edge of the cup. It sounded like a large ice cube was tossed into the glass. If the moron who took the drink couldn’t hear that like the rest of us, he deserved what he got. Alien would have found a far more sinister and surreptitious way of infecting the guy — and not letting it be known to the viewer until much later. It would have been something you felt in your gut but couldn’t figure out how it was done. The whole movie was like that (Ridley Scott: “The audience needs to understand what happens in the scene after this one, so we’ll drop a breadcrumb the size of a Toyota in their path since we can’t think of an adroit way to keep moving”).
You get the idea. This film has sucked enough of my life away, so the review stops here. I need to move on.
Read your last post. I agree. The movie was terrible. I’m guessing that you will not be responding to my reply to the previous post (Garden of Eden/Nietzsche Connections). Understood! : )
In all honesty though, what I was wondering was whether or not you believe that Satan could be using all this junk to deceive people?
Thanks, wont bother watching it; Snow White anyone 🙂 ?
LOL (and waiting for Dark Knight Rises now).
As a scholar of religion I would think you would be relieved that Ridley Scott stayed away from the creation of a meta narrative that would incite culture war. I haven’t seen the film but I recognize the reasons behind why he would have chosen to go with something more akin to horror rather than build a framework for modern Gothic that is ancient aline conspiracy theory.
I’m a fan of science fiction, so, true, he could have really screwed up in the attempt, but I’d rather watch that than boring.
Yes, the Dark Knight will be epic
man, you need a “spoiler alert” in the heading, was just going to the this today 🙁
I saved you money, so I’m glad I had no alert.
People don’t need help with that, they are very well capable of doing that to themselfs. 😉
I would love to see a top 10 sci-fi move list from you Dr. Heiser.
“[…]the movie begins with the core Sitchin / von Daniken nonsense talking point, that humans were created by aliens, and just stops right there. It adds nothing. ”
I’m afraid I have to concur. I guess we’ll have to wait for a sequel for that, hah. :-p
I really wanted to like this film. I wasn’t expecting another “Alien,” BUT I hoped it would, at least, evoke the atmosphere of the first one (or at least of Kubrik’s “2001”). I wonder if by taking it again to the cutting room we could end with a more watchable film… maybe not. *sigh*
I wasn’t expecting anything like Alien, but I was sure expecting better. It seems to have died off quickly at the box office.
(Just for the record) It seems my response (Gerben on June 11, 2012 at 11:59 AM said: ) to the question raised by Keith on June 9, 2012 at 11:43 AM got a bit lost on the way through internet…it is by no means a response to the “I saved you money reply from MHS” 🙂
True, I also expected something more. Serves me well for letting the so-called “viral” campaign raise my hopes up.
I loved the opening music, the cinematography and SFX were great, and the “hidden symbolism” will keep fanbois idly speculating for months, if not years (e.g., some say that the name of the moon, LV-223 stands for Leviticus 22:3)… but the “story” and characterizations left me pretty hollow.
To add insult to injury, I’ve just read a brief article where the director and crew boast that the “Special Edition” DVD will include (*drumroll*)… the deleted sex scenes (!!!). How stupid is that? Instead of including scenes that might add something to the story, or give it some serious re-editing to tighten the pace at least… we’re going to get deleted/extended sex scenes. Whoop-dee-doo. No thanks, Ridley Scott, I’ll pass. 😛
Sorry for venting here. If I were to post this elsewhere I might get bashed for not “understanding Scott’s vision,” or something like that. 🙂
Well I shoulda listened to you. Oh well. My favorite plot inconsistency was when the female lead said, “gee wiz, I just used the one of 12 machines ever created that happens to be on this ship to remove an alien/human embryo implanted in me by my mutating boyfriend – although I am infertile – thanks to your conniving robot who I’m pretty sure caused all of our calamities and I’m certain you are all in on it too, and look, after this surgery I can still manage to walk around in my skivvies. I can’t wait to study the genetics of what is going on, can you?” oh wait. She didn’t say that. Nope. She just went on the next expedition – and was allowed to go along- as if everything was Pollyana. That really bugged me.
yeah – among other “plot” elements.
I wasn’t very impressed with movie either but at least it has spread the word to millions. GOD’S AN ASTRONAUT!!!!!lol.
yeah, to all those who base their worldview on movies. Double LOL.
lol. Like “Passion of christ”. Well made film, I have to say.
not sure what the point is … or if you’re trying to make one.
Just meant to say that the basic idea of extraterrestials creating humanity has got more exposure through Prometheus. People who weren’t aware of these theories and ideas may explore it a bit more after having seen this movie. Just like Passion of christ may have had a similar effect on none-christians. It doesn’t mean that those people base their worldview on films. That’s just silly 🙂
one would hope so!