Intrepid Big Gap bloggers Pearlyn and Junch discuss the shitstorm that just recently descended into cinemas everywhere, by the name of Prometheus. You may have heard of it. This is what we thought about it. Excuse the language. And be warned, spoilers. (Perr would like to add that all this took place on FBchat. It’s our IM special!)
Perr: Let’s talk about characters. I’ll give it to the cast: they are masters of their craft.
Perr: And they did what they could with what they were given.
Junch: Even with very little to work on. Especially Noomi Rapace. Who seems to flit between demure cutesy scientist person and Ripley-wannabe.
Perr: I do like David. But I think he is the one that confuses people the most. He seems to be the device that comments on the power of knowledge and the consequences of AI sentience. It is never clear if he was acting on orders, or was simply mischievous.
Junch: And he lost interest in the alien that came out of Shaw. After he engineered that whole shit, it was totally weird ass out of character. But then again, everyone started acting out of character by the middle of act 2.
Perr: We can speculate his intentions but as a whole, he is carelessly used.
Junch: He was well setup, but that was it.
Perr: So we’re agreeing that characterization is a total failure?
Junch: Yep, and with that, it made me have no empathy whatsoever with them. So when they got mouth-raped or killed, I was like meh. In fact, it was the poorest handling of characters in a horror movie. They did everything we wouldn’t do as real people i.e. petting weird ass tentacle monsters coming out of black shit.
Junch: I think the saddest part for me, is the way Charlize Theron was killed off. She was my favorite character because she was the least dumb, but she got killed by a crashing spaceship. That’s almost insulting.
Perr: I found it strange to go the very predictable route, she wasn’t just a cold “bad guy”.
Junch: She actually had probably the most compelling backstory to me. I didn’t give a shit that Shaw was so hung up on religion. Her boyfriend was like a douchey douche.
Perr: I didn’t care for his death.
Junch: Her crew were the least scientific people that they could’ve found for the most expensive expedition.
Junch: The captain’s like “yeah, I’m a cool dude see, I do whatever I want”.
Perr: I found the wiggly bit out of Holloway’s eye a great horror moment, very reminiscent of what the old Alien movies would do.
Junch: Yeah, body horror was decent. It wasn’t like OMFG but the birthing part was like tense as hell. But a bit too unreal, like what the fuck, she just had her belly opened and then closed but she can still join the dudes in going down to see the last Space Jockey.
Perr: It’s out there.
Junch: Like seriously, the weird ass mothafuking shadow coming out of the Lady of the Light or whatever in Game of Thrones was more fucked up.
Perr: I guess we were expected to suspend our own belief there, that tech reached that point.
Junch: Lol yeah, but it was pretty retarded actually. I found it even more retarded like they didn’t do shit to hide “the Chekov’s gun” of the medic bay thing. Like as soon as they intro-ed it at the start of the film, I’m like WTF, they are so totally going to use that as a plot device, and I called it. What’s even funnier is that no one questions Shaw when she comes running to them half-naked after, and with an alien stuck in that one room.
Junch: Anything else bothered you? Or did you like?
Perr: I found the Peter Weyland in the ship portion predictable too.
Junch: Lol, I didn’t actually expect it. I was still reeling from the incredulity of the story up to this point.
Perr: And Vicker’s relationship reveal.
Junch: Oh yeah, her being the daughter was setup prior though. Like when they had that hologram of Weyland talk to the crew, and then how he said he loves David as a son. And the camera flits to Theron’s face for a moment and she was all like “Whatever, fuck you old man” kinda face.
Perr: But did they have to make her say “FATHER” like Vader-style? I love the initial landscapes.
Junch: LOLLLLL yes. I thought that was ridiculous. “FATHER”. So stupid. They could’ve ended the dialogue between the two without the inclusion of “Father” and it would’ve been ambiguous enough for us to draw our own conclusions. It’s almost as if the screenwriters didn’t know jack shit about writing intelligent dialogue.
Perr: That was really dumbing it down for the audience. Also I was unhappy about the way they handled the scene where the captain initiated the kamikaze. And the co-pilots were like “we’d die with you captain, etc etc.”
Junch: And expect us to care about their heroics.
Perr: I was like, “dude, they have no relationship whatsoever.” It might have been better if they ran for the escape pods and were like “fuck I’m outta here. I didn’t sign up for this.”
Junch: Actually the funny part is the captain seemed to me to care so little about what was going on down below during the expedition, and then at the end, he comes to reveal to Shaw in retarded exposition that the aliens were in fact the bio weapons sent to destroy Earth. It was as if suddenly, he got all heroic after Shaw gave him a retardedly piecemeal pep-talk. She is the world’s greatest motivational speaker.
Perr: I hate all this disjointed character behavior.
Junch: Yeah that’s the worst part of the film. But also what’s up with the interspecies breeding? Actually, I spotted a sweet poster on Facebook that probably explains this best.
Perr: If Engineer and human DNA are the same, why does the black shit give different results?
Junch: It just shows the retardedness of the construction. So by virtue of the movie’s retarded plot, the aliens are born out of incest. Space jockey + black shit = human, black shit + human = zombie, zombie + Shaw = tentacle monster, tentacle monster + space jockey = xenomorph?!?! So that means the Tentacled Monster, which is like the gran gran gran child of the Space Jockey just mouth fucked his (or her) granddad and became the Xenomorph? LOLLLLLL.
Perr: I never thought about it that way hahaha.
Junch: Also I thought the aliens come out of the stomach as a little slithery bastard first. How come it came out like fully formed?
Perr: But in terms of genetics, incest or not isn’t the case. Alien is a parasite. And yes, you are right about the last point. But I assume it was because they needed it to be blatant for people who never caught the originals.
Junch: Like Lindelof and Scott tried to fuck with me? An Alien fan? So retarded. On top of which, the last part felt more like fanfare than anything. Like “HERE ALIEN FANS!!! HERE IS AN ALIEN AT LAST!!!”
Perr: It’s ridiculous. And I wouldn’t believe that a facehugger would grow 100 times its size if you left it alone until it devoured/raped something. That is just redonk.
Junch: Why on Earth did two humans bumping it make an alien baby? And that alien baby with tentacles grow to look ridiculously similar to a facehugger? Or rather a bodyhugger in this regards? Actually the stupidest thing about that is why the fuck did the Space Jockey chase Shaw at the end? I thought he was trying to get the fuck out but the last bit, he changed his mind to go fuck shit up. Only to “coincidentally” drop in on Shaw as she was about to be raped by a tentacle monster, and instead was replaced by the Space Jockey granddaddy.
Perr: That was funny though. And the show didn’t tread the whole DNA thing properly. It’s so weird that we have to do the detective work for the science of it, and be trout-slapped with philosophical questions.
Junch: Yeah, that’s the thing. I don’t’ mind piecing things together, but the pieces were all over the place. And they actually don’t make sense, when you do piece it together.
Perr: I think it’s more fantasy than sci-fi. The only great thing I can say about it is the opening with the Engineer drinking the goo, landscapes totally reminded me of what a Mass Effect planet would look like.
Junch: It was a visually intense moment. But I was like, “Why did the guy look surprised?” Does he know what he is doing?”
Perr: We will never know, will we?
Perr: We don’t know what’s in the primordial soup. I suppose it’s parasitic DNA.
Junch: Okay, final question. How would you do Prometheus better?
Perr: I would have preferred if they focused more on the terror of this species and made it really nihilistic. As a prequel, it didn’t attempt to lay any foundations to the Alien series. In fact, it pisses me off that the writers would daresay that it being a prequel gives them a “right” to do something totally different with the mythology that’s practically cast in stone.
Junch: Nihilistic would have been the right approach. Like “what the fuck can we do? Why the fuck are they there?” Just cause, I mean that’s the whole shindig with Xenomorphs anyway. You can’t reason with them. They just want to mouth rape and kill whatever they want. I think it’s just cause Ridley Scott was super pissed off at the way the franchise had gone on without him. Although I daresay that James Cameron made a fucking good follow up film.
Perr: And that’s the core concept of the Alien series, it doesn’t matter where they came from, what their purpose is.
Junch: Exactly. They just exist to fuck shit up. So perhaps the simplest plot could be: humans go find their origins, only to find their answer is a mothafucking alien that doesn’t give a shit why, just when’s their next meal. It would be a depressing film but it wouldn’t be retarded.
Perr: The last engineer was supposed to be that device. But then everything that happened after, especially with Shaw blasting off into the galaxy, just made everything redundant.
Perr: Also they never manage to show how vulnerable humans are. Alien movies were great at showing how weak humans are, in all aspects. We get a real sense of no matter how we fight, we will always be raped and overpowered. Even if you fight, you’re a goner. And here we have flamethrowers taking zombies out and Vickers getting rolled over by a spaceship. And if you show it here, what Ellen Ripley does later will be fucking magical.
Junch: Although the zombie did pretty much kill everybody haha. Everybody expendable that is.
Perr: Well I would’ve expected that the parasite attacked the other casualties and turn them all into zombies or something.
Junch: But then again, the zombie bullshit is not explained. Like why does getting your face caved in by acid make you a zombie?
Perr: Also, I would’ve really preferred if it Shaw just died too.
Junch: Yeah, if Shaw died then it would be like “this is futile, we are fucked”.
Perr: This movie is a mess.
Junch: Oh my god yeah.
Perr: The premise was really so enticing.
Junch: LOL, only because the last epic sci-fi to hit screens in a big way was J J Abrams’ Star Trek.
Perr: Sci-fi adventure is less tricky to pull off than sci-fi horror though.
Junch: For sure, and I don’t discount that.
Perr: One is easier to mishandle, and is more stringently judged by masses.
Junch: Prometheus bit off more than it could chew.
Perr: Why? WHY???
Junch: Sadface indeed. So final conclusion: avoid at all cost. This was one trillion dollar expedition that should not have gotten off the ground. Maybe the whole film is like a metaphor for how retarded setting out to make this film would’ve been. You’ve got the captain who doesn’t seem to half-way know what’s going on with the script till the last minute and then makes a mad dash of uncalled-for heroics (Lindelof), and an old man who wanted to get too close to the sun and got burned (Scott).
Perr: Art imitating life.
Junch:And that’s the biggest reveal of the film.
This discussion sparks from a rambling Evernote entry Perr emailed directly to Junch (of which he didn’t read prior to our IMs):
“I should have never followed Damon Lindelof on Twitter because his crazy self-praise is poisoning my opinion on Prometheus. He thinks it’s some kind of epiphanic contribution to the Alien franchise, but movies are not TV and Prometheus isn’t Lost, where the mythos is fresh so continuity can be brushed aside and changed or explained away with some bullshit. Claiming to be an Alien prequel means that there is already an existing mythology in place that you need to respect and properly develop, not use as an excuse to constantly ask about creationist/darwinist theories.
The way in which it is delivered is rather annoying. Instead of leaving the audience to ponder these questions themselves through meaningful dialogue and scene structures/sequences, we are slapped in the face with it. Several characters repeat these questions Lindelof wants us to ask ourselves. I suppose this could stem from Lindelof’s bad experiences with Lost where he was constantly subjected to pressure from fans to make his overall story coherent. He should have never bothered.
Not that Prometheus is all that coherent. The story is riddled with plot holes, fact goofs, and is more like the hipster guy who reckons his philosophy 101 question warrants a doctorate. It’s really beautiful, dressed up in its bells and whistles, but in the centre of it all lies a very shrivelled wannabe. It may have been better to get Ridley Scott to write it himself. When a prequel attempts to address the origins of their iconic characters (here being the Xenomorph), it may have had been better to end off on a nihilistic note, especially with a franchise like Alien – to say that it doesn’t matter where anything comes from, and that everything up to that point is in vain. Why end off with Dr Shaw whisking herself off into deep space with a dismembered android to find the true meaning of human existence? Why does that matter to show this sliver of hope for the purpose of humanity? At least if Dr Shaw died on the planet with the Xenomorph on the loose, Ellen Ripley’s eventual triumph over it would be even more powerful.
Therein lies the mistake in the scripting – no one bothered to think of how it was going to resonate with the rest of the Franchise. You can’t just cut off your work from the IP you linked it to. If you want to do that, then create a reboot that reshapes the values and philosophy behind the core concept. In fact, if not for the movie’s penchant to launch into philosophical psychobabble and place it centre stage throughout, its cult level scenes would’ve stood out.”
We had some good feelings about the movie too, but the irritating bits just stood out way too much for us to ignore.
All we can say is, watch if you wish for your eyeballs to be caressed, but don’t expect it to be anything like what you loved about Ellen Ripley kicking an almost invincible extraterrestrial’s ass.