So once again we have survived.

Summer Movie Flashback the Final Chapter: Prometheus

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2012
2012

This is the third time I’ve seen PROMETHEUS. I saw it twice in the theater. It’s one of the most divisive movies in the history of outlawvern.com comments, and I wanted to see how it played after sleeping on it for a while. I still like it and think that its great filmatism overcomes its underlying stupidity. But I’ve got a few new thoughts on it.

We’ve discussed alot of unscientific things these scientists on the Prometheus do, but one I don’t remember thinking about before is that they’re totally jumping to this conclusion that humans were engineered. All they’re going on is the “DNA match,” that “their genetic material predates ours,”  but doesn’t that seem more like we evolved from them than they purposely created us? I guess they’re going on the cave paintings, which they assume were made by the Engineers and did in fact lead them to this planet. But I don’t know, I don’t feel like this Engineer theory has been adequately proven.

prometheus-hollowayI tend to think of this movie as having weak characters, but actually most of the main characters (Noomi Rapace as Shaw, Michael Fassbender as David, Charlize Theron as Vickers and Idris Elba as Janek) are interesting, it’s the other chumps that drag things down. My vote for Biggest ALIEN Series Douche Since Paul Reiser doesn’t even go to a Company stooge, it goes to fucking Dr. Charlie “I just want answers, baby” Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), Shaw’s boyfriend and co-archaeologist.

Man, I hate this dick. This is the guy who discovers a bunch of cave paintings that he uses to convince a rich guy to fund a mission across the universe to find the aliens he thinks created man. They actually find one of these aliens dead and bring its fresh severed head back to the lab… and he sits on a table with a bottle of vodka and pouts like a kid that doesn’t want to be at church! He admits that this is “the most significant discovery in the history of mankind” but he’s acting like a baby because he says they’re all dead and he “wanted to talk to them.”

Well guess what Charlie, we don’t get everything we want. This guy is such a maroon. I don’t care who you are or what you’re trying to do, if there is a giant alien severed head in front of you for the first time you are gonna be curious! That’s number one. And number two, why the fuck are you assuming that they’re all dead? You went down a tunnel and went into one room. There is a whole fuckin planet here you haven’t looked at. Your lady friend even said exactly that when asked if they were all dead: “I don’t know. I just got here.” There is not one single reason to believe that they’re all dead. In fact, they’re not all dead, we later find out. You are a fucking idiot, bro.

Also, not cool to tell your girlfriend “Well, you can take your father’s cross off now” when you discover something that you think disproves the existence of God. You love this girl, right? And you know that her religious beliefs are what connect her to her dead father and give her hope for her life? Yeah, so tread lightly on the whole ha-ha-we-just-disproved-everything-that-has-ever-been-meaningful-to-you business. That’s common sense, by the way, something we expect you as a decent adult human to have known for many years, you should not have had to find that out from a movie review. Just so you know.

#2 stupidest person on the crew has gotta go to Rafe Spall as Millburn. In his defense, he knows that his tattooed geologist pal Fifeld (Sean Harris) is a moron. “On behalf of scientists everywhere,” he says, “I am ashamed to count you among us, Fifeld. Really.” But this is also the guy that discovers the alien dick monster and says “look at you, baby!” like he’s talking to a newborn puppy, gets all in its face like he’s gonna rub noses with it. Riddick would’ve known how to handle this thing, but you don’t. Back the fuck off, dumbass.

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prometheus-weylandsBut PROMETHEUS is not as much about those characters, luckily. It’s about Shaw and her insistence on believing things she can’t back up (that there is a God, that the Engineers created us, that Dr. Holloway isn’t a total douche) and it’s kind of about this dysfunctional Weyland family. There’s the father, who is so self-obsessed that he initiates mankind’s contact with its creator and then makes it all about himself. Also, rich enough to pay a bunch of people to go to sleep for years traveling into space with people they’ve never met on a mission he’s not gonna explain to them until they get there. Kind of a dick move in my opinion. But they’re adults, they could’ve said no.

Then there’s the son (robot), who tries to impress his father but also admits he wants him to die. And the daughter, who tells him she’s waiting for him to die so she can take over, who is jealous of the robot. I always dug that scene where the hologram of Weyland calls David the closest thing he has to a son and she looks jealous. But I don’t know if I picked up on David looking jealous when he talks about her. They both know that they can never be to him what the other one is, and they can’t stand it. Also he’s one of those terrible parents who says shit in front of the kids that he damn well knows is hurtful to them, and they gotta sit there and take it. Talkin about his robot not having a soul, jesus. Why did he even bring that up?

Man, there’s a great moment I don’t think I properly appreciated before. When Weyland is revealed to be alive and on Prometheus, Vickers comes in to see his reaction to successfully finding man’s creators. He says he’s surprised she came, he figured she wouldn’t since she was so against him doing this. “I thought you wanted me to,” she says. She’s so hurt. Motherfucker! Sleeping for years, traveling this far, now she’s gonna get squooshed by a giant rolling alien bone ship, all for this asshole who doesn’t even care that she’s there! Figured she wouldn’t come. Well you should’ve fuckin told her not to, you dick! Would’ve saved her alot of trouble. Fucking Janek is pretty much the only worthwhile thing she does out here. Oh, and burning Holloway alive with a blowtorch, that was good.

[By the way, I used to think it was weird that they had Guy Pearce in old man makeup for this character, but I think I get it now. It’s not like he’s 70, the guy looks like he’s supposed to be 105 or something. They could get the oldest actor in Hollywood, they’d probly still have to put a bunch of makeup on him to make him look like that. And frankly if you are an 80 year old actor you should draw the line at having to sit in the makeup chair for 4 hours every morning. And is it gonna look that much more real anyway? Might as well get a younger guy who happens to be a great actor that Ridley Scott probly wanted to work with.]

I like Vickers and her blowtorch technique, but she takes after her father. Every single other survivor happily volunteers to die in order to stop the Engineer ship from taking off to destroy earth. Vickers is the only one who scrambles for her (five star, by the way) escape pod. You know what, it looks like you guys have this trying to save the entire planet of earth thing under control, I think I’m gonna hit the road. She doesn’t even wish them luck.

Shit, even fuckin Holloway sacrificed himself when he realized his infection could ruin the mission. She was the badass who strutted out and burned him alive to protect the ship. She should’ve learned something from that. Look at this coward!

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Reminds me of one of the all time great scenes in cinema, from one of the all time great movies, ON DEADLY GROUND (1994, d: S. Seagal):

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* * *

PROMETHEUS was only a year ago, and I wrote a pretty thorough review, and plenty of followups in the comments. So instead of trying to expand on that too much let’s look at the idea I think Mouth pointed out, that it’s kind of like a slasher movie. I’m also jonesing big time to end this Summer Movie Flashback series and get into my traditional October horror binge, so this will help ease me into it.

Now that I’m looking for them I see that there really are alot of horror tropes in here, slasher and otherwise.

Like so many horror movies it takes place on a holiday. They land on Christmas and leave on New Year’s (Eve? Day? I forget). There’s even a Christmas tree. Not Christmas music, though.

The space ship Prometheus, especially when only David is awake, is big, empty, quiet, lonely and sterile, a classic horror location. Think of the hospital at night in both HALLOWEEN IIs and in VISITING HOURS, or the big empty hotels in THE SHINING and THE INNKEEPERS.

Of course the structure they go into in the LV place is a more obvious horror location, a mountain shaped like a skull, a dark cave with skeletons in it, weird occult symbols, spooky statues, worms, snakes, coffins. Even a guy that wakes up out of the coffin, like Dracula! And tears a guy’s head off!

While they’re in the cave they get separated, and call out each other’s names a bunch of times, that’s a classic. Unfortunately there’s no “Come on you guys, this isn’t funny!”

Fifeld and Millburn even have to spend the night in the spooky cave, next to dead bodies! And it’s almost like it’s haunted, because they saw the holographic security cam visions of now-dead Engineers running in fear, and they seemed to think they were real. The only thing better would be if an eccentric rich guy (Guy Pearce) was offering them a million dollars if they can last through the night.

Oh, but the reason they’re stranded is even more of a horror tradition: an “incoming storm front.” I’m surprised their car didn’t break down.

The slasher movie archetypes come in with those supporting characters I was complaining about. They’re assholes to each other for no reason. On a space mission like this, or a trip to a cabin, you’d think they’d try to put together a group of people who get along, but that rarely happens in the movies.

Also there’s the drugs, alcohol and sex. Dr. Holloway is the drinker, and bad shit happens from it (David poisons him and tiny metal things come out of his eyeball – completely deserved). Fifeld is the smoker – he sarcastically says it’s tobacco, which is probly supposed to mean it’s pot, but in my opinion it’s futuristic menthol supercrack. Whatever it is he inhales it and then gets dickmonstered about two minutes later.

The sex is only mildly slasherish though. In one case (Holloway and Shaw) sex = near-death, because it impregnates her with a fast-growing alien octostarfish baby. In the other case (Janek and Vickers) there are no direct consequences and it’s not mentioned again. Also it’s off screen. (Good for him, though, using the old “prove you’re not a robot by fucking me” gambit.)

[By the way, this is off topic but my hat’s off to Elba’s performance when he asks her if she’s a robot. In the script he’s probly just trying to get laid, but Elba plays it like he’s really nervous to ask her, like he really doesn’t know and has been wondering for a long time. Good shit.]

Remember when they go into the cave and they realize that somebody started terraforming the place, there’s breathable air in there, Holloway recklessly takes his helmet off, and they all laugh at how crazy he is and then follow suit? That’s the skinnydipping scene. We’ve seen scenes like this, right? One or more hotshot in the group wants to show off and push the envelope, does something crazy and everybody shakes their head and joins in. Peer pressure. Like they sneak into THE FUNHOUSE at night, for example.

There’s a looking in the mirror scene. Dr. Holloway gets infected, he feels that something is wrong, looks at himself in the mirror, sees something horrible.

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And then he keeps it a secret, just like somebody who’s been scratched/bit by a zombie/vampire/werewolf. He knows he’s changing, but he keeps it to himself for a while. When it’s getting out of control, as mentioned before, he makes Vickers burn him alive. That’s a classic. It’s the “You know what to do, right? Don’t let me turn into one of those things” scene.

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And of course the biggest one is Shaw as a badass Final Girl, the one who observed what was going on before everybody else, who tried to tell them, who runs around nearly naked, covered in blood, cut open, limping, giving herself shots of painkillers, still kicking ass. She runs and trips and still gets away. She even runs around with an ax, as is the tradition.

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So I can enjoy it. It’s a big crazy beautiful movie with the kind of dumb horror movie I like underneath. I wish some of these characters were a little smarter, but it’s almost like those frustrations make it more interesting to analyze. I don’t know if it’s a movie glorifying faith or criticizing people for stubbornly ignoring the facts in order to support their preconceived conclusions. Shaw is so identifiable that you figure you should take it at face value when she keeps talking about “because it’s what I choose to believe,” and yet, at the end of this movie she’s on a suicide mission with a treacherous talking severed head in a bag because she chooses to believe she deserves to ask more questions to the weird alien giants who, last time she tried to ask them questions, crushed several people with their bare hands and chased her off. Plus, her even coming here almost wiped out the Earth and she had to convince her friends to kill themselves in order to clean up that mess. She’s not the best poster girl for faith.

Man, I hope they figure out how to make that sequel! I’m sure she’d put his head back on his body, not sling it around like a bowling ball, which is too bad. But it would still be interesting to find out what the fuck that movie would be about. If they don’t know they should call up Jodorowsky, I’m sure he could suggest something.

* * *

original review

other movies that came out that summer: DARK SHADOWS, BATTLESHIP, MEN IN BLACK 3, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, TOTAL RECALL, THE BOURNE LEGACY, THE EXPENDABLES 2, PREMIUM RUSH

highest grossing movie that year: MARVEL’S DISNEY’S JOSS WHEDON’S THE AVENGERS

* * *

Thanks for reading along with the Summer Movie Flashback series. Next I’ll be playing some catch up with reviews of some other movies I’ve watched over the past few weeks and then I’m gonna watch about a million horror movies, or as close to a million as I can fit into my off hours during October. Actually probly closer to ten or fifteen horror movies. I don’t know. We’ll see.


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, September 26th, 2013 at 2:31 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

57 Responses to “Summer Movie Flashback the Final Chapter: Prometheus”

  1. Am I a bad person, because I have to chuckle at the thought that the alien ship at the end might have a big, red spot on the outside, which is a squished Charlize Theron? It almost makes me wish that they didn’t try to make a serious SciFi epic, because a normal slasher movie wouldn’t be above turning the leftovers of a character into a silly sight gag, if you know what I mean.

    Anyway, I don’t have much to say about this movie, other that I was very happy when I went with my girlfriend to see THE AVENGERS and they played the trailer. I love my girlfriend a lot, but I also love to share the movie watching experience with my friends and family. Unfortunately she is one of those people who would never ever watch anything, that is even just remotely scary. The closest thing to a horror movie that she watched, were the HARRY POTTER movies and that only counts because some of those have giant snakes, spiders, flying soul sucker ghost creature things and a werewolf.

    So while the trailer completely freaked her out, I was glad that I found a way to show it to her (because like everybody, I was damn excited for it!). I just couldn’t send her a YouTube link and ask her to look at it, because she would have most likely turned it off after a few seconds. But locking her into a dark room and showing it on a giant screen, with a sound system that is so loud, that covering your ears won’t help at all, even if you close your eyes and don’t see what happens, was the right way to do it.

    Yeah, I feel like an ass. But hey, like I said, I love her, but also love to watch and talk about movies with others!

  2. There’s a lot of themes that normally interests me in PROMETHEUS – religion, atheism, the abortion debate, biological engineering – but it’s more fun to watch it as a scary sci fi action movie. And that’s enough for me.

  3. RE: casting Guy Pearce as Old Man Weyland

    In the most up-to-date version of the PROMETHEUS script that I saw, there was a scene where David goes inside Weyland’s mind (while he’s hibernating in the Sleep-O-Pod) and Weyland is dreaming of being a young man again.

    Vern, I respect your point about old people make-up, but there’s a frail gravitas about aging that is difficult to fake. No disrespect to the acting talents of Guy Pearce, but if Scott had cast someone like Terrence Stamp (now in his 70s) in that role, I reckon he wouldn’t have to mine too deeply to get a clear insight on a man in the autumn/winter of his years.

  4. unfortunately I still have not seen this, I can’t remember why I skipped it in theaters, I deeply regret that now though

    *sigh* I guess I should finally get around to seeing this soon

  5. The slasher movie parallels are interesting. More than that though are the similarities with At the Mountains of Madness. I can see why Fox would cancel Del Tor’s movie.

  6. I’ll go ahead and say what I’m sure more than a few others are alsoi thinking: much as I appreciate your summer movie retrospective, Vern… it seems like nearly all the movies you chose were ones that COULD have been good, but didn’t quite clear the hurdles. Just my impression, having followed it all the way through.

    I found Prometheus to be hugely disappointing, and utterly unworthy of whatever tenuous connection to Alien that Ridley Scott may have been striving for. Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender both lift the material, and Idris Elba (who has a unique talent for this in mediocre movies) emerges unscathed. But the rest of it is just a Godawful muddled mess, and it either 1.) makes me cringe at the thought that Scott is about to endeavor on a Blade Runner sequel, or 2.) gives me hope that he’ll redouble his efforts on said sequel to atone for failing with Prometheus.

    Jam: Your observations remind me of how Terrence Stamp lended some class & gravitas to Red Planet, a similarly themed movie. Hear, hear!

    Griff: Two words of advice— don’t bother.

  7. Yes, I’ve coined a new word: “alsoi”, meaning “in addition to myself”.

    As a former spelling bee champion (1st grade, but hey…), I take umbrage with my own mistakes.

  8. Oh wow 2012 I can’t believe how long ago it was even though it feels like yesterday it was actually already a whole year ago. It a great year for movies because all these movies came out and I remember watching them at the cinema and having a great time and yet I dont really remember watching them even though it seems like yesterday and yet it was already a year ago and it wasnt a very good year for movies except that film which i must have watched a hundred times and it just is the movie of the year for me although I only saw the trailer. 2012! Wow.

  9. This movie is so outrageously stupid that I’m surprised nobody’s made a case for it being under-the-radar Verhoevian satire. It’s still my favorite Ridley Scott movie of the 21st Century, though. I’ll take idiotic and entertaining over competent and dull any day.

  10. Man, I was secretly hoping Vern would get around to Battleship, which (not to overhype it or anything) I think he would dig for the big dumb fun that it is (and also the pleasant surprise of the 3rd act, where it charmingly throws any last remnants of logic out the window and turns into a de facto sequel to a certain 90s action classic that Vern would appreciate)

    Re: Prometheus, there’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said (the script is terrible, the characters are terrible, nothing makes sense, etc…I could go on and on about this movie like Asimov and JJTrek), except that I seem to be alone in thinking it didn’t even look that cool – to these untrained eyes, i thought visually it wasn’t much better than a Paul W.S. Anderson joint, and certainly nothing like Alien. I couldn’t even tell it was in 3D either. But I dvr’d it recently and am planning to watch it again stoned because who knows, I’ll probably like it, and it seems like it was written by stoned people anyways.

    So here’s my theory that I’ve been stewing on for a while, I might as well share it with you guys (I probably already did somewhere else on this board) – the entire movie would have been salvaged if the twist/reveal was that we(humans) were created by the engineers also as a biomechanical weapon, a world-destroyer, if you will. I mean, this would excuse/explain the arrogant, unlikable characters, actually answer the question “why did you create us?” (I mean, did the screenwriters even think of any potential answers or just think that was a like, deep question for a summer movie, man…). Maybe I’m just feeling down on the human race lately but considering we’ve managed to destroy the ozone layer and lead to the extinction of countless species all in about a hundred years, I’d say we’re a pretty damn effective world-ending weapon if you ask me.

    But since Ridley Scott was the guy complaining that he couldn’t film Robin Hood in such and such forest because tree-huggers were trying to protect “some black butterfly or something”, I’m sure this was never the intention of the movie. (Nevermind that the world needs some black butterfly or something more than another Goddamn Robin Hood reboot, but whatever…)

  11. I’m with you, neal. I didn’t think the much-hyped visuals were all that special either. It looked good but not appreciably different from your average mega-budget sci-fi spectacle.

  12. great, someone’s parodying me again

    anyway, my regret over having missed Prometheus fyi is that I wish I could join in on the discussion and have my own opinions, but unfortunately I’ve totally missed out

  13. Griff: NO, lad! Do not go gently into that good night of deceptivicational ruinationalism courtesy of false sockpuppetry. Rage!, rage against the dying of the light that your youthful naivete brings freshness to this site!

    (Forgive me, Zombie Dylan Thomas).

    I rather fear that (perhaps) after his stellar parlor trick acting turn in Lockout, that among this, Lawless, and Iron Man 3… that the great (no irony intended, HELL no!) Guy Pearce is suddenly collapsing into a period of inert performances. Because that would suck bigtime.

  14. I think what would have salvaged this movie is:

    Charlize Theron’s character survives
    She gets doused with black goo which lets her wear a giant Engineer suit that has a gun on the arm
    Fights alien space parasites
    The whole movie is the prequel to Metroid

  15. The Undefeated Gaul

    September 26th, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Vern, last year you asked me to repeat a Slasher Search suggestion in 2013 because it was too late for 2012, so here goes: a good one to review might be MIRAGE (1990), which is about some teenagers being chased around the desert by an invincible lunatic in a black pickup truck. It’s one that I saw on tv when I was young, but was never able to track down again, but maybe you’ll have better luck (don’t think it’s on DVD). In any case I remember it as pretty gory and with a completely over the top but nerdy giggling villain who was able to shrug off arrows through the throat like it was nothing.

    Imdb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121556/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_5

    (Look at that, it’s got Lem from The Shield in it, never noticed that before)

  16. Agreed, the visuals came off pretty lazy. I thought the Guy Pierce casting was genius though! we were all expecting a scene where he de-ages and takes the dodgy old man make-up off and then BAM, he’s dead. That’s (unintentionally , cos of the deleted stuff with young Guy Pierce) cool filmmaking. Hated the rest of it with a passion though. Everyone involved should be dickmonstered.

  17. Neal:

    “I seem to be alone in thinking it didn’t even look that cool – to these untrained eyes, i thought visually it wasn’t much better than a Paul W.S. Anderson joint, and certainly nothing like Alien.”

    Yeah, you’re not alone there.

    CC:

    “Agreed, the visuals came off pretty lazy.”

    Don’t know if I’d go that far, but I didn’t notice much that came off as new in it.

    I’m genuinely surprised that I’m the only person who’s pointed out the problems with Rapace’s performance. It looked as though she was trying to get as far away from both her own most famous role (Salander) and the previous heroine of the franchise (Ripley) as possible. And the result is a performance that doesn’t seem to “fit” the script at all. Here’s what I said about it before:

    “To do what it’s well established she’s done this girl must have travelled to many different cultures, negotiated with a lot of hard-nosed people in the process, and made herself stand out in a tough field, THEN negotiated her way onto a spaceship (yes, I know that’s mostly Pearce’s character’s doing, but he’d have to see her as worthy of it first). Is the character Rapace is playing capable of ANY of that? Not as far as I can see. Even when she’s fighting for her life towards the end and overcomes two guards in the process, it’s very much hinted that this is more the strength of having an alien inside her (black penis alien steroids?) than it is her own inner strength. I just don’t buy it. It’s not a terrible performance but it doesn’t fit with what I know of the character. I think her performance is one of the reasons why the movie doesn’t work. Rapace clearly doesn’t understand the character, and the movie suffers for it.”

    I will also repeat what I said in the forums about this film (before Vern had even reviewed it): I went to see it at a moderately full cinema with a lot of people, most of them not teenagers, who were obviously very enthused about the movie going in. And about halfway through they had noticeably turned against it. By the end there were people openly (and not too quietly) jeering at it. It’s one of the strangest audience reactions I’ve ever seen. I think I was probably the most positive of everyone coming out of the film, and I was hardly overenthusiastic (I ended up putting “Prometheus” at #4 on my list of “worst film experiences of 2012”, although bear in mind that #1 was the “Chipwrecked” trailer. I still have nightmares about that.)

    Would I recommend this to “Alien” fans? – Absolutely not. It is not a worthy successor to “Alien” and “Aliens”.

    Would I recommend it to the average moviegoer? – That’s a tougher one because the film is not without merit. I do feel, however, that it’s many, many flaws are enough to overcome the good parts of it. The film definitely has some interesting ideas but they’re executed in what often seems to be the worst possible way.

    I remember remarking at the time that the film failed in exactly the opposite way that I thought it would fail: I thought it would be a well-executed but totally generic “Alien” prequel-cum-ripoff. Instead we get a movie that has many interesting ideas and concepts in it, but the writers and director failed to bring these concepts to the screen in a way that was interesting to me (or to many of the people who watched it, going on the reactions I saw in the cinema and online since then).

  18. …And reading back over the talkback, I complimented the visuals, on a technical level, quite a bit.

    That “Prometheus” talkback might be one of the best ever… or at least one of the longest.

  19. And thinking over some of Guy Pearce’s recent work, I have to ask this:

    Is he trying to be the new Arnie?

    Seriously, Arnie went through that entire period where he was doing almost nothing but big-concept sci-fi action movies. Now Pearce seems to be doing a lot of the same thing, although less exclusively and with a lot less success. Is this where he’s going?

  20. I’ll split the difference here and argue that although the movie look good, the design of it is pretty damningly mundane. It wouldn’t be a problem in most other movies, but you put the new stuff they made up for this one againts the Geiger-designed O.G. xenomorph and Space Jockey, and you can’t help but notice how bland and unimaginative they are. The biggest disappointment is the jockey itself… it’s clear (to me) from Geiger’s original design that we’re not looking at a suit, it’s some sort of weird fossilized corpse. PROMETHEUS retcons it so that it’s just a normal mechanical space suit, and inside there’s just some big white guy. How completely uninteresting. I like Prometheus for the fundamental craziness of it’s concept, but the design, just like so much of the movie, simply doesn’t have the imagination to come up with anything cool enough to support it’s ambitions.

  21. Though if they do get around to a sequel and it ends with Shaw dead inside that same Space Jockey suit that the Nostromo crew came across, I’ll forgive everything.

  22. Paul, yeah I had the same experience where the crowd turned on it, and you could feel the excitement leaking out of the room as the movie went on (shades of Phantom Menace).

    And you hinted at something else I was thinking – Shaw is just a lame, uninteresting protagonist (though I suspect most of us didn’t notice that as a flaw since that’s about the 40th biggest problem this movie has) I’ll follow up what I said earlier in another thread about Henriksen in AVP being a better Weyland than the one we got here: Sanaa Lathan’s character in AVP is way better written and acted than Rapace here as well. (Don’t worry, Rapace’s character is still miles above Pizza Delivery Guy in AVP2, but not even close to Danny Glover or even Adrien Brody)

    And CC reminds me that this whole movie wasn’t even set on the same planet as Alien anyways, meaning a whole other alien ship full of eggs and space jockeys will have to crash on some other LV planet to get us back to the Alien starting point. Unbelievable.

  23. I really liked the first half of this (give or take) but then it just became too convoluted and stupid for me to care. Now, all I really remember is the scenes of the robot hanging out while everyone else is asleep.

  24. I love your twist idea, Neal. It would turn alot of the stupid actions of the characters into setup for a big punchline. Also I love CC’s part 2 twist ending.

  25. Gaul – I literally added it to the top of my list, but now that I’m researching it I see no evidence that it’s on video at all. I’ll leave it on there though to remind me if I ever come across it. Thanks for remembering.

  26. Please fellas, AT LEAST admit that the many scenes on the surface of the planet look good. I think they look gorgeous, unlike any other sci-fi movie and also seem to have actually been shot on location for once. (I mean, not in space, but outside somewhere.)

    I like the designs of the space suits and ships and everything, a nice functional retro look with a bit of slick modern Macintosh smoothness. And the creature effects are easily some of the most convincing of recent years, whatever you think of the designs. I mean, that monster at the end I don’t think is as cool as the Aliens he’ll apparently evolve into, but damn if I have any clue how they even did it. (Actually I heard it is a puppet with digital additions, but I haven’t watched the big ass documentary yet.)

  27. neal2zod, that’s a big problem I had with this movie, too: it seems to be asking me to accept that almost the exact same events will happen on a neighbouring LV moon within about 10 or 20 years or so (if i’ve got the series chronology correct).

    But when you read the original Alien: Engineers script by John Spaihts (which I think might have made for a solid, if not terribly groundbreaking, Alien prequel) you fine out that it was originally set on the same moon as Alien and was intended to explain the scenes that Ripley and co encountered. I’m pretty convinced that this was changed to allow room for additional prequel$.

    Here’s one incredibly dumb bit that I don’t see mentioned often: so the crew of Prometheus sacrifice themselves and the ship to stop the engineer’s ship from taking off. But at the end of the movie, Shaw and David take off in one of the many other engineer ships that are stashed about the place. So when the engineer survived the crash, why didn’t if just take off in one of those? There’s no Prometheus around to stop him anymore. Why did he instead go chasing after Shaw? What would that accomplish? I’m not even sure how he knew she was there.

    I had some laughs watching this movie, but it’s a real mess.

  28. The Undefeated Gaul

    September 26th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    No problem, I’ll keep an eye out as well for MIRAGE and let you know if I find it anywhere. Seems to be pretty rare though, I didn’t realize it was only ever released on PAL VHS… Lots of collectors seem to be hunting for a copy, guess we gotta hope someone finds it and uploads it on Youtube or something.

  29. Vern, you don’t even have to review it, but see Intruder. Thanks. Good bye.

  30. I recall there being a “Satan’s pick-up truck” segment in the TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE anthology film. Perhaps we can combine that, MIRAGE, CHRISTINE, THE WRAITH and THE CAR for an examination of the killer vehicle sub-genre? (With bonus points for KILLDOZER…)

    This just occurred to me, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen the supernatural evil plane movie. We’ve seen movies with evil stuff ON planes, but never quite the plane itself. Hmmm…

    Re: PROMETHEUS… This is one of those where half of my friends loved it, half hated it. That kind of divisive film is usually what gets me to the theater fastest, since I assume that only half of them “got” the movie, for better or for worse, and thus there is something about it that needs to be “gotten,” i.e. it’s interesting.

    I never quite made it to this one, though, and finally caught up via the magic of Netflix. And… I found it to be half lovable, half hate-able. This is a film which delivers that self-abortion scene, and man, what a doozy. It also has that knucklehead playing with the dick alien and getting killed in the most ridiculously stupid manner possible.

    I found myself see-sawing through the film like that. By the end of it, I’d call it a mis-matched collection of parts, rather than a cohesive movie, and kind of average in the sum.

  31. I like your comparison to a slasher movie, Vern. I didn’t notice it at the time, which kind of bums me out because I’ve always talked about how Alien is like a haunted house movie, all creepy and atmospheric. Then Aliens was a big “get away from her, you bitch” action movie. I love how different they are from each other, but they complement each other so well that it’s hard for me to say which one I like better.

    I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, though, because I was so busy trying to figure just what the hell happened that I missed the slasher movie theme. I enjoyed the movie while watching it, despite thinking they were the worst scientists ever, but afterward instead of thinking, “That was a cool part when…” I was thinking, “Now, wait, was that supposed to be the same moon that they landed on in Alien? So, where did the big Mama Alien come from again? Was she the one that was the half-breed human, octostarfish baby?” And I have to say, I’m a really smart gal and I am even smarter when it comes to figuring out movies, so if I was bumfuzzled as to what just happened, I can see why most people didn’t like the movie.

  32. I’m pretty sure there’s no DVD release for MIRAGE, but it’s available to stream or watch here: http://veehd.com/video/4636779_Mirage-1990-VHSRip

    This is a great site, by the way, for tracking down long-lost VHS-only classics. I feel a little sketched out when they have movies with legitimate releases up there, but I choose not to partake of those unless they’re out of print.

  33. By “stream or watch” I meant “stream or download.”

  34. I wish they had just made a straight up Alien movie, this was just stupid and boring. Jason X was a much better slasher movie in space.

  35. I saw this after six months of everyone telling me how shitty it was, so I ended up thinking it was okay. Looked nice, cool sci-fi ideas and good suspense scenes.

    I don’t buy the old man makeup argument. It still looks terrible, I don’t care how old he’s supposed to be. I can’t believe they looked at that latex eyesore and thought it was an acceptable thing to put in their $200M blockbuster.

  36. Sternshein – I’ve seen it a couple times, I’m not sure why I didn’t write a review.

  37. I agree with Vern that this movie looks pretty damn great. I also agree with Mr. Subtlety that the contrast between the Giger-designed shit and the new boring shit made the new boring shit look MUCH worse by comparison. First of all, Giger’s heyday was back in the 70’s — surely his influence has had time to grow now and there are SOME up-and-coming artists out there who have been taking his ideas in exciting new directions (as opposed to “Hey, this thing that comes out of her stomach basically looks like a squid.”) Not hiring some designers to take that shit to a new level was a pretty serious failing in a movie where one of the main attractions is the weird monsters.

    And Vern is spot-on that this is an old-school horror movie in sci-fi clothing. That completely explains the dumbness of the overall narrative. It’s just that the technical filmmaking is so good that (for this viewer at least) it obscures and distorts that which we would otherwise find endearingly stupid.

  38. On a vaguely related note, anybody here listen to that podcast “How Did This Get Made?” Like most movie discussion podcasts, it’s pretty awesome when they’re tearing apart a movie you hate, but then when they touch on a movie you like, the guys come across as complete snarky assholes. It’s still pretty enjoyable, (even though considering June Diane Raphael is on it every week – you wonder should the person who wrote Bride Wars really be tearing apart other people’s screenplays??)

    Anyways, one week they had special guest Damon Lindelof, making fun of Superman III for being a “and then…” movie. As in, it wasn’t so much a cohesive story as a bunch of Superman scenes connected by “and then….”. I’ll say that again, DAMON LINDELOF, the man responsible for a movie where a jealous robot drops black goo into some assholes drink, and then that asshole has sex with a woman who gets pregnant in one day, and then she C-sections it out of herself, and then it magically grows tenfold in size, and then it somehow impregnates another entirely different alien, and then the Alien we know and love bursts out if its chest. And then this apparently all happens again on another planet at some point.

    On another note: I think I mentioned this in the videogame forum, but in Aliens: Colonial Marines, the much reviled Aliens videogame sequel, the action takes place back on the colony on LV-426, which has somehow miraculously survived getting nuked in Aliens. There’s a big fight on the original Alien ship, with the Space Jockey intact and all, and those glowing scanning orbs from Prometheus show up in a cameo. So I guess in the game’s timeline, either the LV planet gets renamed or the ship takes off and crashes again. Then again this is a game where SPOILER? Michael Biehn shows up as Hicks and explains that he faked his own death on the prison planet in Alien3 and switched bodies with a corpse, so canon may not be a priority here.

  39. Going to have re-watch this one now.

    I liked but didn’t love it. Heavily anticipated a good ‘alien-verse’ movie and got a dumb ‘alien-verse’ movie. Maybe I’ll enjoy it more. I want to enjoy it more!

    The main thing I remember is seeing (in 3D) the ship’s initial landing on the planet. It was crystal clear, super realistic, the way the dust comes up from it, the lighting – just that whole little sequence was amazing. Wished I had a rewind button in the cinema!

  40. Nobody seems to discuss the fact that it’s a remake of the original, pretty much plot point by point point. They locked themselves in the prequel corner by trying to explain the Space Jockey from the original but all that Engineers gobbledygook is what sucked it down. What works, what looks Ridley Scott and is awesome to experience is everything the original Alien was.

    I liked it a lot in theaters but it got better on second viewing because I knew what it was. What a beautiful film to put on and while I can see the slasher comparison, I think it owes more to the haunted house subgenre, just like the original film.

    This was a great feature, Vern. Hopefully, you’ll flashback again.

  41. I wanna back up my assertion that Prometheus is a remake of Alien.

    In Prometheus, they replaced the space truckers of Alien with scientists and instead of answering a distress signal, they follow a clue to a distant, desert, hostile planet (but it’s gorgeous this time ‘cause they had more money to make the movie).

    They land on the planet, check out the signal, find a spaceship, bring back a nasty bug onto theirs and all hell breaks loose. The crew is thinned out until the ship with the alien on it is blown up, leaving only one survivor to travel through space to destination: uncertain.

    They even redid the alien birth scene except this time the final girl is empowered and she pulls the fucker out herself. That was awesome. Then there is a surprise reveal in the third act but this time it’s not finding out one of the crew is actually a robot on a secret mission to bring back the alien, it’s an old dude who pops up out of nowhere to bring the film to a screeching halt for an uninteresting reason. I think this sucked. The robot bit was better

    Anyway, they shouldn’t have marketed it as a prequel. People would probably still have hated it on principle but with Scott at the helm, they might have been pleasantly surprised. I think it’s a good remake of Alien and the third best in the proper series. I admit it: I like ‘me all. They’re all impressive film making, in my opinion.

  42. TexanFromFrance, I recommend checking out the original script. It’s clear enough that it was originally supposed to be an Alien prequel that followed the basic outline of Alien. It had actual aliens (disgusting-sounding translucent versions) and facehuggers and shit. It mostly made sense. I think it might have been a pretty decent b-picture elevated by some pretty visuals, instead of the deeply unsatisfying identity crisis of a movie we actually got. It has problems of its own (it still has the engineers, which I think is a potentially interesting idea, but not in am alien movie, because who really wants the inexplicable primordial evil of the alien to be explained?) but you can see that practically everything added or changed by Lindeloff made it worse. The black goo, the eye worm, the squid monster, the dick snake, the med pod that doesn’t work on women etc. All of that feels shoe-horned into the movie precisely because it was shoe-horned into the script.

  43. Oh, and the original script has a neat scene with David, Shaw and a facehugger that would have been really good to see onscreen before the film makers got embarrassed about it being a little bit too much like an Alien movie and removed it.

  44. The Undefeated Gaul

    September 27th, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Mr. M – Thanks for that link to the MIRAGE stream. It’s poor quality but I skipped through and managed to find some of the scenes that shocked me so much as a kid. Seems pretty tame now, but the killer still cracks me up.

  45. No one has mentioned to part of the movie where David is completely by himself, alone in the ship. I actually thought this was the best part of the entire movie. I really love the David character, because he’s such a weird enigma. This was the rare instance in the film where the fact that the character’s motives were unclear actually benefited the character and the film. His Peter O’Toole obsession is bizarre, but strangely fitting. There’s something controlled and impeccable about a Peter O’Toole performance that might appeal to a robot.

    Ultimately, the bad outweighed the good in the film, but there are a handful of really fine moments in the movie.

  46. Ok, things I agree with:

    RBatty: “No one has mentioned to part of the movie where David is completely by himself, alone in the ship. I actually thought this was the best part of the entire movie. Ultimately, the bad outweighed the good in the film, but there are a handful of really fine moments in the movie.”

    Agreed with all of that.

    Vern: “Please fellas, AT LEAST admit that the many scenes on the surface of the planet look good. I think they look gorgeous, unlike any other sci-fi movie and also seem to have actually been shot on location for once.”

    Agreed, there are some great-looking visuals in the film. My specific problem with a lot of the scenes is that they don’t seem to fit the Alienverse that we know. I’m not a huge fan of “wow, technology!” moments in films anyway (which explains why I disliked “Now you see me” as much as I did – it had practically nothing but those) and there are a few at the start of “Prometheus”. My problem with the visuals of the film isn’t that they look bad (they don’t, to me) but that they seem to be taken more from some kind of generic sci-fi movie checklist than from the actual Alien canon. I mean, if you’re going to make another Alien movie for some reason (and my position on that one is “Why, artistically speaking, would you ever want to do such a thing?” but anyway…) then start by looking at the world of “Alien” and “Aliens”.

    Once again – I did not hate this film. Honestly I didn’t really hate any film of 2012. The film came out in Britain BEFORE it arrived in the USA, which is astonishing but meant that I could debate with you guys about it at the time instead of having to wait a couple of months (as with “The Call” and “White House Down”). I wrote something about it on the forums. Although I think it’s a bad film overall, I could not in good conscience eviscerate it completely; it definitely has a few great moments even if the experience as a whole does not work due to its weaknesses in storytelling. It’s very much a case of “filmmaking by committee” and I think it was probably rushed out to to take advantage of the summer blockbuster season.

  47. RBatty: I sort of mentioned it. It’s pretty much the only thing I remember about this movie. I loved that part.

  48. Yeah, the opening section with David alone on the ship is easily the best part of the movie. That part was really good.

  49. I’m getting old. The fight between the humanoid alien and the giant rubbery starfish-octopus wouldn’t have fazed me back in the day, but it really creeped me out now.

  50. TexanfromFrance, have we discussed the whole Planet of the Vampires thing on the original board? I can’t remember. If Prometheus is a remake of anything, it would be that (which is funny because so many people have pointed out how Alien was a ripoff/remake of Planet of the Vampires). Even the space suits in Prometheus are shockingly similar. I caught POTV on Netflix a while back but I’m not sure if it’s still there. I do remember it never had vampires and the creatures on the cover don’t show up either (even though they look a bit like the Newborn from Alien Resurrection! This movie is getting cannibalized all around!)

    Fred, I couldn’t take the giant rubbery starfish octopus seriously because it reminded me too much of The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” video. And yes, I would have preferred a big budget remake of that video to what we eventually got with Prometheus.

  51. “On a space mission like this, or a trip to a cabin, you’d think they’d try to put together a group of people who get along, but that rarely happens in the movies.”

    That happens in the little known recent space movie called EUROPA REPORT. It’s the most accurate portait of scientists in a space mission that has ever been put to the screen since 2001, and even beats SUNSHINE in that regard because the movie doesn’t use some cheap melodramatics to have conflict to “spice up” the drama. The mission itself is the drama, everybody acts lie trained professionals who are passionate about their job (like real scientists), and the movie is so much the better for it.

    Mr Vern, if you ever get the chance, try EUROPA REPORT, you might find it interesing.
    And please, a review of BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, i’d really love to read your thoughs on that strange surreal wonderful movie.

  52. It’s the half-assed-ness of the ‘Big Ideas’ that frustrates me. These guys (Lindelof, Abrams, Kurtzman, that other fucking asshole) all seem to believe that having a character say “THING X IS SUPER IMPORTANT” is equivalent to having addressed Thing X in a meaningful way and incorporating it into the narrative. *ahem* THAT FUCKING ISN’T HOW IT WORKS. You can’t just have a character say, “I feel *this* way about the theme of the movie” and then in the last few minutes say, “Now I feel THIS way about that thing” and call it an arc.

    I think these guys, more than anyone else, embody everything wrong with modern Hollywood thing. No new ideas, no fresh takes, no attempts to stake their own ground, just: “People liked this thing from 30 years ago. Let’s do it again, but SHINY, and we’ll be just as good and money.”

    Oh, and then when people complain, be sure to scapegoat fans/studio/actors/Hollywood/video games/caterers/puppies. Never own a mistake, never look inward, never grow.

  53. You know what makes a good double feature? Prometheus and Detention (preferably in an altered state). Because once you give up all hope that Prometheus will be an actual good movie (going past all other stages of grieving and jumping right to acceptance, as Mouth said in the original thread), and accept that it will just be a Detention/Cabin in the Woods-style meta mishmash of genre cliches and storybeats not to be taken too seriously, it’s actually kind of fun. What can I say.

    No, I still don’t think Scott/Lindelof and co. were purposely doing anything self-reflexive or meta. (Or were they? See below) And it’s certainly nowhere near as clever or coherent as Detention’s script (I can’t believe I just wrote that but it’s true). But as a bizarro comedy, this was a blast to watch again. The nonsensical, arbitrary story. The way they don’t explain important stuff that needs to be explained, but then will over-explain other things with pages and pages of flat exposition. The inconsistent characters. Guy Pearce’s terrible old man performance. Elba’s southern(?) accent. That scene with Theron and David in the hall where she wipes her hand across his face like they’re suddenly in some Telemundo soap opera. That horrible “….FATHER!” line. The hilarious and random way that Theron dies (the biggest mystery is how the hell did they convince a Best Actress Oscar Winner to take this role?) And that ending!

    And of course, Logan Marshall Green. Watching it a second time made me realize how awesome his performance is. He’s so much more than an annoying douchebag of a character, he’s hilariously terrible, like Chris Klein in Street Fighter except I personally think Klein was in on the joke and I’m not so sure about Green.

    On a side note: I saw Alien on the big screen a few weeks ago, and that movie still stands up as a landmark in tension, slow-burn pacing, and incredible set design/cinematography. It may be the best looking movie of all time. Prometheus doesn’t seem to have come from the same director at all (even the supposed same Giger-esque set of the Space Jockey ship looks cheap here). I’d actually argue that Blade Runner is the true sequel/companion piece to Alien (in terms of an extremely similar look, tone, and feel), and that Prometheus is really the spiritual followup to Legend, Scott’s well-meaning homage to fairy tale tropes that also disregarded little things like coherence and story.

    Legend pasted together as much fairy tale iconography as it could into it’s 80-ish minute runtime – demons, goblins, elves, fairies, unicorns, etc… in a charmingly head-scratching cocktail where you couldn’t tell if what you were watching was so-bad-it’s-good, or just so-good. Viewed under the same lens (but with Vern’s aforementioned slasher movie tropes instead of fairy tales, plus as I mentioned, bits of Alien, X-Files, Leviathan, Supernova, Red Planet, Sunshine, pretty much every horror/sci-fi movie ever made), Prometheus is kind of brilliant, an unintentional(?) laff riot at least.

  54. I see that Morse has popped up in the cast list for PROMETHEUS 2. Wouldn’t that make him 200 years old in ALIEN 3?

  55. 1-900-MIXALOT

    May 8th, 2016 at 9:10 am

    No spoilers here, and I actually wish that I didn’t know the specifics of this myself, but I’m friendly with someone whose partner is one of the actors in ALIEN: COVENANT and, if the title alone wasn’t enough to drive the point home, I heard a pretty detailed description of the actor’s role in the film and it sounds for all intents and purposes that this will be a straight up ALIEN joint cut from the old familiar cloth. Make of that what you will.

  56. The new trailer is good but is still promising it’s not going to do anything new:

    ALIEN: COVENANT | Official Trailer #2 HD 2017 | Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender

    The path to paradise begins in hell. Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchi...

    I’ve been joking with friends that I don’t why I’m looking for to this one so much when PROMETHEUS, a movie I’m WAY nicer to than most people, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in extending this series’ lifespan. To mitigate disappointment, I’ve been watching a ton of ALIEN-knockoffs so COVENANT will look even better by default. I’ve seen so, so much garbage the last few months due to that stupid idea and now that means I have to go see LIFE later this month so I can come full-circle.
    Honestly I’m way more hopeful for Shan Black’s THE PREDATOR next year.

  57. Saw LIFE last night, the new SciFi/Horror movie not the Eddie Murphy/Martin Lawrence comedy from the ’90s. It was a mostly solid monster movie. Nothing remarkable or earth shattering but you don’t have to make as many excuses for it to enjoy it as PROMETHEUS. That said I liked it less and less as the movie went on because it starts to become way more routine the longer it goes on.
    .
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    My only issue with it is *SPOILER* I guess I’m getting old and becoming a fuddy duddy but I kinda wish it had a happy ending. It instead went for the nihilistic sequel-bait ending. I don’t mind those per se but I don’t think it really gelled with the tone of the rest of the movie. Even if the rest of the movie watching scientist gets killed by an alien jellyfish (well not the first 20 minutes where it’s being a “real scifi” movie).

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