June 9, 2012

"Prometheus"

Some good stuff in this science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner), especially Michael Fassbender as the evil gay robot who studiously models his accent and hairstyle on Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. But the movie is not terribly scary, and the screenplay (co-written by one of the Lost writers) is a mess. 

My guess is that there is about an hour of plot left on the cutting room floor. Scott is at his best as a slow-paced, moody director, so it doesn't work to hand him a complex screenplay that is supposed to tie together the Alien series and maybe Blade Runner too, and launch a new series.Thus, about two-thirds of the way through Prometheus, Idris Elba, as the starship captain, suddenly explains for us a whole bunch of stuff about the origin of the unknown planet that his character couldn't possibly have figured out  by that point. 

It would have been just as effective to have Elba face the camera and hold up 60 pages of torn-up screenplay in his left hand while reading from a 4x6 index card in his right hand: "After a night of far-ranging and frank discussions among the studio executives, the producers, Sir Ridley, and the accountants, the decision has been made to skip over pp. 93 to 152 of the screenplay and have one character just tell the audience the unsettling discoveries that would have required at least $57.5 million in incremental expenditures to show. Of course, since all characters in Alien spaceship crews notoriously have their own agendas, this raised the issue of whom audience members would find most trustworthy. Since I'm the black guy in the movie and therefore could be assumed not to have a complicated corporate agenda, I was chosen. So, to summarize, this planet is not actually the ..."

Also, the screenplay is aimed way down the IQ scale. For example, when the ship arrives at the unexplored Earth-like planet in a distant solar system in 2093, it immediately descends through clouds to the surface, not picking out a landing spot until they are 3,000 feet up. Have they never heard of orbiting for awhile?

Scott's last movie, 2010's Robin Hood, was kind of a mess, too. (Scott isn't a writer, and it's silly of studios to keep trying to have him launch trilogies, for which he lacks the kind of large-scale plot-architect skills that Joss Whedon brought to the Avengers.) But, Robin Hood was at least a pretty smart mess (Tom Stoppard did the last round of script doctoring), with lots of interesting historical analogies comprising an attack on Blair-Brown New Labour. But, it didn't do that well at the American box office, unsurprisingly, so maybe they decided to dumb down Prometheus to avoid alienating American ticket-buyers.

Mission accomplished!

152 comments:

FredR said...

"My guess is that there is about an hour of plot left on the cutting room floor."

Do you have higher hopes for the director's cut? I haven't seen or compared other Ridley Scott director's cuts, so I don't have any sense of whether they tend to be better or worse. I remember him claiming that the Kingdom of Heaven director's cut is a lot better, but there was no way I was going to sit through an even longer version of that movie.

Evil Sandmich said...

If that's a good review I'd hate to see the bad!

All told, this movie is gorgeously made and is draped upon a skeletal mess of a screenplay.

Anonymous said...

"so maybe they decided to dumb down Prometheus to avoid alienating American ticket-buyers."

Or, a more likely scenario, they dumb downed the plot in order to appeal to the global audience;note how James Cameron's scripts have grown increasingly less intelligent as he attempts to appeal to the non-Western lumpenproletariat, and not to the Anglosphere (cf the difference between, say THE TERMINATOR and AVATAR).

Syon

Anonymous said...

The victory of form over substance?

Anon.

Anonymous said...

This film might have the highest stupidity/plot hole quotient to pretty visuals of any film in recent memory:

1. Stupidity:A biologist encounters an unknown, rather snakelike alien lifeform and attempts to touch it.Bear in mind, the same aforesaid biologist was depicted in the previous scene as being in a state of near panic.

2. Plot hole:Why did David expose the scientist to the alien goo?How was that supposed to further the plot, beyond supplying a nod to ALIEN?

3.Stupidity/Plot hole: Wait, the scientists have used star positions that are 30,000 plus years old?The screenwriters do know that stars move, right?

4.Stupidity/plot hole:David can talk to the aliens because he has studied Earth's most ancient languages? Forgive my ignorance, but I was unaware that human languages were somehow encoded in our DNA.Or are we supposed to infer that the aliens made return visits to Earth and gave us the original proto-language from which all speech descends?

Syon

Anonymous said...

The Kingdom of Heaven director's cut is close to being a masterpiece. It solves pretty much every problem from the theatrical cut, deepens the history and character stories and just makes the whole thing a richer experience.

Anonymous said...

RE:Michael Fassbender:Third film where he evokes the persona of another star.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: George Sanders Riff

X-MEN:FIRST CLASS: conjures Connery era James Bond

PROMETHEUS: apes Peter O'Toole

Syon

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing(and the problem) with the original ALIEN. It was two movies in one. Movie A was ambitious and possibly visionary/intellectual. Movie B was elemental and frightening.
Movie A was introduced but not fulfilled whereas Movie B was well-executed and fulfilled; it worked essentially as sci-fi horror.

But of course, Movie A was where all the visionary and intellectual potential was at, largely thanks to the art design by Giger. When the astronauts come upon an alien planet and see magnificent and eerie remnants of a lost civilization, it stimulates the imagination, and we want to know more. This part of the movie, or Movie A, has more in common with the works of Kubrick and Tarkovsky.

But instead of pursuing that path, the movie introduced some alien space crab that grew into a nautilus-headed mantis-like creature. And so, ALIEN becomes Movie B. From there on, it was essentially a chase movie with people running from the monster.
Something similar could be said of JURASSIC PARK. It begins as a concept movie with the fascinating idea of recreating dinosaurs. It stirs our imagination and is full of wonderment. But once the dinos get loose, it essentially boils down to a chase movie with man and kids having to run like a mothafuc*a from the the big lizards.
Both ALIEN and JURASSIC PARK start out with wonderment and fascination but boil down to action, fright, and thrills. And they work very well on that level.
And I suppose there's a kernel of truth in what happens: when we get close to anything, it usually turns out to be the 'same old shit'. Take Canadian geese. At one time, they were nearly extinct. And so when their numbers began to increase and they landed on our parks and yards, we thought 'oh my, how wonderful and niced'. But after awhile, they were just more birds shitting all over. In the early 70s when Nixon went to China, we thought, 'how fascinating to make contact with the Middle Kingdom shut off from the world for so long'. But now, there's a lot of contact between US and China, and Chinese seem less inscrutably fascinating than greedy and materialistic like any other people. From afar--spatially or temporally--, things seem fascinating. But up close, it's the 'same old shit'. Ancient civilizations are fascinating to us, but if we had a time machine and went back, we'd come upon the 'same old shit'. The moon once seemed like a mysterious silvery orb up in the sky. But having gone there, we know it's just a big desolate piece of rock. Dinos seem tantalizing and mysterious. But if we could produce a whole bunch of them, we'd either run for our lives or raise them for wings and ribs.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, ALIEN was two movies; Movie A was intellectually more stimulating and tantalizing than Movie B. But Scott went with Movie B cuz people want action and thrills. So, it could be that with PROMETHEUS, he finally got a chance to ponder and expand on Movie A: approach it from a more conceptual, and intellectual angle. Of course, there is action and suspense later(or so I heard as I haven't seen it), but it sounds like a very ambitious movie in terms of its overall vision.

The problem, of course, is that a movie on this scale has to make back the money, and to rake in the bucks, you gotta give people the thrill ride. So, the end result may especially be jarring because PROMETHEUS, at once, goes much further than ALIEN on Movie A aspects but then lurches into Movie B mode to please the audience.

Scott learned from BLADE RUNNER that people prefer Movie B to Movie A. BR was also two movies: Movie A gave us the tantalizing vision of future L.A. and pondered what it meant to be human by entangling Deckard's story with replicants who are 'more human than human'. Movie A was a moody zen garden and food for thought, and it overshadowed Movie B of action and violence. Though there was a good deal of Movie B elements, the audience(and even critics) were puzzled and off-put by the darkness, 'slow' pace, ambiguity, and atmosphere over action. And even the action was rather befuddling. Deckard was no Indiana Jones. Indeed, he wasn't even very heroic. He was almost killed by Zhora before gunning her down(by shooting her in the back). He was almost killed by Leon and was saved by Rachel, a replicant of all things. And Pris could have killed him if she didn't do that flipflop; he got lucky again. And Deckard doesn't defeat Batty. If anything, Batty spares the helpless and battered Deckard. It upset too many conventions, and it failed at the box office.
ALIEN is 25% Movie A and 75% Movie B. BLADE RUNNER is the other way around. ALIEN was a huge success. BLADE RUNNER was a flop. My guess is that with PROMETHEUS, Scott went 50/50, but since reducing Movie B for Movie A is risky, when Movie B kicks into gear in PROMETHEUS, Scott really pushes it hard: less time but more intensity.

I know Scott was upset with AvP, but ALIEN's success owed more to scary Movie B elements than thoughtful Movie elements, and so I'm not sure what he's bitching about. Besides, he's done plenty of hack work too to keep working in the industry.

Movie B of ALIEN doesn't offer much in the way of thought. It's essentially about man vs monster. And as monsters go, the Alien monster is far less interesting than the creature in John Carpenter's THE THING.
It's no wonder that ALIEN sequels are more known for their actions/effects than ideas. Part II is almost all action, RAMBO vs Godzilla babies in space. ALIEN 3 features superb filmmaking by Fincher--a real giant in his grasp of film sense/form--, but it too was more about human drama and man/woman vs monster. It came down to biology: survival of humans vs survival of alien creature. Some people see the conflict as between the female/mother principles since Weaver is a woman and so is the Alien creature(though I wonder if it's an hermaphrodite that can impregnate itself). ALIEN series are not without ideas, but they are rooted in the basic biological drives of competition for survival and dominance.

Anonymous said...

To be sure, one could argue there's a certain irony to the meaning of 'alien'. After all, who/what exactly is an alien in the ALIEN movies? In the first movie, we think we're visiting an alien planet; then, we feel chased by an alien creature. But aren't we aliens intruding into another planet? And it turns out that the original inhabitants of the planet may have been killed off by alien-creatures before the human-aliens arrived. So, both alien-creatures and humans are aliens, intruders into another world. But, by the look of the lost civilization on the alien planet, it appears that the inhabitants were themselves alien-invaders of other worlds. They have massive technology and huge sci-fi guns. It's possible that long long ago, they brought the alien-creatures from another planet they conquered and were conquered in turn by what they brought back. (It's like the white race is being conquered by they very race they conquered: the blacks. Whites should never have brought them here from Africa.) So, everyone's an alien.

I believe the ship in ALIEN is called NOSTROMO which is the title of some Conrad novel. Conrad(though I haven't read him though I've seen movies based on his books), to my knowledge, wrote about imperialism and colonization. So, ALIEN is like a sci-fi imagining of Conradism. Just as white folks journeyed on oceanic voyages to alien worlds--where THEY, in turn, were aliens in the eyes of natives--, human space travelers in ALIEN are futuristic imperialist/colonists. They go to alien worlds, but they themselves are alien intruders into the world of others.

The concept of the 'alien' crops up in Scott's other films. In his first film DUELLISTS--which could have been great if Keitel and Carradine were believably French for even one second--, French soldiers trek into Russia during the Napoleonic wars. As in other movies, Scott likes to work big and intimate. The backdrop of THE DUELLISTS is huge and grand--French Revolution and European wars--, but the main focus is the conflict between two men. Keitel, like the alien-creature, is single-minded in his pursuit of violence and destruction. Carradine is more thoughtful but figures he's gotta do what he's gotta do. The story is set during a time when revolutions and wars are undermining the sense of old certainties. Old kingdoms are falling, traditional boundaries are melting, and the rules of aristocracy are being undermined. It's like the dawn of the Rise of the Modern.

The concept of 'the alien' is there is BLADE RUNNER, where L.A. is turning both cutting-edge futuristic and third-world-backward. A native American like Deckard feels like an alien in his own country. And with the coming of replicants, who is human and who isn't? Will replicants replace humanity? And in BLACK RAIN--made at the height of 'alien Japanese are invading America' fears--, an American as 'gaijin' goes to Japan and works as an alien-cop to track down a yakuza organization. As with THE DUELLISTS, the scale is both big and small: Japan vs America on the one hand, and personal vendetta/redemption on the other.

To the extent that every organism seeks to expand, dominate, and take over or leech off other species, every living form is an 'alien'.
American Indians arrived as aliens across the Bering Strait. White folks arrived as aliens across the Atlantic. And viruses and bacteria have their own invasive objectives.

Anonymous said...

The funny irony is that though we tend to see the alien-creature as the very opposite of what we are, it is, in a way, the mirror reflection of our basic animal-alien nature. What the alien-creature does to/against us is what we've done to all the other species on earth. It seeks to dominate us like we've sought to dominate all of Earth. Why do we act like Earth belongs to us humans? Because we conquered it over all other species. Scott made a movie about Columbus too.

So, in a way, we fear the alien-creature not so much because it's so different from us but because it is so much like us. It is like a nightmare manifestation/reflection of our own essential nature. It does to us what we do to cows, pigs, and chickens--and entire continents. The fact that humans are made to 'give birth' to alien creatures signify how much we have in common. When it tears out of us, it's like the physical manifestation of our own buried nature. Despite our facade of civilization, we are ruthless creatures that will do anything for our survival and dominance, etc.

Personally, the only Scott film I truly love is BLADE RUNNER.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the DVD will feature the director's cut, alternate cut, expanded cut, and final cut.

Anonymous said...

"Also, the screenplay is aimed way down the IQ scale. For example, when the ship arrives at the unexplored Earth-like planet in a distant solar system in 2093, it immediately descends through clouds to the surface, not picking out a landing spot until they are 3,000 feet up. Have they never heard of orbiting for awhile?"

I haven't seen the movie, but any chance they were attempting to portray aero-braking?

Mr. Anon said...

They should have cast Madonna to play the "Alien" creature - she's starting to look like it.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the completely needless scene where the black captain blanda upps with the blonde female.

I wasn't shocked when I found out who wrote the movie.

FredR said...

"Movie A was ambitious and possibly visionary/intellectual. Movie B was elemental and frightening."

This was the first in a series of good points, but my guess is that you tend to get the best art when you have a structure that can fruitfully combine intellectual with elemental (highbrow and lowbrow). This goes along with the idea (which seemed to have reach wider currency with Murray's new book) that the best cultural/social structures do the same thing. I think Steve was making a similar point somewhere in his review of Atonement.

Anonymous said...

There is in ALIEN series and BLADE RUNNER the theme of 'miscegenation'. In ALIEN 3, Weaver's DNA turns out to be part alien. She becomes humalien, and as such could be superior to both alien and human; she could be both friend and enemy to both alien and human. The final scene when she lovingly clutches her alien baby as she dives into molten iron to destroy it and herself is perversely freaky and very moving.

There is also the 'miscegenation' of man and technology, more in BLADE RUNNER than in ALIEN.

This brings us to Obamatheus, rejected by birthers as an alien invader--though birthers fixate on geography, they are really more offended by Obalien's interracist birth--but promoted by Jews as the ultimate and 'more American than American' American for his bio-cultural-diversity-and-cosmopolitanism.

To the Right, Obama looks unlike past America, so he must be un-American. But to liberals addicted to the cult of change, Obamerican's exotic alienness makes him all the more truly American in a 'proposition nation'.
Alien is the new American.

Anonymous said...

'evil gay robot'

ROBOPHOBIA!

Anonymous said...

@Syon

Only one of those is actually a plot-hole. All of the rest are explained within the movie or plausible.

"2. Plot hole:Why did David expose the scientist to the alien goo?How was that supposed to further the plot, beyond supplying a nod to ALIEN?"

He wanted to see if the living goo would help Charles Weyland live forever. Not a bad guess given that the goo does have the power to create life in the hands of space jockeys.

"3.Stupidity/Plot hole: Wait, the scientists have used star positions that are 30,000 plus years old?The screenwriters do know that stars move, right?"

They don't move much. In particular, it wouldn't be hard to find a cluster of a stars and predict where they would be 30,000 years later.

"4.Stupidity/plot hole:David can talk to the aliens because he has studied Earth's most ancient languages? Forgive my ignorance, but I was unaware that human languages were somehow encoded in our DNA.Or are we supposed to infer that the aliens made return visits to Earth and gave us the original proto-language from which all speech descends?"

This is not a plothole for a few reasons. We don't know if the space jockey understands David. He certainly doesn't respond very well. We know the aliens made return visits to earth because of the opening of the movie when it's revealed that the aliens have visited various civilizations at different times. Finally, David isn't speaking the space jockey language, he is speaking a language similar to what ancient humans spoke at the time the aliens arrived. This is stated in the movie.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/7A-wjzYuGoc

Good stuff. I remember seeing this long ago.

wren said...

What a let down this was!

I was hoping for one of those once or twice a decade sci-fi films that blows your mind.

Instead, I found myself thinking "This just doesn't make any sense."

In the movie they kept saying what a big deal the whole expedition was, but it seemed to me like they had just hired the crew through craigslist (or 2083 equivalent) the morning of the flight or something...

Anonymous said...

"This brings us to Obamatheus, rejected by birthers as an alien invader--though birthers fixate on geography, they are really more offended by Obalien's interracist birth--but promoted by Jews as the ultimate and 'more American than American' American for his bio-cultural-diversity-and-cosmopolitanism.

To the Right, Obama looks unlike past America, so he must be un-American. But to liberals addicted to the cult of change, Obamerican's exotic alienness makes him all the more truly American in a 'proposition nation'.
Alien is the new American"

Damm...

Steve Sailer said...

wren said:

"but it seemed to me like they had just hired the crew through craigslist (or 2083 equivalent) the morning of the flight or something..."

Right. I saw it at the North Hollywood Laemmle, ground zero for hipsters who aren't as young as they used to be, and the audience in the lobby after the movie looked exactly like the crew of the Prometheus (Charlize Theron excepted). Maybe Sir Ridley held auditions at the North Hollywood subway station.

Anonymous said...

http://www.economist.com/node/21556614?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/ar/cocoonnolonger

Shootings in Seattle
Cocoon no longer
A startling rampage among the coffee shops

------------

Gee... I wonder why.

wren said...

Maybe Sir Ridley held auditions at the North Hollywood subway station.

Yeah, just like Weyland Industries. Was I misunderstanding it or did the crew actually learn what they were going to do after they arrived, sans any training or anything like that?

A trillion dollar trip, hibernating for years and then a five minute briefing about what the mission is ten minutes before they jump out of the ship? Right.

That brought out the autism in me.

Anonymous said...

http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/ID/128178

RWF said...

Apparently for "Robin Hood", Ridley Scott was given a really brilliant script to work with featuring the Sheriff of Nottingham as the central character solving a series of murders where Robin Hood appears to be the culprit- the studio paid 1.5 million for that scrpit.

Then Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe decided that they would rather just do what has been done a hundred times before.....

Lakini said...

Is a their a hole in the continuity of Prometheus and Alien? When the crew touched down on the derelict moon in Alien they explore what appears to be same ship that crashes in the end of Prometheus. However, in Alien the space jockey/pilot is still in his captain's chair, but he is killed by the devil baby on the escape pod: shouldn't the captain's chair be empty? This especially annoyed me because Scott said that the space jockey and his origins were the impetus for Prometheus...

Udolpho.com said...

I'm afraid Steve missed the really big point of the movie: it's about gods. See http://mpcdot.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5496-prometheus/ for further explanation.

Udolpho.com said...

Also, James Cameron's screenplays have never made a lick of sense. They are shamelessly stuffed with cliches and characters doing mindless things and other hackery.

BrokenSymmetry said...

Anon@9:25pm

NOSTROMO may or may not be significant. What is known is that Scott's first film "The Duellists" was based on a Conrad short story. "Apocalypse Now", that was based on "Heart of Darkness", was also made in the same period making Conrad THE author to mine for film scripts.

Nowadays we have to be content with Jane Austen re-makes, must be the feminization of culture.

Steve Sailer said...

Wren says:

"That brought out the autism in me."

Okay, I'm going to plagiarize that line.

Steve Sailer said...

"The Kingdom of Heaven director's cut is close to being a masterpiece."

I haven't seen the long version, but the screenwriter, William Monaghan, is very good, better than the original movie would indicate. He won the Oscar for The Departed, which, whatever else it may be, is a tremendous sociological portrait of the lower half of the Boston Irish. His unfilmed epic screenplay about Thomas Jefferson's war with the Barbary Pirates is a legend in Hollywood.

Steve Sailer said...

"Also, James Cameron's screenplays have never made a lick of sense"

But, they can be exciting. Witness "Point Break" about surfing bankrobbers, which I presume was heavily scriptdoctored by the director's ex-husband.

Steve Sailer said...

"I'm afraid Steve missed the really big point of the movie"

You have to lure me in during the first 30 minutes. Show me that this is going to be interesting and smart and I'll cut you a lot of slack in the suspension of disbelief department.

Anonymous said...

"I haven't seen the long version, but the screenwriter, William Monaghan, is very good, better than the original movie would indicate. He won the Oscar for The Departed, which, whatever else it may be, is a tremendous sociological portrait of the lower half of the Boston Irish. His unfilmed epic screenplay about Thomas Jefferson's war with the Barbary Pirates is a legend in Hollywood"

So why it never got filmed? This would be the perfect moment for this type of movie.

Pincher Martin said...

The basic problem with the movie is that while it’s visually impressive, it assumes the average IQ on board the ship is equal to the cast of the Jersey Shore. Even the hyperpolyglot all-purpose Lawrence of Arabia robot was prone to irrationally displaying juvenile emotions on his face when someone made a cruel remark about him.

Syon @ 9:12 PM describes well the problems with the plot, but he still leaves much out.

For example, before the biologist decided to treat the slimy, eyeless, snake-like alien creature like a lost puppy dog, he was not only lost and in a state of panic, but a dust storm was blowing outside that prevented him and a comrade from returning to the ship.

This scientist and his fellow comrade had just promptly left the rest of the group because they were spooked by a dead alien creature. The two then somehow got lost -- even though they each had personal locators, camera helmets, and helmet microphones that allowed them to stay in constant verbal and visual contact with those still on board the ship, who in turn could follow their every move on the virtual map of the alien compound on the bridge of the Prometheus.

Does no one on the bridge recognize that the two men's personal locators are moving in the wrong direction on the map and try to steer them back to an exit? That's unlikely, but not impossible since the main group was discovering some pretty exciting things at the time. So I'll let it pass.

But when the captain sees a dust storm coming and radios the group that they have ten minutes to return to the ship, neither of the lost men acknowledge the order or pass along word of their predicament, even though it would have been as easy as just speaking, "Hey, can you help guide us to the exit? We seem to be lost here." Instead, not a single word is said by the two men, or about the two men, once they leave the main group until after that group returns to the Prometheus.

You’re the captain of a ship on its first night on an alien planet. You've just made some exciting but also somewhat frightening discoveries. Two of the men you're responsible for are marooned inside the alien compound. They're scared and isolated. Probably a good idea to keep a watch on the bridge to stay in communication with them during the night. For some inexplicable reason, you - the captain - are the night watch. I guess the ship was shorthanded. In any case, you're able to listen to the two men talk and see their personal locators on the virtual map. This seems like a sensible precaution. You never know what else might be out there.

But moments later, Charlize Theron walks in. You casually flirt with the ice queen. She melts before your charms and invites you to her room, -- even though she previously gave no indication she was any more feeling than the Lawrence of Arabia robot. Naturally, you accept. Moments after you leave the bridge, the two men you were monitoring try to pet the alien snake creature and soon afterwards their screams are heard by no one. Because you're off hip-grinding with Charlize Theron.

The next morning, nobody fusses too much about the disappearance of two lost men. Apparently, there are no recording devices which might detail their last known verbal communications (which, in this case, were bloodcurdling screams, "TAKE IT OFF! TAKE IT OFF!"). You can fly to distant planets and build human-like robots, but you don’t have any recording devices. So the negligent but sexually-satiated captain gathers a few men and goes looking for the two lost souls.

This is just one sequence of brain-dead scenes, but I could have picked several others. Nothing makes sense in the movie until you consider the average IQ of the crew and scientists on board to the Prometheus to have an IQ of 85.

Pincher Martin said...

"I'm afraid Steve missed the really big point of the movie: it's about gods."

The theme was treated like it was being bandied about in a dorm room discussion by two college freshmen who weren't going to make it to their sophomore years.

Would two scientists really expect they would solve mankind's ultimate questions by traveling to a planet to find some precursor to ancient civilizations? Who were they expecting to find there? Jesus? Or some ultimate Darwinian explanation?

They make some exciting discoveries on their very first night on the planet. Are they excited to continue their search? No, they're morose and despondent.

Nothing in the movie makes sense.

Steve Sailer said...

"So why it never got filmed?"

In Hollywood, after all is said and done, more is said than done.

Plus, it has water in it, which is considered expensive, at least since "Waterworld." Would it turn out better than 2003"s "Master & Commander"? That was done very well and had a lot of powerful middle-aged white guys pulling for it, but it wasn't profitable enough to launch a series.

Steve Sailer said...

"note how James Cameron's scripts have grown increasingly less intelligent as he attempts to appeal to the non-Western lumpenproletariat"

"Robin Hood" did pretty well in Britain, but its main point -- hey, did you ever notice that King John is the bad guy in both "Robin Hood" and in the Magna Carta?" -- is probably not the kind of thing that makes much sense outside of the Anglosphere.

Steve Sailer said...

"I haven't seen the movie, but any chance they were attempting to portray aero-braking?"

Interesting point. As Heinlein's "Time for the Stars" pointed out, one problem with interstellar travel (besides the absurd distance) is that you have to use just as much energy to slow down as to speed up. So, dropping a parachute into a planetary atmosphere to slow down might make sense.

Unfortunately, there's no mention of any of this in the movie.

Anonymous said...

"but it seemed to me like they had just hired the crew through craigslist (or 2083 equivalent) the morning of the flight or something..."

Right. I saw it at the North Hollywood Laemmle, ground zero for hipsters who aren't as young as they used to be, and the audience in the lobby after the movie looked exactly like the crew of the Prometheus (Charlize Theron excepted). Maybe Sir Ridley held auditions at the North Hollywood subway station.


Would these be, ahem, SOME RANDOM WHITE DUDES WHO MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE SOME SKILLZ TO OFFER AS ASTRONAUTS ON A SPACESHIP?!?

***************
***************
***************

Also, James Cameron's screenplays have never made a lick of sense.

The original Terminator was teh awes0me [and still is - it doesn't play on Saturdays quite as often as Josey Wales - but it's still out there, in replays, and much more so than any other movie from the 1980s].

Of course, back then, Cameron was writing scripts from the point of view that humanity - and, especially, humanity's particular instantiation in a North American country called THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - was actually worth fighting and dying for.



PS: Isn't there a bizarre similarity between Cameron's career and George Lucas's career - starting out with terse, well-written, exciting movies, where plain-jane vanilla joe-sixpack white dudes & white dudettes are the heroes [1973 American Graffiti/1977 Star Wars -vs- 1984 Terminator/1985 Rambo], but after a quarter century in Hollyweird, they end up trying to shove the very worst anti-American/anti-Western nihilistic filth down our throats?!?

Do you think they really become that corrupt?

Or do they secretly still harbor the desire to make good movies, but - like good little Pavlovian dogs - after a quarter-century of fighting a losing battle, they've learned all too well what must be done to please their Scots-Irish financiers?

Or, maybe, early in their careers, they had to grit their teeth to make movies they hated, but now they're free to make the movies they had really wanted to make all along?

Or maybe the Scots-Irish ply them with so much hookers & blow at a quarter-century's worth of Hollyweird pool-side parties that their brains are now completely fried, and they'll make any movie that the Scots-Irish tell them to make?

I just don't understand what could go so horribly wrong with these guys...

I guess a cynic could say that what's wrong is simply "hubris", but "hubris" doesn't explain why they would have to thrust a knife in Joe Sixpack's liver.

Anonymous said...

But, they can be exciting. Witness "Point Break" about surfing bankrobbers...

Very limited audience appeal if the dadgum audience DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO SWIM!!!

PS: Absolutely epic performance by the chick with the azure-blue eyes - almost white/gray, like a female wolf.

Hard to believe that it's been 21 years since that flick was released.

Wow.

There might be a few high school kids at iSteve who were born AFTER its release.

Yikes!!!

So much for "hip".

Steve Sailer said...

"Would these be, ahem, SOME RANDOM WHITE DUDES WHO MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE SOME SKILLZ TO OFFER AS ASTRONAUTS ON A SPACESHIP?!?"

Unfortunately, no.

As I've mentioned, the post-Baby Boom generations are really into the concept of a well-organized team -- George Zimmerman wanted to be a cop, Tiger Woods wanted to be a Navy SEAL. So, on paper, it sounds pretty cool to reverse the polarity and instead of having the cast act like the crew of the movie (trained professionals who know what they are doing), in Prometheus we'll have the cast act like the audience of the movie would act if suddenly they woke up a few hours before landing on an unexplored planet with no clue what they are doing.

On paper, that sounds pretty brilliant, but on screen it's just a bunch of dingbats running around without knowing what the hell they're doing.

Simon in London said...

anon, re Cameron & Lucas:
"I guess a cynic could say that what's wrong is simply "hubris"..."

As well as Lucas (original Star Wars > prequel Trilogy) & Cameron (Terminator > Avatar, Titanic is quite nasty too), you see the same sort of progression with Gene Roddenberry - compare the classical Americanist ethos of original-series Star Trek (late '60s) with the quasi-communist Next Generation (started shooting in '86).

Perhaps ironically re your point about 'Scots-Irish', Steven Spielberg who directed Saving Private Ryan seems to be exactly the same guy who directed Raiders of the Lost Ark; admittedly the time gap is less than Terminator to Avatar.

But generally I agree that Hollywood does seem to make directors, at least gentile directors, weirder, more leftist, and more anti-American/anti-white/anti-humanity. Ridley Scott is probably not sufficiently successful, and too leftist to start with, to show any significant change.

Anonymous said...

"Is a there a hole in the continuity of Prometheus and Alien?"

Nope, this was an entirely different planet and ship from the one in Alien apparently. Some last minute desire to keep from dumping on Alien is no doubt responsible.

Jeff Burton said...

I've really enjoyed this comment thread. I'll throw in a couple more idiotic lapses of script writing judgment:

A) This gigantic ship with four huge ion blasters or whatever they're called lands right in the middle of an archaeological site.

B) You would think people who write scripts about interplanetary journeys might read about actual interplanetary journeys. They obviously don't know the extent to which NASA has gone to make sure Mars missions are decontaminated. So right after their crew of imbeciles gets to the planet, they take off their helmets, spewing exabytes of foreign DNA into the atmosphere with every breath.

C) This is a problem with the whole alien franchise. How do the xenomorphs acquire hundreds of kilos of biological mass in a few hours?

My friend's comment when we left the theatre: we should have just watched the trailer over and over.

Marlowe said...

From the reviews I can see the film makers have basically ripped off the story of Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade: American businessman Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) betrays his country, his erstwhile allies, the Nazis, and everyone around him in order to obtain eternal life for himself through the Holy Grail.

"I misjudged you, Walter. I knew you would sell your mother for an Etruscan vase. But I didn't know you would sell out your country and your soul... to the slime of humanity."

"The Nazis? Is that the limit of your vision? The Nazis want to write themselves into the Grail legend, take on the world. Well, they're welcome to it. But I want the Grail itself, the cup that gives everlasting life. Hitler can have the world, but he can't take it with him. I'm going to be drinking my own health after he's gone the way of the dodo."

The Spielberg movie also features an Aryan-Nordic ice queen blonde as side kick to Donovan and love-interest.

Hollywood has always been about money for old rope.

Anonymous said...

Hey, since this is maybe the last generic Ridley Scott thread that we might have in a while, can I ask a Ridley Scott trivia question?

To wit: What were the three figurines which Maximus carried with him throughout The Gladiator, and which all-knowing Africanus companion-dude buried in the coliseum in his honor?

Were the figurines supposed to represent Maximus, his wife, and his son?

Or was Maximus supposed to have been an early Aurelius-era Christian, with the figurines representing Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and the baby Jesus?

Or maybe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/NnAiIqWsyAo

Ridley Scott talks Prometheus with Geoff Boucher

---------

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_AEg05pSp8&feature=related

Prometheus - Live chat with Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof

Anonymous said...

On paper, that sounds pretty brilliant, but on screen it's just a bunch of dingbats running around without knowing what the hell they're doing.

But in real life, you'd much rather cull your dingbats from the North Hollywood subway station than from, say, some generic Chicago-area public housing project in desperate need of asbestos removal [in which case the dingbats WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO SWIM!!!].

Anonymous said...

Oops - I just remembered those scenes of his murdered wife wandering through the wheat fields, which were probably supposed to have been a realization of the concept of the Fields of Elysium - so I guess maybe Maximus was still a pagan.

Anonymous said...

Damon Lindelof is a real swpl dork.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"They don't move much. In particular, it wouldn't be hard to find a cluster of a stars and predict where they would be 30,000 years later."

Yes, one can employ celestial mechanics to project secular changes in stellar cartography, but the film, as it currently exists, makes no mention of this;we are simply told that they are using the identical positions that that have been depicted in dozens of cultures.


"He wanted to see if the living goo would help Charles Weyland live forever. Not a bad guess given that the goo does have the power to create life in the hands of space jockeys."

This is comic-book level science, assuming that it is true.MMM, here's a strange alien goo with unknown properties.I'll just dose somebody with it on the odd chance that it might serve as an elixir vitae.

"This is not a plothole for a few reasons. We don't know if the space jockey understands David. He certainly doesn't respond very well."

Yes, but the assumption made by David/his master is that they will understand him.


"We know the aliens made return visits to earth because of the opening of the movie when it's revealed that the aliens have visited various civilizations at different times."

Again, this is a notion that is extremely undeveloped in the film as it stands; at no point does anyone say that the Hittites,Sumerians, inhabitants of the Isle of Skye, etc have all been in contact with the aliens.The film's dialogue confines itself to the aliens creating us, not to their impact on the development of human civilizations.


"Finally, David isn't speaking the space jockey language, he is speaking a language similar to what ancient humans spoke at the time the aliens arrived. This is stated in the movie."

The assumption made in the film is that this language comes from the aliens;note how the scientists think that David might be able to read the alien script.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Pincher Martin,

Good points about the sheer idiocy involved in the geologist and biologist just getting lost.

Perhaps the biggest bit of idiocy involves what happens after Noomi Rapace's character undergoes her impromptu surgery. Nobody either goes looking for her or attempts to ask her what happened.The two people that she assaulted apparently do nothing. Rapace never mentions to anyone that there is an alien organism (apparently dead, but who knows) in the super-expensive medical pod.David, who knows that she had something inside her, never bothers to find out what happened.While we're on it, does Vickers (Theron's uber sexy, uber controlled executive)strike anyone as the type who would not keep her quarters locked (her quarters being where the pod is stored)?

All of this transpires for the sole reason of setting up the film's nonsensical final struggle.

Syon

Anonymous said...

RE:the Craig's List crew,

Yeah, it seems that Scott wanted to reproduce the "Space Truckers" vibe from the original ALIEN.Of course, that means forgetting that this film involves a completely different premise.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Point Break had such a sturdy concept and story that they remade it almost scene for scene with street racing cars instead of surf boards and called it The Fast and the Furious.

Anonymous said...

Yeah a Robin Hood Prequel with a fifty something year old 'maid' Marian is a bit much to swallow. At the rate he's making any sequels Robin will be in a wheel chair and Maid will have dried up and blown away.

Spinster Marian that sounds more like it.

Anonymous said...

Wondering how long it will be before the multi-culti brigade starts moaning in pleasure/pain over the "racist" implications of the "Engineers" in PROMETHEUS (god-like aliens with ultra-pale skin and Caucasoid facial features created humanity).

Syon

Anonymous said...

Pincher Martin:"They make some exciting discoveries on their very first night on the planet. Are they excited to continue their search? No, they're morose and despondent."

God, the reaction of the Logan Marshall-Green character(Holloway) was so unbelievable.Any scientist would have been in a state of rapture over what they had found, but he goes off in an alcoholic funk.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Gay Robot? Al Gore? Robosexuals?

Anonymous said...

"A trillion dollar trip, hibernating for years and then a five minute briefing about what the mission is ten minutes before they jump out of the ship? Right."

ok so it's a trillion dollars, jeez, you are like the million dollar villain that Steve keeps mentioning now and then.

"PS: Absolutely epic performance by the chick with the azure-blue eyes - almost white/gray, like a female wolf."

Interesting thread over her at imdb.

"Utah was in love with Bodhi (who does have great hair), but as he was confused how to proceed in a homosexual relationship, opted to go with the woman who one could say resembles a man. Or at least had short hair.

It makes perfect sense. "

pat said...

Why is Ridley Scott so revered? It can only be one thing - costuming and set decoration.

His first movie The Duelists showed us his talent clearly. It was a beautiful looking film. All the clothes looked right. Much later in the Robin Hood Blu-ray disks we learned just how much attention he payed to all the costume details. But he cast an old chubby lead actor as Robin. What was that supposed to mean? It meant that he doesn't care much about plot or casting as long as he got the socks they wear to be authentic.

As I have commented before his Gladiator is praised as a model of historical accuracy whereas it is actually a bad joke for anyone who knows any Roman history. There is one part of Gladiator that I admire - the Lorica Segmentata. Scott gets the armor right.

The same is true of his Kingdom of Heaven. He casts poor skinny Orlando Bloom as a blacksmith while he has Jouko Ahola standing about in the background. Clearly Scott has no eye for casting but again the costumes are perfect.

James Cameron also does Science Fiction. Indeed his Aliens is a re-imagining of Scott's Alien. The main thing Cameron did was to add another one of his muscular and mannish female protagonists - but I am wandering from my point.

Cameron at least tries to make some sense of the future. Scott doesn't. In his most famous Sci-Fi film Blade Runner he is again praised for the "look" of the film (costumes and sets) whereas the actual plot makes almost no sense.

The film's action takes place in 2019. Presumably if mankind were to have these late generation artificial humans in revolt by 2019 we would see see some early models today. May I remind you that 2019 would be in Romney's second term? That future is essentially now. BTW what's the Mormon stance on retiring replicants?

Blade Runner shows us a picture of a future that is clearly not going to happen. But the costumes are great.

Albertosaurus

Kylie said...

"To the Right, Obama looks unlike past America, so he must be un-American."

To this right-winger, Obama acts unlike anyone who has any respect for America (or any except redistributive interest in it), so he must be anti-American.

Anonymous said...

Steve, did you watch it in 3D? If so, was it worth it?

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

I believe the ship in ALIEN is called NOSTROMO which is the title of some Conrad novel. Conrad(though I haven't read him though I've seen movies based on his books), to my knowledge, wrote about imperialism and colonization."

No, he didn't. You've probably imbibed the Edward Said Cliffs Notes version of Conrad.

Conrad was a 19th century white European who had travelled about the "darker places of the world", and was familiar with the inhabitants thereof. He had no illusions about them, or about his own kind, or indeed about much of anything.

Incidentally, Ridley Scott's greatest movie was "The Duelists", based on a Conrad story.

Mr. Anon said...

"The concept of the 'alien' crops up in Scott's other films. In his first film DUELLISTS--which could have been great if Keitel and Carradine were believably French for even one second--,"

I don't think there was a single Frenchman in the whole movie. How were Keitel and Carradine any less French than Robert Stephenson or Tom Conti, who are English? Keitel and Carradine did just fine, and the resulting movie was excellent.

Anonymous said...

"I've really enjoyed this comment thread. I'll throw in a couple more idiotic lapses of script writing judgment:
A) This gigantic ship with four huge ion blasters or whatever they're called lands right in the middle of an archaeological site."

Maybe. But suppose we make a movie about the IRAQ WAR and go back 20 yrs through a time machine and show that movie as a fiction movie to an audience. The audience would say, "The script is SOOO dumb. There are too many holes, too many lapses, too many idiocies. US government cannot possibly act THAT stupid."

Indeed, what did US do about Iraq's archaeological museum filled with priceless treasures? Did it think beforehand that it might be looted in the chaos? NOTHING was done. Reality is often as dumb as fiction.

And when I look at our current politics, PC, and demographic trends, I wonder if I'm living in a dumb movie written by morons. But it's real.

Anonymous said...

Or how about Wall Street and housing Bubble.
When Peter Schiff said it was unsustainable, people laughed at him. They thought he was living in some stupid fantasy land. Well, guess who was really living in a fantasy land? All of us.

scoobius dubious said...

I miss Dan O'Bannon.

Anonymous said...

"in Prometheus we'll have the cast act like the audience of the movie would act if suddenly they woke up a few hours before landing on an unexplored planet with no clue what they are doing"

Everything we know is useless in face of the unknown. Anyone who's gone camping in an unfamiliar place knows this. Despite all the technical knowledge and experience, the new terrain is like a whole new ball game.

We've had experts with lots of knowledge coming up with new policy to improve society, but when things go wrong, even or especially the experts are utterly lost and don't know what to do. And then panic sets in.

The war on Iraq was thought to be well-planned and the quick victory led to euphoria, as if it was the most brilliantly executed war in history. But when the all the unforeseen things began to happen, the Bush administration was utterly confounded, and then they stumbled with one mistake after another. When brilliant ideas fail, there is only more brute force, and so it led to the 'surge'. Similarly, when all the brilliant social policies failed to curb crime, there was only the brute solution of locking up more people. Purge the streets.

Many explorers did all the research, training, and etc before they embarked on their journeys, but many ended up lost and dead in the face of the unknown. Consider the Jan Troell film FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE.

Maybe in this light, it was fitting that the guy who worked on LOST worked on PROMETHEUS. It's about people getting lost in some strange place. I don't watch TV and so I never saw LOST. I think it's about some fat guy lost on an island and struggling to survive but not losing weight. There must be lots of coconuts around.

There is also the haunted house effect. We are emotional beings, and when we get scared, we don't act rational. When I was in my early 20s, my friends and I went into some spook house. Though I rationally knew it was all fake, there were things that gave me such a scare that I began to run around in sheer panic mode. And then my panic infected others, and none of us were using our minds even though we all knew it was all fake. We just wanted to make it out alive.

Anonymous said...

Gay robot. Eugenuch?

Anonymous said...

I recently saw GAY EDGAR. Maybe gays got powerful cuz they had to 'hide' their power, thus they got good at 'court intrigue' and working-behind-the-scenes. Just like with eunuchs.

Anonymous said...

FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE

Review

Mr. Anon said...

"Simon in London said...

Ridley Scott is probably not sufficiently successful, and too leftist to start with, to show any significant change."

He may indeed be a leftist - it's a safe bet with most anyone in movies. On the other hand, he did direct "Black Hawk Down" - which was a very un-leftist movie.

beowulf said...

"Since I'm the black guy in the movie and therefore could be assumed not to have a complicated corporate agenda, I was chosen. So, to summarize, this planet is not actually the ..."

Quentin Tarantino clearly had the best solution-- hire Samuel L. Jackson to be narrator.
http://youtu.be/REDwfnI2s4s

Whiskey said...

Whedon's success in the Avengers was simply redoing in movie form about 50 years or so of the comic book. Heroes who squabble form together to battle interstellar threat; the only thing missing was the old-style aliens the Skrulls. All the characterization and plot had been done before by the old-line comic book writers and then guys like Favreau and Kenneth Branagh in the movies running up to the Avengers.

This is not just the effort to appeal to a "global" audience (much of the money does not flow to Hollywood anyway its a giant ponzi scheme for suckers), rather I'd agree with Tom Wolfe that few today have the SKILL to put together:

Exposition. Character Development. Plot.

What makes one a successful writer in Hollywood, publishing world, etc. is connections (having famous/Hollywood fathers, school cronies, etc.) and how "edgy" you are just like the art world. Not actual skill. Hence the guy doing "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" is a crony of a son of some big-shot producer who merely put in "zombies" in every third world of the Project Gutenberg text version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. He actually wrote nothing.

Whiskey said...

There was already a Robin Hood movie with an older Robin and Marian. It was called, "Robin and Marian" and the Sheriff of Nottingham (played brilliantly by Robert Shaw) was more of a good guy than a bad one. One of Connery's best movies. Not a particularly good idea.

You can't really do a Robin Hood movie, because its English particularlism runs against the desire for PC multiculturalism. Robin Hood is not some mixed-race globalist hero, but specific to time, place, culture, history, and race.

As for "the Jews" corrupting those Gentile moviemakers, when Jews ran the major studios as owner-operators (Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwynn) you had movies like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Casablanca" and "Winchester '73"

The problem is that the old system collapsed, what matters now is the star system, powerful agents, and mega corps populated by say, P&G's CEO blathering on about being "Green" and "Sustainable" etc. Cameron and the like really buy into the PC bs, including the "Green" stuff which is ... NOT JEWISH but Post-Calvinist (since when have Jews really cared about nature? -- that's a Western European Calvinist thing direct from the Puritans).

All that stuff is post-Christian attitudes, the form of Christian beliefs absent Christ. Reverence for nature, animals, rigid collectivism, status mongering through possessions, etc? Sounds pretty Nordic/Germanic to me, and I LIKE much though not all of that stuff. Jews for example don't go kayaking, mountain biking, join the Sierra Club, go hiking for a week, etc.

Cameron, Scott, the rest are in a global, post-Calvinist elite where their ability to make more movies directly equates to their mouthing the social line, not ... MAKING MONEY. That's why Adam Sandler craves "acceptance" by making movies that are "arty" and no one sees not broad comedies that make tons of money.

Anonymous said...

Steve, did you watch it in 3D?

If so, was it worth it?

Whiskey said...

Look at Scott's career in Hollywood via Box Office Mojo. His two big movies in terms of money were Gladiator and American Gangster. You'd expect, if Hollywood were about making money, (and it isn't) that he'd be employed cranking out "Gladiator 2: the Revenge" and "American Gangster 3: Ganja Wars" or something. Because hey they made money. Also more Hannibal Lecter movies (that one also made a lot of money). Why not?

Because its not about money. Hollywood lacks owner-operators (incentives matter). Financing is run by giant mega corps, not Jewish Entrepreneurs out of cash flow. Wall Street used to finance a lot of that, not so much anymore (its done by "pre-selling" bundles of movies to foreign distributors, locking in revenue to make say Battleship 2: Liam Neeson's new Summer Home.)

ROI on most movies is low, around IIRC 4% or so. The REAL money is in merchandising: toys, games, sheets, lunchboxes, co-branded advertising with fast food places, etc. The FT called it two hour commercials for toys. They are right. THAT ROI (merchandising) is around 11% or so.

Meanwhile if you are an actor, director, writer, you don't make much if any money off the movie tickets sold, DVDs bought or rented, video streamed, and none at all save Lucas on merchandising. Star Wars toys built Skywalker Ranch. You get money upfront and have to hustle for your next job always. THAT means group-think is perfectly prepared. Don't follow the group-think values? Don't get hired much: John Milius, Steven J. Cannell, John Voigt, Dwight Schulze. Oh they still got hired, but not as much as those less talented but toeing the line. Most of Hollywood has actually internalized PC out of those incentives.

IF you want to break that apart, create ownership incentives in a competitive place outside Hollywood. The best bet would be a rise of say, WETA or Toronto or Vancouver with direct to consumer delivery via streaming. Maybe with Netflix or Amazon or Apple keeping cash outlays LOW by giving up ownership rights.

Ridley Scott is perfectly able to make Joe Average heroes and Western Civilization worth fighting for if he's got the right incentives. People respond to rewards and punishments.

Anonymous said...

when Jews ran the major studios as owner-operators (Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwynn) you had movies like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Casablanca" and "Winchester '73"

Have you never heard of pre-Code Hollywood?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Code_Hollywood

"[F]ilms in the late 1920s and early 1930s included sexual innuendo, miscegenation, illegal drug use, infidelity, abortion, intense violence and homosexuality. Strong women dominated films such as Female, Baby Face, and Red-Headed Woman. Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, and Scarface were more heroic than evil. Along with featuring stronger female characters, films examined female subject matters that were not revisited until much later in Hollywood history. Nefarious characters were seen to profit from their deeds, in some cases without significant repercussions, and drug use was a topic of several films."

In response the Motion Picture Production Code or "Hays Code" was instituted in the 30s to restrict Hollywood from putting out such content.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

I believe the ship in ALIEN is called NOSTROMO which is the title of some Conrad novel. Conrad(though I haven't read him though I've seen movies based on his books), to my knowledge, wrote about imperialism and colonization."

No, he didn't. You have imbibed the Edward Said / Cliffs Notes / Penguin Library interperetation of Conrad - viewing him through the prism of the delusions and cant of our own age.

Udolpho.com said...

dare I say it, Whiskey seems to have a point

Udolpho.com said...

"Nope, this was an entirely different planet and ship from the one in Alien apparently. Some last minute desire to keep from dumping on Alien is no doubt responsible."

It was the studio that wanted to rehash Alien (the original script was apparently Alien redux with lots of chestbursting and xenomorphs running around). Scott was uninterested and only agreed to do the movie if he could run off in his own direction. He had Lindelof excise most of the Alien alien stuff from the script. That's what I've read (Lindelof backs this up).

Anonymous said...

NOT JEWISH but... status mongering through possessions, etc? Sounds pretty Nordic/Germanic to me

Okay, Whiskey has officially jumped the shark.

Anonymous said...

To the Right, Obama looks unlike past America, so he must be un-American


Obama does not "look unlike past America". Other than that minor detail, brilliant analysis!

Anonymous said...

Don't usually agree with Whiskey, but been waiting for someone around here to point out that Jewish influence in Hollywood goes back to the beginning and includes the Golden Age of American movies -- if anything it was even greater then than it is today. (And to the comment above re the pre-code era -- pre-code movies like the Maltese Falcon, It Happened One Night, and Public Enemy look pretty damn good today).

Always thought that Ridley Scott is great when the movie has a strong pre-made narrative structure to discipline him. The Duellist was I thought a great movie because the Conrad novella is so good, hard to screw that structure up. Same with Black Hawk Down.

If you are looking to make a brooding, atmospheric, slow-to-develop drama that tackles big questions, why would anyone do it in a movie today? Seems better suited to a television series where there is more space and time to develop it. And today's TVs offer real visual oomph.

Anonymous said...

dare I say it, Whiskey seems to have a point


I've noticed that "Scotch-Irish" people have a tendency to speak with absolute certainty and complete self-assurance about matters of which they know basically nothing. Other people who know basically nothing about the matters in question can easily find themselves overawed by that certainty and assurance.

Pincher Martin said...

Syon,

"Perhaps the biggest bit of idiocy involves what happens after Noomi Rapace's character undergoes her impromptu surgery. Nobody either goes looking for her or attempts to ask her what happened. The two people that she assaulted apparently do nothing. Rapace never mentions to anyone that there is an alien organism (apparently dead, but who knows) in the super-expensive medical pod. David, who knows that she had something inside her, never bothers to find out what happened.While we're on it, does Vickers (Theron's uber sexy, uber controlled executive) strike anyone as the type who would not keep her quarters locked (her quarters being where the pod is stored)?"

Exactly. And it spoils what could have been a great scene with dramatic visual impact.

Every great sci-fi movie will have at least half-a-dozen times where it stretches our credulity beyond even a generous viewer's limit or grossly contradicts some previous point it carefully explained to us or just has characters whose key actions don't fit what we know about their motivations. We usually forgive these great films their transgressions because, on the whole, they provide an exciting narrative that meets a very low threshold of plausibility in the way the story coheres.

The problem with Prometheus is that each scene seems to have two or three of these major problems, and as the film goes on they keep building into an irretrievable mess of a narrative that makes no sense on any level.

"God, the reaction of the Logan Marshall-Green character(Holloway) was so unbelievable. Any scientist would have been in a state of rapture over what they had found, but he goes off in an alcoholic funk."

I had the same reaction. He's leading a group of scientists and adventurers which spent less than a couple of hours searching through one of the alien compounds on a planet they haven't even begun to explore. In this very short period, he found several alien bodies, took back an alien head to the ship, and discovered an alien script and alien technologies.

So when he returns to the ship, is he in his lab working on what must be countless ways he could to devour this new information? Nope. He's in the game room with his chin resting on a pool table, mindlessly pushing a billiards ball around the table. Apparently, he's depressed the aliens weren't there to welcome him with a ticker tape parade and then invite him to a seminar to answer all the questions that were on his mind.

It's fitting that his female counterpart, Rapace, would later in the movie respond to the destruction of her lover, her ship and its crew, and the homicidal actions of the one alien they did find alive, which were potentially homicidal if he ever did reach earth, by recruiting the Lawrence of Arabia robot, who earlier tried to kill her, into seeking other aliens out. Apparently it has to do with Greek myths or something.

What a stupid ending to a stupid movie.

Anonymous said...

The big problem with doing a "Robin Hood" movie is that most people have seen one of the previous versions and they know the basic story already. I thought the Magna Carta angle was a clever means of adding something fresh to what is, at the end of the day, a pretty stale story.

It was a perfectly serviceable movie. Not the sort that I'd recommend to everyone I know, not the sort I'd tell people to avoid, just a couple of hours of passable escapism.

Pincher Martin said...

Correction:

"It's fitting that his female counterpart, Rapace, would later in the movie respond to the destruction of her lover, her ship and its crew, and the homicidal actions of the one alien they did find alive, which were potentially genocidal if he ever did reach earth, by recruiting the Lawrence of Arabia robot, who earlier tried to kill her, into seeking other aliens out."

Q said...

As for "the Jews" corrupting those Gentile moviemakers, when Jews ran the major studios as owner-operators (Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwynn) you had movies like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Casablanca" and "Winchester '73"


When Whiskey write this comment, nobody here had said as much as a single word about "Jews corrupting Gentile moviemakers".

And yet, some people watch in awe as he ferociously attacks the strawman has has constructed, and compliment him on his great point!

Maybe the Scotch-Irish do indeed have a high verbal IQ. Or perhaps some people here are just none too bright.

Anonymous said...

I think you guys expect too much. For me, it was worth the $7.25 matinee admission. There are few movies I care to see, and this was one of them. It wasn't a sci-fi classic that people will still enjoy 30 years from now, like Alien. But it's still better than 95% of Hollywood's other releases this year. The plot had holes and a script doctor would have done wonders, no doubt. But the trick is not to overthink it. I enjoyed Avatar too, without obsessing over the colonialists vs. natives storyline.

Udolpho.com said...

"It's fitting that his female counterpart, Rapace, would later in the movie respond to the destruction of her lover, her ship and its crew, and the homicidal actions of the one alien they did find alive, which were potentially homicidal if he ever did reach earth, by recruiting the Lawrence of Arabia robot, who earlier tried to kill her, into seeking other aliens out. Apparently it has to do with Greek myths or something.

What a stupid ending to a stupid movie."

What a stupid comment from a predictably stupid commenter.

Shaw is through the mirror. There's no point going home--what with the existential thread of who knows how many Engineer ships with cargo holds filled with bio-weapons that will either be discovered by Weyland's antecedents or will somehow reactive. Not to mention the Engineers being the most mind-blowing mystery humanity could face.

Yes, your conclusion that this is "stupid" behavior is pretty damn dumb.

Anonymous said...

This is a problem with the whole alien franchise. How do the xenomorphs acquire hundreds of kilos of biological mass in a few hours?

Check the vending machines. Empty.

Cennbeorc

JSM said...

"Good points about the sheer idiocy involved in the geologist and biologist just getting lost."

Maybe it's just sly anti-PC.

Because, what does it say about Blacks that the Black captain,

given captaincy of the most ambitious spacecraft voyage ever and ultimate responsibility for the success of the mission and the safety of his crew,

abandons his post at the first opportunity to indulge his 'nads?

Pincher Martin said...

Udolpho,

Your comments are as filled with as many holes and dumb assumptions as the Prometheus script.

"Shaw is through the mirror. There's no point going home..."

No point in going home? How about to warn earth of a potential menace? What if there are more homicidal aliens in deep freeze who are found elsewhere on the planet, and whose first inclination upon awakening is to fly off to earth to commit genocide? Or how about to tell earth to not send another ship to come looking for them and thus potentially expose another group of space-roaming idiots to the same deadly alien virus?

Just off the top of my head, I can think of about half-a-dozen different responses that would have made a ton more sense than what the Rapace character does.

"...--what with the existential thread [sic] of who knows how many Engineer ships with cargo holds filled with bio-weapons that will either be discovered by Weyland's antecedents or will somehow reactive."

Yes, who knows? And now no one on earth will ever know until they find out the hard way. Because rather than informing them, Rapace chooses to fly to the home world of the giant vicious Charles Atlas-like humanoids to discover the Truth with a capital T, even though the last time she saw one of the aliens confronted with a question about the Truth, he tore everyone in the room a new asshole and flew off to earth to commit genocide.

I would say it's a triumph of hope over experience to expect a second encounter to go a lot differently. But, hey, maybe this particular alien was still grumpy from just waking up after a deep sleep.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly Scott intended for the Engineers to be mad at humanity for killing Jesus, an emissary of the Engineers. The black goo is the a weapon and a tool. It can create new life or create life takers.

David Davenport said...

"So why it never got filmed?"

Very obviously, a script about the U.S. Navy and Marines defeating Muslim pirates is unacceptably un-pee cee.

And Thomas Jefferson he owned slaves... A villain.

Might as well propose a bio-flick about young Bobby Lee and Sam Grant in the Mexican War:

Wikipedia: ... For the first time, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met and worked with each other during the Mexican-American War. Both Lee and Grant participated in Scott's march from the coastal town of Vera Cruz to Mexico City. ...

Both did their share of actual fighting. At Vera Cruz, Lee earned a commendation for "greatly distinguished" service. Grant was among the leaders at the bloody assault at Molino del Rey, and both soldiers were among the forces that entered Mexico City. Close observations of their commanders constituted a learning process for both Lee and Grant.[42] The Mexican-American War concluded on February 2, 1848. ...


.................


Gene Roddenberry's first TV show was "The Lieutenant," a patriotic, square and old-school series about a Marine Corps platoon leader in peacetime.The show lasted about a season and a half, maybe 1962-63, before Viet Nam got going.

Anonymous said...

Could modern hollywood's problems be more about gays than jews?

Gays' taste is very different from what most americans want. Hence pretty boys instead of manly men.

Pincher Martin said...

"Supposedly Scott intended for the Engineers to be mad at humanity for killing Jesus, an emissary of the Engineers. The black goo is the a weapon and a tool. It can create new life or create life takers."

It's a sure sign of the defectiveness of the movie that this explanation makes about as much sense as anything I've seen so far.

JSM said...

"when Jews ran the major studios as owner-operators (Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwynn) you had movies like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Casablanca" and "Winchester '73"

You also had the Hays code in effect
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_Picture_Production_Code

(Hays was a Presybyterian, btw, and Breen, his successor, a Roman Catholic)

QUOTE from Wikipedia:
The Hays Code was a set of industry moral censorship guidelines that governed the production of most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968."

The Code was adopted "voluntarily" by the motion picture industry in reaction to legislators in 37 states introducing almost 100 movie censorship bills by 1921.

QUOTE from Wikipedia:
"Under Breen's leadership of the Production Code Administration, (i.e., Hays code enforement) which lasted from 1934 until his retirement in 1954" ---

*******which covered the years that Casablanca, et al., were made, that Whiskey cited as proof that Jewish-made movies are wholesome*****

---"enforcement of the Production Code became rigid and notorious"

But the Jewish moviemakers didn't LIKE that enforcement, chafed under it, and worked very diligently to undermine / overturn it:

Quote from Wikipedia:

"Breen's power to change scripts and scenes angered many writers, directors, and Hollywood moguls. For example, Breen influenced the production of Casablanca,"

(i.e., Jack Warner -- ed.)


"objecting to any explicit reference to Rick and Ilsa having slept together in Paris and to mentioning that Captain Renault extorted sexual favors from his supplicants. However, both remained strongly implied in the finished version."

Until at last Jews in Hollywood were ultimately successful at overthrow of the White Christian censorship:

QUOTE from Wkipedia:

In 1964, the Holocaust film The Pawnbroker, was initially rejected because of two scenes in which the actresses Linda Geiser and Thelma Oliver fully expose their breasts, as well as a sex scene between Oliver and Jaime Sánchez that it described as "unacceptably sex suggestive and lustful". Despite the rejection, the film's producers arranged for Allied Artists to release the film without the Production Code seal, with the New York censors licensing the film without the cuts demanded by Code administrators. The producers appealed the rejection to the Motion Picture Association of America.
On a 6-3 vote, the MPAA granted the film an exception conditional on "reduction in the length of the scenes which the Production Code Administration found unapprovable." The requested reductions of nudity were minimal; the outcome was viewed in the media as a victory for the film's producers, The Pawnbroker was the first film featuring bare breasts to receive Production Code approval. Although The exception to the code was granted as a "special and unique case" and was described by The New York Times at the time as "an unprecedented move that will not, however, set a precedent", in his 2008 study of films during that era, Pictures at a Revolution, author Mark Harris wrote that the MPAA's action was "the first of a series of injuries to the Production Code that would prove fatal within three years."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6/9/12 10:32 P.M.

though birthers fixate on geography, they are really more offended by Obalien's interracist birth--but promoted by Jews as the ultimate and 'more American than American' American for his bio-cultural-diversity-and-cosmopolitanism

This is really over the top. He is promoted by some liberal Jews. Rather a large number of us are not so fond.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of you are over-analyzing this movie, yeah there clearly was some exposition left on the editor's floor, but not the worst example I have ever seen by a long shot. I guess I saw the lack of exposition coming, because the crew of the Prometheus was 17 and the movie was only two hours long, which told me a lot of explanatory dialogue was probably gone. I saw the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven and it was a mess, but I have been assured by people who have seen the director's cut that it is far superior and actually a very good film, but that the film had been sabotaged by the studio. I have seen the first Aliens v. Predator movie and that film though not possessing a very good story had huge continuity errors caused by way too much editing.

To my mind Prometheus certainly could have been better but it was still much better than most science-fiction in Hollywood or most films for that matter. One of the things lost in editing is that the Idris Elba character is the only person on the ship with a military background, that I think would explain his figuring out that the planet was a biologically quarantined military base. I thought the android character David was eager to experiment on a human being to see the shoe on the other foot and probably carry out the dying wishes of his creator played by Guy Pearce. He might have also been trying to curry favor with Engineer race's captain, who cared not and ripped off his head in true Alien fashion. I think Noomi Rapace's character figured she would have a much better chance of going up against the Engineer's if she had one their super technological ships, which btw were the only ships left that could get off the planet. She did leave a distress signal warning any humans off of landing there before taking off with the android who btw seemed now back to being subservient after facing his own mortality. Plus the android is the only person on Earth capable of understanding the language and technology of the Engineer race.

Anonymous said...

Or was Maximus supposed to have been an early Aurelius-era Christian, with the figurines representing Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and the baby Jesus?

Hard to say. There's indirect evidence in the film to suggest Maximus is still a pagan, but it should be noted that in the film which GLADIATOR is pretty clearly a remake of, 1964's FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, one of the protagonists (played by James Mason) who, like Maximus, is an old friend of Marcus Aurelius and then double-crossed by Commodus, is revealed at the moment of his death to have been a closet Christian.

Ralph said...

... he lacks the kind of large-scale plot-architect skills that Joss Whedon brought to the Avengers.

Is this a joke?

The entire plot of The Avengers can be boiled down to this: a bunch of freakish super heroes join forces to defend earth from an alien attack led by the nefarious god-like Loki.

That's it. And, no, I'm not guilty of gross oversimplification.

While there are numerous examples of Whedon's "large-scale plot-architect skills", The Avengers is not one of them.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that The Avengers was the most vacuous, plot-deficient piece of work Whedon has ever put his name to.

Anonymous said...

I saw it tonight. What a mess! A very stupid movie that made no sense at all. Supposedly very bright people - scientists, etc - acting in incredibly dumb ways. That guy who thought that the alien slime cobra-like goo was "cute" was just too much. A really bad and quite boring movie. Check out the Duellists or Break point. Much better films.

Anonymous said...

JSM:"But the Jewish moviemakers didn't LIKE that enforcement, chafed under it, and worked very diligently to undermine / overturn it:

Until at last Jews in Hollywood were ultimately successful at overthrow of the White Christian censorship:"

You might want to add that plenty of Christian film-makers also disliked the Hays Code. For example, Alfred Hitchcock (Roman Catholic) was notorious for attempting to find ways around the Code's restrictions.Howard Hawks (raised as a Christian Scientist)was also well known for finding ways to evade the Code on sexual matters.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"What were the three figurines which Maximus carried with him throughout The Gladiator"

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

"Each home had a household shrine at which prayers and libations to the family's domestic deities were offered."

I'd imagine the figurines were meant to be from his family shrine.

wren said...

Okay, I hacked in to Sir Ridley's computer to check his recycle bin for what got left on the cutting room floor. It all makes sense now.

This is what I found:

1) The movie was originally titled "Idiocracy in Space."

2) Due to the Great Diversity Suit of 2037 (State Vs. Weyland), all hiring is done by lotto, held at Starbucks.

3) Weyland concludes that the only way to get the healthcare he needs is to hire an alien doctor.

4) The green goo is actually Brawndo. Why does it work? It's got electrolytes.

5) The aliens seeded the universe with DNA in order to grow markets for Brwndo. Why? Because it's what you need.

6) The alien worried that Weyland actually was more interested in stealing their trade secrets. So he had to kill them.

Q.E.D.

LG said...

"Shaw is through the mirror. There's no point going home..." --Udolpho

"No point in going home? How about to warn earth of a potential menace? What if there are more homicidal aliens in deep freeze who are found elsewhere on the planet, and whose first inclination upon awakening is to fly off to earth to commit genocide? Or how about to tell earth to not send another ship to come looking for them and thus potentially expose another group of space-roaming idiots to the same deadly alien virus? --Martin


She did warn the earth in her last communication. Probably temptingly vague, but there it is. There's also the problem of how she sent out that last communication. Her ship was destroyed. Presumably David helped her rig up something on the new, alien ship. Or maybe she left some beacon or whatever with parts from the space pod lifeboat. All in all it didn't seem like she was so sure someone would get that message.

Meanwhile, with regard to where to go, it seems important that the ship they explored was found full of alien goo. Thousands of cannisters of it in fact. And the goo activated when the humans showed up. So wouldn't the other ship that she took with the robot presumably be full of that stuff too? It looked just like the other one. So maybe flying a ship like that off to the source, as opposed to going home to earth, was the wiser course?

BTW, she didn't recruit David, he suggested taking another ship to her.

Anonymous said...

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/06/review-prometheus/

Udolpho.com said...

"I would say it's a triumph of hope over experience to expect a second encounter to go a lot differently. But, hey, maybe this particular alien was still grumpy from just waking up after a deep sleep."

He doesn't seem as grumpy as you.

What do you think would be achieved by Shaw taking her hotwired alien ship--presumably filled with lethal black goo--back to Earth? What is she going to accomplish by warning them of something they can't do anything about? It seems as good a point as any for the character to plunge full speed ahead, on the faith that pretty much all her options are terrible. But perhaps in the comic book drama you'd prefer, Will Smith and Harry Connick, Jr. jump in F-14s AND HUNT THEM BITCHES DOWN! Then Jeff Goldblum uploads a virus with his Macbook Air...

Prometheus has a few inconsistencies (pretty minor in my opinion), but the level of nerd nitpicking is stupid. The sad thing is hearing Sailer praise the plot of The Avengers, a mindless comic book movie that is true cinematic shit, totally worthless as entertainment or just killing time, while dumping on a movie with an interesting, adult theme because he didn't like the motleyness of the crew, or how one character guessed the alien base was a military installation. Whatever, rage on.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

IIRC, Alien was actually two scripts combined into one, resulting in Movie A and Movie B. I think both scripts were O'Bannon's, Memory and Star Beast.

I am Lugash.

Pincher Martin said...

LG,

"Meanwhile, with regard to where to go, it seems important that the ship they explored was found full of alien goo. Thousands of cannisters of it in fact. And the goo activated when the humans showed up."

Well, I didn't expect her to fly the alien ship into Cape Canaveral and invite the world's leaders on board to personally inspect the alien goo. Flying the craft in or near our solar system would have probably been sufficient for a warning to be made in person and a detailed inspection performed by a trained crew.

But, hey, if you want to argue that's still too dangerous, still too close to the home planet for comfort, I can at least respect your point of view. At least you haven't lost my attention with your boneheadedness. What I can't understand is the course she took in the movie, which seemed to be primarily motivated by her search for a loving God even when she kept bumping into these devils.

"She did warn the earth in her last communication. Probably temptingly vague, but there it is."

I don't remember this at all. It may be assumed by the direction of the franchise, but if it's in the movie, I don't recall it. But perhaps my eyes were already looking towards the exit by that time in the film.

"BTW, she didn't recruit David, he suggested taking another ship to her."

But she recruited him to fly to the alien world. The look on his disembodied face when she asked him if he could fly to the aliens' home planet was priceless. It was as if even he -- a robot -- was surprised by the task and trying to make sense of it, like she had given him a very tricky and complex equation to work through. If a robot face could say, "What the fuck?", then his face said it in that scene.

Pincher Martin said...

Udolpho,

"He doesn't seem as grumpy as you."

I'm not grumpy at all. I love every second I spend here arguing with you Alien fanboys about the number of carbuncles Ridley Scott got on ass while filming Prometheus. The devotion you fellows show is commendable and not unlike the filial devotion to duty which spurs Shaw on in the film.

"What do you think would be achieved by Shaw taking her hotwired alien ship--presumably filled with lethal black goo--back to Earth?"

Like I told LG, I'm not arguing for a specific ending. I'm sure any number of half-a-dozen different conclusions would have worked. I'm just arguing against the ending I saw.

"But perhaps in the comic book drama you'd prefer, Will Smith and Harry Connick, Jr. jump in F-14s AND HUNT THEM BITCHES DOWN! Then Jeff Goldblum uploads a virus with his Macbook Air..."

No one is arguing that Prometheus is the first dumb sic-fi movie ever made, but at least the dumb Will Smith movie didn't take itself so seriously.

I predict you'll be as embarrassed by your fan boy treatment of Prometheus as anyone who is on public record for praising Independence Day back in the 90s.

Anonymous said...

Alright, just back from a showing. Terrible, unserious, unnecessary dialogue, there is no strong personality like Sigourney Weaver to ground things. Fassbender was great, though just a little too gay (why was there a scene of him dyeing his hair?). Sailer's idea, that criticism is good, really needs to be applied to teh gay mafia; out-of-control slack- jawed faggotry blunts their creative abilities. The other lead girl, what's her name, not attractive enough. I doubt any Director's Cut could make much of an improvement. Great special effects.
I get the feeling a sequel to this prequel has room to fit in better with the first Alien. I hope Scott lives long enough to make it, and hire a better scriptwriter too.

Anonymous said...

"Each home had a household shrine at which prayers and libations to the family's domestic deities were offered." I'd imagine the figurines were meant to be from his family shrine.

But this certainly wouldn't be incompatible with Roman maryolatry and Mary-worship, and might even be compatible with pre-Nicene pseudo-trinitarianism.

Anonymous said...

"The other lead girl, what's her name, not attractive enough."

There's an element of androgyny in ALIEN. Weaver looked male/female.
Androids are androgynoids. Men(John Hurt) 'give birth' to alien-critters. Technology equalizes the sexes.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Mission to Mars.

pat said...

I see that as soon as you mention Hollywood it hits a lot of readers in their Jew detection receptor.

I think there's a lot less there than it appears. The Jews dominate a couple industries. For example there is the diamond business. All diamond traders I'm told are Jews. Why should that be? The answer is pretty simple - trust only among tribe members. You can't do business in diamonds unless you know who you are dealing with and can trust them.

Much the same thing is true in the ghetto grocery store industry. The Jews used to run these stores exclusively. It always outraged the neighborhood blacks that these stores would never hire kids from the neigborhood. The Blacks said the Jews were racists. The Jews said the kids were stupid, lazy and dishonest. They both were pretty much right.

But the Jews quit the grocery business after the Watts riots. The Koreans replaced them and soon the neighborhood blacks were calling the Koreans racists and the Koreans were calling the black kids lazy, stupid and dishonest.

The evidence is that no one can provide a ghetto grocery store without being a member of an appropriate tribe.

Oddly Jews have never made much impact in the big financial institutions. The #OccupyWallStreet people continue to get that one wrong. When I was a management consultant evryone in the firm was either a Jew or an Irish Catholic. No WASPs allowed. Those guys were all in the big banks and hedge funds.

Early Hollywood seems to have been one of those industries that for whatever reason was doomed to be dominated by some ethnic tribe. It happen to have been the Jews. Today if if all started all over again it might be the Koreans.

The "All the Jews in Hollywood" mantra is only sinister if you assume that industries naturally organize such that all ethnicities are equally represented.

Wikipedia tells me that "Bollywood can be very clanish". I think it has something to do with the nature of the business that movie making favors clanishness and Jews just happen to be be naturally clannish.

Albertosuarus

Londoner said...

The anonymous above (the guy who makes the really long posts which repeat the same point over and over again, extrapolating broad cultural shifts from films chosen at random, always capitalising their names, makes up punning names for the trends he purports to uncover, and says "and etc" a lot) makes a fairly good observation: when you actually get close to this material, the magic evaporates and it proves to be nothing special. What in the first Alien film was a tantalising and awesome back story - but an untold and unexplored one - fades to dullness when the microscope actually focuses on it. It's one of those things that would have remained much more powerful if left forever to the imagination.

As others have pointed out, Scott is a (highly) talented film-maker, but he absolutely is not a writer or a story-teller. If he works with a talented writer, a good film can ensue. But if he works with a Scotch-Irish hack (who lives down to the worst stereotype of that group, as certain plot points demonstrate), the outlook is less promising.

Anonymous said...

'Oddly Jews have never made much impact in the big financial institutions.'

ROTFL

Anonymous said...

ROTFL

Seriously - did someone just hijack Albertosaurus's account?

Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner would have suffered if he had the money to make the movie he wanted to. He had to cut out scenes that they could not afford (Batty's wife was cut out altogether.) so the story went off in an arc that was affordable.
See the extras on the DVDs for more information.

LG said...

Flying the craft in or near our solar system would have probably been sufficient for a warning to be made in person and a detailed inspection performed by a trained crew.

But, hey, if you want to argue that's still too dangerous, still too close to the home planet for comfort, I can at least respect your point of view... What I can't understand is the course she took in the movie, which seemed to be primarily motivated by her search for a loving God even when she kept bumping into these devils.


Where else was she going to go?

I'm serious. It worked for me. And I say this as someone with some problems with this movie.

Just assuming that going near our solar system might not be enough. The wisest course might be to assume that going anywhere near any trade routes, colonies, whatever --going anywhere near anything connected to human life is going to be a problem. A big problem.

And just staying there is a problem too. It's a bet that a rescue party comes and finds her. But a rescue party is contact with humanity and we're back to square one. If going home is too risky, then sticking around is not only as risky, it's also stupidly passive. If she's going to run the risk of contact, she might as well go home. If the assumption is that any contact with humanity is too potentially dangerous to contemplate then she doesn't even want to do anything to encourage a rescue effort. And why waste time, what little time she might have left?

So, once she makes that leap --must avoid all humanity... what else is she going to do? What's the point? She's out. She can't go home again. She's on the other side. I think the reference to Lewis Carroll is apropos.

From another sci-fi movie:

You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." -Morpheus

Might as well find out how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Pincher Martin said...

LG,

We're going to have to agree to disagree.

Almost nothing developed in the script worked for me. Not the dialogue. Not the characters' stated or implicit motives, nor their subsequent actions. Not the set-up for the story. Not its ending.

I did like the look of the movie, and most of the actors who had major roles in the film were better than the parts and dialogue they were given to work with.

"Where else was she going to go?"

Anywhere but where she expects to find dangerous aliens. Frankly, it would have made more sense for Shaw to commit seppuku or to go wandering off in space than what she eventually decided to do.

You speculate that some problem is preventing her from a return home. Maybe. But if there was a problem, why did the robot not anticipate it first? He certainly seemed to think it was alright to return home, and with his creator Weyland dead, he no longer had an ulterior motive for lying to Shaw.

But does it matter? Let's assume you're right. Shaw's decision still makes no sense. She doesn't have to speculate about what happens when she meets an alien. Her much-anticipated meeting with her "creator" nearly caused an extinction level event on earth. That's not my interpretation of what happened. That was her interpretation.

Remember: just minutes before she decides to ship off for the alien home world, she begs the captain of her ship to kamikaze the alien craft to prevent it from flying to earth, where she fully expected the lone alien to wreak havoc.

Her reason for thinking this was unclear (that shitty script again), but she was in no doubt it would happen. As she tearfully told the captain, "We were so wrong!" Yet moments later, after the captain and the crew have sacrificed themselves to save earth, she apparently reconsiders how wrong she was and is back in wandering truth-seeker mode again. I guess she figured that one alien was just one bad apple in an otherwise delicious bushel of fruit.

"So, once she makes that leap --must avoid all humanity... "

You keep dropping the punchline. Avoiding humanity is not the problem with the film's ending. Searching out genocidal aliens for personal enlightenment is the problem.

Steve Sailer said...

I thought the end was better than the previous hour, even though, as in Robin Hood, Sir Ridley is real blatant about There Will Be a Sequel.

One thing they could have done is: the last two humans left alive after the destruction of the alien ship are the sweet but spunky heroine and the icy Charlize Theron (plus the robot's head). That would have made a fun little Odd Couple episode, but they just killed off Charlize in about 30 seconds.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tnr.com/article/film/104007/david-thomson-films-prometheus

Pompotheus or Inaneian.

Q said...

Seriously - did someone just hijack Albertosaurus's account?


I've been wondering for a while now if Albertosaurus is a Whiskey sock-puppet. The two are suspicioualy similar.

LG said...

Alrighty then.

Shaw gets David to set a course for the shoulder of Orion. Then she skips down to the pantry and bakes some cookies. En route they have a tea party. David is such dear company; regales Shaw with soliloquies from Hollywood's Golden Age. Later they do each other's hair.

Or we could stay a little real and they could take this alien ship with a cargo full of black goo --goo which isn't exactly genocidal in the U.N. ethnic, racial, religious, or national group sense --any human D.N.A. will do, and which goo wiped out her crew and lover and apparently wrecked the Engineer's base --take such a ship back to those mothers and either get some answers or some payback or both.

I mean come on, live a little man.

Anonymous said...

http://www.criticswatch.com/reviews/redlettermedia-half-in-the-bag-prometheus

Pincher Martin said...

LG,

"I mean come on, live a little man."

To which I say, think a little.

Fanboys who are determined to love and defend third-rate crap are the locusts of the modern cinema. Their appetite is providing filmmakers with no incentive to offer anything beyond limp sequels they know will be devoured with barely a hiccup of discontent. These fanboys often show they are intent on liking a movie before they ever see the movie -- as frequently evidenced by their angry denunciations of critical reviews at Rotten Tomatoes prior to the film's release.

I don't have high critical standards. I go to movies to be entertained. I go for a pleasant diversion. I think the first The Matrix was a brilliant and original sic-fi film. I greatly enjoyed the first two Terminator and Alien movies. I have a fondness for the simple viewing pleasures I found in The Predator. I even enjoyed the movie about the giant blue smurfs, despite its odious message.

These films are no one's idea of Citizen Kane, but they offered something missing in Prometheus: entertainment for someone who expects the script to at least strive for the same kind of interesting characters, plausible motivations, and breathtaking action scenes that one routinely finds in a Pixar flick. That's the threshold. You know you're a watching a bad film when the plot and the characters are less cartoonish in Toy Story 3 than they are in a big budget release.

"Or we could stay a little real and they could take this alien ship with a cargo full of black goo --goo which isn't exactly genocidal in the U.N. ethnic, racial, religious, or national group sense --any human D.N.A. will do, and which goo wiped out her crew and lover and apparently wrecked the Engineer's base --take such a ship back to those mothers and either get some answers or some payback or both."

You keep talking about a movie that wasn't on the screen at my multiplex. It sounds more interesting than the movie I saw.

Anonymous said...

LOST in space

LG said...

And you keep talking about the movie as a whole when the subject is, for the moment, the last scene. Look, good on you for taking the absolute position (Nothing in the movie makes sense.) It's bold. But it's usually difficult to defend. And you're failing here. You're entire last comment is irrelevant --unless of course you caught something that I didn't.

What about that last paragraph of mine you quoted was not in the movie?

And what is more heroic, admirable, dramatic, real? Playing Trivial Pursuit and farting around with Head of David until the supplies run out, or voyaging on?

Anonymous said...

LOL Udolpho is such an excitable little nerd. I mean, what grown man gets so angrily defensive over a silly sci-fi flick?

Pincher Martin said...

LG,

"And you keep talking about the movie as a whole when the subject is, for the moment, the last scene.

I'm not sure when in the discussion I agreed to hermetically seal the last scene away from the rest of the movie. You'll have to remind me. It seems to me pretty clear that what makes any particular scene good or bad is how it works with the rest of the movie.

"Look, good on you for taking the absolute position (Nothing in the movie makes sense.)"

Well, I liked the movie's look and the actors weren't as bad as they were made out to be by the words and actions the script forced them to speak and take.

But for a major blockbuster film from a respectable director, the story was pretty bad. Apart from films like George Lucas's recent trilogy prequel, I'm having a difficult time thinking of any major film from a respected director which has been so anticipated and such a letdown.

"What about that last paragraph of mine you quoted was not in the movie?"

Unless I missed something in the final narration, there's no evidence she went in search of the aliens for any other reason than to find answers, not to get "payback" as you put it.

LG said...

I'm not sure when in the discussion I agreed to hermetically seal the last scene away from the rest of the movie. You'll have to remind me.

Nice try moving the goalposts. We've been talking about the last scene for three days now. (I know, I'm starting to feel stupid about it too.)

It's fitting that his female counterpart, Rapace, would later in the movie respond to the destruction of her lover, her ship and its crew, and the homicidal actions of the one alien they did find alive, which were potentially homicidal if he ever did reach earth, by recruiting the Lawrence of Arabia robot, who earlier tried to kill her, into seeking other aliens out. Apparently it has to do with Greek myths or something.

What a stupid ending to a stupid movie. --Pincher Martin, 6/10/12 4:16 PM


Re my last paragraph, I wrote: "...take such a ship back to those mothers and either get some answers or some payback or both." What's the problem? Either or or both. Only you can use conjunctions?

And only you can make inferences? The ship is one of their 'other' ships, so probably full of the black goo? Recall you missed the part where she left a message.

I thought we agreed to the limit that it was wise not go home or anywhere near home. Given that, what are a few things she could have done that wouldn't have triggered your scorn?

Pincher Martin said...

LG,

"Nice try moving the goalposts. We've been talking about the last scene for three days now."

I don't see how it's "moving the goalposts" to point out that a scene's credibility and dramatic power relies on how it fits into the rest of the movie. For example, I've been questioning the sanity of Shaw's decision to travel to the aliens' home world to look for answers. We can only make sense of that decision by looking at what took place before the final scene.

"Re my last paragraph, I wrote: "...take such a ship back to those mothers and either get some answers or some payback or both." What's the problem? Either or or both. Only you can use conjunctions?"

Because there is absolutely nothing in the film to suggest she is doing anything other than chasing answers in the same manner she began the movie doing.

Shaw tells David at the end of the film she wants to travel to the aliens' world to get answers from them. She wants to know why they first decided to create us and then later wanted to destroy us. He responds, "Does it matter? It's irrelevant." She counters by saying that he only thinks that way because he's a robot. But I think the vast majority of humans in the audience, if they had just experienced what Shaw had experienced, would have been with David on that one.

So there's nothing in the film that suggests for one moment she is going to the alien world to get "payback" -- to kill her creator in the same way David spoke earlier about every child wanting to kill his parents (a point that Shaw immediately and strongly takes issue with).

Like I said, you are describing a film which wasn't on the screen at my multiplex. It sounds like a more interesting film than the one I saw. A movie where she is genuinely pissed at nearly being erased by her creator in such a casual manner and wants payback would have made more sense.

"Recall you missed the part where she left a message."

It was what you said about the message that I didn't recall. That it was a warning to earth. In retrospect, I think what you're talking about is not a warning to earth, but a radio beacon and brief message to anyone traveling in the vicinity who might hear it, which provides for the segue to the Alien franchise.

That's pretty weak for a warning to earth. But, hey, why worry when you're off chasing the Big Answers to life?

Pincher Martin said...

"I thought we agreed to the limit that it was wise not go home or anywhere near home."

I just said I respected your interpretation on that point. There's enough in the movie to justify it. That doesn't mean it's the only possible interpretation.

"Given that, what are a few things she could have done that wouldn't have triggered your scorn?"

First, let me be clear. The movie lost me well before the ending.

Second, I've said that any one of a number of endings would have worked better than the one the moviemakers came up with.

Having said that, I would say your "payback" ending would have been better than the one in which Shaw is still searching for answers from the galactic homicidal Jesus race.

Or how about an ending like that in John Carpenter's The Thing? Shaw, like the Kurt Russell character, could prepare to die on the planet -- in much the same way he prepared to die in Antarctica -- by trying to make sure no other alien ever left the planet and that no other humans again come to the potentially deadly world. This at least would have made some sense.

There are probably a number of other endings which would have worked better than the one the filmmakers choose.

LG said...

Kurt's character had no where else to go; no possible sentient alien being to learn anything from and no way to get to them. Shaw did.

And the Thing was already on Earth, albeit fortunately for mankind in a remote and isolated spot, where one man's sacrifice could destroy or neutralize it.

Per David, there were 'many other ships.' Per the Captain's theory, the planet was a military base.

Yeah, I suppose the 2nd to last scene could have been her and HoD attempting to scuttle/destroy the base(s). But that strikes me as a little boring. A little passive. Not really as heroic or searching as she's been somewhat made out to be. And not significantly smarter, more authentic or more plausible than, given the threshold point about not going home, Scott's choice.

BTW, to be clear you were clear about the movie losing you well before the ending.

Pincher Martin said...

"Kurt's character had no where else to go; no possible sentient alien being to learn anything from and no way to get to them. Shaw did."

My point was not to claim that Kurt's character in The Thing and Shaw were in two completely analogous positions. It was to trace out better alternative endings, one of which would be for Shaw, once she recognized the futility of returning to earth, to wipe out even the possibility of contact between the alien race and their planet/military installation with the earth. That's sort of like what Kurt Russell decided to do when he knew he couldn't make it back to civilization. Can't save myself? Fine. But I'll do my best to make sure this alien doesn't save itself, either.

Instead, against all experience and logic, Shaw decided to continue the one-sided dialogue with the alien race, despite the fact that in her two brief separate encounters with the one alien she met, he was less interested in a conversation about human concerns than we would be with a grasshopper's.

Who's to say that when Shaw does get to the alien planet, they don't wipe her out without a moment's thought, let alone discussion, and then say to themselves, "Hey, remember that little planet in Vector Y we experimented with a few dozen millennia ago? Maybe we ought to head back there and delouse it for a new experiment." Given what we have seen of the aliens so far that seems the most likely result of her searching for answers.

In which case, everyone on earth was better off taking a chance with Shaw piloting one ship loaded with black alien goo back home.

"Yeah, I suppose the 2nd to last scene could have been her and HoD attempting to scuttle/destroy the base(s). But that strikes me as a little boring. A little passive. A little passive. Not really as heroic or searching as she's been somewhat made out to be."

I'm sure the filmmakers wanted the character to come across as a heroic truth-seeker, but she comes across as a religious, contradictory, and simple-minded ditz.

In any case, none of my endings save the movie. But at least they would make a little more sense than the ending I saw.

wren said...

Perhaps Sir Ripley actually made the movie as a vector to bring out the autism in people.

The movie itself is the environmental trigger that sets off the ticking timebomb hidden in our genes.

The comments here clearly demonstrate this.

It is an alien plot.

Pincher Martin said...

Wren gets one compliment from the blog host about a clever line of his which uses the word autism and now he's trying to make it into an act.

Cicatrizatic said...

The past few decades of movie technology have enabled directors to create fascinating visual landscapes, yet the writing quality is atrocious. So we get crap like this. More disappointing than a simply all around bad movie - because the scenery pulls you in and you expect better.

I'd to think that the talent for screenplay writing hasn't plummeted in the last few decades - it's simply been neglected. Either way it probably won't change anytime soon.

LG said...

In any case, none of my endings....

Get over yourself. If this was MPC I'd follow that quote with the smug smiley.

Given the assumption of not going anywhere near humanity, you've offered ONE alternate ending --which I've summarized already as 'Shaw and HoD attempting to scuttle/destroy the base(s).'

What else you got?

I'm sure the filmmakers wanted the character to come across as a heroic truth-seeker, but she comes across as a religious, contradictory, and simple-minded ditz.

Id est human.

Anonymous said...

I love it when nerds fight.

Pincher Martin said...

LG,

"Get over yourself. If this was MPC I'd follow that quote with the smug smiley."

I'm not sure what is MPC, but literate people should avoid using those emoticons to convey meaning. They look like smashed bugs on a windshield.

I offer that advice as smugly as I can.

"Given the assumption of not going anywhere near humanity, you've offered ONE alternate ending --which I've summarized already as 'Shaw and HoD attempting to scuttle/destroy the base(s).'"

I didn't know I was on retainer for fixing the Prometheus script. If so, I would point out that I've already earned my keep by briefly mentioning two other alternative endings for the film you neglect to credit me with. One in which Shaw wanders space (but NOT to the alien home planet), and one in which she commits ritual suicide. Both endings, even my flip suggestion about Shaw committing seppuku, would be preferable to what I saw.

I would flesh these endings out, but I believe you're less interested in exploring alternatives than you are in defending the dreck already on the screen (even if that means you have to occasionally make up what you saw). Fanboys aren't good at discriminating. They adulate. They make attachments that defy conventional criticism.

Look, Prometheus is a bad story wrapped in a great looking package. Five to ten years from now, no one will remember it or talk about it any more than we do Will Smith's 2007 hit movie I am Legend.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid Steve missed the really big point of the movie: it's about gods.

I think Steve and everyone else noticed that it's "about gods", man.

But it's not enough for a movie to be "about" some grand topic or issue.

It has to, you know, actually be a good movie.

Anonymous said...

The theme was treated like it was being bandied about in a dorm room discussion by two college freshmen who weren't going to make it to their sophomore years.

Exactly.

Having an ambitious theme doesn't make up for a poor treatment of it or a bad movie about it.

Anonymous said...

I thought Avatar was pretty bad. This was worse.

Anonymous said...

while dumping on a movie with an interesting, adult theme because he didn't like the motleyness of the crew, or how one character guessed the alien base was a military installation.

All the nitpicking aside, the movie was just really bad and boring.

The inaccuracies, annoyances, etc. whatever you want to call them, could all have been forgiven and forgotten if the movie was actually good and interesting. But it wasn't.