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So I saw Prometheus
msauvage purple
cleolinda
@cleolinda: TODAY \;;;/

@cleolinda: #leavingthehouseomg on the Good Ship Nobody Dies in ten minutes; have not figured out a Cthulhu Doing the Cabbage Patch emoticon

@cleolinda: IT HAS BEEN SEEN. FIVE TENTACLES UP. \;;;\ /;;;/ ~;;;~ \;;;\ /;;;/ #prometheus

@cleolinda: I have a few distinct thoughts about wtf the movie was trying to do, and as soon as I get home, I will explain. WOOOOOOOO

@cleolinda: We will go into the spoiler linkspam I have been saving sight unseen and my feels, as the kids say, about the overall series later.


I want to be as vague as possible with the spoilers, but--responses to this movie seem so violently mixed that, when I had a sudden epiphany as the movie ended, I felt like people might go into it with different expectations if they approached it a particular way. For one thing, none of the Alien movies are anything like the others, if you think about it. I always thought Alien itself was kind of slow until I read that Ridley Scott thought of it as "a haunted house movie," and then I got it. Whereas Aliens is kind of a war movie, by contrast. (I think I've only seen #3 and #4 once each, when they originally came out; I can't really say what "secret" genre they might be.) I like that they're all different. I didn't want this to be a remake of Alien; I wanted to see the filmmakers think of yet another take on the story. In fact, there is a movie I really love, in a wildly different genre, that Prometheus reminded me of:

MILD SPOILERS

Picnic at Hanging Rock.

I have argued before that Picnic is a movie about people coping with the inability to know. And, as mentioned in that discussion, I found both a really good theory on what happened to the girls (a frustratingly good one), and also the reveal the author had originally intended... which made zero motherfucking sense. Sometimes, you don't want to know. Sometimes the answer is infinitely less interesting than the question; I suspect that the ways the characters you've been living with deal with that question will almost always be more interesting than the answer they do or do not get, and if they do get it, it'll be almost beside the point. Prometheus is almost entirely about people asking, where did we come from, who made us, why did they make us? In retrospect, there's a particularly telling exchange where David the android (OH MY GOD, THAT FUCKING ANDROID) has a pivotal conversation where Holloway the scientist is ribbing him. You think the actual point of the scene is what David does at the end of it, but thematically, I think it's more important that Holloway says that David was made "because we could," and David replies, how would you feel if these alien makers you're looking for told you the same thing? How would you cope with an answer you didn't like? Is it worth it to ask a question and regret the answer--but at least you got the answer and no longer have to wonder? And honestly, it's true, a large percentage of these characters redefine "too stupid to live"--when I see the movie again tomorrow, I'll look for it, but I wonder how many stupid-ass impulsive decisions they make are based in "I want to know."

Someone once said (as always, I forget who), in the context of writing advice, that a major aspect of a story's plot should be that the character makes a choice. It might be a choice they were not capable of making at the beginning, or the opposite of what they would have chosen then; that might be the arc of their development. On the other hand, it might be a choice they were committed to making and then faltered along the way, began to doubt themselves or their faith, and then, at the end, they reaffirm that original intention to act. In fact, just flashing through the first stories that come to mind, I think sacrifice is a choice that protagonists often end up making, or at least a duty that has a high risk of death, and that's why they have to work up to choosing that.

If you want to stop reading Mild Spoilers here, I'll just say--look at the movie from the perspective of 1) the act of questioning being what it's about, and the reason we don't get answers is to underline that theme, and 2) what do Shaw and David, in particular, choose to do throughout the movie? What are their final choices?  

END OF MILD SPOILERS


VAGUE BUT SIGNIFICANT ENDING SPOILERS

I think that's why Prometheus supposedly leaves so many questions hanging, and that's what has frustrated a lot of people--I don't recall having any unanswered questions, honestly; maybe I was already expecting that the point of whichever question was the asking of it. (I rolled with the punches pretty easily with Lost, if that tells you anything, and this movie was co-written by Damon Lindelof as well.) I think the very last scene of the movie is Shaw making her choice, reaffirming her desire to know. It doesn't matter what she finds out. My guess is that it would have been the usual "we gave you our alien technology and all these opportunities and you wasted it on war and landfills" Judgy Environmentalist spiel you get in so many of these alien encounter movies. Seriously, we've got the DVD of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still around here; I could just watch that again if I needed an answer that badly. I don't really care why the Engineers changed their minds, particularly since they're not real, and it's not like I would be getting a factual answer to any questions I have about the universe in real life. I care that Shaw cares, because I've spent the last two hours with her, and I want to know how she's going to cope with a question she really, really, in light of the last ten or so minutes, may not like the answer to. I care because the act of questioning is the human experience I identify with, not the fictional answer she might or might not get.

END OF VAGUE SPOILERS


Actually, you know why I was really open to whatever was going to happen in this movie, most likely? Because I had read THIS, this COMPLETELY WACKADOO alleged plot rundown, several months ago. These are, like, Alternate Universe Reverse Spoilers, in the sense that none of this happens at all:

Mudow, Logan, Chance, Aldrich, Yuri, and Janek end up being destroyed by the Protoforms. In a strange, erotic ceremony, the Protoforms seemingly mate with the Bio-Brain and each other to create thousands of EGGS, the first of a new generation of the monsters. Meredith Vickers is revealed to be a sleeper CONSTRUCT of the Engineers, who are still active in their far future and Shaw’s present due to the time-travelling abilities of the wormhole. Vickers was grown in an Engineer lab but escaped, fleeing to Earth while always wanting to her find creators and take their power. The Engineers activate Vickers’ secondary GENE PROGRAMMING, and she transforms into an ALPHA PROTOFORM: the STAR BEAST.

At last, the two remaining crew members, Elizabeth Shaw and David, seek to confront the Engineers in the Temple. The Godlike entities prove to be utterly evil, and David sacrifices himself as he’s dissolved in the LIFE SEED BIOFORMER which is the basic genetic recipe for MAN: the former android David, it turns out, is the basis for all Mankind. Shaw is captured by Holloway, but he regains enough of his humanity to remotely activate an Engineer vessel for Shaw’s escape, then holds the other Protoforms and Engineers at bay. As Shaw escapes, she finds herself in the midst of the initial Engineer terraforming of Earth which we had witnessed in the opening montage, chased by the former Meredith Vickers who is now the gigantic, horrific Star Beast.

In a strange, erotic ceremony, you guys. THE STAR BEAST, YOU GUYS.


MORE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE MOVIE, AND THUS A FEW SPOILERS

>> The 3D is really good--I didn't come out with a headache at all, whereas the converted-from-2D previews were actually kind of uncomfortable to watch. By the time my eyes adjusted, the movie was definitely 3D for a reason, but it felt incredibly natural. I spring for 3D very, very rarely, but I think this one's worth it for the visuals, particularly the star map globe: 3D is Roger Ebert's archnemesis, and he liked it (MILD SPOILERS).

>> Maybe I was just prepared by (vague) early reviews and responses, but I really didn't think it was slow at all, and the score didn't feel intrusive to me. I mean, granted, it's not the taut silence of Alien, and it might have even benefitted from something more like that, but it's not like whichever movie it was where I spent the whole thing wanting to just TURN THE MUSIC OFF.

>> Oh my God, David, what the fuck. My only explanation here is that, to be fair, he's apparently got the ethical development of a three-year-old. I kept waiting for him to stick his finger into light sockets or put alien goo into his mouth like a toddler eating anything he finds on the floor. I mean, he's a fantastic character, the way Ben on Lost was a fantastic character, which sometimes involves wanting to slap the everloving shit out of them. I legit do not know how Shaw was able to restrain herself from punting him across the room. "How did your father die? Was it ebola?" What is wrong with you.

>> Speaking of Shaw--the Noomi Rapace character--who I want to give many hugs: I actually liked that she was sort of sweet and idealistic, maybe even an anti-Ripley at first, because that made it all the more impressive that she kept going. Again, I liked that it was a different, unique character who wasn't just a Ripley do-over. Although yeah, she was sort of ridiculously naive about how totes awesome it was going to be to chat up some aliens she didn't know anything about; I'm guessing she doesn't watch a whole lot of movies. Maybe she and David needed to hang out in the movie room while everyone else was hyper-sleeping. He could do her nails while he was highlighting his hair (LOL FOREVER) and they could watch horrible, useful, gory alien attack movies and maybe the crew would have lasted a little longer. Maybe? Probably not.

>> Seriously, though, most of these characters were too stupid to live. ("This alien penis cobra on a planet we don't know shit about, it's beautiful! LET ME PET IT." I sincerely do not know how that guy remembered to breathe.) Of course, I just rubbed my hands gleefully, because my purposes are my own. In fact, I have other thoughts, but I suspect I ought to save them. Cough. I'm still struggling with a half-finished thing, though, so it could be a while.

BE WARNED THAT THE COMMENTS WILL BE A WILD FRONTIER OF SPOILERS, although I kind of hope people try to stay vague enough that others will still want to go see the movie so we have even more people to talk about it with. I'll post the spoiler linkspam on, I don't know, Monday? We can get into it then.



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Oh my gosh oh my gosh, THE WE DO NOT SPEAK OF IT TAG. My day is made.

I can't ever promise anything with certainty, but some things happen more easily than others. I wouldn't post anything I did manage until next week at the earliest, to give people time to see it, not to mention, me to write it. I've been wrestling with the Avengers for two weeks now.

Edited at 2012-06-08 08:02 pm (UTC)

I love Picnic at Hanging Rock. The first time I watched it was during high school exam leave and my mum joined in about a quarter of the way through. By the end of it, the tension and mood of the film had gotten to the point where we were a tad jumpy.

I like Prometheus. I didn't love it but it was a good night out, especially when you have friends who insist on poking you and saying "Look at the vagina chair!" "Fassbender's looking happy." "Of course he is, he's sitting in the vagina chair!" The vaginal-phallic imagery was never very subtle in the Alien franchise but here it was enough to have Freud tell you off for laying it on a bit thick (that's what she said?)

The film looked stunning and Fassbender as an android impersonating Peter O'Toole in Laurence of Arabia was nothing short of fantastic. It's worth remembering that David was never fully in charge of his actions since he's not programmed to be. The ensemble I had mixed feelings about (yay for some non stereotypical gender equality in the characters though) but I did love Rapace's idealism as well as her being religious without it descending into cross-waving nut-job territory as film is so often guilty of doing. Hats off to Idris Elba for just being ace in everything.

My issues with the film came from the frankly tension-less and weak script. I get that smart people doing stupid things to further the plot is practically a necessity in genre story-telling, but it just wore so thin here in such a short amount of time. I was disappointed by the lack of mood and tension to the film too. Alien is famed for its terrifying encapsulation of isolation and paranoia. Here it felt like it had been forgotten about. I did cringe at the emergency caesarean scene, which was very well done and reminded me why I should never have children. But overall, too many questions went unanswered and there was too much stupid. The sequel bait is just one big WTF too. Why the hell would you go off looking for the aliens who want to kill your entire species?

A friend who I saw the film with is a church leader and we've told him if he doesn't write a bunch of Alien references into his next sermon, we won't be held responsible for our actions.

Also, Fassbender head in a bag. Admit it, you want one.

I'm sorry, I just kept choking down hysterical laughter at the head-in-a-bag bit. He was just so understanding. I just could not find him attractive at all, or maybe 98% of the time, because he was so goddamn creepy. Which is a compliment, I guess.

Regarding Ebert... I don't think that his "inevitable sequel" is quite so inevitable. I mean, you do this movie, you purposefully leave unanswered the unanswered questions... what do you follow that with? Were I Scott (which, obviously, I'm not) I'd let this go and move on to another let's-come-at-this-universe-yet-another-way project. Because really, that seems to be working out rather well.

I think a sequel will happen, but it's heavily dependent on box office (Prometheus is up against Madagascar 3, which shouldn't be looked at lightly, those films make cash). Not sure Scott would direct it either, unless he really wanted to.

I think Alien 3 is more drama and Alien: Resurrection is more of an action film. I'm basing these genre deductions on the Charles S. Dutton/Ron Perlman factors in the movies because I couldn't genre my way out of a paper bag with a genre GPS.

IMO 'Alien 3' was a prison flick in a 'Lord of the Flies' or 'Papillion' sort of way. It is the 'Ripley had a really bad dream and none of it was real' movie to me.

'Alien Resurrection' was the 'corporation gets hold of the survivors of 'Aliens' and makes the evidence 'go away' so they can try to bioengineer an alienesque Ripley. It's a fantasy with the 'genetic memory' ... but if the aliens can do it, I'm glad Ripley can, as well. Plot holes you can drive a freighter through, but I still liked it.

Given the basic silliness, I even like 'Alien v Predator' in its attempt to 'explain' what sort of race would voluntarily transport aliens.

SPOILERS to follow:

I loved it a lot. Everything with Fassbender of course. Picturing the very end, with Shaw piloting an alien ship with David's Head propped up on a seat next to her, is some hilarious stuff. They were really the only two characters I cared anything about. "Sorry I didn't help you abort your monstrous space beast baby." "Sorry I have to put your head in a duffel bag." Comedy. (No, but seriously, since the Weylands didn't really go anywhere, those two were the most compelling.)

Special memorial note: the spectacularly un-self-preserving pair of scientists were played by Rafe Spall (who I enjoyed thoroughly as William Shakespeare in my guilty pleasure Anonymous) and Sean Harris (who is one of the best parts of The Borgias).

My son flies into O'Hare tonight and we're waiting for him to see it. OMGSOEXCITED!

Alien was released in 1979 when I was 9 (yes, dating myself here, but what the hell) and my friend's father took us. I was terrified, mystified and a fan for life. I have such high hopes for this film. I mean, I even read the novels and graphic novels of Aliens and Predator stuff. Yes, I do. In fact, here's a pic of Command Central. Note the large Predator on top of desk. My Queen Alien is on top of significant other's desk atm.

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I'm also not ashamed to say I have tons more action figures placed about the house. Nope, no shame here!


I would have been scarred for life if I'd seen Alien when I was 9! I barely handled the Nazi's faces melting in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Where they lost me was when Shaw, um, had that surgery and then was just up and running around like nothing happened. That's when the movie just completely went nuts and it actually felt like a B-movie team came in and wrote it from there on. I LOVED it up until that point though. The opening sequence in particular was breathtaking.

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And, as mentioned in that discussion, I found both a really good theory on what happened to the girls (a frustratingly good one), and also the reveal the author had originally intended... which made zero motherfucking sense.Sometimes, you don't want to know. Sometimes the answer is infinitely less interesting than the question

Damon Lindelof was on...something on NPR yesterday (whatever plays at 4:00. Afternoon Edition?) and he made that exact same point when discussing Lost. He said that sometimes the theory a viewer comes up with is so dear to them that it becomes impossible to accept the "real" one presented by the creator. He didn't seem pissed about that either, which I think is a good view for a writer to have, especially having worked on Lost and doing the Alien movies with all their complicated mythology. I think that allows him to get more into what you were talking about with the choices the characters make instead of a Big Defined Ending.

Yeah. And the tough part is, I understand that it's something of a cop-out to just turn everything into a Choose Your Own Adventure. Like, no, YOU come up with something, it's YOUR STORY. But at the same time--logically, what could the Engineers' reason for changing their minds possibly be? Something about human civilization has displeased them or pissed them off or something? Usually, in this genre, it ends up being, "You're destroying your planet and the rest of the galaxy can't let you do that." Granted, I felt like Janek was kind of making a leap when he was like, "This is a military installation and these are weapons of mass destruction!" Like, I don't even think he'd been off the ship at that point to see a whole lot of it for himself; I felt like we were kind of being informed of that because we as an audience needed to be. But what if that was just an unsupported conclusion he leapt to? What if the Engineers were going back to earth for some kind of Stage Two terraforming/evolution that had always been part of their plan? Or what if Janek was right, but it wasn't because they had "changed their minds"--rather, they'd thought of something better to start over with? In the sense that there was nothing wrong with humanity; they'd just come up with an even "better" species and wanted to reboot?

Maybe the real question is, would you like whatever answer they committed to? I tend to think "there's no answer" works here because it's built into the actual themes of the story, but also because there is just nothing they could have come up with that would have been enough. I mean, the secret of the universe is... secret. You know? The unfathomable is, by definition, unfathomable. And after the Lost experience--people spent however many years demanding answers and then yelling about the ones they got. I mean, maybe the solution there was "think of something better," but I can see how you might also come away from that with, "People think they want to know the secret of the island, but they hate having the mystery stripped away when you do."

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IDRIS ELBA'S ACCENT.

That is all.

(Well, I still have to ses the movie, but I've seen enough of the trailers to go... huh?)

Idris Elba IN GENERAL.

(Heimdall is a badass)

... You know, I'd actually kind of like to see that bizarro Reverse Spoilers movie. I mean, how can a STAR BEAST and strange, erotic ceremonies fail to be hilarious?

Honestly, I was to a point where I was like, either that spoiler isn't real, thank God, or it is, and--Star Beast. Really, this is a win/win situation.

Why didn't anyone ever wonder if our drive to know where we came from was engineered into us?

And if the Engineers liked building weapons, and they built us...?

Maybe we're a really long-running ultimate nuke, or something.

Question before seeing it (please no spoilers)

I AM LEAVING A COMMENT WITHOUT READING COMMENTS TO AVOID SPOILERS.

But I have a question: I've never seen any of the Alien movies. Will I be able to follow the movie?

Re: Question before seeing it (please no spoilers)

I think so. I'd seen the movies, but this seems to stand alone. However, I believe it will seem a lot nuttier to someone not familiar with the franchise. Be prepared for some crazy.

There were so many "too stupid to live" moments where I was gesturing at the screen. "Put your helmets on!" "Use some damn tongs!" "Hasn't anyone every heard of a glove box!?"

Yeahhhh. I kept just wanting to be like, you are supposed to be scientists, DO YOU EVEN GO HERE? Yeah, let's totally electrify the head with live cells gooing around on it in the open air, I feel like that is a good life choice.

"You're three months pregnant" - out of which orifice did David pull the "three months" figure? She's not pregnant with a human baby, so what's his basis for this timeline? In hindsight, one of the dumbest lines in the movie, I think. There's also that line that Neil Degrasse Tyson ripped apart on Twitter, where Vickers says they're X billion kilomers away from home and apparently that distance wouldn't even take you out of the solar system.

I got jerked out of the movie at the very beginning, when they did the "all these ancient civilizations had the same symbols" speech and I realized it was Alien Versus Spacejockey.

I want to like the movie more, but I keep on finding things to laugh at. Like how the zombie guy was pretending to be a rock outside of the hatch.

Ultimately, I'm still trying to piece it together in my head. I'm not sure how the opening scene fits in. At first I thought the spacejockeys "created" humans accidentally, when the dead guys DNA got into Earth's water, but then there wouldn't have been human civilizations coexisting with the SJs and creating those cave paintings. Now I'm just using the Stargate explanation: the humans rose up and drove the SJs out. Why that one guy decided to commit ritual suicide by tea ceremony, I don't know...

The visuals were really great, though. SJs especially, they looked exactly like how I would imagine a near-human, but awe-inspiring, bigger, uber being to look like.

Okay, since you bring it up, I am really confused by that opening scene, because I am seeing more and more people describe it as a suicide, and I don't know why I thought this, but I had this idea that the spaceship dropped this guy off and it was his job to bring life to the planet, by drinking the life goo and donating his DNA. That is to say, I thought he was there on purpose to do that. And then people were like, "What, he missed his ride so he killed himself? They dumped him? He was exiled?" And suddenly I'm like, I don't know where they're getting that from and yet I don't know why I didn't see that myself.

Throwing this out there: Vickers is a Cylon, yes or no?

Also, the theme of this movie is Creepy Robot Learns to Love.

And the biggest question of all, why bother casting Patrick Wilson if we don't even get a high-res picture of his beautiful face?

OH SHIT! THAT'S WHO THAT WAS! I knew her father looked familiar but I could not for the life of me place him.

My issues are not the ones you seem to be alluding to others having. I am perfectly fine with Shaw and David running off together in their nifty spaceship and trying to find the space jockeys. I just spent about two hours with my father and my brother trying to make the many gaping plot holes make sense. I LOVED the first half of the movie. I loved the thoughtful tone and the slow, careful setup. I did not love that this member of a supposedly intelligent race woke up towards the end and immediately acted like an idiotic brute whose actions seemed just as primal as the mindless monsters and, eventually, the xenomorphs down the line.

What IS the goo, anyways? Idris Elba determines it's a weapon apparently based on the fact that one crew member got sick and killed before anyone could conclude what would eventually happen to him, and another one mutated and went crazy. He doesn't just determine, "Oh, there is something dangerous here." He determines, "This was probably a military installation and they were developing weapons to set upon other races, and it got loose and killed them." What the goo REALLY seems to do is make things evolve. The crazy killer worms seem to have evolved from the regular-looking worms once they stewed around in the goo. And the goo seems an AWFUL LOT like the goo in the very beginning that started the evolutionary chain to turn a space jockey into the human race. Evolution is what we see the goo ACTUALLY DO. The killer worm seems to be the thing that actually mutated the biologist and drove him crazy. So if it's not actually weapons development, maybe they're just going back to earth to kickstart their evolution some more?

I don't think the beginning scene was an accident. I thought it was a deliberate method of evolving DNA into something else.

What is the point of Charlize Theron's character? Her big "thing" is that she turns out to be Weyland's daughter, but what does she do with it? She wants him to die so she can take over, so why doesn't she do anything to help that along? Why not have her doing something to sabotage the mission? On the screen, her story has no narrative impact whatsoever.

Basically, we had a whole lot of questions. I think that our biggest disappointment is probably why the space jockey at the end acts like such a mindless violent THING. Like. Come on. And I felt strongly that the film should have either been further or closer to being an actual Alien prequel. As it stands, there's almost no reason the exact same movie couldn't have played out on the right planet with the alien eggs engineered by the space jockeys. It's like Ridley Scott said, "I'm making another Alien movie, but I'm pretending like I'm not, so I'm going to change a few minor things so it doesn't feed into a direct prequel."

We had a lot more issues we talked about, but I am having trouble thinking of them all.

See, a lot of people seemed to think the opening scene was a suicide? Well, I mean, yes, it was literally, but as an act primarily intended to end the engineer's life, not to accomplish something else. But that's what I thought it was, he was sacrificing himself and donating his DNA to evolution. I don't know how you get selected for that job, exactly, but I kind of felt like that scene was supposed to be showing us how they create life on a planet.

And yeah, I am confused/intrigued by what the hell the engineer waking up and freaking out was about. I mean, I guess there's no way to know, if we're not told exactly what David said to him. The only thing I can come up with offhand would have to do with how the engineers view humans at that point anyway--were they going to destroy humanity, because... reasons? Angry reasons? In which case, having a group of them wake the guy up and beg for immortal life must have seemed... annoying, for lack of a better word.

Ahhhh the Alternate Universe Reverse Spoilers! I WANT THIS. I have avoided everything ever to do with Prometheus until I saw the trailer in front of The Avengers. And then suddenly I have to reverse my stance that it's going to be horrible, I don't need no steenkin' prequel for Alien because I am fine with the mystery of their origins and whatnot. And then I spent Tuesday night rewatching the Alien Quadrilogy and spamming twitter with it. Somewhere in there I made a comment about how the Aliens are basically Space Velociraptors. I stand by that assessment forever.

And y'know, I like that there aren't any hard and fast answers given in this movie. I really loved the parallel discussions between the science mission and David. And watching the proto-aliens evolve from the goo was just horrifying. I love the idea that the Engineers created this thing as a do-over, it'll evolve into whatever the fuck it turns into and will wipe out their previous efforts - that part about "sometimes in order to create, you need to destroy" was pretty much the entire movie in a nutshell for me.

I love the idea of Shaw flying off to find the Engineers to yell at them WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? with David's head in a bag.

AND OH GOD DAVID. HE IS EVERYTHING THAT FREAKS ME OUT ABOUT ROBOTS/AI. Like, I don't know if it's because he had two years of kicking around by himself and creepily watching everyone's dreams that he got to have a bit of an existential crisis (the D: look on his face when Ancient Guy Pearce was like YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A SOUL, ROBOTSON!) or his idea of killing his parents was unleashing a plague so let's stick our finger into the goo and start experimenting on what it might DO (science! amirite?) so this is why he wants to bring back Noomi Rapace and her Cthulhubaby for further study. I desperately wanted to like him but the moral ambiguity meant my skin was crawling the entire time.

I need there to be a five hour director's cut of this movie that I can watch a thousand times. If nothing else, it was simply gorgeous landscape porn.

Well, I just read that they cut a ton of stuff that will probably be reintegrated as a director's cut, because: Ridley Scott. I'm actually curious to see if the movie makes a lot more sense in a longer cut, as opposed to how much of it was intentionally mysterious.

(ahahahaha Space Velociraptors, +1000)

the D: look on his face when Ancient Guy Pearce was like YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A SOUL, ROBOTSON!

DAD, I AM LEARNING TO BE EMBARRASSED!!

See, I read an interview where Fassbender was specifically like, messing with Holloway was a direct result of being told to "try harder." Because a computer can't do the same thing "harder"--it really means, "If this doesn't work, try harder to think of something else." On a certain level, I think he was just trying to experiment on the crew to see what might happen, with the possible subtext of making his "father" proud and/or immortal. I honestly don't know if he expected Shaw to conceive an alien fetus; he might have hypothesized some kind of "evolution" infection that might or might not spread to anyone else from Holloway. Because, after all, the vase he smuggled in was all he had to work with, so he might as well try the goo on someone. Like, I legitimately do not think he planned for the alien baby to happen; it was just a happy bonus. For him, anyway.

And you know, I want to just be like, okay, he was a creepy motherfucker but he was obeying his primary directives--I even kind of understand him watching her dreams, to see what human thoughts are like. But then he was like, "It must have been so horrible to watch your partner die just the way your father did. How about that, right? I enjoy talking about things that hurt you." Like, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

This is why I thought it was such a great performance, because when the trailers first came out, everyone was like, "Awwww yeaaaahhhh, get me a robot like that," and then we see the movie and it's like, UH NO. NO LONGER WANT. And yet I totally want a movie about the space adventures of Shaw and David's Head. Good job!

The whole questioning is indeed important to character development, but strangely i had the feeling like the answer to "why god why" is pretty obvious. It was said in the movie that those demi gods made a decision about humans 2000 years ago. And their first act of creation is pretty much altruistic, so it gives us an idea of their values.

Yeah. I actually read a Ridley Scott interview late last night where he mentioned cutting out (from the script? from the finished footage? I don't know?) some very obvious Jesus stuff. Like, "the Engineers sent Jesus and we killed him and now they're mad." I'm kind of glad they didn't get that on-the-nose with it, although Shaw's cross is kind of fair warning that the movie might go there. "2000 years" is enough of a hint to go there in personal theory if you want.

And yeah, even before I read that, that's why I didn't really want The Answer. I mean... we can guess the trope(s) that probably would have come into play. And they probably would have pissed at least half the audience off. In the end, I thought focusing on the act of choosing between escape and knowledge was more interesting.

I enjoyed it a lot, and was able (with a good deal of effort) to handwave most of the scientific and plot holes. But what kept bugging me was WHY, if you have cast Noomi Rapace, do you call her Elizabeth Shaw? SHE IS NOT ENGLISH, MOVIE, STOP TRYING TO PRETEND SHE'S ENGLISH. They have scientists and missionaries in Sweden too, you know!

Fassbender did an incredible job, I thought, and I loved the scenes at the beginning with him alone on the ship, playing bicycle basketball and watching movies and hanging out.

HIGHLIGHTING HIS HAIR. I will never, ever get over that. I like to imagine he sat there writing T.E. Lawrence fanfic in the long watches of the night. (I also really want to know if he really did sink that shot from the bicycle. Amazingly enough, Sigourney Weaver really did in Alien: Resurrection, so I guess it's within human plausibility?) And I liked how he was incredibly robotic during that sequence, but by the time he was interacting with the crew, you could tell his personality was evolving.

(Well, but her rather was Patrick Wilson, so... anglophone surname, I guess? I mean, the name was already in the script, I saw it more as them casting outside the box, as the expression goes.)

Edited at 2012-06-09 03:05 pm (UTC)

I was uncomfortable with the idea that we as humans were planted via genetic design by some abstract alien species, so I was relieved when it turns out the Engineers were highly-evolved humanoids who would go to life-sustaining planets (Earth and LV-223) and plant their DNA to create new breeds. Even the tiniest little tether of familiarity made me more at ease with the idea. And I really, really liked the reveal that the "space jockeys" were suits. What a great way to build on the film's mythology without undermining it's history.

What's more, I liked the idea that these Higher-Order Creators were just as morally capricious as humans - they created life, and then they upgraded their creation from within. First they made life in their image, and then they sought to make a more powerful creation. It's a natural escalation. Like Pokemon.

I still have a lot of questions about how the Engineers worked, though. Why leave that star map to that particular moon with early human civilizations? Is that where they wanted the humans to believe they came from? "This is where we're get all our good ideas! You guys were prototyped right here!" They knew humans couldn't traverse space at that point so we weren't going to meet them there. Alternatively, if it was their base of a secret-new species, why tell us? Why leave a map at all?

I'm still trying to tie together the myth of Prometheus with the beginning of the film: The first Engineer we see takes some of the DNA into his body, it consumes him, and he falls into the river. Like Prometheus, he sacrificed himself to bring something important, though not necessarily helpful or harmful on it's own, into existence.

It seems when the Engineers take the DNA, what devolves from them evolves into humans. When the DNA gets loose from the jars and joined with floor larva, it become reptile monsters/parasite zombies. When the DNA is transferred and incubated by a mating pair of humans, we get the fetal cephalopod monster. And when we combine the human-baked cephalopod monster with an Engineer, we get a xenomorph! I always kind of hoped we were the ancestors of the Alien (We have seen the xenomorph, and they are us).

What still doesn't make sense is what happened to the Engineers on the ship, why their plan was stalled for so long and only one ended up in cryo-sleep. Maybe there was some kind of contagion that required quarantine, thus why the space jockey suits are decapitated or piled up at the doors. Maybe the DNA was responsible, and 2000 years of evolution produced the floor larva? I don't know.

I was a little confused as to why David infected Holloway: David's mission was to find the Engineers and bring Weyland to them so he could live forever. I can understand David stealing and testing the alien DNA to see if it was connected to the Engineers, but why put that DNA into a human body? Did he think it would 'make' an Engineer? Even if it did, Holloway wouldn't have the knowledge to answer Weyland's questions. Ultimately, I guess David did it to test if that DNA is what killed the Engineers by seeing what would happen when an organism became infected.

And it's a small but interesting twist that David may been designed to be the "perfect" version of Meredith Vickers: both are ice blondes and "children" of Weyland. It's hinted there's something off about Meredith by her clipped manner and lurking presence - I kept waiting to find out she was android, and laughed out loud when Janek outright asked.

Of course, she didn't ACTUALLY answer him. :D

**SPOILERS***

That birthing scene was what I dreamed would be in Breaking Dawn, thus scaring all of the Twihards. But alas.

It cracked me up so bad that it was like, "Look! A half-human super-accelerated mutant baby that you thought you'd never be able to have!" "GET IT OUUUUUT!!!!!"

This alien penis cobra on a planet we don't know shit about, it's beautiful! LET ME PET IT

"Oosa cyoot widdle alien squid? Ooosa cyoot widdle alien squid? Ooosa- OH GOD IT'S EATING MY FACE! IT'S EATING MY FACE!"

Did anyone else notice that Shaw essentially performed an abortion but the word was never used? That struck me as . . . well "safe" I guess. Like they were trying not to offend anyone by bringing it up. (My eyes felt VERY offended by the sight of slicing one's own abdomen to remove a creepyass alien squid.)

It was on the med-pod's console, wasn't it?

What you choose to believe

I have a lot of THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about this film and, after writing about two thousand words about said thoughts and feelings, this is what I came up with:

The theme of Prometheus is "What you chose to believe." This is as much about the characters in the movie (a bunch of unreliable narrators, the lot of them!) and us the viewers.

Shaw believed that the Engineers were benevolent beings who gave us life. Janek believed that they landed on a Military base with a biological weapon. Weyland believed they could grant him immortality. David believed...I don't ever know what David believed. But anyways, whatever the characters chose to believe they told us and that changed our view of whatever the hell was happening. We were told that David had no soul or any personality that wasn't programmed in but dude, I swear to God David was operating on his own design, he had serious ulterior motives.

So all these characters' background and previous observations led them to what they believed and, much the same, the audience went into the movie with an idea based on previous observations of what the movie would be about. And I think the movie plays on that, uses that to its advantage.

I don't know. I guess I have to write a few thousand more words on this.

Re: What you choose to believe

You know, "These characters chose to believe various things" makes more sense to me than "Janek knows that it's a military installation, because somehow." (Which, honestly, is exactly what he needs to believe in order to make the final choice that he does.) Or "Weyland somehow thinks these beings can make him immortal, because we have the least idea what they're like." Which means that "unsupported conclusions" are the point, in that scenario.

On the other hand, I'm also convinced we're going to get a director's cut with like an hour more material--I'm curious to see which parts were meant to be confusing or vague and which parts were just kind of choppy because there were scenes left out.

With this and listening to the Now Playing podcast of the Alien series kinda makes me wanna see the first two movies at least. And this is despite my aversion to Body Horror.

You really should! They are SO GOOD.

I think this can go here without stretching it too far:


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