Prometheus marks the long-awaited (by fans, at least) return of director Ridley Scott to the Alien movie franchise. No doubt he’s a great director, and he launched a well-loved series of movies, which later branched off into comics, toys, video games, etc. Unfortunately, the Alien series as a whole is filled with more trash than a landfill. Let’s take a brief look:
- Alien (1979) – Awesome.
- Aliens (1986) – Awesome.
- Alien 3 (1992) – Fucking terrible, depressing, prison setting, generally retarded.
- Alien Resurrection (1997) – One of the hokiest pieces of shit ever put to celluloid.
- Alien vs Predator (2004) – Directed by one of the 4 Horsemen of the Film-Making Apocalypse, Paul W.S. Anderson, need I say more?
- Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2007) – Still fucking terrible, but at least it embraced its idiocy and went full out with death and mayhem.
So, out of six movies, only two are good. I’m surprised they kept making these things. They must have made a lot of money, because I’m sure people weren’t out there comparing this shit to Casablanca. At least they nailed two of the three R’s of shitty franchise sequel titles: Resurrection and Requiem. The only one they are missing is Redemption. I’m sure Alien Redemption is somewhere on the horizon.
When it was announced that a new Alien movie would be made, there was a collective groan across the internet, as if a million voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. That groan became a cheer when Ridley Scott came on board as the director. At last, we would get another good Alien movie! It only took 27 years!
The movie was titled Prometheus, and it would serve as a prequel to the original film. And while watching it, it certainly becomes clear that it is indeed a prequel to Alien. It has all the trappings of an Alien movie: creepy atmosphere, strong-willed and tough female protagonist, people dying left and right, evil creatures killing people, no escape, a single android character, everything masterminded by the evil “Company”, etc.
The movie boasts stunning visuals, 3D that actually impresses, a really good cast including Awesomely Shitty’s favorite actor Michael F. Assbender, and very high production values. It works on a lot of levels because it was skillfully put together by the director and editors. The cast delivered good performances to make the film enjoyable. The music, while not particularly memorable, satisfied and worked well in any given situation. There is a lot to like about this movie.
In fact, I found myself liking Prometheus as I watched it. I was completely oblivious to the plot holes and general idiocy that were rampant. It wasn’t until the movie ended, when I was reflecting on it, that I realized it is sort of a piece of crap.
There are several “mysteries” of Prometheus that are really only “mysterious” because they were created by plot holes. Why would the Engineers invite the human-race to find them when they were planning to wipe them out? DERP! Why would the Engineers invite the human-race to a military installation? DERP! Why do the Engineers have a statue of a giant head? DERP! If the Engineers were all killed by the aliens, then why aren’t the aliens attacking the humans? DERP! If the Engineers created all life in the universe, then who created them? DERP! If the Engineers created life on Earth by seeding their DNA, then why do humans almost look exactly like them, ignoring the rules of evolution? DERP! — I’m sorry, but simply not explaining something does not, by default, make it “mysterious.” It just leaves it unexplained.
Prometheus also manages to tick off several items that you would find in a shitty horror film. If these look familiar to you, it’s because they are the rules I laid out in my horror movie post:
- An average, identifiable person is the protagonist.
- A monster/villain will kill off the other characters, usually one by one.
Allmost characters that have sex will die.
- Black, Hispanic, Asian (any non-white race) characters will die and therefore cannot be the protagonist.
- When terrible shit starts happening, the characters must always “split up” in order to make it easier to be killed.
- When running away from the monster/villain, one or all of the characters will fall down and be unable to stand back up.
- When wanting to get another character’s attention, the best way to do it is to silently approach them and quickly grab their shoulder, preferably in a dimly lit room or cemetery.
Of course there are more rules than that, but with seven of these tropes being enacted in a movie that’s supposed to be better than this, it’s a real annoyance.
If I was on an alien planet, inside a derelict space ship, and watching holograms of alien creatures dying, you’d better believe the FIRST thing I would do is separate from my teammates and try to find the way out on my own. Come fucking on, we’ve seen this a million goddamn times. You couldn’t think of a more original way to kill off the characters? You had to have them split up? What is this, fucking Nightmare on Prometheus Street? Fuck that shit.
And of course the so-called “scientists” in this movie are the weirdest, dumbest, most anti-social bunch of fuckos this side of the guys in Con Air. They are constantly fighting with each other, arguing, doing stupid shit, and not acting like normal human beings. For example, LOL WE JOINED A MISSION TO OUTER SPACE WITHOUT KNOWING ANY DETAILS OF WHAT THE MISSION WOULD INVOLVE LOL! Or how about the one where LOL WE ARE ON AN ALIEN PLANET WITH A POISONOUS ATMOSPHERE BUT THE AIR INSIDE THE SPACECRAFT WITH A HOLE TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD SEEMS OK SO LETS ALL TAKE OUR HELMETS OFF LOL! Or the other good one was LOL WE JUST FOUND A PERFECTLY PERSEVED SEVERED ALIEN HEAD LETS INJECT SOME SHIT INTO ITS BRAIN TO MAKE IT THINK ITS ALIVE LOL!
Other things just don’t make any sense. Like one guy getting killed by the evil black ooze, only to return as a zombie and fuck some shit up. I’m sorry, but nowhere in the Alien universe have there ever been any fucking zombies. And why would the guy in the film’s opening scene DISINTEGRATE upon exposure to the black ooze, when this other guy turns into a goddamn ZOMBIE?! It’s not consistent, and it’s bullshit. They are just doing whatever the fuck they feel like without setting down any kind of ground rules for their universe.
Which brings me to the other shit that pissed me off. The way everything goes down in this movie, it is clearly meant to be the setup for the next film in chronological sequence, which is Alien. And here are the reasons why:
- The Engineers’ space ship crashes to the planet in Prometheus, and is found in the same position on the ground in Alien.
- The only surviving crew member leaves behind a beacon, warning people to stay away from the planet in Prometheus. In Alien, they find a beacon which Ripley later discovers is a warning.
- The planet in Prometheus and Alien is barren, with unbreathable atmosphere, and dangerous dust storms.
- There is no sign of life whatsoever on the planet or inside the derelict space ship.
But the problem is that there are a couple of differences. For example, the planet designation in Alien is LV-426. The planet designation in Prometheus is LV-223. The dead Engineer in Alien is found in a navigation chair with his chest burst open (obviously killed by an alien), but the dead Engineer in Prometheus is killed elsewhere (but by the same method). In Alien, the dead Engineer is ancient and fossilized, in Prometheus (given the timeline) the dead Engineer would presumably not be dead long enough to become a fossil.
At first glance, these three discrepancies seem to have an obvious answer: the two planets in Prometheus and Alien are different. Why else would the Engineers die in two different locations and the planets have two different designations? Why else? Because Prometheus is retconned crap.
The discrepancies exist because the writers and director were too fucking lazy to pay attention to the original Alien and get all the details to match up. They retconned it (i.e. retroactively changed the continuity details) because they thought it would be “better” doing it this new way. There is one clue in the film that proves it is a retcon.
In the final scene we see the birth of an alien, as it comes out of the chest of the dying Engineer. Except it doesn’t look anything like the birth of an alien we’ve seen in any of the other movies. Typically, a tiny alien (which fans have lovingly dubbed “chest bursters”) explodes out, forehead first, is very lightly colored, has stubby arms and legs, and runs away for cover. It only later grows up to be large, black, and evil. However, in Prometheus this does not happen. The alien comes out fully grown, already black, with long arms and legs. It doesn’t even explode out head first. It uses the back of its head (which is now sharp for some reason) to cut itself out. Another change was a complete redesign of the alien “face hugger.”
Now, simple aesthetic changes are all fine and good, but they also changed the details of how the aliens are gestated and grown. So if they changed that detail, then why would any of the other details be safe from changing? They weren’t. This is still supposed to be the same fucking planet from Alien. They changed LV-426 to LV-223 because they felt like it. They changed the location of the dead Engineer because they felt like it. They changed the life cycle of the alien because they felt like it. In Alien they had the dead Engineer be “fossilized” because it made him seem ancient and mysterious. They couldn’t do that in Prometheus because it wouldn’t make any sense given the story they wanted to tell, so they changed that, too.
It’s too big a pill to swallow that all this shit went down on a different planet from the one we see in Alien. Are we supposed to believe that in Alien and Prometheus, an Engineer space ship crashed on the ground in the exact same position on the exact same type of planet, both Engineer crews were completely wiped out, and in both cases someone left a warning signal to keep everyone else away? The Engineers would not leave a goddamn warning signal, they were planning on using the aliens (or at least the black ooze) to wipe out human-kind. Warnings would be the last thing on their mind, especially in light of the Engineer trying his damnedest to kill every human in his sight.
Basically, all the changes were retcons. They were annoying because they were completely unnecessary. And I don’t buy for a minute the idea that the events from these two films are unrelated. It’s bullshit, and yet another example of Hollywood fucking up.
The hardcore fans will swear up and down that everything is canon, and will spend decades trying to fanwank explanations for what really happened on LV-426. They will be wasting their time. We know what happened on LV-426 because it was the events that occurred in Prometheus. They just changed the planet’s name to LV-223 because, why the fuck not?
I am hating on this movie because it has pointless retcons. That’s a valid complaint. But I’m also hating on it because it has a plethora of retarded plot holes that were disguised as intentional “mysteries.” I’m hating on it because it lacks consistent rules (e.g. the zombie guy). And I’m hating on it because the characters act like fucking morons. All of these detract from what could have been an excellent movie. Hollywood never fails to let me down.