TOPIC: Prometheus: Post-Viewing Discussion (SPOILERS!)
Re: Prometheus: Post-Viewing Discussion (SPOILERS!) 11 months, 1 week ago #10707
Matt Dillon wrote:
Lee: My apologies. I guess it came across as taking it personally because in a way I am, although it's nothing to do with you. I hate being made to feel that I need to justify liking a movie that a large group people disliked (as I have for years with Alien 3), and that's what the "consensus opinion" crowd on Prometheus - and I don't really think it IS a consensus, because in my personal circle of friends thus far it's almost precisely 50/50 - is making me feel. I also can't stand bandwagoning with this sort of thing, and just as we did with Spaced's "Babylon 5 is a big pile of shite", Alien 3's "In Space No-One Can Hear You Yawn", and all of that Twishite stuff, we now have a bunch of yahoos on the internet piling scorn on a movie that they can't articulate their problems with, so they just resort to taking the piss (although this is funny). Clearly my frustration with other people on the internet has spilled over into my writing!
But yeah, I don't think we'll ever agree on this! Funny, we still haven't seen anything from Wayne or Byron. Chickenshits.
Y'know we may never agree, that is true, however look at it another way... We do agree about certain things when it comes to this film such as the outstanding art design, Fassbender clearly acting everyone else off the screen and the initial concept, if not the execution of that concept. So there is a middle ground to be had. And, unlike the rest of the web, I'm not dismissing peoples love of this film.
Personally, I find myself unable to love it but that doesn't preclude anyone else doing it, nor do I think anything less of them, unless they turn around and come at me with a holy fervour of a blinkered fan, who is face down in the kool-aid.
As I've said many, many times before, blind love is no love at all... Sure if you love something like a film but staunchly refuse to acknowledge any flaws in it even if they are glaringly obvious, then I will view your opinions with suspicion. However, if you love something, and say "Yup, theres bus sized issues here but I'm going along with it because they aint bothering me" then fine by me. I might not agree with that viewpoint, but at least it comes with a measure of awareness.
So, I guess silver linings and all that
Re: Prometheus: Post-Viewing Discussion (SPOILERS!) 11 months, 1 week ago #10708
I enjoyed the Movie. It is flawed. But I enjoyed the Performances (especially Fassbender). I didnt find the same problems with Davids swings in character because It was extremely obvious that Weyland was pulling his strings and he was just following his creators orders.
I will say that i thought Idris was totally wasted in the role as the Captain as he is just brilliant and would watch a complete film of him in that role. And yes there were too many characters which weakened the impact of the scene in which the Mo-hawked geologist Zombie kills most of the crew, but that being said it looked fantastic like all of Ridley's big movies do. I had a feeling going in that it wouldnt be the complete version of the film and the announcement of a directors cut blu ray with an extra 30 minutes of film does not surprise me, i totally understand all of Lee's misgivings about this and about the film as a whole, But the Engineers help me I just loved watching it unfold (even more so the second time).
I have no problem filling in the blanks left by the film with my own ideas, much like I did when I saw Alien for the first time all those years ago. I didn't think it was a bad idea to have the proto-xenomorph at the end. Who is to say that the engineers don't return to LV-243 and either get attacked by it or improve on it and then the cargo in Ship we see on LV-426 isn't the result. Ridley himself was already hinting at a sequel before this was released so I wasn't shocked in the least with the ending we got.
This movie was a big deal for me, and in the end I may not have gotten the amazing piece of Sci Fi that I really really wanted, but Ill tel ye I wasn't as let down by the final result as some folk were.
Looking back on this now with a measure of distance (and Star Trek V ringing in my ears after watching it for next weeks Black Dog, which gives me some real perspective on bad film making) I know that this inherently is not a bad / fucking appalling film.
The only thing I think though is that a Directors Cut and sequels should not be excuses for a film that is as far as anyone should be rightly concerned a stand alone movie.
Its folly to make something with not only inconsistencies in its own structure but also having the story effectively nothing but a collection of plot strands with a vague promise that should Prometheus 2 & 3 ever get made we'll get actual answers.... Last time that happened with Lindleof we got Season 5 of Lost being utterly disregarded within the context of the whole 7 years of show, no satisfying answers and a conclusion that was obtuse, insubstantial and frankly about as satisfying as a gourmet fart sandwich.
The thing is, we can make excuses, we can fill in plot holes ourselves but really that only goes so far and in the end the result of Prometheus, should be a film which delivers a film that should be able to stand alone and work in the theatre upon release. And this can be done by rounding out some of the pretty heavy schoolboy errors of film making 101.
Now I've mentioned before, I have no problem filling in blanks per se, but the issue that remains with me with Prometheus, is that some problems are utterly and laughably easy to fix and the fact that they weren't gives the film a air of first time writer / first time director. The fact that its a seasoned hollywood heavyweight like Scott and acclaimed writer of one of the biggest TV phenomenons in the past decade just means the mistakes feel lazy. So going from that perspective, while I appreciate the opportunity to use my brain to fill blanks, I shouldn't feel like I'm making excuses for lame moments or failings on the crew's part to tell a coherent story... That feels like you're apologising for the film, leaping for conclusions that neither matter nor have any possibility of actually being correct, or even borne out to a resolution.
Just to illustrate my point about lazy writing being easily correctable lets take the laurel and hardy of this film Fifield and Milburn. Now, I'm sure we all can agree that a man who is making the 3D super detailed map, should not be the guy to get lost, yeah? Similarly someone who is a botanist and frightened of holograms should not be the first guy you'd imagine would put his face near a Space Penis Cobra, right?
Well the fix is astoundingly easy to apply... Make the two characters actually enthusiastic.... Make Milburn excited by the find of the millennium... Make him like a kid in a sweetshop when he sees the Space Jockey corpses and above all else make him a biologist not a botanist. Similarly, do the same with Fifield, okay you can keep his cynical edge, but again make him excited to be in an alien temple... Make him discover the green rock in the front of the temple mosaic. Then with that all in place, why do they get lost? Simple, they both wander off like hyperactive school kids, boggling at all the new discoveries. Similarly thats why when presented with a clearly threatening creature Milburn is all "Yeah this is a magnificent creature, I've handled deadly snakes back home, you just have to ... OHFUCKINJESUSCHRISTITSFUCKINGMYFACE!"
Now its not as if that requires a major script rewrite or radical new set ups or direction, one or two lines tops and the actors playing more upbeat and that whole issue is done and gone. Similarly make the silica storm actually completely cut them off from Prometheus, making Idris Elbas character not utterly negligent for thinking its funny for these guys to be stuck in the temple with random lifeform pings going off around them.... Just have a "Guys this storm is going to cut us off... you hang tight" and a reply enthusiastically exclaiming that they're going to be quite happy playing about in the temple...
Similarly, with the Space Jockey wake up scene, you only need David to drop an exposition bomb to Weyland perhaps saying that he believes that the SJ's have done all of this 2000 year set up as a test of worth, a trial by fire (a nod to the Prometheus legend) and that David feels he should not be the one to address the SJ. Weyland insists and bang the SJ's motivations get a touch clearer, not a massive amount but enough that you can see why the SJ when greeted by a robot not a human, reacts like it does...
In other words its implying the SJ thinks, "You humans should be able to address me as an equal instead you stand on the shoulders of giants and work through this poxy blond headed toaster... You are clearly not where we thought you'd be, you are a failed experiment and now I shall bludgeon you to death with Michael Fassbenders head and destroy your world like a corrupted sample in a petri dish"
Again, in a movie which is in the second half nothing but weird chunks of exposition, something like that, that is relevant would take minimal adjustment to shooting script, time or even shot setup and off the back of it, the SJ's get a touch more rounded in their actions rather than being a roid rage version of Powder... Instead of a vague and directionless threat.
I could go on but small almost insignificant fixes like that could make a world of difference to how the film plays out coherently and how it was subsequently received.... Right down to having Shaw, not only lose her necklace but actually after the SJ's appear on the scene, she renounces her faith, coming to terms with the realisation that this is a Lovecraftian style universe of cold calculation, nature red in tooth and claw and not guided by any omnipotent all seeing eye.
Minor changes, major benefits, and I'm by no means the smartest tool in the shed, but Scott and Lindeloff are smart guys at the top of their game and these ideas didn't cross their minds, even in edit?
Last Edit: 11 months, 1 week ago by Cartoonbeardy.
Prometheus: Post-Viewing Discussion (SPOILERS!) 7 months ago #10966
It's interesting reading the discussion on Prometheus. I won't dig in too deep because a) I don't think I have the energy and b) everyone saw this months before me and probably don't care by now! But I really liked it. The only thing I will pick up on because I find it quite interesting is this...
Then the rest of the crew appear on the scene and the whole veneer of quality falls apart. Suddenly we get zero motivational characters, eulogising about big ideas and acting in a way that suddenly makes you realise you are watching a b-movie with a-list sheen. The characters and by implication the script are the biggest issues in Prometheus. You see if you don't care about the characters or the situation you find them in then the bigger concepts that carry along behind them in the background lose their impact. Characters in this film don't act like real people. They act like characters in a shonky b-movie, changing motivation as the scene (not the film or the character development) demands. The logic goes out the window and with it any empathy for anyone on the ship.
We are told there are 17 people on board the Prometheus, can anyone name more than 5?
I hate to bring in comparisons to the Alien films, but this comparison kind of illustrates my feelings quite well...
To me "B movie with an A list sheen" is a perfect way to describe Aliens, which is a film I'm mildly entertained by, but don't have anywhere near the love for that most have. And in a sense, considering the origins of Alien and what it is, that film is also a B movie with an A list sheen.
The marines in Aliens are just so thoroughly unlikeable that the only person I'm really invested in is Ripley (Newt is just too vomit inducing to care about), and a lot of that good will is carried over from Alien, which I adore. Unlikeable is fine if a character is interesting; I don't have to like a character to enjoy them, I just need to be interested in them, but the characters in Aliens are so unlike able to the point of annoyance that all that's left for me in that film is spectacle. The spectacle is good, but it's empty for me. Yes they're marines and they act like marines, that's fine, but it doesn't make them any less fucking annoying to me. Alien on the other hand, we don't know anything about these characters, but you have John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton playing the roles, all actors with a certain magnetic presence that you could happily listen to reading the phone book.
Motivations are debatable, but I didn't find anything in Prometheus that was particularly offensive to me.
Prometheus for me falls somewhere in-between. I'm invested enough in the people I need to be invested in and the rest are cannon fodder.
The only real falling down point for me was the moment that's probably supposed to be the most fan pleasing, and that was the birth of the proto alien at the end. It was a moment that was telegraphed to get the Alien fans punching the air. There's nothing wrong with fan service, and I do wonder why sometimes people get so snarky about it, but in this instance I felt it wasn't needed. I was invested enough in the story that I'd seen and the potential for future stories that I didn't care. As someone who isn't that into the Alien series as a whole I'd be quite happy if a Prometheus series went its own way and never referenced Alien again. I like that it's in the same universe as Alien, but I don't need that connection shoved down my throat.
Horror heals. Sentiment sickens.
Re: Prometheus: Post-Viewing Discussion (SPOILERS!) 7 months ago #10969
Tom, I totally get the comparison to Alien with the A-list sheen / B-Movie film and I take that point. However, I have to say that the thing with Alien in comparison to Prometheus is that Alien was simply a monster on the loose movie, it had no pretensions to be anything other than that.
Prometheus on the other hand is tackling big questions (or at least attempting to) as its main story thread. Themes of evolution, the need to understand ones origin, the idea of children rebelling against their family, faith vs science etc. The problem is that when you start pulling that chariot of the gods stuff and making the monster movie elements a secondary thing then the film is definitely not a B-movie at its core.
That then continues through the film, this pretence of a high concept, big idea, hard SF, 2001 for the modern generation attitude, informs the film and the audiences expectations of what you should expect. So when you get informed that there are 17 people aboard the Prometheus, you get the sense that this is significant. In Alien, there are only 7 people and while they are (as you rightly point out) just as sketchily drawn, the fact is you know them, you know who they are and with such a small number, when one is lost it feels like a genuine loss to the crew.
In Prometheus on the other hand, 5 guys are instantly dispatched in the cargo bay by lanky punk zombie and after that scene nothing feels like its changed, which robs the film of any drama, tension or any sense that anything is at stake.
With regard to character motivations and actions, I have to say that after rewatching the film only a week ago, this aspect of the film still feels terrible.
At the risk of repeating myself, off the top of my head, you have:
And there are more (mainly focused around the weird motivations of David and a disregarded pointless subplot about Theron being Weylands daughter) but I'll stop right there on that point.
Then of course there's the black goo. A catch all thing that does what ever the script demands of it at the time... Breaks down a Engineer to start life on earth and recreate DNA, sure... Create supersperm in a scientists eye to give life to another scientist who has been unable to bear children, um?... Mutate worms into acid spitting orally fixated cock cobras, eh?... Resurrect dead geologists... er...
But moving on from that, I have to say I totally agree with the point about this film should have had nothing to do with Alien at all because it seemed hamstrung with the desire to shoehorn in elements from Alien. And by being beholden to Alien (even tangentially) the writers feel they have to include aspects of Alien that make no sense in the context of the story. For example, why must every creature that has instantly evolved from nothing with no interaction with any other species at all, be orally fixated? Why? Because that what the face hugger was in Alien... Its just lazy dot joining in the script that culminates with things like Fassbenders head being ripped off, just like Ian Holm's in Alien, Noomi Rapaces character doing a word for word sign off that duplicates Sigourney Weavers in Alien... The list goes on and each nod and call back just diminishes Prometheus because it feels like the whole thing changed direction and scripts mid way through production.
By not being an Alien fan I can see that a lot more is forgiveable, but even without the Alien elements the film still has masses of incoherent moments and scenes where you're left wondering why decisions were made the way they were. Why have a med pod in a spaceship that is only calibrated for men? Why bring that up as a thing?
I watched Prometheus with Carol (a devout non SF / horror person who simply isnt in to the history of those genres) and all she did was sit there and question the film feeling that there was nothing that worked satisfactorily, especially the fact that Shaw could perform all sorts of stunts after having her entire mid section cut down to the womb and hastily stapled up and of course finding the escape from the rolling spaceship by running along its rolling path rather than simply turning 90 degrees.
Anyway... I think this sums it up...
Re: Prometheus: Post-Viewing Discussion (SPOILERS!) 7 months ago #10973
I've been tracking, at least superficially, who has and who has not enjoyed Prometheus and I've found a compelling, though not absolute, difference between these to parties.
On the whole, most people who could be thought of as Thinking types, that is those who search for logic and structure in a film have hated or disliked the film. Irrational behavior by so-called scientists, unclear motivations in a central character, and a failure to live up to its premise are but a few niggles. It is a film about Science and Religion that neither understands nor respects those two adversarial stances. The style fails to make up for a lack of substance.
Feeling types, those who respond to the mood of a film, more often liked or actually loved the film. They generally found the horror elements tense, the cinematography and special effects superb, and the performances outstanding. Moreover, they found parts of the story with which they could relate. Entertainment is to be had despite a shoddy script.
I suppose each is correct in that each perspective seeks what will satisfy. One finds it. The other does not.
Where Geek Meets Goth
Time to create page: 0.70 seconds