Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prometheus has great visuals but the plot makes no sense

Let's start with the positives, the film looks great, the visuals and designs in almost every single scene just makes it feels "grand". Right from the start this was apparent with landscape shots so beautiful they looked like moving photographs, and since I enjoy photography as a hobby I was really impressed.

The atmosphere and mood the movie creates is also great, coupled with the great visual design it makes you feel like you are watching a serious, first rate sci-fi horror thriller. This is great since I can't remember the last time I got to watch this type of movie. Especially since the alien franchise has grown more and more...I don't know the exact word...let's just say more camp. With the recent AvP (aliens vs predators) having so much in your face action and fake gore you start to lose that sense of fear, and at times start to wonder whether you are watching a comedy.

Prometheus is almost a throwback to older space sci-fi movies with it's less is more approach. Most of the time there really isn't anything on screen that should scare you, but for some reason there is always that tense creepy feeling hanging over you and it is what your mind fills in off screen. This is where again the great set design helps so much, I mean the details inside the Prometheus' corridors are beautiful, but creepy at the same time.

The characters are also better than many other recent movies of this type. They are not great, but they don't detract from the movie like many other. I mean whose idea was it to cast a load of generic teenagers in AvP 2 that felt like they just came off the set of Freddy vs Jason.   

So now we get to the single negative thing about the movie, ok so maybe there are more than one but this was such a big negative, and it is such a crucial part of any movie that it greatly effected the overall quality of the movie...The Plot.

Prometheus is still an enjoyable movie if you just let yourself enjoy the experience and not try to think too much about the why?. But it is really hard, if not impossible with this plot, I mean there is a big difference between being vague, letting the audiences use their own imagination to fill in the blanks, and MAKING ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. I still liked the film when I watched it, but if anything it is after watching it that the absurdity of the plot sticks with you in you mind and makes you look at the film in a negative light.

Spoilers!!! Spoilers!!! Spoilers!!!

So here I will attempt to list all the points that did not make sense to me, in the hope that maybe the director, writers, producers or other film goers more intelligent than me might stumble upon this post and enlighten me.

  1. Wouldn't it be more rational for Mr Wayland to invest his vast resources into research in technologies for prolonging his life and then going into stasis until the research is complete. Instead he goes for the ultra long shot of journeying millions of light years away following some ancient star map. I mean they might find anything, it might just be a home planet of an alien race that visited Earth long ago. Even if it ended up being our creator they might not be able to fix him, and even if they could why would they help him?
  2. At the end when Mr Wayland is going to meet the one remaining creator, shouldn't he send in his team first to maybe talk to it, asking it if it could...or would prolong his life. Sure they are a more advanced race, but they are not some sort of gods that can just wave a hand and heal him. I mean humans can perform organ transplant and heart bypass surgery, but only for those few who trained for it, and they would need an entire team to perform, for all they know the last creator could just be the ship's captain or a janitor? On top of that he just woke up to find that 2000 years has passed and that everybody else is dead, I don't think healing an old alien is going to be his top priority.
  3. Why did David (the android) spike Charlie's drink? The only possible rational reason is maybe he hoped to find some miracle cure for Mr Wayland, even then it didn't make sense. I mean how would he know it worked? Wouldn't it make sense to do some preliminary testing on it first rather than "oh I found some random black liquid I will just make someone drink it". Even then shouldn't he test it on a less valuable crew member?
  4. After finding that Elizabeth is pregnant with an alien baby, instead of helping her remove it why did he try to put her in stasis? What was he hoping to achieve? This would make sense for the plot of the earlier alien movies where a company was trying to collect samples that could be use to make biological weapons, but that is not the mission here, did the writers get confuse?
  5. David is the source of many of the irrationalities in the plot. His actions seems to be very random and it seems at times like he is mentally not right. Perhaps that is what the movie makers were going for, but the problem is that it is so random that there are just absolutely no rhyme or reasons to his actions.
  6. Elizabeth seems to forgive and forget pretty quickly. After David tried to put her in Stasis with an alien in her stomach, having to fight for her life and perform surgery on herself. Then finding out that she has been lied to and that Mr Wayland was on the ship, she just sat down to have a chat with them and then both parties just carried on with the mission like nothing had happen. If I was Elizabeth, apart from being very angry, I would want to know why the hell they did that to her, as well as telling the rest of the crew.
  7. When the two crew members left behind in the storm found the pile of bodies of the "creator" race, they said all of them have holes in their chest like something just busted out of it, so we are to assume that they were killed by the face hugger planting aliens inside them before they busted out, but then why are all of them still wearing their masks?
  8. Why did the creator leave star maps of their location on Earth? And why did they leave a map to a remote research facility in the middle of nowhere?
  9. The ancient star maps seems really basically drawn. Since the stars are so far away that the ancient people couldn't have seen them with their technology, the maps have to be either drawn by the creator themselves or the creator would have to tell the ancient people how to draw it. Drawing it themselves seems unlikely since all the maps have different styles, but instructing the ancient people to draw it also seems unlikely since that would mean they have visited Earth relatively recently and why would the creator leave a map any way.
  10. With such little information Elizabeth somehow seems so certain that the creators have "changed their minds" and now wants to wipe out humankind, and the captain seems certain that this is a lab for creating weapons of mass destruction.
  11. When a snakelike alien creature raises it's head up at you and hisses like a king cobra, why would anyone think it is safe to go and pet it?
  12. How did the two crew members get loss? I mean the walkway didn't seem so complicated, and one of them was in charge of making the map hahahah.             



  1. With some research, I now think there might be another possible explanation on the "bigger" picture of the plot.

    With several viral videos and websites of the film on the internet, there is one interesting quote in one of the viral website.

    ‘What is great in man is that he is a bridge not an end’

    Maybe the "creators" wanted to create the "aliens" all along, but they just needed to create human first in order to become hosts for the alines to be created.

  2. This might make sense since in one of the scene when Elizabeth asks David why the "creators" were heading for Earth, David said

    "sometimes to create you must first destroy"

    which could suggests that the "creators" were going to use the black goo on humans in order to create aliens, and that is their main intention, and wiping out humankind was just a byproduct of the process, not their main goal.

  3. Yeah, but why would they want to make aliens anyway? The black goo seems to just do whatever, from impregnating you with alien babies to making you into a zombie, or did the snake things make people into zombies? Also, the alien was from one of the original creator's as a host, not a human, although a human did birth the squid thing. Nevermind how the squid thing survived decontamination, or magically created matter out of nowhere to grow to that gigantic size. And did the aliens actually change their minds or just give up on destroying earth? And how do we know that survivor was going to destroy earth anyway? Maybe he was just trying to escape. I mean, if you woke from 2000 years asleep and saw some weird alien robot talking to you, would you immediately decide to destroy a planet on the other side of the galaxy just because it was your mission 2000 years ago? You wouldn't maybe check in on things at home to see if that was still your mission? Also, if that room was sealed off why didn't they just take off back then instead of going asleep for 2000 years only to take off later no problem and arrgh... Also, why had nothing decayed for 2000 years and why is one of the major plotpoints delivered via the hunch of a pilot who knows nothing about the aliens.

  4. And how come we are supposed to assume this is how the xenomorphs are created when there is an obvious statue of a a full grown alien in the vase room. and how did the holograms turn on to show the creators running away and dying. and they didn't look for any explanation on how all these dead creators were there. worst was no one cared and not one scientist did their job. And why would you travel across the galaxy to land on a planet that has extra terrestrials and take off you're helmet. Whoa the air is breathable.... Face Hugger to the Face! would have been a better movie. I'm so frustrated.

  5. I thought I was the only one dismayed by the plot irrationalities but now I see I'm not alone. I think the entire squid baby subplot is what gets in the way of the movie making any sense. Other than that you have a basically predictable but slightly more logical movie with the essential Alien hallmarks: exploration crew finds alien ruin, expendable crewmen are infected, unexplained super-powered zombie guy attacks, etc etc. I think the only reason the squid baby was tacked on was to give us the first xenomorph, and it feels like some film executive took the original script and said, 'but we need to show them the first Alien! make it happen.' Ugh.
    As many have said before, David makes no sense. The random 'I shall infect you with this goo I know nothing about' bit is nonsensical. We are told he has no 'wants' and acts as programmed. By Weyland. Ergo, Weyland specifically programmed him to go look for the goo and infect the only male member of the crew that had his partner on board so he could with complete certainty have sex with her in the last night of his life after infection and get her pregnant with the squid. Right. Then there's the same infected guy, the very next day, eagerly rushing into a flamethrower... was he in incredible agony? Was his mind affected by the goo? We don't know, but what I do know is that most people who get sick want to live. Especially if you don't know what's wrong with you. But, okay, the scene was obviously engineered so Charlize Theron could show how ruthless her character was. Or something. Then there's the deus ex machina of the pilot magically guessing that the cargo of the ship is a biological weapon. He isn't a scientist. He didn't even know what the mission was about until he woke from stasis. He's been to the ship once. How does he know? Oh, and at the end we get the pilot again in his grand suicide mission... why would he sacrifice himself so willingly? We know nothing about the character and, again, most people I know would not travel a billion miles into space just to heroically explode in a ball of fire. I know the neo-Ripley warned him of impeding doom and all, and of course he magically knows that ship is full of bioweapons, but come on. If he were a military operative, then okay. It's his job to protect others. Fine. But he's a civilian, one who got paid a lot to go on this trip from what is implied at the beginning during the briefing. So then... why? And we also have heroic sidekicks Crewman #5 and #6 doing the guys-with-violins-on-Titanic bit and going all, 'we'll stay with you and go down with the ship even though you don't need our help really and the escape pods are over there'. W. T. F.

  6. It's great to find other people who are honest about the plot. I think we all really wanted to love this movie and have so much respect for Ridley Scott that it's hard to accept, I'm sad to say, how incompetent and infuriating the plot is. Roger Ebert, who's normally excellent at pointing out dumb plot holes, gave this broken movie four stars... if it had been directed by Michael Bay, somehow I think he would have been less charitable...

    Here are some things that bugged me that I didn't see above:

    1. The blue man goo death at the beginning. What was that all about? We can't possibly know, which means it's not a mystery. Instead it's just an annoyance, like when someone says 'I know a secret!' - there's nothing you can do with that. I know a lot of people like this kind of thing (hence the success of that scam 'Lost'), but it's just bad storytelling.

    2. The Charlize Theron character. I don't know where to start. Did anyone notice she went missing for like half an hour in the middle of the movie? What difference would it have made if she had not been in the movie at all? I guess that flamethrower thing might not have happened, but that was stupid anyway. And why wasn't she interested in any of the awesome alien non-biological technology??? Why wasn't ANYONE interested?

    3. The crew. One of the things that made the first two Alien movies great was the portrayal of a group of people working together towards a goal. In Prometheus, we get a set of unrelated people with unrelated motives. So it means nothing when e.g. Harold and Kumar agree to commit suicide with the captain at the end. After the Noomi Rapace character bonked her two colleagues on the head, what did they say next time they saw her? Nothing. Who knows. Who could possibly care.

    4. The much-vaunted 'mood'. This is what I call the 'Shyamalan School of Serious Acting'. There has to be a _reason_ almost everyone is almost always sad and miserable and putting on a stern expression, other than the fact that this is a Serious Movie.

    5. Fake old man face. This looked stupid, like all fake old man faces. Why not get a real old man?

    6. Really boring decisions. Like, why couldn't there be a conversation with the blue man? That would have been way, way more interesting than making him essentially a mute killer robot. Like, the Really Old Man wants the fountain of youth. BORING. Like, Charlize Theron is the Really Old Man's daughter. BORING. It came off way more like 'Darth Vader Made C-3PO' than King Lear.

    I guess that's enough for now but of course the list goes on.

  7. David is a robot that is programmed to find out as much about the aliens as possible. It was scary to see him get around the unspoken robot law of not harming humans by asking the open ended question "how far are you willing to go?" Charlie's response was a permission granted. Also scary was that David's moral imperatives were mainly defied by the ruthless , empire building, Mr Weyland.