Cinecast Episode 261 – The Occam’s Razor Situation

The lengthiest movie review in Cinecast History is at your finger tips. We get so in depth at one point that it evolves into a discussion on the possibility of a “Hogan’s Heroes” movie adaptation. Life, death, God, David, DNA, magic slime, helmets, Earth(?), mohawks, 3D, murals, exploding heads, inconsistencies, Patrick Wilson, abortion, space Jesus, fuckheads, disdain, archaeology, love, Charles Dance, old man make-up, David Lean, sex, Christmas, Benedict Wong, dreams, zombies, Moore’s Law, Christopher Lee, Gordon Pinsent, Scotland and Spaceballs. It’s all here. Then about 2 minutes of The Watch List and some solid recognition The Little Rowthree Cinematic Achievers Club (and proud, we are, of all of them)! Matt rounds out the show with a lengthy story about owning a football team. “Don’t eat the penis, it’s just garnish.”

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_12/episode_261.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…



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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
– RowThree (minor) hack
– Where the Long Tail Ends Cabin in the Woods podcast series


MAIN REVIEW:
Prometheus (SPOILERS!)


THE DEAN’S LIST:

full GPA spreadsheet for this semester

VALEDICTORIAN (GPA 3.79):
Nat Almirall
Nat’s movie choice for us to review is:
The Asphalt Jungle

TEACHER’S PET (turned in all 14 assignments):
Rick Vance (GPA 3.60)
Sean Kelly (GPA 3.55)

HONOR ROLL (two next highest GPA):
Courtney Small (3.65)
Lennart Andersson (3.48)

CONSOLATION WINNER (random drawing):
Rhiannon MacLean


THE WATCH LIST:

Andrew
Lord of War

Kurt
Objectified

Matt
– “Madmen”


DVDs/NETFLIX INSTANT NOW AVAILABLE:
Jandy’s DVD Triage


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
Prometheus explained (space Jesus idea)
Kurt’s kid’s commercial (homework)


NEXT WEEK:
Moonrise Kingdom
Rock of Ages


PRIVATE COMMENTS or QUESTIONS?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us:
feedback@rowthree.com (general)
andrew.james@rowthree.com
kurt@rowthree.com

FOLLOW US:
Andrew: Twitter, G+, Letterboxd
Kurt: Twitter, G+, Letterboxd
Matt: Twitter, LetterBoxd
RowThree: Twitter, G+, Letterboxd

 

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Rick Vance
Guest

Is that the longest main event film discussion in the history of the show? It is 2 hours and 26 minutes.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Episode #42: Grindhouse was probably our other ‘longest conversation on a single movie, – the show was 1h47min, but I do not recall how long the In-House Business or other segments of the show were, and besides, that was 2 films-in-one, plus faux trailers (It is here, btw: http://www.moviepatron.com/audiofiles/episode42.mp3 ). At the time, we commented that that episode was our longest show ever (FIVE years later, in light of our regular 3 hour episode lengths, this seems rather quaint…)

Note that our discussion on Prometheus exceeds the run-time of the film by 20 minutes. Yie.

Goon
Guest

That was the first episode I ever heard, way back when there was no overlap with Film Junk or dozens of other websites that are all incestuous with each other now.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Good choice Nat – I love the Asphalt Jungle. That shot with Sterling Hayden shooting is in my top 10 all-time. Plus, a little Marilyn Monroe (skinny as hell) action never hurts.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Black goo explanation: It is the same goo inside and outside the vase.

So, the room with the vases is sealed and it’s freezing cold. When the explorers come in, they “change the atmosphere in the room.” The room starts to warm up and the goo starts to ooze out of the top of the vases.

Remember, David freezes the one vase with spray and takes it with him. He has to freeze it in order to keep the containers inside the vase from warming up and breaking open. In the ship, he stores it in the freezer, so the goo stays inside. Then he takes it out.

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

PROMETHEUS is lost on me. When I’ve heard other podcasters expound on details, not only did I not get the gist of these details, but I didn’t think the film presented the details or ideas in a way that was engaging, interesting or smart. Lots of exposition and cardboard characters going on about meeting their “maker” did not make for a fun, scary or thought-provoking experience in the slightest at all. I perked up during the medical procedure moment, but for the most part, I couldn’t fathom what was going on and the character motivations. Baffled by the love for the movie in the same way I am for those who find Cronenberg’s CRASH to be interesting. Sure, the ideas and philosophy are there, but did they grab me or leave me with things to think about after I left the theater? Not in the slightest and I mostly blame Lindeloff’s script for seeming half-baked and underdeveloped. It’s a visually strong film, but not an intellectually interesting one… at least for me. Kurt did manage to tweak my take on CODE 46 a bit, so anything’s possible upon a rewatch, so maybe I will turnaround on PROMETHEUS but I seriously doubt it.

Rick Vance
Guest

Why is visually interesting and intellectually interesting separate?

I have been thinking about this and I am starting to think that my background in reading a ton of sequential art from all over the world is what is propelling me through this movie and making me love it so much. I don’t think a film being visually well put together is separate from the narrative it is telling to me it is a cumulative effect on the spoken words and script.

Which would also explain how I could call it crystal clear and other people are baffled.

Cody Lang
Guest

I think the film was very clear with most of it was trying to do. However, what’s not crystal clear is why the characters act like morons or melodramatic. The film inspires audiences to ask the wrong questions. It is not an intelligent film but tries very hard to be.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Cody is hitting the nail on the head.

Rick Vance
Guest

You don’t think essentially first contact would cause people to act more melodramatic than normal?

The moronic bit has been discussed to death and that is actually tied into the increased emotions and tensions of the situation.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I think the moronic bit is being written off and dismissed as increased emotions and tensions, but I really don’t think that defense can actually be supported.

It comes down to that the film has a lot of lazy and clumsily designed character motiviations because they are they only way the filmmakers decided they could forward the plot. The film doesn’t support the decisions, but the audience is being asked to just roll with it anyways.

Its a pretty big flaw in the film, and one that was very fixable.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Ahem. LOST.

Goon
Guest

If vague/unexplained character development and random weird shit with no true explanation or payoff is this much a problem in todays world, wonder what people would do (or maybe did?) to The Shining upon its release.

Cody Lang
Guest

I think first contact with aliens might inspire people to act melodramatic, and it might even inspire them to spout cliches or cheezy lines. It’s entirely possible, most people are stupid and boring. But this film does not aspire to be realistic in that sense of term, not in the same way that 2001, Alien, and Tarchovsky’s Solaris create a realist-styled science fiction. Most of the problems I have are just bad writing and bad dialog that takes me out of the story. For example, when Mohawk tells Shaw that he’s a geologist, he likes rocks, blah blah blah, whatever, and then runs off and then gets lost in ship that is in the shape of a horse-shoe, which he also mapped with his flying balls. And before when they wake from 2 years of sleep Mohawk lips off the friendly nerdy guy because Mohawk guy is just here for work and not to make friends. He’s presumably going to be on this planet for four years, even if he doesn’t want to make friends he will eventually because he will be there for 4 years unless he has some form of autism. So stupid. Horrible writing and should have been taken out immediately. It is not realistic, i.e. the result of feeling tense. No one is inarticulate or stammering when they speak. They perfectly deliver stupid and bad lines that sound written, or cliched. There’s a lot of other stupid things, mostly poor dialog that made me roll my eyes, but another one that comes to mind is the push-ups scene with Charlize Theron after she wake up. Why is she doing push-ups after she wakes up rather than vomiting like everyone else? Oh because she is supposed to be the tough badass woman. Nope, that’s the scientist. It’s almost like they made the trailer before the film like the Coen Brothers did with Blood Simple (the Coens did it to get funding for their film, Ridley has money coming out of his ass and yet he can’t hire a decent writer). The film is not intelligent and not very good. Very good special effects, but again that cannot sustain me if the story is idiotic and the characters are poorly written. The film works best if you adhere to how the market-researchers believe American audiences view films (especially genre films) which is with half your attention and not too much intelligence. I just read an interview with Scott that more or less confirms my comments here. He said he works “to put bums in seats, he’s a businessman”. That he is, and a good one at that.

Cody Lang
Guest

I don’t think the comparison is fair given that The Shining maintains the rules it sets up and never lets us know what is really wrong with Jack Torrance. Also, every scene works together well to keep us wondering what is wrong with this place and also what is wrong with Jack Torrance. It’s excellent and I believe still holds up. Jack Nicholson does an excellent job at channeling forties James Cagney lunacy, and Kubrick maintains suspense and moves the story forward perfectly with how he sets up the characters. Prometheus does not do that. But, again the filmmakers and stories are of course very different so the comparison is somewhat pointless, but I think intentional ambiguity behind Jack Torrance’s actions is essential to the film whereas in Prometheus it is an effect of poor dialog and an idiotic story. So I guess that The Shining would still satisfy modern audiences even when we tend to scrutinize films to death. Prometheus satisfies modern audiences as well because look how many people are talking about it. However, it didn’t satisfy me. Maybe Scott will release a longer cut like he has done in the past that will fix the problems.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Wow, I’m not trying to be an asshole or anything (I apologize in advance if I offend), but you are being tone deaf.

The geologist has a half-shaved head, a mohawk, tattoos on his head, howls like a wolf, smokes weed, has probes that make puppy dog sounds, and gets lost on his first night. Do you think he’s meant to be a fully fleshed-out reasonable character? Really? (And by the way, they don’t get to the ship until the second day. Before that, they are in the pyramid; but why let facts get in the way of a good rant.)

It’s bad writing because we don’t see Charlize Theron vomiting? Because she’s a strong female (she has to be because her dad wanted a son), she has to be the one who survives? And if not, that’s bad writing? Ridley Scott already made Alien once.

Goon
Guest

“..is the push-ups scene with Charlize Theron after she wake up. Why is she doing push-ups after she wakes up rather than vomiting like everyone else? Oh because she is supposed to be the tough badass woman”

Moreso than general badassery it establishes that she will push through. She has a mission, she has a counter-agenda to her father. It also establishes her as the “robot” that Janek sees in her. And she follows through on this character with how she torches Halloway and abandons the ship to push through and save herself rather than be one of the heroes. She’s on her own. I don’t see evidence of her as badly written.

Goon
Guest

As for the Shining, I still think people would be all over it – “Why set up Halloran for the whole movie only to get offed the second he arrives?”

A lot of the random weird stuff is explained in the novel and not the movie. People would point to that as bad writing. The woman in 237, bear suit guy, etc.

Danny can talk to Halloran in Florida but doesnt sense when he’s at the hotel to warn him later…

People would be WTF’ing all over the photograph at the end.

Cody Lang
Guest

I think Mohawk was fully fleshed out and that was the problem: his character was unnecessary and stupid and uninteresting I didn’t want to see more of him but less, much less. Maybe paired with the biologist that was the film’s comic relief? I don’t remember a lot of people laughing at him when I saw the movie, but comedy is subjective so whatever. As to the last point about the Charlize push-ups. I would say it is bad writing because showing us her doing push-ups with the camera tight on her face serves no purpose except for us to recall the character of Ripley. I actually didn’t mind her character that much or as much as some other detractors did. But, it that was once instance which stood out to me as being unnecessary and silly given that she wasn’t a security officer or some sort of soldier but rather a business owner. I can let it slide if that’s just part of her character, that is, she really likes doing push-ups in the morning or whatever. But, she is then depicted as an elite who requires a lot of high-end gear and living quarters. Anyway, I suppose it’s not that bad, but it just stood out to me as something silly and not needed for her character. Also, to your last point, I don’t think Scott should have remade Alien but I don’t think making a 2001-Contact-Alien mash-up is a better idea either. And also good point about the ship I forgot about that and my rant got in the way of fact checking so thank you. In any case Mohawk was not an interesting character and should not have been in the film. More time could have been spent showing us the other characters, or more of David. I thought he was fascinating and the first part of the film with him living in the ship was terrific. Another commentator either below or above this slew of comments wrote the movie looks like it was conceived of set-pieces first. That might be going a little too far, but it’s not an inconceivable explanation. The character’s are not well written and only serve to get us to the next. I don’t think that this is an example of good writing. Movies shouldn’t leave us with questions about why the characters act inconsistent (when the film is struggling to delve into about profound questions) or why the filmmaker chose to include unnecessary conversations.

Matt Gamble
Guest

It is less that it is vague or unexplained, it is that is is contradictory and the story is incredibly and obviously didactic. Its a problem if your film articulates so poorly that people are drawing the wrong conclusions or contemplating the wrong questions. That’s not a fault of the viewer, it is a flaw in the film.

And to digress, I just assumed Charlize had been in space before and she’d be damned if she’d be sick with her father on board. On second viewing it becomes even more apparant to be a fuck you to dear old Dad.

Jericho Slim
Guest

I hear you Cody, you didn’t like the film and that’s fine.

I just think everybody is framing this film wrong. To be blunt, first and foremost, the purpose of this movie is to get that mother-effing engineer into that mother-effing chair. Period. That what Scott always talks about in all his interviews – nobody ever explored how the space jockey got in the chair. I bet you his first storyboard was that Alien in the chair and the mask coming down.

To get that alien into that chair, he makes a horror movie. It’s not trying to be 2001 or Contact – it’s a horror movie first with horror tropes and horror characters and horror action and horror comedy and horror settings.

Everything else, in my opinion, is in service of those two things. Does it touch on bigger issues, does it explore bigger themes and universal questions? Yes, but all in service of those two things. This movie is just like Alien in that the science fiction elements are a means to an ends.

That first scene with the engineer and the space goo at the waterfall – that’s a cool kill, horror movie style. The snake face-fuck and the ship squash? Those are cool kills. The whole first act? That’s horror movie build up – it’s the explorers going to a dig site where they unearth some ancient evil.

Goon
Guest

“Its a problem if your film articulates so poorly that people are drawing the wrong conclusions or contemplating the wrong questions. That’s not a fault of the viewer, it is a flaw in the film.”

And yet the Donnie Darko Directors Cut is far inferior to the version where we have to guess…

Cody Lang
Guest

To Good on The Shining: I agree with you that people would be all over it, but I don’t think it that The Shining should nor does it need to explain Jack Torrance’s weird behavior. I think the ambiguity behind his actions makes the film stronger and not weaker. Stephen King hated Kubrick’s version, well his version he made for TV does not improve. I read an excellent interview with Kubrick about the way he scripted the film with his co-writer and he thought King told the reader too much, explained Jack Torrance’s motivations in more detail than was necessary. The photograph at the ending of The Shining still baffle’s me I agree. But, for myself anyway, I find this points of ambiguity different (and not a fault of the film) from the silly character motivations in Prometheus. As for the Donnie Darko director’s cut, I think I like the director’s cut more. I was fascinated with the story and the time-travel physicas behind it and having more information just made the film more interesting to me so I would disagree with those who like the theatrical more. Again, both versions I think are fine. I’m just glad both exist for us to watch. As a rejoinder to our discussion of The Shining, I’m a very big fan of Kubrick and the way he tells stories so my opinion here is biased, very biased I’d say when talking about Kubrick because I love his films.

Cody Lang
Guest

To Jericho Slim: to repeat what I wrote below about your letterboxd review, your explanation and defense of the film is very persuasive. I think the way you mapped out the horror structure of the film is terrific and definitely has lead me to think about it differently. When I came out of the theatre I told my friends I thought it kind of reminded me of The Thing prequel (in some ways) but I liked Prometheus and I didn’t like The Thing prequel. Everyone who has a problem with the film should read your letterboxd review because it will at the very least show them a new way to read the film which is of course what we should want from these sort of discussions.

Jericho Slim
Guest

I can see how the “moronic” moments could baffle you at first, but when you step back and think about it, how can we not see that these are played for comedy?

Do we really think that Ridley Scott and his producers and writers and actors don’t see the idiocy in playing with a snake in space, while calling it a “beautiful girl”? During the long months of bringing the movie to screen – through the storyboarding and the re-writes and the read-throughs,etc.etc. – nobody realized that, “Hey, this is not the way any rational person would think and act.” And then he gets mouth-fucked.

Do we think nobody saw the idiocy and the humor of being rolled over by a giant space ship? Not landed on, but slowly rolled over.

What happened to our sense of humor? Can there not be humor in a horror movie or science fiction movie? That’s why I say that we deserve Cabin in the Woods, which wears its intentions on its sleeves and does our thinking for us. We need to take a step back and lighten up.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

One can understand that they were aware of humour in the writing, but in light of Alien, Aliens and Alien3, one might question why they chose to put that sort of ‘aw shuck’s we’re havin’ a larff here’ tone to something like PROMETHEUS. If it’s intentional, it’s kind of a baffling choice.

My attempts to rationalize things is that the Alien universe (all 4 of the ‘anthology’ films) were built on two principles of a dystopia-future: Cynicism and Irony. Right out of the gate with Brett & Parker arguing over shares, all the way on up to the ‘stoopid scientists’ 200 years later still working on ‘bio-weapons’

Now this irony is not lost in Prometheus, with the ‘Engineers’ (or Titans, or Creators, or Gods or whatever) also developing the Alien as a bio-weapon, and also losing control of things. Neither is the cynicism lost in Prometheus when you have scientists that aren’t caring about science so much as ‘getting-paid’ (or getting high).

I agree that Cabin in the Woods is far to blunt in it’s execution. Turned me right off the whole enterprise.

Jericho Slim
Guest

There are funny moments in all of the Alien movies, every single one of them. And there are funny moments in horror films – I can’t tell you the last horror film I saw that didn’t have comedy in it.

Something can be funny and terrifying, it’s not an either or proposition.

Just think to the dialogue in that scene, and the pratfall the actor does, and how he talks to it like a little girl or puppy dog, even after it opens up. You couldn’t write or read or direct that scene without knowing that it has a comic element. Any person over the age of 5 would know that it’s stupid to approach that thing.

antho42
Guest

The problem is not that the film does not answer questions or that it is ambiguous, the problem is that the characters are slaves to ‘blunt” questions that script demands and the cinematic movements that the director demands.

The film also has major tonal problems. Throughout the film, the tone shifts dramatically, and not in a good way (i.e., Korean Cinema). At times there are great movements, but, overall, it does not work as a cohesive whole.

I went from 4 out 5 to a 2 out 5 rating.

Cody Lang
Guest

Antho I agree with you completely, and with Jericho Slim about their being doses of comedy in the other Alien films. Alien 3 had some very funny moments and the same with Alien as well. But, in Alien, the tone never shifted dramatically, the comedy worked with what we knew about the characters whereas in Prometheus the comedy comes off as either cliched or as forced. The film lacks the coherency as well but I think the last act does a good enough job at wrapping everything up. I wouldn’t give it a 2 out of 5, but maybe a 2.5 out of five. I think Prometheus deserves a passing grade.

Matt Gamble
Guest

The problem is strained humor isn’t funny. It’s pathetic. Plus, the Laurel & Hardy bits come across as even more strained and obvious when compared to the Idris scenes where it feels far more organic, and, you know, funny.

Cody Lang
Guest

Agreed. Stringer Bell was excellent in the film and his lines were great as well. But, the other attempts at humor were feeble and should have been cut from the film.

Jericho Slim
Guest

And that’s all I ask. That these are approached as attempts at humor, not as thoughtless directing and writing.

antho42
Guest

Contact: the father line is the worst line/moment in Contact. The film makes a bad comparison appear profound.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Antho: You must learn to embrace your sense of treacly emotional sentiment.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Here’s where I believe a lot of people are missing the boat with Prometheus. It’s not a dumb “philosophical sci-fi” movie. It’s a “smart” blockbuster.

This is a big budget movie, meant to make money. So however much people want this to be slow and contemplative and somehow answer all the questions of the universe (?), the reality is that nobody could get that movie made for 100+ million dollars. This movie can’t afford to have people walking out of the theater like they were for “Tree of Life”, which was mentioned in the podcast. “Donnie Darko” earned $500,000 in the US. “Contact” was successful, but I don’t know if that movie makes money in today’s market.

Being a blockbuster, there are going to be some dumb characters, and some action beats. But the fact that this movie raises some big questions elevates it in my mind. The fact that you can have scenes like David in the ship in a blockbuster is awesome to me. The fact that you can have a slow opening act in a blockbuster is great to me. And this movie is smarter than people give it credit for, but – at least for me – it takes multiple viewings to see everything.

And for some to say “Well, it was pretty” is like saying “Avatar was pretty.” (No-one on the podcast said that, I’m talking about other critics.) The special effects and visuals in this movie are awe-inspiring. Just the landing of the ship is thrilling, to me. I cannot see one seam in the effects – I honestly can’t tell you what is CGI and what isn’t. The reason this is more impressive than Avatar is that Prometheus’ effects are of an Earth-like environment. And the 3D is stunning as well.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Hence the INCEPTION / MINORITY REPORT comparisons made again and again on the cinecast.

Rot
Guest

Haven’t listened to this but would like to say those people that bitched about the exposition in Inception, Prometheus is what you get when you show, not tell, high concept science fiction. I prefer the show myself.

antho42
Guest

Is Minority Report considered a classic?

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I do not believe so, but it is similar for me (Prometheus is no ‘Instant-Classic’ either) because both films I had major nit-picky issues with that I worked past in subsequent viewings, and both shoe-horn in set-pieces where they do no mesh organically with the story…but I digress.

I really do quite like MINORITY REPORT though.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

I think’s it’s slowly been forgotten over time.

It’s due for a rewatch….

Jericho Slim
Guest

OK – let me state it a different way: those 2 guys are Shaggy and Scooby, right down to the weed. That’s not tobacco that he’s smoking in that helmet. The biologists asks him “Is that tobacco you’re smoking in your helmet?” The geologist snorts “yeah, it’s tobacco.” Then they argue and then both throw up the peace symbols, like hippies.

These two guys are completely for laughs. I mean, Milburn (biologist) gets killed by doing the exact same thing he does in the beginning.

In the beginning, Milburn approaches Fifield (geologist), a guy with half of his head shaved and menacing tattoos on the other half, and he’s minding his business with his bowl to his lips – not even using a spoon – and he’s frowning. Only an idiot would approach this guy and try to make friends with him, he obviously doesn’t want to be bothered. Well, Milburn chooses him to talk to. This is exactly what gets him killed, approaching the space cobra.

I’m not saying that these two characters shouldn’t be criticized, but they shouldn’t be criticized because they are dumb – that is their purpose in this movie. They are the dumb blondes that provide a good kill for the slasher, that is all.

Rick Vance
Guest

I think where people are getting caught up is assuming that the fact that there is a crew means the movie is somehow magically an ensemble / trying to be one. When it is clearly David & Elizabeth’s story.

It isn’t ensemble it is female lead / male lead + supporting.

Rot
Guest

And like the original you have a lot of characters to leave you questioning who makes to the end… For awhile I thought Charlize might be the last (she takes on the Ripley role of following procedure). For a mystery it is good to have It reasonable complex and paced quickly so the audience is not catching up too quickly with the reveal.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Yep, and David is a child. What does a child do? He learns to read, write, and speak, he plays, and he imitates role models. What is David doing? He’s learning to read, write, and speak (ancient languages), he plays, and he imitates his role model, Lawrence of Arabia. That’s why he dyes his hair and speaks with an English accent (his father and sister speak with an American accent). He even holds his spoon like a child when he eats.

I haven’t seen this pointed out in most of the reviews that I’ve read, but it is necessary when considering his motivation. Kurt did point this out.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Yep, David is essentially, NEXUS-6 with robot instead of fleshy innards.

Sean Kelly
Guest

Uneducated audiences for PROMETHEUS annoy me.

A kid who was at the screening I went to was complaining about the “lame alien baby” afterwards and I almost felt like screaming.

PeterKapow
Guest

The movie clearly didn’t register with the kid on a visceral level then. He could have said “cool alien baby” and it doesn’t mean that he appreciated the film “intellectually”.

The elitism on both sides of this Prometheus divide is pretty interesting. Generally, those that love it think the people that don’t aren’t smart enough to get it, those that don’t love it think the people that do are too blinded by the films legacy to realize the film’s faux-intellectualism. It gets further convoluted with both camps making some concessions (haters respecting at least the visuals, defenders admitting poor plotting). Some say this is a testament to the movie’s staying power, I still maintain its more a testament to the cult of ALIEN.

Robert Reineke
Guest

A couple of thoughts:

Lawrence of Arabia is an outsider, not an Arab, who eventually gets to be a leader. I can see why that would be appealing. Lawrence is also something of a messiah figure which kind of sort of plays into the film. There’s perhaps a John the Baptist, another almost messiah figure, reading to the fate of David.

I don’t care that Fifield and Milbourn are comic relief. They’re bad comic relief. They come off as stupid and clumsy instead of funny.

That with the general impression that these are bad, stupid scientists is a tough hurdle to overcome. Weyland clearly wants the mission to succeed, why is he hiring people that are both incompetent and tough to work with if money isn’t an object of concern? Hell, with enough money, I can find a bunch of guys straight out of college who are smart as a whip, work hard, etc., but have crushing debt. It’s not like biology and geology are fields that it’s easy to get rich in.

But, I’m an engineer and Kurt rightly observed that engineers and scientists are going to have problems with the verisimilitude of the expedition. Perhaps that’s where the comparison to Alien does Prometheus a disservice, but Prometheus is clearly not operating at the level of Alien in terms of character relationships, verisimilitude, or the smoothness of plot development. I want to throw a shout out to Quatermass and the Pit which touches on many of the same ideas as Prometheus, but clearly has archeologists behaving as competent scientists. Just for fun, the BBC version of Quatermass and the Pit can be viewed via http://archive.org/search.php?query=quatermass%20and%20the%20pit

Robert Reineke
Guest

I still don’t get David’s plan. Why experiment on Holloway considering he’s someone that’s supposedly important to the mission that he apparently wants to succeed? There are plenty of minor characters in the background that contribute nothing. I get not liking fuckhead, but random security guard C seems like a much better, albeit less ironic, candidate for the job. There’s a lot of the basic plot of Prometheus that stresses irony over reasonableness.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Alien3 is also steeped in the bleakest of Ironies. Particularly religious ones.

The big ideas in Prometheus (similar to the big ideas in CONTACT) but what I didn’t say on the show is that the universe in Contact is inherently an optimistic one (even with James Woods and Tom Skerrit’s characters) and space is an infinite and wondrous realm of possibilities. Space in Prometheus is taken for granted, it’s bleak and mundane and all the characters on the ship treat it like an obstacle rather than a jewel. This probably miffs a lot of science types, but if you recall, the crew of the Nostromo treated space like a pain in the ass, a ridiculously long travel-time between mining operation and corporate customer. So Prometheus’ world-view (universe-view) is consistent.

PeterKapow
Guest

The crew of the Nostromo are truckers on a routine operation they are getting paid little for. The crew of the Prometheus are scientists traveling to one of the furtherest places humanity has ever traversed on a trillion dollar budget. You’re right that the characters take it for granted, but why they do so is never really understood or even believable.

The world-view is only consistent in a mechanical going-through-the-motions way. It feels as hollow as the gesture that “i guess a woman should be the last survivor because ALIEN” or “I guess there should be a stand-off about letting someone on board the ship because ALIEN” or “I guess the xenomorph should appear because ALIEN” etc, etc.

Also, I still haven’t decided if the film genuinely wants us to come away with cynicism at the end. If it is not optimistic, are we supposed to shake are heads at Shaw’s actions? Is this a film that ends with humanity’s last “fool’s errand”. Her declaration to David that “he’s not human” reeks of arrogance, but its played like an earnest and optimistic affirmation of humanity’s desire to keep asking questions.

I’ve said it before that I find these contradictions really interesting, I’m just convinced they’re symptoms of the script, and not intentional.

Rot
Guest

There are several reasons, first they could be leaving open the possibility that David has hit singularity and has spiteful feelings for how Holloway treats him, in the conversation before he commits to giving him the spiked drink, he asks Holloway what he would do for answers and he responds everything and anything… David may require permission to risk human life hardwired into his protocols, and this may have triggered the go ahead. Leaving it vague here makes it interesting, giving David an edge that wouldn’t exist if we knew definitively why he did it.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Yes! This is all hashed out in the episode!

Rot
Guest

Seeing as the conversation is longer than the film, I hope so!

Jericho Slim
Guest

Really? Isn’t more interesting and personal if someone we know is infected instead of security guard C? Aren’t the stakes raised? That’s what I mean by silly nitpicking.

If security guard C had been infected, people would have complained that we didn’t know enough about him.

Robert Reineke
Guest

It isn’t more interesting and personal when we call the character infected “fuckhead” after the movie.

When you sacrifice story logic, why not test it out on the most expendable member of the expedition instead of theoretically one of the least, for an emotional payoff, you better hit the emotional payoff. Especially when you have a robot, theoretically the most logical member of the crew, making the decision.

I get why the scriptwriters and filmmakers wanted to make that choice. I’m not at all convinced it was an organic and character consistent choice. Which is true of a lot of the movie. They had set pieces in mind, but the connections between the set pieces seemed put together by committee and the strings being pulled seemed readily apparent.

Kurt
Guest

Hey, isn’t all that a bit of META??? (The Creator and all that….these are our stories…The stories we deserve?)

Ok, Ok, I kid, I kid.

Jericho Slim
Guest

This is a horror movie. The asshole dies. Done.

Robert Reineke
Guest

And that’s part of the problem with the film. There are some lazy B-movie tropes and bad characterization through much of it. I think it’s fair to say that the time spent with “fuckhead” and “Laurel and Hardy” doesn’t work for a lot of people as those monikers aren’t being tossed out there affectionately.

Perhaps that’s where the comparison to Alien does it a disservice, but given the pedigree I’m surprised that it gets a pass. I just don’t think you can get around the idea that these “are the dumbest group of scientists ever” with any amount of hand waving. I think that’s a criticism of the film that’s going to stick. The best rationalization is that “they are dumb, but that’s all that they could get” which doesn’t get around the core issue.

Which isn’t to say that it’s a wash or that people are wrong for liking it as much as they have. I think it’s partly a tribute that people have engaged with the film as much as they did. Who knows, the inevitable extended cut might fix a bunch of my issues with the film.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Yeah, how dare a horror movie have horror tropes.

All horror movies have horror tropes, or else they wouldn’t be horror movies. And that’s why b movies use them.

Cody Lang
Guest

Robert I think you have perfectly described what is wrong with the film. And, thank you for posting the Quatermass and the Pit link. I’ve been meaning to watch it for some time now.

Matt Gamble
Guest

To back Robert, Quatermass and the Pit is freaking awesome. It is also a better version of Prometheus, even with being less shiney and pretty.

Cody Lang
Guest

I’ve been trying to track down the Quatermass films ever since you and James covered the Pit on your podcast. Netflix Canada is much worse than America’s version and I don’t know anyone that owns it, but the way you guys talked about it made me want to check it out. I’m always looking for good genre films to break up all of the art-films (not complaining here but I like variety) I have to watch for my thesis.

Robert Reineke
Guest

I believe The Quatermass Xperiment and Quatermass 2 are available via burn to order through Amazon. I highly recommend them both. Quatermass and the Pit should be coming to Region 1 in Blu Ray soon, there’s a Region 2 Blu Ray out already, but there’s no announcement yet.

Considering some of what Criterion has released in regards to ’50s sci-fi, the Quatermass movies should be on their radar. As much as I like the stop motion brain creatures of Fiend Without a Face, the Quatermass movies are both better and more important.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Photobucket

PeterKapow
Guest

“Its like poetry, they rhyme.” 🙂

Seriously though, this is a cool observation.

rot
Guest

Just listening to the podcast now, interesting pick up on the Laurel and Hardy aspect, in which case then, the nod to Frankenstein and where everything goes down for these characters has yet another layer to it.

Robert Reineke
Guest

Just as an alternate reading of the film, you could say that this is people discovering that their creator is not Santa Claus. Holloway is in such a hurry to open his presents, really a secular tradition, that he ignores all of the pain and destruction present in the Bible and its implications to himself.

Cody Lang
Guest

I think the Santa Claus reading is the best way to read the film in fact. I also thought that the spirituality-science or origin’s story of the film reminded me of Voltaire’s critique of Intelligent Design where he wrote that our universe and existence does not necessarily imply a supreme being just a being slightly more intelligent than humans. This is exactly what the film is saying and yet the character Shaw decides to still believe in a supreme being.

rot
Guest

I think Matt and Kurt make a good argument for why some of the perceived shortcomings of the ‘character’ of this mission exist, but go only so far and then hold onto their own nitpicks.

This was never intended to be a by-the-books science expedition. You have two forces both battling each other, with Vickers and Weyland, and to whatever extent this crew was put together, it was not put together to be the best and brightest that money could buy. It was a covert, privately funded mission. If Vickers had a hand in picking who came, she would choose people she could easily control and who didn’t ask a lot of questions, that were loyal to her. The idea that they would sit there for months and study cautiously before proceeding with the expedition is kind of against basic storytelling, but also against the agenda of this mission. It is pretty clear that the method to charting the tunnels require them to go inside, so that is the first thing they do. They have enough confidence in the technology they possess at that time to do so. It is David who accelerates everything, pressing buttons, opening doors, and one can question why that might be, if by direct orders from Mr “try harder” Weyland, or from his own lack of inhibition, but it is not the ‘scientist’ who gets the ball rolling, it is Weyland’s scout.

As I mentioned above, Laurel and Hardy stuck in the haunted house and who fall into Frankenstein’s lair, while scientists, are also flawed. Mohawk guy especially, who is smoking weed, cannot be said to be critiqued for his lack of scientific rigor if he happens to go the wrong way. The other guy (is he a biologist?) is admittedly stupid with how he responds to the snake. But if he is a biologist, I suppose the point being made here is this is the first live alien species he has ever seen and given that chance he was too enthusiastic.

Like I said before, Holloway taking his helmut off is indicative both of his idealist head-first character, and the hubris of relying on faith in technology, the readings saying it was safe to do so. Both make sense in this story, and of course make sense for Ridley shooting it. Someone mentioned there was a scene when they returned where they were being screened for contaminants, so after that, what’s the problem?

rot
Guest

Who is to say that had David left well alone on their first expedition, things would not have gone more procedural without being rushed, but Pandora’s Box being opened for them, the scientists are left to just observe. Add a storm into the mix and you have a very story logical reason for this kind of unorthodox expedition.

People hung up on the helmuts need to remember that nothing bad ever comes of that.

antho42
Guest

On re-watch it becomes even more apparent that the script is a mess. Thomas Hardy 1.0 deserves the “fucktard” tag — he is fucking awful.

Matt Brown — I do not know on what level you can defend the script. It is not Phantom of Menace — but the script is closer to the Phantom of Menace than Alien, or even Contact. It is fucking terrible!

The editing/poor and soundtrack are also poor.

I still like the film. The shots of Iceland in the prologue is pure cinema.

Matt Brown
Admin

What the fuck is the Phantom of Menace and why are you implicating me in this rant?! I’m not even on this podcast! 🙂

But I do stand by the script for Prometheus. I think it’s trying to do something very difficult from a structural/conceptual level and for the most part doing it well. There is some clunky dialogue, admittedly, and some on-the-nose-ness as a result. But as a piece of writing, I still find it quite deft.

DavidM
Guest

Thomas Hardy is not a fucktard. Jeez, I bet you’ve never even read Jude the Obscure…

Jericho Slim
Guest

“Doesn’t everyone want to kill their parents?”

Andrew, I think this is just classic Freudian psychology that David is referring to, i.e. the Oedipus complex and Electra complex.

I think Freud is sampled heavily for this film. Do you doubt that Vickers has a case of “penis envy”? And, like all Alien movies, phallic symbols are everywhere.

Cody Lang
Guest

The Oedipus and Freud’s later addition to his theories after criticism, the Electra implies that the child wants to become the love object of our mother/father depending on the child’s gender. The child then symbolically kills their father/mother but never both. Charlize Theron’s character is a woman or an android, but not a man so she would not want to kill her father but make love to him. If Freud is sampled heavily in Prometheus its Freud via a Freud for dummies you would find in Safeway. In fact, the film appears to sample existentialism more than it does Freud which is the opposite of philosophical spectrum.

Jericho Slim
Guest

You’re right, because he says “parents” instead of “father” (even though they are just talking about his father), that invalidates everything.

Makes perfect sense.

Matt Gamble
Guest

No, but it does lend credibility to the argument that Prometheus throws a lot of concepts at the wall without actually understanding what it is that they are throwing.

Cody Lang
Guest

Well what I wrote makes sense if you are trying to read the film as sampling Freud’s ideas. The scene that might work better for that explanation is the one where Charlize Theron kisses his hand and gives him a weird a look before he goes to die on the ship, but that I think is a little superficial. It doesn’t make sense to say that the film samples Freud if it reverses or mixes up the theories that Freud created. (or maybe does make sense if you literally mean “sampled” as in take one part here and another part here and throw it together and then a lot of money). Unless of course the writer read Freud for dummies and thought it would be clever to criticize a theory that no one in America accepts. If we do want to look at the philosophy of the film I think it is closer to Voltaire. I think a more accurate reading of Charlize Theron Guy Pearce in make-up character dynamic would be what Kurt and Matt said in the episode about her greed overtaking her love for her father. I also think Matt is right to say that the writers appear to have thrown things at the wall to see what might stick. But, in any case, I thought it was a good sci-fi thriller and much better than some other films that came out this year.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

As much fun it is to say the term “LIEmax” in description of digital IMAX cinemas, the sad truth is that in a year or two they may be the only type of IMAX around.

Just look at the GTA:
– The Cinesphere (the world’s first IMAX cinema) was unceremoniously closed earlier this year because the province does not know what to do with the rest of Ontario Place.
– It has already been announced that the Colosseum Mississauga is converting to digital and I’ve heard rumours this week that the Scotiabank Theatre is following suit (which if it’s true, will mean I’ll probably stop seeing IMAX screenings in protest).

antho42
Guest

From what I gather they are still going to have the giant fucking screens, but it would be projected digitally rather than 70mm.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I hope they do not retire all of those GIGANTIC screens. I’ve seen so many great movies in that format…

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

At the very least I’ll be still seeing DARK KNIGHT RISES in IMAX. I already have the ticket for an opening evening screening that is now all but sold out (the midnight screening is long since sold out, but I’m not crazy enough to see a 2hr45m film at that hour).

I should also note that Cineplex has now started selling reserved seating for IMAX screenings. It’s minor inconvenience, since I’ve always had a preferred row (I managed to get a seat in that row, albeit a few seats off-centre).

From what I’ve read on Twitter, they started doing this with Prometheus, but AFTER people had already bought general admission tickets.

Cringe
Guest

Great episode, guys. I think your discussion made me change my mind on Prometheus. I need to watch it again but I think liked it more than I thought I did.

Kurt
Guest

Our job is done then. Be sure to listen to the MAMO! if you’d not already done so, they come at things from a ‘bigger picture’ in terms of the films construction, and a reaction to the reaction to the film – and they do it with style.

Matt Brown
Admin

On the “which planet?” question-

Based on the names (LV-426 vs. LV-223), I merely assume they’re two moons in the same system. The atmosphere certainly isn’t the same, and PROMETHEUS doesn’t leave the puzzle pieces in the same place as ALIEN.

But I don’t think it’s as complex as you’re making it, either – I think we’re merely meant to infer that Events Yet To Be Shown will result in that second derelict crash on LV-426. It might even be the ship Elizabeth and David are in now – we know nothing about it, as we never got inside it in the course of this film.

Kurt
Guest

Or the corporation goofed (or intentionally obscured the information, as the Prometheus mission was a fully private affair, and not a NASA type situation at all).

Personally, when I watch the film, I’m not overly concerned with sweating those kind of details. The filmmakers do not connect all the dots, probably because it is more fun for the fans to talk about.

Rick Vance
Guest

I disagree that is an important detail because if you speculate that it is the same planet it opens up a Pandora’s box of other nitpicks and geography bits you can pull out.

It is imperative that they are different planets.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I think this is possibly the biggest issue I had with the film, once I figured out that they are for sure different planets/moons. (Not only are the names different, but in Alien, the space jockey is still in the pilot’s seat, or appears to be – the one in Prometheus got up to chase Shaw, so the armor in his seat would presumably be open, not closed as it was in Alien.)

Even taking into account the geographical detail issue that Rick mentions, why WOULDN’T they just make it be the same planet? I guess just from a writing standpoint, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t do that. It’s not even a plot hole issue, it’s just a issue of introducing messiness where there doesn’t need to be messiness. If it’s a different planet, that means on some other very similar planet there’s got to be a very similar crash with a very similar transmission and a very similar reproductive process leading to a very similar alien queen. To me, the amount of necessary coincidence introduced simply by making it a different planet stretches credulity more than anything else in the film. But maybe I’m assuming too much similarity. I should rewatch both films side by side.

Brittany
Guest

A little off topic but what’s the Cinecast crew’s feelings towards Event Horizon?

Kurt
Guest

It’s trashy as all get out, but I love the cast, and it’s often legitimately scary and grotesque. I’m a fan of Event Horizon, yes…

xego
Guest

I am new to the podcast and am still not sure if Mamo is a different podcast or it is all the same? not sure, doesn’t matter I will figure it out. Wanted to thank you for all this great Prometheus discourse it is greatly appreciated.

Sean Patrick Kelly
Guest

It’s a different podcast, though you get it as part of the package if you subscribe to the Row Three podcast feed.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Mamo has double the Matt’s, but half the goodness.

Matt Brown
Admin

HEY – I’M STANDING RIGHT HERE

Matt Gamble
Guest

Well you do it in a 10th of the time.

Matt Brown
Admin

MATH APPROVED.

Kurt
Guest

Gamble does this to everyone, even other MATTS. He laid the smack-down on Rian Johnson when we had him on the cinecast, but Rian took it like a champ, and gave as good as he got.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Stop playing the Canadian Cop every time I try to drum up ratings!

Kurt
Guest

You’re weird.

Rick Vance
Guest

Okay finally got to the listen to the whole thing couple thoughts.

What is the point of giving the planet a number if you guys are going to go “Nah WY just changed the number later anyway”, the number was dropped the planets are different.

Really great review by someone who has not seen a single Alien movie, http://alecreadscomics.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/prometheus/

Fussing over the genealogy of fictional alien races is taking the nitpicking a bit too far.

Finally I am sick and tired of the dichotomy modern films fans place on Script vs. Technical. People would be more likely to fawn over a ugly movie with a brilliant script, rather than the reverse. Which is the largest problem I have with the problems people have with Prometheus. The movie is so much built on visual callbacks, visual motifs, the technical design tells the story of this film far better than the script ever could. Iconography is littered through this movie that isn’t even touched on the script. In that way it feels very much like Avatar. Both are movies that have scripts but they are not what create the experience, they are not what people look to the movies for and therefore I feel like judging the film on something it only half cares about while at the same time writing off(as much praise is being leveled on the visuals basically it is still write off).

Maybe it is just me I am not sure, but much in the same way my favorite Tarantino movie is Kill Bill Vol 1 because it is the best cinematic experience out of his movies the best fusion of moving video with audio to create entertainment.

Also Kurt 2001 isn’t meditative, it is comically fast paced, it jump cuts more time than 90% of movies take up in their ENTIRE run time.

Rick Vance
Guest

Oi I jumped my train of thought that was supposed to go “writing off() what the movie is focusing on, is counter to the aims of the film.”

Kurt
Guest

Hey all: Matt Brown closes all of your misconceived narrative loops via TUMBLR:

On the “mysteries” of PROMETHEUS http://tmblr.co/ZyOcWyNZSDF8

(except that it was not the ‘guy who was high’ who touched the space-cobra.)

Rot
Guest

The only justification for him is he is a biologist encountering the first alien creature, and so there is some expected entusiasm to be had, but yeah of every nitpick made of this film this is the only one that feels legitimate.

Goon
Guest
Goon
Guest

(btw posted mostly for the comments thread, worth perusing)

Matt Brown
Admin

I have finally listened to this entire episode and can say: great episode, guys!

Kurt
Guest

‘Twas a Frankenstein’s monster of an episode, wasn’t it?

Matt Brown
Admin

A Modern Prometheus, as it were?

I’m genuinely impressed by the extent and reach of the connections you guys made to other films, both within the Alien franchise and without. Except that now I feel a strange need to watch Mission to Mars and Event Horizon, lord help me.

antho42
Guest
Goon
Guest

I… I can’t read this. Not because it probably disagrees with me, but I’ve read articles from this gimmick before… and I tap out. I can’t read any caplock articles. I can’t read a stupid gimmick complaining about Lindelof’s gimmick. That’s garbage.

That’s like the Simpsons bit where the two radio DJ’s mock Bart Simpsons “I didn’t do it tagline”:

“If you wanna work in this business you gotta stay fresh!” (plays honking horn and ‘boing’ sound effect”

Matt Brown
Admin

Film Critic Hulk is bullshit. The guy seems like he might actually have something valuable to say sometimes; instead he’s vamping in this “character” – but aside from his stuck caps lock key, he doesn’t apparently have the basic level of invention necessary to know how to write *A HULK CHARACTER.* Writing as a Hulk is easy – you just take out the fucking prepositions and go for it.

Dude should have had the balls to just write as himself. He’s wasted on this gag, and the gag is wasted on him.

Rick Vance
Guest

Actually I think it is more than that, the word choice is important and I think to the level he writes these he is betraying the simple direct approach that is the Hulk.

Goon
Guest

There’s no satirical edge to it, it’s just a one-note gimmick. It ain’t Stephen Colbert. I stuck it out through an article on GIRLS before and there was good stuff in there, but it takes so much effort to sift through all that caps lock and gimmick. Yes, it’s time to drop the gag and write as himself.

Especially since on twitter, there’s been HULK versions of everything for a while. Hulk Rob Ford, Hulk Romney… I’m sure if I made Hulk versions of every Iron Sheik tweets (seriously, his account – wow) I could get thousands of followers.

antho42
Guest

Yeah, I do not like his gimmick; it took a while to actually start reading the guy (i.e., going beyond the gimmick). I still thing that he writes good content. I appreciate that he writes long, analytical essays, which film bloggers rarely do.

Rick Vance
Guest

I got to this and had to stop

“IN FACT, THE ENTIRE THEMATIC APPROACH OF THE FILM IS BOILED DOWN TO A LONG SERIOUS OF EXCHANGES THAT LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THIS:
PERSON A: “I want to know the answers!”
PERSON B: “You can’t know the answers!”

Because that is so missing what the film is doing that it is impossible to reconcile anything more.

Goon
Guest

Where were these nitpickers when Transformers came out and got a free pass from everyone.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Transformers hardly got a free pass from everyone. There were a lot of haters right from the get-go.

Goon
Guest

What I mean by this… is that for example, Slashfilm, were all over Transformers positively, and for that matter, were fans of Last Airbender.

but on their latest podcast they said that Prometheus has so many holes and nitpicks that therefore the film isn’t even worth of further discussion.

Rick Vance
Guest

That aggravated me listening because they kept throwing around the word plothole without ever mentioning exactly what those holes are. People being dumb is not a plot hole, motivation being ambiguous is not a plot hole.

One of the Matt’s mentioned that on Mamo and now when I see people use that word I get angry.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

This is pretty much how I feel about the whole thing, too. It seems so blatantly a matter of inflated expectations to me that even though I can definitely see some of the issues people have with Prometheus, the outright hatred and dismissal just hits me as totally ridiculous. If you take Prometheus vs. 99% of other summer blockbusters, it’s at least as good or better. It’s even better than the last several Ridley Scott films I watched.

Everyone expects stuff like Transformers or Last Airbender to be bad, so they turn into defenders if they find a few things they like about it. I totally get that impulse, and fall prey to it myself sometimes, but the excess of extremes on Prometheus is just bizarre to me.

rot
Guest

what irritates me is the same people that whine about plot-holes in Prometheus are the same that boast that they want films to Show not Tell them everything. Lindeloff and Ridley showed you what you need to figure it out, look around the internet, plausible solutions for all your questions exist. At some point, you got to acknowledge the shortcoming is you.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I supposed that in a VERY round about way that my expectations were so high for PROMETHEUS, that I knew that the film would not meet them, thus actually lowering some of my gut reactions to actually watching the film and thus enjoying it and being fairly open minded to the films perceived criticisms. How’s that for letting expectations get in the way, in a positive sense.

Goon
Guest

We don’t even have to go back to Last Airbender… Men in Black 3 was a few weeks ago, everyone was relatively pleasantly surprised, but it has a lot of these problems… like how come time changes for everyone but Smith, how does he end up recruited if soandso is his dead, a zillion questions…

…and there’s no good answers really.

“It’s a matter of tone” will be said, and I get that. It’s why we don’t nitpick the Avengers to death or whatever, but come on. It’s coming across like how The Darkness don’t make sense to people. With them you can’t be ironic/ tongue and cheek AND love the stuff you’re taking the piss out of, looking to be a great rock band. It’s either “This song isn’t funny enough.” or “They’re not a real rock band because there’s jokes sometimes.”

So I’d ask David Chen: you can’t appreciate it as a popcorn movie because it’s “supposed to be hard sci fi with ideas”, and won’t discuss it as an ideas movies, because it’s supposed to be a dumb thriller where everything is explained? Damned if you, damned if you don’t? Remember when Inception came out and they were complaining that there was too much hand holding?

So is Lindelof a lazy writer, or are some people lazy thinkers? is this where the ‘truth lies in the middle’ people speak up?

Matt Brown
Admin

If the last 2 weeks have taught us just one thing, it’s that the internet at large does not actually understand what a plot hole is.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Goon, re: Men in Black 3. A friend of mine I think put it pretty well. He was super-stoked for Prometheus and came out a little disappointed. He had super-low expectations for Men in Black 3 and was pleasantly surprised that he enjoyed it pretty well. He said absolutely Prometheus is a better movie, no question, but in terms of how he felt walking out of it, he came out of Men in Black 3 with a smile on his face rather than a bit of disappointment. I think that’s a fair reaction, and it’s how expectations work. But he’s still able to distance himself a bit from those initial reactions and look at the movies as they are rather than measured solely by his expectations.

antho42
Guest

Slashfilm hated The Last Airbender and where very ambivalent with the first Transformers film.

Goon
Guest

Yes, I’m wrong about Last Airbender. Must have been some other site… I know FilmJunk didn’t mind it back then but don’t think I mean them.

But I’d challenge on the Transformers one. I’m too lazy to revisit the podcast (I do recall one person being harder on it than others) but for now:

http://www.slashfilm.com/movie-review-transformers/

Rick Vance
Guest

Why do we have to compare it back to bad movies?

How does the box in Primer work?
How does the Delorean work?
How does the LIGHTSABER work? (This isn’t just in the prequels there is SO MUCH stuff that is accepted by people in every Star Wars movie)
The FORCE is pretty Black Goo in all it does.

This is a franchise with a living being that has ACID for blood.

The further back in time you go, the more accepting people get. What happened to the wonder?

Goon
Guest

I’d say most people know what a plot hole is, but don’t know how to distinguish true plot holes from artistic ambiguity/artistic license.
In Prometheus’ case, there is most definitely enough artistic ambiguity that when there is a REAL plot hole, they can thus go “HAH, so here’s a real plot hole, therefore the thematic unanswered questions are just a mistake/lazy screenwriting”. Both can exist, and maybe/definitely for some of the ones that keep coming up, people were just not paying attention.

It reminds me of all the Bowling For Columbine debunking stuff, where “He didn’t buy this gun on that day” became “…therefore this movie’s message is invalid”

That’s dumb.

From movieplotholes.com

“What is a plot hole ?
Wikipedia says it the best: A plot hole, is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story’s plot, or constitutes a blatant omission of relevant information regarding the plot. These include such things as unlikely behavior or actions of characters, illogical or impossible events, events happening for no apparent reason, or statements/events that contradict earlier events in the storyline.”

Jericho Slim
Guest

Cabin in the Woods is the film that we deserve. That’s my biggest takeaway from the Prometheus reaction. Any satire or genre homage that is more subtle than that is evidently lost on the “internet” film viewer. It really is funny to me now.

Much of the criticism reeks of truthiness as opposed to Truth. I think, though, that time and distance will be more than kind to Prometheus.

Of course, I am already a shameless shill for the movie.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Really, too many people often react to a vocal minority of haters and bullies on the internet.

I know just as many people (myself included) that quite like Prometheus, thank-you-very-much. Warts and all…

Rick Vance
Guest

Way way down below all the caps lock there was a FANTASTIC comment that is just unbelievable.

Copy-Pasting:

“This is a small complaint and isn’t about most of the tone or overall psychology of the writer. But I do think it is an aspect of the movie that is important to recognize from the beginning to try and find some semblance of tone. The Prometheus in the title is not referring to the titan, or at least not directly. The Prometheus in the title is referring to Frankenstein. Not the film but the book (which was subtitled “The Modern Prometheus”). The parallels between the book and the movie are staggering but the reason why I think most serious reviewers are missing it is because the humans in the movie are the monster (especially David) with the Engineers taking the place of Dr. Frankenstein. Once I realized this small piece of allusion certain parts of the movie begin to make sense.

The beginning of the movie, with the Engineer standing over a vast swath of water is very reminiscent of the beginning of the novel, with both Captain Walton’s voyage on the ship and Victor’s evocation of his beloved Lake Geneva of childhood. The engineer does something mysterious yet partially explained by science (ooh look DNA!) and from this we are left to believe that something wondrous has happened (just as Shelley eschews explanation for a bit of mysticism in her explanation of the actual science of the Monster’s origins. We then awaken in Scotland in a cave on a wind swept eddy, much like the location where Victor is making a bride for his monster, not coincidentally we see the face of the female protagonist first. We get the explanation of where we’re going then it’s off to the ship and David. I think David is the key to the Frankenstein comparison because he is a bit of a monster’s monster in that he is the creation of the monster in this movie. He moves amongst the sleeping scientists learning their culture, watching movies, even looking into their dreams. This is what the monster does when living outside the DeLacey’s house. He finds books and observes. On some level beautiful and endearing, on another level creepy and explains to a small degree why people who observe societies from afar without moving amongst and risking ostracism (not much of an option for the monster or David as both are treated as trash by everyone around them) aren’t really becoming parts of that society. So David is left looking at and trying to become more like his creators, just as later we see that we humans have been trying on some level trying to become the type of creators who the Engineers have become without even knowing why or to what end.

But David’s attempt at reconciliation, when he realizes that there are creators beyond the people who look at him with instant contempt, is spurned almost as quickly and acrimoniously as the monster when he confronts Frankenstein. The monster is hated immediately as quickly by Frankenstein as he was by everyone else, the creator is also human and he hates even his own creation. One of the few moments of mystery that I think worked real well in the film is what David is telling the Engineer. We have no idea, he could have been translating or could easily have been trying to communicate his attempts to be more like his original creators. We don’t know because the creator is as horrified by his creation as Frankenstein and rips David’s damn head off. He has rejected his creation, we don’t know why just like we don’t know why Frankenstein reacts with so much hate to something he created. Maybe it is a symbol of his own failures/obsession, maybe he was insane when seeking something so far beyond the normal. Either way he hates both himself and his creation, just as the Engineers hate their creations and seek their destruction. We don’t know why but we know we are not what they wanted.
Part of this disappointment is personified by Weyland. Maybe to a small degree they were seeking immortality like Weyland (and Frankenstein) and see in their creations faces the horrible side of what it is they created. Humanity is their attempt to experiment and find what they can make of themselves, bits and pieces sewn together into something horrifying. We are the monster and our creator hates us.

There are other small allusions to the book as well. All the children seen are little girls, very reminiscent of the innocent girl in the book (seen in the first Universal film near a river just as the protagonist in her dream sees her father near a river). The book ends with the fate of the monster in question, just as the fate of Shaw is unknown, although her iceberg goes through space and has a talking head. The one aspect that I think the book has as a huge theme that the movie misses is the constant overwhelming presence of the romantics idea of “nature”. Whether in the storms that would become cliches in monster movies or the bookended oceans, or the lake or the winds nature is always there in the book and it is constantly reminding man and his creation how completely tiny they are. No matter how many mans man can make he is nothing to the natural world, she will shrug him off of her like a dog shaking off its fleas (apologies to George Carlin). One doesn’t get this from the movie and I believe this is one aspect that makes the movie as big a mess as has been already observed. Yes there is the storm that creates the initial separation and the xenomorph which seems to have destroyed the Engineers (a second creation?) but these seem to be passing annoyances to the film and therefore make the petty movings of the people below seem much more important than they are. In the book nature is looking down on man with almost ruthless pity, in Prometheus this downward view is nowhere to be seen and it suffers for it.
Overall I agree that this movie is not that good. But as an adaptation of the novel I find it to be fairly accurate. I almost wish there was no attempts at connecting this film to the Alien films and more attempts to connect it to the book on which it was obviously based.

Oh and apologies for repeating myself. I posted something similar in the Prometheus review page but seeing as how I just saw the movie the other day I figured no one would go back and read it. My creation must be seen!”-Robert Schuster

rot
Guest

add to this the image Kurt shared in another post of the giant head sharing the same forehead scar as the movie-version Frankenstein… and the Laurel and Hardy like characters walking into the Frankenstein room.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

OK, Now I want WERNER HERZOG’s version of Prometheus, albeit with Ridley Scott’s visuals.

Goon
Guest
Kurt Halfyard
Admin

From Goon’s NME link, and on Scientific Notation of distances (in the text-intro to the good ship Prometheus) – “At the beginning the screen states the ship is 3.4×10^14 km from earth (I’m not sure if the 4 is correct). That is 210,000,000,000,000 miles. If they were traveling at the speed of light, which they could not, it would have taken them 35.78 years to reach this point, not the 2 years the show suggests. At some point in the film Vickers says in passing that they are “a half a billion miles away from the nearest man.” A half a billion and 210 trillion are not quite the same.”

rot
Guest

talk about shitty writing

Rick Vance
Guest

Come on Kurt, if WY can change the designation of the planet they can much easier mess with the odometer.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Except that the former is diegetic information and the latter is not. A trivial detail, I suppose.

(I know, I know, you are joking. So am I. Sorta.)

Jericho Slim
Guest

9 Prometheus Observations

http://letterboxd.com/jerichoslim/film/prometheus/8/

My silly ramblings after watching this film 8 times. (Yes, I am an idiot.)

Cody Lang
Guest

Jericho, this was probably the best defense of the film I’ve read yet. I think the way you break the structure as adhering to the horror-genre structure is very interesting and somewhat changes the way I think about it now. I will say my overall opinions haven’t changed much but you have given me something to think about there. I don’t think I will see 8 times like you did.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Thanks, Cody.

Kurt
Guest

The Line that David said to the Engineers has now been translated, “This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life.”

http://badassdigest.com/2012/06/20/revealed-what-david-said-to-the-engineer-at-the-end-of-prometheus/

Kurt
Guest

More BLADE RUNNER grist for the mill.

Jay C.
Guest

Just wanted to say that the nitpicking regarding the scientific methods in Prometheus (particularly coming from Kurt, who has some knowledge/experience in this) remind me of when somebody who’s in the military picks apart an action/war film, commenting on all of the ‘real world’ inconsistencies. I don’t care if Rambo’s actions aren’t consistent with military protocol. I don’t care if the explosions are bigger or the gunshots more powerful than in real life. The same goes for Prometheus. As long as I’m viscerally / emotionally / intellectually engaged, these inconsistencies drift away. Same goes for all of those people who could get past the artistic liberties taken in Moneyball. I don’t care if a certain player wasn’t on the field during that particular game. I don’t care if Jonah Hill’s character was originally two people. Etc. Etc.

Regarding the old man makeup…I also wish they hired an age appropriate actor. BUT, at least Guy Pierce wasn’t channeling a cartoon version of an old person. His performance was fine and he kept the ‘old voice’ fairly subtle. Jared Leto’s make up was the least of the problems with that scene in Mr.Nobody. I was more offended by his Saturday Night Live appropriate impression of a 90 year old man (or however old he was supposed to be).

Kurt
Guest

Well, in regards to the nitpicking of how scientist behave and your Rambo analogy, if Rambo fired his gun and peeled bananas shot out, you might feel differently about realism. It’s a matter of degree. Some of the liberties taken by people (even if they are borderline incompetent or hired because they don’t ask questions) are approaching the banana level of idiocy/unrealism.

It’s a matter of degrees.

Jay C.
Guest

What was the banana level of idiocy/unrealism?

I’m not saying that you are wrong to nitpick these things. I’m just saying that for me it’s about as much a concern in Prometheus as military realism is in a war film.

Goon
Guest

Hurt Locker would be a good example here. Have heard from many places that the movie is incredibly unrealistic.

I don’t know better, and don’t care. Unless the nitpicks are for shits and giggles.

Speaking of which, since Kurt said “a matter of degrees” I thought of Chronicle and the temperature that the air would be where they were flying. I noticed it and thought it was stupid, but also don’t care/a ‘shits and giggles’ nitpick if there ever was one.

antho42
Guest

Rule of Cool:
The limit of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to the element’s awesomeness.

Stated another way, all but the most pedantic of viewers will forgive liberties with reality as long as the result is wicked sweet or awesome. This applies to the audience in general; there will naturally be a different threshold for each individual.

From tvtropes:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool

Mike Rot
Member

I quote Matt Price again regarding the concept of science-FICTION, as it bears repeating:

“these complaints predicated on taking your tiny, refracted current knowledge of science and pushing it through a film that has science you clearly don’t understand”

Compare the knowledge of science of now to 80 years ago, but then you have the exponential increase post-internet to factor to in also, and what that means post-2012 until the date this film is supposed to take place. Can you really nitpick that much, or is it more an inflated ego, like the thematic hubris on display in the movie, that prevents one from accepting the fantastical in science-fiction movie?

antho42
Guest

I completely disagree. I find this argument to be completely nihilistic and degrading to science fiction. Philosophical science fiction has to have characters that are somewhat grounded in reality. It does not have to have completely believable science, but it has to a least respect the audience. Contact does not have perfect science, but due to excellent writing and execution, it is an awesome film.

This is same argument that people use in lowering the potential of horror films. No, horror films do not have to be about dumb people.

Mike Rot
Member

I think Prometheus has enough scientific ideas to think about, enough plausibility to this future vision to qualify as a solid science fiction movie. I just think though, for me, it worked best as a horror film. I was not watching this movie for profound characterization, there had to be character enough to get the plot moving, to make me care about the stakes, and it did that.

Contact was not a horror film, I think that is the difference. It was not a visceral experience, it was sticking to one theme, one character’s arc. Prometheus is about big visceral experience, about wondering what is around the corner, about fear and the sublime meaning of existence as a catalyst to that fear. It uses nihilism to fuel that fear. Characters are in service of this emotional resonance that the entire film is giving off, in set design, in sound design, they are an ingredient, not the final dish.

Kurt
Guest

Then the correct comparison (outside of Ridley Scott’s ALIEN) for having the visceral experience, but also caring for the characters would be Danny Boyle’s SUNSHINE, which I’d argue is a superior movie to Prometheus because it has its cake and eats it too in terms of Character/Idea/Horror.

Mike Rot
Member

I would agree, Sunshine and Prometheus are very similar. I don’t think it did character any better than Prometheus, it is still stock characters caught up in something bigger than them, and the visceral threat being the main interest. I like Prometheus better, but still love Sunshine.

Kurt
Guest

The Sunshine and the Prometheus ‘worlds’ are different though in that one is an optimistic hail-mary of a mission to save mankind by astronauts fully willing to self-sacrifice, and the other is a greedy narcissistic mission of a single Trillionaire using his crew as pawns.

Thus a lot of the ‘character moments’ in Prometheus (that some of them are not worthy) ring true to the nature of the tone of the Alien Franchise in general.

Mike Rot
Member

the other similarity between Sunshine and Prometheus is audience reception… at least around here I remember I a lot of bitching about Sunshine, but over time, people have come to love it. I think the same will/is happening with Prometheus.

Just some of us know quality when we see it on first watch 😉

Jericho Slim
Guest

Science Fiction isn’t a genre, in my opinion. Science Fiction is a “how”, not a “what”. That tracks with a lot of the Prometheus reaction in my opinion.

Prometheus and Alien both get to horror through science fiction. People are forsaking the “what” – horror – and judging it by the “how” – science fiction.

Jay had it right when he called Prometheus a mood piece on filmjunk. Most critics just refuse to see this.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Wither SPLICE?

Jericho Slim
Guest

I’d say Splice is horror, a la Frankenstein or The Fly.

Cody Lang
Guest

I think sci-fi can be understood as a genre in the sense that it defines the setting or world or maybe even an atmosphere of a narrative. I think it is similar to the early westerns in that what defined a western was the setting not the narrative structure. The western then became not only a genre defined by its setting but by a particular structure or narrative. Sci-fi I think is similar but has not reached the point of the western where we can identify a general structure for the narrative. I think this is why it has a symbiotic relationship to other genres like horror or action. 2001 and the original Solaris appear to be sort of stand alone sci-fi films without any sort of mixing with other genres but I don’t think Prometheus is the same. Jericho Slim pointed out how much it shares with the structure of a horror film. I think that’s the best way to look at Prometheus. I still don’t like it but that’s just my reaction. A mood piece is a good way to look at as well. Although defining the science fiction in terms of mood is more difficult than defining in terms of setting or other semantic elements like a character inventing something (i.e. transporter device in The Fly). Prometheus might be hard to pin down in genre terms but it seems to be like science-fiction-horror-adventure film similar to The Thing prequel but not as stupid.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I;m not so sure about that Kurt. Jay did go apeshit over Expendables, and that thing was firing banana peels all over the place.

Kurt
Guest

Gamble to the rescue. Lets finish this and go home, Kid!

I fell for Expendables’ nostalgia-trip veneer as well, albeit I have little desire to rewatch the film even if I did more or less enjoy it upon single viewing.

Jay C.
Guest

Yes, thus proving my point. I’m less concerned with military protocol and realism when the movie is working for me on every other level.

DINGUS.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I know you are but what am I?

antho42
Guest

Jay — But Prometheus thinks it is “fucking deep, man,” even though it is closer to 1950′
s science fiction. The actions and motivations of the scientists do not match the tone and the ambition of the film in various scenes. This is a fucking problem.
I had a similar reaction towards the way The Avenger mishandle to Agent Coulson’s death.

Prometheus has an identity problem: it wants to be Tree of Life and a B-movie depending on the scene.

Jay C.
Guest

Tell me how Prometheus thinks it’s “fucking deep, man”. What evidence can you provide to support this?

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

There is no evidence whatsoever (well, Lindelof and Scott kept saying up to release that Prometheus “ASKS THE BIG QUESTIONS”) but I’d argue that it is misleading to many (not myself) that the large-photoreal scope and grounded cinematography and perfect special effects imply ‘so fucking deep’. This is indeed a fallacy.

rot
Guest

nor was the original Alien all that fucking deep.

Robert Reineke
Guest

I’d say referencing 2001 in the opening moments is certainly setting the stage that the film is going to tackle some deep questions.

Cody Lang
Guest

Not only the visual style which borrows more from the work of Kubrick-Tarchovsky more than it does from say a Carpenter which might match the material (b-movie narrative) somewhat better, but the opening scenes with the alien seeding/sacrifice scene sort of a “deep” tone and story line. I don’t agree that it’s a problem but it’s one that I think as audiences we can get over and still enjoy the film. I’ve only seen the film once so now that I know what I am getting into I think I will be able to enjoy more than I did the first time. That being said the large-photoreal scope does not necessarily mean that we should interpret this film as being “deep” or intelligent but in the case of Prometheus it gave off that effect. There will probably be a director’s cut that could potentially fix the tone problems of the film. I’ve heard from those who have watched both versions of Kingdom of Heaven that the director’s cut fixes a lot of the problems of the theatrical cut so that might the case here. But, I think once you get past some of these problems you can still enjoy the film for what it is.

Cody Lang
Guest

I missed a verb there: “sacrifice scene sort of implies a “deep” tone and story line.” My bad.

rot
Guest

I make the comparison to Alien for several reasons

1) both made by Ridley Scott in the Alien universe

2) You could put the two plots on top of one another and see a lot of callbacks, a lot of Alien in Prometheus. In fact, one of the criticisms people have been hurling at it is that he just rehashed events from his first film.

3) BOTH ARE HORROR FILMS – Andrew, they are both haunted house horror films, the first one is self-contained in the Nostromo, here, the action is on both ships. People fuck and then are killed off… there is final girl, and oh yeah she looks a lot like Ripley.

That is why they are compared. I wasn’t criticizing the original for not being deep, just making the point why the expectation of Prometheus being deep when the trailer is selling a horror film, the original Ridley Scott film is a horror film, and what was onscreen was a sci-fi decorated horror film. The scope was broadened, that’s it.

antho42
Guest

Jay:
1. Lindelof’s interviews.
2. The Opening Scene
3. The film goes out of its way to convey how “thought-provoking” the questions it asks. For example, the scene with “fuckface” and Fassbender regarding the “creator”. The film is structured around these question and themes even though it does not fully explored them.

For all its faults, Sunshine does a good job exploring its philosophical themes. The original Alien works because it never attempts to be overly “philosophical”.

PS- A lot of the film defenders also think “it is fucking deep film”. I will not name names.

rot
Guest

I would say it is deep insomuch as there is a lot subtext to chew on, a lot of references, a lot nods, but I don’t think it is trying to say anything profound about life in the same way that 2001 was.

My response is it is deep enough. The conversation between David and Holloway beside the pool table is deep enough to provoke thought about the potential nihilism of creation, as a nugget within a larger organism that is working towards something else, it is deep enough.

All the ideas in the film are posed towards the furtherance of the plot, to have an interesting enough plot to keep the momentum going. The opening scene is a plot detail, not a thesis on life, I don’t think Lindelof is trying to say something profound about man being created by aliens, metaphorically or literally. There is a well thought out integration of the ideas towards the plotting, and subtext, so maybe in interviews that is what he was suggesting… I don’t know, I haven’t heard any of these interviews.

Jay C.
Guest

1. I was hoping for more evidence within the film itself, not the promotional interviews. This means very little to me.

2. What about the opening scene is deep? It’s visually interesting and provides some exposition in a wonderful way. I don’t think it’s philosophically deep. It’s a moment of intrigue that lays the groundwork for the film’s plot. It’s a cool idea, but it’s not revelatory or unique.

3. I think that scene is more concerned with providing character development rather than pushing its themes. The bigger questions are used to provide a moment of empathy towards David and reveal Holloway as an impulsive, insensitive human who’s hubris might have previously been mistaken for passion.

These comparisons to Tree of Life are really weird to me. People seem way too willing to reference Malick whenever a film contains landscape photography and natural lighting. Tree of Life is ‘deep’ because it speaks on relatable, universal levels. Prometheus’ themes are profound only to the characters within the film’s universe. Off screen, they’re simply plot points that are fun to piece together and lay the groundwork for some fun set pieces and moody moments of suspense.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Prometheus is first and foremost a horror genre movie, from it’s first frame to its last. I cannot stress this enough. It touches big themes and universal questions, but it is a genre exercise through and through. And the primary genre is horror, not hard sci-fi. The first scene is prologue that establishes how strong and imposing the evil is. Not just the individual prowess of a single “engineer”, but the strength of their society and technology. The first clue you have that a space ship is present is the imposing shadow that darkens the whole screen. That menacing presence overwhelms the expansive environment and intimidates even the engineer; it does not leave until he has consumed the goo. What can compel such a specimen to such a horrid fate? Compare the pacing and the “cool” kills and the characters to those in Friday the 13th, or Blair Witch, or Scream, or any b-movie horror film. You will see the unavoidable comparisons. This has all of the DNA of a horror movie, just as surely as we have the DNA of the engineers.

This is what I put on my Leterboxd review.

Jericho Slim
Guest

Hammer Horror films routinely ask big questions and are slowly paced. But they are still horror films. The Sci-fi is just the buildup. This could just as easily be people taking an expedition to the tomb where a mummy is buried.

People are confusing form with function.

Cody Lang
Guest

I agree the first scene is not deep or intellectual but it does set up certain expectations. That being said, once I have seen the film I now know what to expect and therefore can adjust them. I also agree with you Jay that the Tree of Life comparisons are unfounded. Landscape photography is not what is unique of Tree of Life. The camera moves much different. Tree of Life has very fast dolly shots and then sometimes lingers like Tarr’s camera. I do think once you understand what Prometheus is a horror or thriller film then most of the problems that people have will disappear. The so-called deep themes are simply points but they on first viewing, at least for myself, they do appear to be disjointed from what follows in the film. But, I agree Jay with most if not all of what your saying, but I can also see how people respond negatively to the superficial deep moments that appear to be out of place.

antho42
Guest

“Tree of Life is ‘deep’ because it speaks on relatable, universal levels. ”
I disagree with your approach. I do not judge an artwork attempts to be “deep” on my reaction or other people’s reaction. If this case, everything can be label as “deep”. For many people, eating out at McDonalds is a “deep experience.” Many people thing that Creed is a “deep” band.

I judge whether an artwork is trying to be “deep” in the manner it represents itself to the audience and in its execution. For example, Radiohead attempts to be “deep,” even though I personally do not like them that much.

And sometimes, artists and artworks fail miserably with their attempts to be “deep,” which is evident in the mockumentary, This Spinal Tap.

Jay C.
Guest

“I do not judge an artwork attempts to be “deep” on my reaction or other people’s reaction.”

I’m not basing it on reactions, I’m basing it on the content/themes of the film.

Regarding Prometheus being deep:

I’m putting aside the fact that I don’t care what you think (no offense ;)) in favour of engaging in some discussion. But, until you clarify how you came to this conclusion, I’m not sure what else to say. You’re observations are too presumptuous and you haven’t really provided a satisfactory explanation that backs up your perspective.

antho42
Guest

“Prometheus’ themes are profound only to the characters within the film’s universe. ”
I somewhat agree. I differ from you in that I believe that the film attempts to do something higher than this goal. The film goes out of its way to put emphasis on the philosophical/religious discussions — moreso than simply being salad dressing for the main event. For example, the film spends way too much time on Noomi’s Rapace’s religious convictions. I did not find that the philosophical conversations gel well with the horror elements.

From Slate.com:
“Prometheus could have been an elegant, moody sci-fi actioner if only it didn’t strain so hard (especially in the final scenes) for weighty existential meaning.”

antho42
Guest

Matt Brown’s review (the substream):
“It is hard sci-fi, thickly woven with ideas.”
“Prometheus is true science fiction, from tip to tail. If the Alien films used sci-fi conventions as a shroud for an entirely other genre, never pausing to contemplate the implications of their imagined alien life, Prometheus needs no such cloak. This is an Idea movie, and as such, it will infuriate as many people as it will engage – but that’s the price of poker, and the film is not coy about it. In Prometheus’ prologue, a humanlike creature of some kind stands atop a rocky precipice overlooking a waterfall, before dispersing some genetic material into the world via his own body. Is this the Earth? Is this the beginnings of us? If you are not ready for an Alien movie that deals in such vast, galaxy-spanning connections and conceits – The Da Vinci Code: A Space Odyssey – you’d better turn back now.”

rot
Guest

@Andrew, Prometheus is the best movie of the year for me the same way Rio Bravo would have been had it come out today. The pure joy of cinema, of the experience. To be honest, I know there is a lot of subtext but it is hardly the interest for me, I like the ride.

Jericho Slim
Guest

2001 sucks. How could Hal be outsmarted by a person he was a zillion times smarter than? How come Hal didn’t just fly “Discovery One” away so Dave couldn’t get in? Why did Hal terminate the crew members in suspended animation – they were no threat? Why couldn’t Hal tell the emergency airlock was being opened if he controlled all of the functions of the ship?

See how easy that is?

Jericho Slim
Guest

Anyone that likes 28 Days/Weeks Later and doesn’t like Prometheus because of dumb/inconsistent characters is full of it. Those movies should be renamed: 28 Days should be “Pretty Dumb People”. 28 Weeks Should be ” Incompetent People Who Do Nothing But Dumb Shit All Day, Every Day” or “I Hate Every Protagonist and I Wish Their Stupid Asses Would Die Now.”

KeithTalent
Guest

Late to the party as usual, but just wanted to say this was truly a fantastic episode. By far the best Prometheus discussion I’ve heard anywhere. Great stuff and I’m going to listen to it again once I see the movie for the second time this weekend. I actually missed the much-discussed opening scene after failing to properly navigate the streets of Toronto, so I will need to see what that is all about the second time around. Thanks for the great work gents.

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