Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prometheus & Why It FAILS

Some of you are not going to agree with me on this review.  It's cool. We all see things differently.  If you haven't seen Prometheus yet, and don't want all the important points in the film revealed to you, please stop reading now.

*******SPOILERS Sweetie*********

No Seriously, I am going to give everything away.  Leave now if you don't want to know.

I'm not playing around about this.  Okay, you've been warned.  Here we go.

The screenplay blows.  Period.  It's pretty simple.  Here's a basic breakdown:

Flying saucer.  Earth-like planet.  Big giant white alien that looks a whole lot like my green man paintings, drinks black goo & falls into water thus seeding planet earth with DNA which will eventually lead to us.


Two scientist that have the hots for each other find a cave painting with a giant looking dude & some circles.  They match other ancient art, including Egyptian & Sumarian, etc. art.  Scientist decide this means something.  It's an invitation to find the creator.  Um, okay.  Why does the female scientist think this?  Because she CHOOSES to BELIEVE so.

Completely not a scientific reason.  

We zip to ten years later & we are in a space ship.  The ship's name is Prometheus.  Okay, whatever.  Cool.  There's an obvious android doing feats beyond what a human can do, so that we are certain that this is NOT a human, but an android.  He creepily watches our science chick's dreams as she sleeps. 

Everyone wakes up.  Well, Charlize's Ms. Vicker's wakes up first.  She hops up & starts doing push-ups as she is dripping with fluid.  Oh, look she's tough & mean.  Better watch out for her.  Why is she here again?  What's that?  There is NEVER a reason for this character in the entire film except perhaps to symbolize how men do not see a daughter as an extension of themselves or a way to pass on their legacy & that can only be achieved by a son or an android programmed by the male mastermind?  Of course, I think I might be giving the screenwriter WAY too much credit on that.

Character introductions, needless bickering, and what?  These characters have no idea why they have been in hyper-sleep or what the hell they signed up for?  Seriously?  I'm supposed to believe they have gone millions of miles in a spaceship & have no idea why until they are woken up at their destination?!  'Cause, um, I ain't buying that.  Oh wait, is this some sort of life analogy?  We don't know where we are going, life just takes us there.  Oh gods, I hope not.  If so, it was a very lame attempt at that.

Also, who am I supposed to be rooting for?  Who's the main character?  I'm guessing the two science people, right?  I'm not sure I like them yet & we're 30 minutes into the film almost.

We sweep into the planet's atmosphere, break through the clouds & ta-da!  Some sort of dwelling.  Hooray!  We found something.  Ms. Vickers makes some threats about no one engaging anything & how she's in control, which she clearly is not.  The android is.  She seems pretty emotionally unstable.  Why is she here again?  Anyone?

We go into the caves & the android who has been studying Sumerian, Egyptian, & all the other languages & cultures mentioned in the art slide show, can translate & begins pushing on the stone & it reacts with magic green light & computer noises despite looking like rock & mud.  The other characters occasionally ask him what he's doing, but he just blows them off & so the crew just continues on, not thinking much about it.

So the Scientist lady & crew find the "Engineer's" body.  He's been decapitated by the closing door.  The Android decides to open the door.  To no suprise there are vials of stuff everywhere and a big stone head that resembles the "Engineers".  Except we don't know that yet, because the head science lady finds still has it's helmet on.  That makes the helmet reveal completely anticlimactic later in the film.

Let's skip ahead.  The scientist chick brings the head back on board despite what Ms. Vickers had said earlier.  In fact, the whole crew pretty much just ignores Ms. Vickers.  She serves no purpose.  Not on the ship & not in the script.  I don't get it.  Why is this character here?  What a waste of acting talent.   

Science lady decides to try & reanimate whatever process was happening that started killing the "Engineer".

No one has a problem with this?  Um, Ms. Vickers?  Hello?  Vickers?  I thought you said they couldn't do this sort of stupid crap!?  

Two guys got left behind.  The tattooed mohawk Geologist & the overly friendly & annoying Biologist.

Boyfriend scientist is so disdraught that there was no one living to greet him that he gets drunk.  All while his lady is reanimating the dead head.  Isn't he interested in any of this stuff?

The Android brought black goo from the vials on board.  It looks like the same black goo that the "Engineer" drank.

What the android does with it is bizarre.  

The android is bullied by the male scientist from the start.  I, as the audience, am never told why the male man of science does not like the android, but it is very apparent that he does not like him at all.  I'll take a guess that it makes him feel insecure.  There are many back & forths leading the audience to believe that the android is simply programmed to do certain tasks for the Whelan Corp &  he is unable to feel any emotion  Yet, the android takes the black goo & puts a drop in the male scientists glass.  It seems like revenge, but can it be?  

Was the writer trying to tell us he wasn't just an soul-less machine?  Honestly, did anyone really think that?

 Honestly, the douchebag bully scientist deserved it.  He shouldn't have been such a bully.  However, I think the android & it's humanity is one of the "deep" questions being asked in the film.  Problem is, it's been done to death.  Especially if you happen to be a fan of Japanese Films or Japanese Animation.  Plus, the Japanese are a million times better at posing the question & answering it or leaving it hanging.  Four words: Ghost in the Shell.

Blade Runner borrowed heavily from the Japanese in the 80's & it is borrowed from yet again, albeit poorly in this film.

I get a hint that I'm supposed to identify most closely with the Android.  That's part of the point.  Sorry, but the Star Wars generation doesn't have a problem with robots & androids.  We don't see things as just machines.  We name our computers.  Macs, Playstations & X-Boxes all have a way to name the machine.  We see them as having personalities & we are well aware that they will one day be part of our make-up.  We will meld.  So the evil android scenario is old & a little unbelievable.  Soul-less Android?  C'mon.  50 years ago this might have made me gasp.  Perhaps Rip Van Winkle wrote this.

I know, evil man creates evil android, like evil "Engineer" created evil human.  Whatever.  There are so many TV shows that have done this.  So many movies.  It's a cornerstone of Japanimation.  Top it all or don't do it again.  

I was never convinced that the "Engineers" were evil.  There was self-sacrifice in the beginning.  It felt very much like we were missing a huge chunk of their story.  

As we go further into the film, I have time to reflect on what I've already seen. Why would these "Engineers" have humans draw "maps" or "Invitations" to the planet that they are using to manufacture bio-weapons to bring back & destroy humanity?  They wouldn't.  There must be another explanation.  One was never given.

(Gilgamesh 2500 B.C.)

I know the Mythology this was all pulled from. The Atra-Hasis tablets are ancient.  Most people have no knowledge of the Atra-Hasis creation story except through Gilgamesh.  Believe me, the Sumerian version is a million billion times more compelling than the Prometheus Screenplay version.  It's also the origin of the flood story & the actual Greek Prometheus story.  It makes more sense when you realize that the "Engineers" were in a civil war.  Much like the war of the angels, that was written at a much later date.  Some of the "Engineers" despised us.  Others loved us.  Some were driven to destroy us out of jealousy.  Others marveled at our creative abilities.  However, we were overpopulating the earth.  We had to be contained.  Controlled.

 When did our contact with the "Engineers" end?  Why?  When did the tales of the "Engineers" cease?  When did humans stop depicting them in art?  Was it after the flood?  Was the flood an event caused by the "Engineers"?  According to the Atra-Hasis it was.  

The problem is, there is nothing clearly stated about the "Engineers" in the film.  No question is answered.  I know, that too is part of the point.  We will never get the answers we seek.  See the story of Gilgamesh.  Or even if we do, we won't be satisfied with what we learn until it matches what we BELIEVE.  

Ugh...vague & pretentious.  Unsatisfying.  

In the end everyone dies for no good reason.  Pure stupidity mostly.  The Android makes it out, as does our science chick.  That's how I figured out she was the protagonist.  Or was it the android, David, all along?

It just didn't pull anything together in any sort of compelling way.  The foundations for possibilities were there,  it just never blossomed & was far from fruition.  It simply came across as a story about a bunch of dumb clueless people who all pretended to be things they weren't that were ultimately destroyed by their own incompetence with the help of an Android.  Which, really, is just an updated version of us.

The end.


Cindy said...

Talaura needs to tell her experience with this movie because it is hilarious. I'm really kind of glad I didn't have to sit through this with Chris. I hate it when they make the science girl, stupid.

Jen Tucker said...

Oh and they did. All the scientists were stupid. It was so awful.