Prometheus

Prometheus is probably the most frustrating yet satisfying science fiction movie ever made.

Satisfying: because the visuals are easily the most stunning ever for this kind of film, with or without 3D (which was handled very nicely, by the way). Since they were hand-delivered by Ridley Scott, the man who wrote the book on stunning visuals for science fiction movies, it’s no surprise our eyes were happy. Very satisfying.

Frustrating: because the story has more holes than Blackburn Lancashire, and a plot that turns exclusively on the stupidity of the characters. And I’m not just talking “go back to rescue the cat” stupid, I’m talking about the kind of dumb that takes the viewer out of the movie, because people who are supposed to be smart are doing things that nobody would ever do, because they don’t make any sense.

A few questions…

If the Engineers created mankind by “seeding” the Earth with their DNA, what has that got to do with multiple ancient Earth civilizations drawing star-maps to the Engineers’ planet? Those seem like separate issues.

Why would a trillion dollar scientific exploration mission to a distant planet have a crew that includes surly mercenary types who are clearly hostile to the mission and only “in it for the money?” And what the hell do they even need a geologist for anyway, facial tats notwithstanding?

Why would a trillion dollar scientific exploration mission that took two years to arrive at its destination planet land on the surface the minute they got there? They wouldn’t orbit for a few days (or weeks, or months) to map the surface and track weather patterns? By the way, given the distance the movie says they covered, they would have had to travel at 10 times the speed of light to get there in two years. Just saying.

Having dropped into the atmosphere and miraculously found structures in the first few minutes, they land and immediately dispatch a giant search party? How about sending just the two guys who are in charge of launching the mapping droids first, then have them scamper back before, say, a storm hit?

How did those two guys, who were the first to hit upon the right approach to the situation (“Let’s get the hell out of here”), wind up being the ones who got stuck overnight during the storm? Oh, that’s right; they got lost trying to find their way out. The guys in charge of the mapping the place couldn’t retrace their own steps. Right.

Then why would these same two guys, while fleeing from a radioed report of a “life-form,” hide out in a chamber full of cylinders leaking black slime? Then, when cobra-like alien creatures appear out of the slime, these two geniuses say “Here, kitty kitty” and try to pet them? WTF? Weren’t they scared of the very idea of alien life-forms 10 minutes ago?

The geologist guy, who turned up back at the ship all murderous and stuff after they thought he was dead – what was his deal? Was he some kind of zombie? Had he been infected by the slime, or impregnated by the snakes? Was he contagious? Should the movie have told us any of this?

We are told that the Engineers’ DNA is a perfect match to ours. Not close, identical – they are us. Really? They are eight feet tall, alabaster white with black eyes, have superhero strength and can hibernate comfortably for two thousand years and still come out swinging. That’s in our DNA? Who knew?

Old man makeup hasn’t improved one bit since 2001: A Space Odyssey? Or was that supposed to be an homage?

So – the Weyland corporate ice-queen calls the semi-cryogenic Weyland CEO “father.” And this figures into the plot…how?

After the Engineers’ ship launches, gets knocked down, crashes and rolls on the planet surface, how come David the Robot’s decapitated head is still resting pertly in the same spot the Last Engineer left it before takeoff?

How the hell does the giant face-hugger that kills the Last Engineer fit into the Xenomorph life cycle, anyway? Is that what the thousands of canisters in the Engineers’ ships would lead to on Earth, or is that what happens only if a human gets an alien baby-bump? They’re such a handful at that age.

How come the Last Engineer’s alien ribcage baby is a fully formed, and very different looking, version of a Xenomorph? If the Engineers’ DNA is the same as ours, shouldn’t the alien look like the ones from the earlier films?

OK, so David the Lightheaded Robot thinks he can pilot the Engineers’ other ship to the Engineers’ home planet. Fair enough, he’s pretty smart. But how long is that road trip, anyway? What is Dr. Shaw supposed to do for food and water? Oh, that’s right, she’ll pray for it. Because being a scientist confronted with irrefutable scientific evidence that everything the Bible said was wrong only makes your religious faith stronger. Well played, Ridley, well played.

Sean Marten

Sean Marten is the PRP Production Manager, On Air Talent, and Late Night Movie Reviewer.
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