Saturday, October 6, 2012

Prometheus: Why all the hate?

I finally got around to watching Prometheus, and to be honest I'm not sure why everyone's hating on it- though to be honest when I first heard of the movie I thought it was to be about the fire-bringer Prometheus, the Titan who ended up being chained to a rock by Zeus to have his intestines ripped out every day at noon by a hungry raptor, if I have my mythology straight. So I was somewhat put out when I found out that it was instead a spiritual successor to the Alien movies, but that wasn't reason enough for me to complain about it to whoever would listen. Only one way to find out- watch it and see if I'd sign up for the rage club.

That being said- I wasn't in any particular rush to watch it, other than being asked to watch it by one of the haters who wanted someone to vent to. Anyway, a brief synopsis of the plot: some scientists find some interesting symbols in some picturesque locations on planet Earth, apparently pointing to some spot in a faraway place (i.e. not on Earth). They tell their story to a rich old guy who decides to fund their journey there. Once there, they get into a world of trouble. Everyone dies. That's not a spoiler, mind you- it's standard fare for a movie carrying on Alien's torch. Actually. Almost everyone dies. Have fun guessing who doesn't.

The first character we're introduced to is that chap who played Magneto in X-Men: First Class, Michael Fassbender. Oddly enough it seems that the rest of the crew is in cryo-sleep, so why is David (Mikey) awake and watching old movies? Oh, and peeking into the one of the crew's dreams, with a a really funky machine I'd love to have. Here's the inevitable (though somewhat disappointing) answer: David is an android. On a side note: are cryosleepers stuck in an endless dream?

The ship Prometheus (yes, a ship, not a person) eventually arrives at its destination, and David wakes everyone up. It quickly becomes clear that despite his knowledge and superior abilities he's not the person in charge, and actually more of a maitre'd. We're introduced to the rest of the crew: the first to wake, the Alpha-Eve: Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), who seems to be a bit of a control freak and generally hates the entire mission. Then there's Chief Scientists Elizabeth Shaw and her hubby Charlie Holloway (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green), and... well the rest of them are negligible, really. Long story short: they find some interesting things on the alien planet, and the interesting things find them interesting, and obviously things aren't so interesting for the crew any longer.

Overall Prometheus was alright- nothing spectacular, and not deserving of the adjective 'epic', just ok. Not the sort of compliment film-makers look for, but it's better than 'absolute crap' and so on. Now for my theories on why so many people hate it, though I haven't exposed myself to the bile yet:

Theory one: It conflicts with Alien vs Predator lore (or at least, what I remember of it): that the Predators created the Aliens for sport, and occasionally used Earth as their hunting grounds, building cities and enlightening humans just enough for them to serve adequately- and nuking the civilizations when they were done playing. Instead, the Aliens here are said to be biological weapons created by the 'Engineers'- a vaguely humanoid race.

Theory two: Subconscious religious hate, or the ego of species. The Engineers are hypothesized to have created the human race. I can see many people not liking this, whether out of the idea that divine beings/god created humans, gave us scripture to muck about with, and so on. I suppose it would be rather annoying to such people to be told that they were made by a race of interstellar plus-sized humanoids. As for ego of species (I made that term up- there's probably a better term in a dictionary) just relates the the general repulsion of being told that you're basically a lab rat.

Theory three: having been told that this would be a prequel to Alien, fans went wild (yay yet another Alien movie)- they probably expected more fight scenes with fully grown Aliens stalking the crew. Instead what they got was Aliens initially spewing from vats as primordial gello, zombie attacks, and an android on a journey of self-discovery, which for some inexplicable reason involved committing murder.

Theory four, and this one is my reason (though still not enough for me to hate on it): Most of the crew were idiots. Why did David kill? Was he under express orders to do so? It doesn't seem like it, especially when he seems to have picked his bully as his target. Vicker's motives were unclear at first, but it soon became apparent that she was just being an insecure, jealous ass. The scientists were all dumb- storm brewing? Leave the damn thing, no one's going to steal it- you can always go back for it tomorrow. Then there's the noisy crackpot... seriously, didn't anyone bother to do a psychological evaluation before departing?

That being said- I understand that a certain level of idiocy is necessary for plot purposes (this is for movies- in a book it could never be forgiven). Too much idiocy though, can kill a movie, especially if you have high hopes for it. Which may be why I wasn't riled up as much as others- I went in expecting some fancy effects, maybe an Alien cameo, and nothing more. You can't be disappointed when you aren't hoping for much.


  1. I think folks wanted more subtle nods to the previous story?

    I'm guessing but I didn't see it when I heard the writer tried to not to be a clear prequal. I disagreed with that...I'm a shameless fanboy :)

    1. Guess that would fit in with Theory 3. You're right though, there wasn't much sign of anything remotely Alien until the impregnation scene.