We interrupt our regularly scheduled podcast to bring you this special announcement: Prometheus is terrible.
Click on the movie poster or title above to download our review of the film, featuring guest hosts Ian Strope of the Futile Podcast and Rachel Pandich, author of indie comic book Aspire.
Review in a Nutshell: Although undeniably beautiful in terms of cinematography and production design, Prometheus suffers from a poor script with writing that disintegrates into a flaming wreck by the movie’s conclusion. Some people claim the film posses too many unanswered questions. I claim the opposite: the film answers too many questions, and the answers it gives are dumb.
And yet, I will argue that this is still the third best entry in the Alien franchise, mainly because this one only left me terribly disappointed and not outright angry (As opposed to Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, and both of the Alien vs. Predator films).
I think Alien Resurrection is a fun film. I thought the sets and props were cool and the performances were good. The dual pistols and the paraplegic slap shot shotgun were cool too. Weaver and Perlman were badass, I thought they had good chemistry in the gym scene.
I liked the movie. You sounding like a Hipster. And NO ONE likes a Hipster.
This film feels like a pseudo-philosophical, science fiction anime — a la Serial Lain Experiment and The Big O. Overall, I liked the film. The script is a mess, but it is an enjoyable, bizarre mess (kind of like The Happening).
PS- The first 25 minutes are amazing. It will have been awesome if we got an existentialist film that just revolve around Fassbender’s robot character.
Yeah this coming from the guy who hates Dune!
Paul why do you have to hurt me so!
I have to admit Paul, after our long conversation about Prometheus I can’t help but feel like this was one of the most puzzling cinematic experiences I’ve had in a long time. It’s the big issue of me perhaps desperately wanting to find greater meaning or place my own complicated inferences in a film that on a second viewing may just remain a threadbare hybrid of sci-fi tropes that just don’t work together. I am planning on seeing the film again just so my opinion is firm on the whole thing.
I still believe however as I have stated with you before that whenever a sequel or in this case prequel that follows an established universe creates undeniable problems with said mythology particularly in a visual sense, I can for whatever reason still judge instalments as their own seperate entities. On this first viewing, Prometheus certainly did not make me feel any retroactive animosity towards the original Alien despite it’s obvious ties; if anything it’s made me appreciate Ridley’s original film far more for the slice of streamlined, brilliant science fiction it’s been consistently held up as. Ridley already made arguably a near-perfect horror tale, de-mystifying elements of it does not ruin my enjoyment of Alien but the sense that Prometheus ultimately being an unnecessary exercise tied down by branding is there for all to see.
Certainly a film that’s both oddly fascinating but utterly frustrating in equal measure.
In a lot of your overly biased reviews your big criticism to sci-fi films and fantasy films are things don’t make sense. You say its too fake but how is this a problem? Science fantasy and science fiction dont have to make sense in our world.
Alot of your points you make are really so self important, for instance you say its so fake that human life and life on earth is connected to life from other planets, but how do you know this to be? In a sci-fi how is it that the science of the future and their procedures have to be anything like our current so called science facts and practices? This was less of a even review, it was more of a hipster film bashing with vegan pizza and wine to boot.
co-writer Damon Lindelof says :Much of the philosophy in “Prometheus” revolves around the unsatisfying nature of ultimate answers, and the film purposely avoids resolving some of the story’s lingering questions
I find the very idea of an “overly biased” review hilarious. Reviews are by definition subjective.
The reason that the bad science is a problem is that if you understand the actual science, it rockets you out of the film, ruining your suspension of disbelief and making it impossible to remain immersed in the film. If you have even the barest understanding of the actual science of the origins of life and the origins of the human species, then the ideas proposed in Prometheus make no sense, and the film does nothing to address this fact except hand-wave it away with a single line of dialogue that indicates the scriptwriter doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
The science in a science fiction film doesn’t have to be perfect, but it at least should be internally consistent. I’m supposed to believe humanity is capable of producing a ship capable of faster than light travel…with a whole bunch of glass windows on the bridge. I’m supposed to believe that humanity is capable of building a fully autonomous artificial person…but they can’t program a surgical machine that can recognize the differences between a male patient and a female patient. I’m supposed to believe that people capable of generating a 3D map of a structure with sophisticated automated probes are capable of taking a wrong turn and getting lost even though they’ve got access to the map and a constant video / audio link with their mothership. The more you examine the way the film is written, the sloppier it becomes.
As I stated in the review, I don’t care that the film doesn’t answer certain questions. I’m more concerned that it answers questions that no one was asking, and that the answers to those questions diminish the mystery of a much better film.
Rachel liking vegan pizza and wine doesn’t make her a hipster; it makes her a vegan that likes wine. The next person that dares to try to apply that word to my podcast in the comment section is getting hit with the banhammer. That’s not an insult I’ll suffer graciously. You’ve been warned.
another good one about this movie
I felt that the film would’ve been better if it either the filmmakers focused 100% on the Space Jockeys/Engineers and not introduce the proto/pseudo-Xenomorphs or go the other direction and made the Hammerpedes (as the penis vagina cobras are technically called) and the proto/pseudo-Xenomorph at the end actual Facehuggers, Chestbursters, and Xenomorphs that we all have come to know. As it stands now, it does feel like one of the many rip-offs that followed the original film. I liked the idea of exploring another facet of the Alien universe, but didn’t like that it was beginning to tread cover ground with those beasties being introduced. I’m not sure why people think the proto/pseudo/whatever-morph at the end of the film as some sort of beginning point of the Xenomorph lineage. I really think that it was more of an offshoot of the Xenomorphs seen in the other films or perhaps an early prototype with a convoluted lifecycle that was refined later in the Xenomorphs development as bioweapons by the Engineers. Or that the fluid was genetic material for the Xenomorphs in the same way the Engineers broke their own DNA down, which causes mutations in both the worms and Holloway, with the Hammerpedes being sterile hybrids of the worms and facehuggers, while Holloway had facehugger DNA allowing to infect/impregnate Shaw.
As for the whole Eric Von Daniken “Hot Rods of the Gods” stuff, I still kinda dig that stuff but agree that it’s getting too crowded. That said, I didn’t really mind the Engineers being “swole manbabies” or even the 100% genetic compatibility with humans. I do think Lindeloff went to far with the whole religious aspect. I know a friend who hated the ending of BSG because they shoehorned the God stuff into a perfectly good science fiction program and I’m guessing he’s going to be completely go apeshit because of this. I think Shaw would’ve benefitted being written more as Brian Cox than some true believer. Also, for the big theme they should have concentrated on, it should have been “Prometheus”, i.e. the makers and the made, since they had David and Weyland and the humans and the Engineers, instead of the God shit. They could’ve thrown some Frankenstein in there as well, since Shelley did subtitled that “The Modern Prometheus”. BTW, if Weyland can get a synthetic humanoid made, you’re think he would make himself a kick-ass Guy Pierce robot body instead of appearing as an old man.
I liked it a bit, but thought it could’ve been better written. For review, I did see this in IMAX 3D and while the bar was on premise and open, I did not drink.
Jo-1 may have name-called, but co-host Rachel, in about a 5 minute stretch, felt it necessary to let us know that she ate vegan pizza and not pizza, that she is an Athiest who has Christian friends from the South, and is irritated because she apparently doesn’t have the instinct to “breed and have tiny humans”. People don’t point out those kinds of things unless they expressly desire to relay their own A) believed superiority over what is practiced by the majority or B) need to be perceived as different from the norm. So let me check off my “Look at me, I’m Rachel” list here…eating meat is wrong, religious people (from the South, no less) are silly sheep, and the ‘Idiocracy’-ish “instinct to breed” is, well…Mission Condecension, accomplished!
In the meantime, you thoughtfully relayed your opinions on Prometheus, without letting us all know how you feel about eating animals, believing in a god or having children. And in all the time I’ve listened to your podcast (years), I have never heard all of your other guest hosts collectively spend as much time unloading their personals on your listenership as Rachel did in those few minutes. After listening to nearly all of your shows, I still am unsure where you stand politically, religiously or disgestively. I can’t say the same for Rachel.
And yes, I was looking forward to Prometheus as possibly being something other than “Galaxy of Terror 2”.
brokemart, you assume too much.
There is nothing wrong with Rachel expressing her personal religious convictions, especially when they are relevant to how they inform her viewing experience of a film with overtly religious themes. There is nothing wrong with her expressing her desire not to have children, any more than it would be wrong for someone else to brag about their kids. Again her views inform her experience, and they are pertinent to the subject at hand. And her veganism stems primarily from her inability to properly digest animal proteins, although I’m sure she has personal convictions about how animals are treated, since I know she volunteers her time at a rescue farm operation. None of these details, which she was kind enough to share with me and the listening audience, is a personal slight against ANYONE, and if you took offense to them, you need to take a deep breath, turn your focus inward, and question why you felt someone else expressing their views leaves you feeling insulted.
You objection essentially translates to “how dare this person have opinions”.
Compare her explanation of how religion is explored in the movie and then yours. There’s no comparison. Yours is thoughfully expressed. Hers is basically “If there is a God, he doesn’t give a shit”. Whoa…that’s profound. Thanks for that.
And saying she’s never had the “instinct to breed and have tiny humans” is a funny way of stating you’ve never had a desire to have children. Please, spare me. I found it hard to believe that this great Woman of Science would be crying about being infertile after just discovering her creator, too. I have kids and with the same revelation presented to me, I’d have told them to go outside and play for a few years.
There is absolutely no way that someone with religious beliefs can enjoy movies or podcasts and hope to escape the condesencion and veiled “stupid Christian” stereotypes so prevalent everywhere. Sometimes enough is enough. Why is she, “The Athiest”, so desperate to point out that she has Christian friends who wonder how she can be so nice and still be an Athiest? Then she mentions they are from the South. What the Hell does that mean!?! You’re going to tell me it isn’t because the stereotypical Christian from the South isn’t constantly painted as a buck-toothed, mouth-breather clinging to their guns and religion? They all think Athiests can’t be nice? Was she trying to paint herself as a victim of intolerant Christians? Give me a break. It was a dumb statement now matter how many small-brained, opposable thumbed-challenged farm animals she’s nobly saved from the dinner table.
I thought she subtracted greatly from an otherwise excellent podcast. It doesn’t have much to do with my feelings being hurt or some need to search my inner self for why I was offended. You’ve got better co-hosts. My vote is for Sean, M.O.M., your sister, anyone else.
Hi everyone! Rachel here!
First off I want to say thank you to everyone that listened. We had a lot a fun talking about this movie and it was good to do a bit of analyzing of this film that I really enjoyed because of, as I said on the podcast, SPACE MONSTERS RAWR!
There seems to be some anger thrown at me in a couple of the comments. Paul has done a wonderful job explaining but I would like to make a few points.
1) Everything that I said was NOT in a 5min span to push any agenda. These things were mentioned throughout the podcast. This podcast was a little under an hour and that is after the editing.
2) Please don’t put words in my mouth. Criticize me on what I DO say not in what you infer. I never, ever, EVER said that eating meat is wrong. I never ever said that my Christian friends were sheep. I never ever insinuated that people who have kids have an “Idiocracy” mentality. As Paul pointed out I am vegan because it is hard for my gastro-intestinal system to process animal protein. In fact my husband is not a vegan, he isn’t even a vegetarian. You heard the word “vegan” and immediately put a stereotype upon me. When a question about the religion was asked I responded with an example of how I interact with my friends in relation to the movie. I do not see how me not understanding the urge to have children while expressing the same feminist opinion as the the two male hosts have about the female being reduce to her biology makes me bashing on people with kids.
3) Back to the word “vegan”. My mentioning specifically that the pizza is vegan is out of habit. My non-vegan friends are always teasing me if food comes up and if it isn’t salad that “omfg that’s not vegan.” So yes, saying that the pizza was vegan was out of habit and not out of me trying to say I’m better than anyone.
Anything else I would point out Paul has already said. If my lifestyle offends anyone, well, that seems like a personal problem for them. My meat eating, church going, multi-kid having friends aren’t offended so neither should you guys and gals.
Again, thanks to everyone for listening, I hope more of you enjoyed the movie more than who did not because SPACE MONSTERS YAY!
brokemart, I said it before, I’ll say it again. You assume too much. You’re reading insinuations into Rachel’s opinions that simply aren’t there. You’re working yourself into a frenzy and putting words into her mouth. I understand that you don’t like what she had to say; you’ve made that abundantly clear. But there’s no reason to attack her personally because her views differ from your own. And there’s no reason for you to build a strawman out of things she didn’t say, and almost certainly didn’t mean to imply. Trying to second guess her motivations just makes you sound paranoid.
You know what? I’m an atheist. I don’t plan on having any children in my lifetime. I live in the South. I have friends who are Christian. I’ve dabbled with vegetarianism, for reasons of health as well as for reasons of philosophy. So if you want to tar Rachel as some sort of elitist with a chip on her shoulder, you’d better be ready to paint me with the same brush.
You don’t get to vote on who I choose to include in my podcast. And if this is how you react to people with a differing viewpoint, I frankly don’t want you listening in the first place.
A couple of things. I’d put Prometheus on the level of Alien 3 in terms of quality. While the script is dumb as a post in some points, I do think Prometheus is the strongest visual movie from either Ridley Scott in a decade or in the Alien franchise since the first film. The religion of the film is pretty stupid and, quite frankly, insulting to anyone with half a brain. The whole point of Prometheus seems to be alien spacemen created humans, but herp a derp I still believe in Jesus for literally no reason. The script could have handled this a whole lot better than giving what could have been a very interesting religious discussion that gets passed off with a hand wave by saying “well sure they created us but WHO CREATED THEM!?!?!” I’m disappointed by that but decades of poor Alien films really lowered my expectations coupled with the fact that the last Ridley Scott film I really liked was Gladiator lowered my expectations.
As far as vegan pizzagate goes, all Paul did is have a very different guest on then his normal crew of family, close friends and other podcasters. I think she brought some interesting points to the table (for example the military instillation discussion). While I can see people viewing her as a total H-word (that was a close one), everything she talked about was a natural evolution of the conversation. To say that she was pushing her views of atheism and feminism on a film that is largely insulting to the intelligence of atheists and feminists is ridiculous. The whole vegan pizza comment came out of the question “where did you see the film?” and what I took away from that was the bottle of wine that proceeded the vegan pizza. All she was saying was that she was pretty drunk watching the space monster movie. Is she my favorite co-host on the podcast? Probably not but there’s absolutely no reason to rip into her for the way she presents herself.
I’m sorry that you feel that you were so offended brokemart that you felt the need to attack someone on a personal level for how they felt about a film and then victimize yourself in the process when Paul yelled at you. Criticism by its very nature is biased and is culled from a person’s collection of experiences so its totally valid for her to express this through her views on the film especially since literally no one outside of Paul knows her. People like M.O.M. Dave and Joel, Sean, Daryl, Gerald and Clarissa and others either have their own podcast where you could get to know them or has been on the show a number of times so maybe she felt she had to be clear where she stood with her background. Rachel applied all of this to the film where as you seem to be using this to critique her as a person. If your comment was “as a Christian man with three kids who eats red meat every day I believe that all of your points are invalid for reasons A, B, C etc..” I don’t think anyone would have a problem with you bringing that to the table. Instead you say how dare she provide context to her opinion and then proceed to pull this whole “I’m the oppressed majority” bullshit act that seems to be so in vogue these days. Rachel comes off as a chipper legbone synonym for mix (I’mnotsayingitI’mnotsayingitI’mnotsayingit) where as your critique just seems mean for no real reason other than to be mean because she’s an atheist and/or she’s a girl.
On a different note, Paul you are 100% wrong about Alien Resurrection, and you are 1000% wrong about Predators.
Count me in on that last comment, I actually quite liked Predators; then again I think Predator 2 is the best out of that trilogy.
I think there’s a word that needs to be used, which isn’t being used even by people who hate this film. B-Movie. This was a B-Movie in every way minus the budget and the director.
Rachel, your response to my rant was thoughtful. Some of the things you said on the podcast nicked me. Perhaps I know a few too many people who express being vegan as some sort of badge of honor or something. I am sorry to hear of the problems you suffer with. Then when you made the “there is no god” statement, I got a bad vibe off of you.
I don’t believe I really name-called as much as slammed a couple of the common stereotypical comments I misinterpreted. The “Look at me” statement was kind of rough, though. Unfortunately, my fuse has burned short. I listen to other podcasts and all too often I hear the hosts outwardly making fun of things I believe in. I finally put a stake in the ground and came after you. Not fair.
Ark, calling Prometheus a B-movie is inaccurate. B-movie doesn’t refer to style or genre; it’s purely a budgetary consideration. Prometheus is an A-list picture, which I think is one of the reasons many people (myself included) react so strongly to the poorness of the writing.
Brokemart – I find your endless ravings about Rachel Pandich to be nothing more than Whiny Women-Hating Christianist Right Male Entitlement masquerading as “criticism”. Maybe b/c Rachel is a military brat herself she’s got a thick enough skin to let it slide, but many of us came in here to discuss the review, not the preferences of one reviewer – and Paul, if it were my board I’d have banned him the moment he said anything back to you other “Sorry, I was out of line.”
I came here to comment on a movie my niece saw, and pretty much concurs with Paul’s assessment of a Stupid Movie Pretending to be Smart. That Brokemart and guys like him can’t confine their discussion to that makes me wonder why they feel so threatened….
The only real reason why we have 3D movies at all is for movie studios to press cinemas to give up 35mm film for digital projection of whatever digital matter is to be had these days, forcing us to still pay ridiculous amounts of money for movies we should not have to.
I think the only time I had heard of this film was last night. My older brother and an old schoolyard pal of his showed up for a get-together before he goes back to Connecticut. Apparently all I learned was of it being an Alien prequel, yet the discussion went into the Commodore 64 game they’ve both played back in the 80’s ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_xb4caM6ms ), and then to “Battleship” for which the friend got all uppity over aliens kicking ass than battleships in a geeky way.
Glad to see I’m saved of seeing this.
Can’t help but link to this, good times!
I need to preface this by saying that I’ve enjoyed your podcast, and it has brought my attention to several films that I would never have thought to have given a shot. I intend to continue to listen to your podcast. I do, however, feel the need to bring up the following:
I remember in the Next podcast hearing you brag to your friends about how you yelled at your Dad when he criticized your language. I though, OK, he’s a little immature.
I remember in the Rambo podcast when you described the stories of the mistreatment of post-Vietnam as all lies perpetrated by the political right. I thought, OK, he’s a little uninformed and/or uneducated.
Now, in the Prometheus podcast I get to hear you ridicule (complete with winy little voice) women who want to have children, but can’t.
You’ve topped yourself.
P.S. Please don’t lecture me about how I did not understand the point you were making about biological imperatives and stereotypes. I did understand your point. I just wonder if there were a more childish way you could have made it.
I did not “yell at” my Dad for criticizing my language. I gave him a well-reasoned, thirty minute lecture about the nature of language and why the idea that words had some sort of magical, reality-altering property was irrational, and I did it because I felt the need to respond to his numerous attempts to censor my writing. Don’t mischaracterize me.
I did not claim that the mistreatment of soldiers returning from Vietnam were lies promoted by the political right. I know that is not the case, as I’ve talked with Vietnam vets about their experiences. What I said was that one particular urban legend – the story of soldier being spat on immediately after disembarking by a female anti-war protester and being called a “baby-killer” – is an urban legend. Again, don’t mischaracterize me.
You’re correct, I did say something that could be criticized when I was mocking the writing in Prometheus. But I realized this while recording, and I immediately followed my mockery with a statement of how I was not trying to condemn people who legitimately want to have children, or characters that are written in a consistent manner, such that their desire to have children is a central part of their story. That’s not what happens in Prometheus. Shaw’s infertility is mentioned in a throw-away line as a springboard for a sex scene and a demonic pregnancy. It’s crass and emotionally-manipulative, and it deserves all the scorn I can heap upon it.
So let me make this clear: As I said on the podcast, I intend no disrespect to real people who struggle with infertility. I understand that such a struggle is an emotionally draining one, and if I caused anyone pain by mocking a piece of shallow characterization and lazy, manipulative writing, I apologize for that.
I loathe prequels on principle (if the information given in a prequel were a necessary part of a story, I think it really would have been in the story in the first place), and as soon as I heard “Alien prequel” in regards to this film a few years ago, my immediate response was, “Nope! Never going to see that!” And this was for exactly the reasons you give: I don’t want to know what the Space Jockeys are, I don’t want to learn where the xenomorphs come from, and I *certainly* don’t want to find out that humanity was instrumental in their creation.
Given that everyone I know has been insisting this movie is awesome, your podcast was extremely satisfying in that I now feel that my lack of interest has been completely vindicated. Thank you, Paul.
JC – given Paul lives in Florida, a place where anybody not Christianist Right is regularly muzzled and disenfranchised (or have you not been paying attention?), I feel his comments are perfectly appropriate to being “Fair and Balanced” against the prevalence of Right Wing Misogynistic, Homophobic, Racist and frankly Hypocritical Propaganda. I also feel Rachel’s comments were perfectly appropriate, and Brokemart’s constant attacking her for her food and lifestyle choices merely prove Paul is correct to bring up the issues he does…in the way he does.
BTW, saying “Don’t attack me” – and then attacking somebody for daring to have an opinion you don’t approve of? Stay classy, JC! Stay classy!
Travis – GODFATHER 2 was a good “prequel”, I think, though it was about a lot more than just that. OTOH, I can’t think of any others that I might use as counter-examples – so maybe it’s just the exception that proves the rule….
Can we please leave the political rhetoric aside unless it directly relates to the film in question? I don’t want the comments section on this film to degenerate any further into an “us vs them” thing.
Paul – sorry. I’ll just back away now….
How did my post warrant an attack on politics that I do not agree with or hold to?
I enjoy the GME podcast, but disagreed with many of the points a/b Prometheus. The only two things I didn’t like was Charlize’s acting, she chewed the scenery a bit, and the old man makeup. That was terrible. As for many of the complaints Paul and crew has, I’ll address a few.
1. The science/scientists are stupid. At this point I seriously feel that it’s practically a trope to harp a/b the trope of characters acting stupid. Like it or not, it’s how most things are written these days. And even with all the flaws of their scientific method, guest Rachel said she was bored crazy with the first half, waiting for things to go wrong. And yes, there is a choice a writer can make: have the characters do things by the book and yet things still go wrong, or have them do something stupid that only helps things wrong. Personally, I don’t really care anymore, especially when it comes to horror films.
2. Surprises. Paul says it’s supposed to be a “big reveal” when it’s revealed that the Engineers are a genetic match for humans. I don’t think so. Even if they won’t say it was Earth at the beginning of the movie, it gave viewers the headsup of there that these guys prolly made humans too. As for the surprise of the old man being alive? I disagree that it wasn’t a surprise cause it was to me and others I’ve talked to. Personally, in the scene with David talking to someone we can’t see and then Charlize asking “what did he say?”, I figured David was talking to either an AI version of the, were meant to think dead, man or maybe to someone we don’t know about.
3. I don’t even know where to begin addressing the issues with the pregnancy. I guess I’ll start with what you guys perceived as Noomi has some massive breakdown a/b being infertile. I did not see that. I saw her bf say something insensitive, it hurt her feelings, that was it. And then guest Rachel expresses disbelief that Noomi would want this baby out of her. Yea, that’s b/c it wasn’t nearly as big a deal as you guys made it out to be. As proven by the fact that when she got preggers, she wasn’t like, “Oh I need to cherish this miracle of life!!!” Instead she was like GET THIS THING OUT OF ME!
Also, Paul complains that in the first Alien, the Xenomorphs were equal opportunity impregnators, so why did this have to be woman? Well, two things. One, as you said, the franchise and Ridley Scott had already done the man prego thing, why do it again with Ridley’s return? And more importantly, those were the Xenomorphs, which did not come about until the end of Prometheus. She wasn’t impregnated with a Xenomorph and her boyfriend didn’t have aliens inside him. He had drunk the DNA restructuring liquid, and it was changing him. Thus he was able to impregnate her with his newly changed DNA.
Finally, Paul says the caesarian scene felt too different in tone. Yea, it’s called The BLEEP Hits the Fan, and it happens. That’s like saying the last half of Jurassic Park felt disjointed from the first half cause now the dinosaurs were eating everyone. Personally, I thought the caesarian scene was epic and a fantastic new take on the alien pregnant idea.
4. On a positive Rachel note, I thought her application of military thinking was pretty great to explain some things.
5. Paul says it devolves into a monster movie at the end. Well what in the world would you call the end of Aliens? Giant robot vs. Giant alien. Not quite a monster movie, but hilarity ensues still. Also, as for where this movie ranks in the Alien franchise, I think it’s behind only Alien. I’m sorry, Aliens is not that good of a movie. It’s super boring for about the first hour, lame death scenes, and the most annoying and terrible child actor ever.
6. I saw this movie with a friend who had seen none of the previous Alien films and she loved it. Sure she didn’t catch some of the hidden imagery, but she just though it was an enjoyable sci-fi horror film.
To wrap up, I think the Alien ties were a strength, not a weakness.
As far as the stupidity of the film was, for me that wasn’t as huge of a deal as others. Let us not forget that a chunk of the crew in Alien dies looking for a cat. Space + pets = death
I’m with Rachael on this one: I went into this with sheer curiosity and was really excited to learn more about the alien creatures. I mean sure, I was rolling my eyes at some of the pseudo-scientific/philosophical nonsense, and Ian really nails it with “convuluted”, but somehow it was still fun overall, at least for a night out.
At first I had no desire to watch Prometheus, then after a couple of friends said it was good I wanted to give it a shot. After the podcast I’m just going to wait for the DVD. Also, I’m amazed people dislike Ressurection do much. I may be partial since I like Jeunet but I saw it as a fun action romp in the same vein as Aliens, it’s still my favorite in the series.
JC – I take it you didn’t read Paul’s request not to go off onto “Us” vs. “Them” tangents…?
Timeliebe – I actually haven’t seen any of the Godfather movies (something I *do* need to rectify, I know), and had no idea the second one was supposed to be a prequel, so I can’t comment on those. But the only exception I can think of offhand to “prequels=terrible” is The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – and if I remember right, the only thing indicating that that occurs before the other “Dollars” films is that at the beginning, the Man With No Name finds the serape he wears in Fistful and For a Few Dollars More; otherwise, it could’ve taken place anywhere in the series. Which is probably why it works so well – because it could just as easily *not* be a prequel.
Travis – THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is supposed to be a prequel? Wow, that blows my mind!
GODFATHER II is both a prequel (what turned a young Sicilian boy into Don Vito Corleone) and sequel (Vito’s son Michael Corleone’s reign as The Godfather in Fifties/early Sixties America). That’s why I hedged on calling it strictly a “prequel”.
And yes, see the first two by all means – they’re two of the best films to ever come out of Hollywood. OTOH, the third urinates on the grave of both, IMO!
I’m left wondering whether this wasn’t some completely different movie until Ridley Scott came along and decided that it was going to be an “Alien” prequel.
From Ridley Scott’s flip-flopping on whether it’s an ALIEN prequel or not, I’d say you hit the nail on the head, Density Duck.
Great podcast Paul and crew. I did not enjoy Prometheus, though I do plan to see it again. The majority of the problems I had with the film were with the script. My partner Nick did a Prometheus podcast for our blog while I was on vacation. Feel free to check it out to compare/contrast with your thoughts, Paul.
I haven’t listened to this episode on account that I haven’t seen Prometheus. It’s not that I’m not interested (though the lack of pulse rifles doesn’t help), but a general rule of thumb for a Ridley Scott movie is to wait for the Director’s Cut. Oh sure, I saw that interview where he said there wouldn’t be one. But that same interview says there’s something like 20-30 minutes cut out of the film that you saw in theaters. Since Ridley Scott basically coined the notion of the “director’s cut” of a movie and one of his previous works, Kingdom of Heaven, ranks in my mind as tied with Brazil for the starkest contrast between “what you saw in the theater” and “what the director was going for,” I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that a lot of the strong division–not all, but a lot–regarding this film can be alleviated through added clarification.
But that’s not actually why I’m commenting. I just want to make one thing clear: there is no canonical continuity between the Sergio Leone Westerns starring Clint Eastwood. They’re certainly very similar, but despite playing something of a stock archetype Eastwood is not literally playing the same character in each film. “The Man With No Name” was just a marketing gimmick thought up for the US releases of the movies that’s stuck around to this day, much like how Lee Van Cleef was “The Man In Black” or (as Sabata) “The Man With the Gunsight Eyes.” It’s certainly not like Lee Van Cleef was playing the same part! Sure, it’s fun to think “yeah, this happened and then that and then the other one” but it was nobody’s explicit intent when making those films that they form a serialized narrative. It’s a move basically akin to how once Five Deadly Venoms hit it off, the subsequent film (and Greatest Movie EVER!) Crippled Avengers became “The Return of the Five Deadly Venoms” in America because it featured much of the same cast and crew.
My defense of Prometheus (I loved it), is probably better suited to conversation than comments and involves me making everyone watch a bunch of old Soviet science fiction films, so I will leave much of that until a later date (not because I don’t want to type it out, but because it’s freezing in my office, and that makes typing unenjoyable). I will, however, jump in briefly on the idea of prequels.
Normally, I don’t like them because they answer questions I never had, never cared about, or didn’t want answered. However, if ever there was a movie that was well suited for a prequel it was Alien. After Aliens, there was no more story to tell in that direction — as Alien 3 and 4 prove, being mostly retreads of “run from the monster” aspects of the first two movies with nothing new to say. Alien is a story that is not served by bring it closer to earth. It needs to range farther out and, in my opinion, get stranger. That could have been done in a sequel, but for me the waters in that direction have been so muddied that going the other direction made sense. There WERE questions in that story I wanted to see explored further. I didn’t care about “what f the aliens came to earth?” because the answer is “we would have more run and hide” movies. I did care about things like, “Who was the space jockey? How did the aliens come to be? In all of space, how did we stumble upon them?” Now, as to Paul’s point that Prometheus answers these questions in an unsatisfying manner — that’s a legitimate beef, though I don’t totally agree with it on every count (though finding out that the space jockey was just an albino bodybuilder in a cool helmet was a pretty big letdown for me).
On the subject of the old man make-up: I have convinced myself that this HAD to be on purpose for some reason I’m missing. There’s no way a movie this immaculately designed could have then been satisfied with old man make-up that looks like it was out of the 1980s. I have no proof to back up this thinking, mind you, but seriously — was it a 2001 homage? Or a reference to Lo Pan or something? It baffles me how that make-up ever made it out of the trailer unless it was meant to be that terrible. Right? RIGHT???
The only other thing I’ll add at this juncture is that where I disagree with Rachel is I wanted exactly the opposite of what she wanted: I did not want a “rawr monsters!” movie. I wanted classic old style science fiction, before science fiction was just action movies with cargo pants. I wanted ham-handed philosophical debates, blunt and sometimes awkwardly delivered themes, ambitions that exceed the abilities of the storytellers, and an attempt to at least do something more meaningful — even if it’s ultimately a failure — than just have another shoot ’em up. As I alluded to earlier in this comment, this might have a lot to do with my love for old Soviet sci-fi, which did all those things. And Prometheus delivered on that, being so much like a Soviet scifi film that much of the art design is partially cribbed from such films. I don’t mind scifi action, but I’d also like to see the return of more contemplative scifi. Prometheus was, for me, a step toward blending the two (as was the original Alien), even if it was uneven and not always well thought out.
As for the personal attacks — ho hum. The old hipster insult again? Hasn’t that term ceased to have any meaning?
However…wine with pizza? How gauche. We all know the best combination is champagne with BBQ Hot Pockets.
Daryl I do not think any editing can improve the story. The main problem is characters behaving stupidly when they are supposed to be top professionals.
It is more disappointing when this is being done by Ridley Scott who has two Hugos (Alien and Blade Runner) and made a Best Picture Oscar Film(Gladiator).
If there is any extra footage it may help with the ambitious story of the origin of the Space Pilot of the first film.
I just started listening, so i may have some comments later, but this beginning get me worried. You guys never watched Lost, never saw trailers for the movie, or read news, one guy never watched 3D movies. Argh. I don´t know, it made me very upset. I just like nerdy stuff being talked by nerdy people, and you guys aren’t.
Your arguments are the beeeest. Everything is dumb, and that’s it. You know, you have to say why the film didn’t work for you. Saying that’s dumb is not a reason, is way too personal. I’m a fan of the podcast in general, but you guys could have done better with this one.
You’re free to disagree, but I think that pointing out that a movie is both poorly written and relentlessly stupid when it’s trying to be smart are perfectly valid criticisms. It’s not just that Prometheus is dumb, it’s that it’s so dumb that any other quality of the film – such as the production design or the cinematography or Michael Fassbender’s performance – is eclipsed by the abysmal writing.
Well, but the things that bothered you about this, didn’t bothered me at all, your reactions were too subjective, too personal. I could not connect with the criticisms, because i didn’t quite understand where did they came from. I usually understand you opinions even when i don’t agree with them, but not in this case. You guys are all over the place with this.
One more thing (TM)…
On the scientists not acting like scientists: I know, am related to, and have worked with an awful lot of scientists — biologists in particular (marine biologists even more particular). A number of them do a lot of stupid things, even professionally. Not that it excuses the Prometheus scientists (I like the movie, and even I couldn’t believe they were popping off their helmets and handling sealed chambers with all the care of a 19th century Egyptian expedition), but it certainly wasn’t outside the realm of believability for me. That’s why scientists today still get tapeworms, ringworms, malaria, and candirus up the wang. This movie is really nothing more than a metaphor for a bunch of University scientists who went to Guyana and got candirus swimming up their urethra.
Can’t wait to see James Cameron’s Prometheuses
Complaining that a review is “too personal” or “too subjective” is like complaining that water is wet. Reviews are by definition both personal and subjective. The stupidity of the film doesn’t bother you; I get that. A lot of people aren’t bothered by the terrible writing either, to the point where Rachel praises the “rawr! monster” elements and Keith praises the “Soviet sci fi” elements while I rail against the inconsistent tone.
I totally believed that Lee Van Cleef was playing one character — figured Angel’s Eyes was just a nickname for Mortimer — so I was very, very confused by The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
I know this comment was a while back but I kind of think that the whole B-movie thing is a little derogatory, even ‘glorified B-movie,’like no science fiction movie with aliens is eligible for higher discussion because they never used to be, back in the actual days of pulp fiction serials.
I don’t know why the genre has to burdened with such oddly self-loathing terms. … Never mind I completely do
Below is a comment from South Florida science fiction writer Adam-Troy Castro which seems to address the negative comments given to Paul, Rachel, and Ian for their review. Mr. Castro has been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards for his short fiction. His novel Emissaries of the Dead received the Philip K. Dick Award for best science fiction paperback novel of the year.
Paul sorry for the long post but I thought it summed up the point perfectly.
It’s this simple.
Every movie is like every work of art is like every diamond in that it contains flaws, often necessary flaws.
CASABLANCA, for instance, entirely depends on the importance everybody imparts to the “letters of transit,” legal documents that are never asked for, and that the Nazis could have freely ignored by saying fuck it and dropping Victor in some alley in the dead of night. CITIZEN KANE depends on a newspaper launching a full-scale investigation of last words a dying tycoon spoke when he was alone, that nobody else was present to hear. DIE HARD depends entirely on Hans Gruber not announcing that he will kill one hostage every thirty seconds until John McLane gives up. Flaws. Undeniable flaws. Flaws that ultimately don’t matter, but flaws nevertheless.
The nearly-universal drubbing people have been giving PROMETHEUS has prompted some plaintive responses from people who liked the film, who implore us, “Can’t I just like it? Why do you insist on ruining my enjoyment with your critical disdain?”
Answer: first of all, if your enjoyment is ruined with our critical disdain, your enjoyment is more fragile than you think, and it says something that your visceral reaction to the film is being harmed by what people say about it afterward. Maybe that pain in your head is sensible criticisms striking home, and the scales falling from your eyes.
Second: there’s nothing wrong with having the courage of your convictions. I like any number of films with an overwhelmingly negative critical consensus; I either think the critics and the audiences missed the boat, or I find other attributes that trump legitimate criticisms. It doesn’t mean I’m right and everybody else is wrong, though it can. It can also mean that my own opinion is completely off. It most often means that we’re looking at different facets of the whole and valuing them differently — the “Well, I know it makes no sense whatsoever, but the visuals are awesome” argument, that indeed works very well for this particular movie.
Third: if you are asking everybody else to indulge you by completely shutting off their own critical capacities in order to coddle your enjoyment of the pretty pictures: no. Absolutely not. Complete abdication of all critical capacities and standards, as long as the pictures are pretty and the stars are photogenic, is in large part how we got all the way from the era of classic Hollywood filmmaking — *any* of those eras, in that there have been more than one — to what, for the most part, faces us now.
If you liked PROMETHEUS, you had a good two hours. Fine. Nobody hates you for it. They may think you’re screwed in the head because of it, but they shrug and move on to the next movie to argue about. In the meantime, the rest of us have the right to be vocally appalled by a setup that defies common sense, characters who consistently do the stupidest possible thing, a screenplay that seems to have failed at the premise level, and the most hackneyed of science-fictional revelations treated as if they’re unbearably mind-blowing. Me, I *did* love the visuals and *did* love the ending where Elizabeth decides she wants nothing more than to pursue the Architects to the end of the universe, because she damn well deserves answers…so, no, I don’t judge the film a total loss. Just a near-total one.
And I don’t think I’m being out of line when I want my movies to be of sufficient quality that I don’t walk away feeling conned, afterward. I want brain candy in addition to eye candy. I want an emotional experience. I miss, deeply miss, and still occasionally get, the sensation that I’ve just seen something brilliant. Given how many millions are being spent to give me that experience and how much I’m asked for in order to get my ticket, it’s really not too much to ask for.
I say to those of you who think that we should learn to shut up and accept what we get : never.
I didn’t expressed myself so well, i guess. I know reviews are subjective. What i meant was, even when i disagree with the reviewer’s opinion, i want to understand that opinion. I wanna find that in the piece in question. I just can’t quite grasp where your opinions came from in this case, your rage with the movie sounded very childish and confuse.
I also hated that worm-kills-dumb-scientists part, but the fact that the scientists are a bunch of idiots kinda make sense in that context. Weyland want to get to the planet. He only needs David, everyone are tests subjects for him. He problably picked some morons, expendable people, much like the corporation did in Alien. They show the guy smoking pot right before they play with the cutie-but-fatal alien. The scene was very cliche and this is bad, but the dumbness of the characters it´s ok. Dumb people exists, and that expedition wasn’t what it seems.
“Childish” and “confused” now? Please. I offered a specific critique on how this science fiction films treats science with an almost casual disdain. I’ve pointed to examples of the lazy writing and the weird tonal shifts. I spent some time condemning it’s use of the anti-feminist “mystical pregnancy” trope. I talked about how this movie ruins the mystery of earlier, better films. I expressed my reasons for hating this movie pretty clearly both on the podcast and in these comments. If you aren’t picking up what I’ve been laying down, at this point the problem does not lay with me.
Stop apologizing for the film. You don’t staff a trillion dollar, faster-than-light experimental space ship with idiots, especially when doing so would endanger your own life, because your entire purpose for undertaking this mission in the first place is to extend that life. It’s just bad writing.
Loved the Adam-Troy Castro post, Juan Sanmiguel! I think that about covers it – It’s fine to love a movie others find badly written, but they do find it badly-written for this, this and these reasons.
Paul that outlined those reasons just fine both during his review and in his comments here, Bernardino – you’re more than welcome to disagree with him, but attacking him…isn’t.
Didn’t attack him, just the way he handled this review. Didn’t work for me, that’s all. They point out things that are lazy or dumb in the script, but it didn’t felt this way for me at all. So i tried to understand their reasons, but they didn’t explain it. I mean, i love apples. And they say, “you know, i hate apples, they are red, i mean.. RED, CAN YOU IMAGINE? *LAUGHS* Ohhh apples are dumb”. And i was like: Ok, you didn’t like apples, i get it. But i like it, so, explain to me, why apples are dumb? “Well, they are red, and they didn’t taste as good as grapes”. For me the best review for this movie was the one on Den of Geek. And was a negative review. But the writer gave me solid reasons and didn’t sound like a hater.
And now I’m convinced that you’re trolling. We’re done here.
I’m really not trolling, but ok, sorry. Let’s hope Ridley Scott takes criticism better.
Daryl: …Huh. You just blew *my* mind. I never knew that.
You give promethus crap and yet you love my little pony
To steal a line from Paul/Katherine’s Alien vs. Predator podcast, Promethius was “like taking vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream. putting them together. and somehow it tastes like sh*t”…