“1. What was your expectation? High? Low?
2. What is your opinion of Alien and the franchise? Love the first one but hate the rest? Love the first and second one but hate the rest? Love them all for different reasons?
3. What is your opinion of Ridley Scott and how do you feel about him returning to the franchise?”
2) I adore the Alien Quadrilogy. The only one I dislike is Alien 3 but even when I sort it into the quadrilogy as a whole I’m okay with it.
3) One time about a year ago I realized that I hadn’t really seen as much Ridley Scott films as I thought. Turns out I’ve more or less managed to focus on his good ones and avoid the ones that people like less. This would be the worst film of his I saw, and it was precisely average, 2.5 stars, C, 50%, all that.
However, that’s neither here nor there because this movie adds about as much to the Alien canon as AvP and to the Scott canon as Body of Lies. The nod is there but really nothing substantial is gained.
Here’s what I really want to talk about in regards to Prometheus and Scott’s history and development as a filmmaker.
Alien is one of those textbook cases of a movie that keeps the audience for the larger part in the dark. The xenomorph keeps to the shadows and the suspense builds slowly and part of that is just old fashioned “We can’t let them know this is a man in a suit” and part of that is “the concept is simple, but let’s milk it.” The special effects were essentially blown on the stomach bursting scene and it was worth it. It set the mood of “Yes, it gets THAT BAD” and then from there becomes a psychosexual nightmare.
I rather enjoyed the creature feature aspect of this and its gory, right-in-front-of-your-face effects. But just as Scott no longer keeps it to the shadows or has to work around the production design, he also doesn’t really keep the characters and their motivations in the shadows either. Everything is laid out flat, if anything the most compelling characters are the robotic human (Fassbender) and the human robot (Charlize Theron), only because their flatness and mechanical way of dealing with the world contrasts with their anthropomorphism. They are never really, truly, honestly answered for, despite the pathetic attempt to turn Theron’s backstory into Daddy Issues.
Or maybe that scene was to reveal that she was a robot, calling ‘Father’ the way Fassbender sez ‘Mum.’ Either way I do find those two characters satisfying.
The rest is almost expositional in nature. As I mentioned, I enjoyed watching gooey testical worms fellate people’s throats while primordial goo melted faces. Great! But remove the digital toys, and it would have been all the more satisfying a splatstick movie with how it would have to have been built up in shadows and characters.
So it’s DEFINITELY not Alien. That film is beautiful. This one is merely pretty.
Really shoulda been called “Paradise: part 1”
I refuse to say that I hated this until the sequel is made.
I did spend the middle third waiting for the “running around half-clad” portion knowing that as soon as it began that there would be no time for a proper ending.
So the last “act” was basically just a skinny hottie fleeing in terror and underwear (seems familiar somehow) until she has a chance to enumerate all the unanswered plot points just in time for the end.
But Scott has made it clear that this was always intended to be at least a two-parter.
“But Scott has made it clear that this was always intended to be at least a two-parter.”
Which brings another question to Santino’s informal poll:
4) If there is a sequel, will you watch it?
That’s a tough question for me. To be perfectly honest, if you hadn’t had told me that was his intent, I wouldn’t have imagined he had any more to say with this story. A sequel to me would be a an opportunistic commercial endeavor, not a pre-planned extension.
I’d have to wait to hear how it gets reviewed. If people go “OoooooOOOOOOooHHHH, Aha!”, then I’m in. If they go, “Well I liked this movie but I’m not sure about that movie and well I guess they tie in this way and…” then I think it would just be boring, ultimately.
Edited from Wikipedia:Scott: “If we’re lucky, there’ll be a second part. It does leave you with some nice open questions.”
Lindelof: “if we’re fortunate enough to do a sequel… it will tangentialize even further away from the original Alien.”
Lindelof stated that while plot elements were deliberately left unresolved so that they could be answered in a sequel, he and Scott thoroughly discussed what should be resolved so that Prometheus could stand alone, as a sequel was not guaranteed. Scott stated that it would follow Shaw to her next destination, “because if it is paradise, paradise cannot be what you think it is. Paradise has a connotation of being extremely sinister and ominous.”
I don’t feel that the intent on Scott’s part was just to create the need for a sequel, but hopefully to create the interest for the weightier themes that the chased-chick-in-darkened-corridors flick that most apparently went to see.
And yeah, trying to find clues to “Alien” was waaayyy distracting.
Okay, yeah, I prefer Prometheus as a stand-alone series, so I’d go with sequels if they happened. I just don’t want to keep following the slow and ultimately uninteresting build-up to Alien. That just makes the xenomorphs less interesting.
If Prometheus is part one of a two part film, then I might be more forgiving of the film—depending on the revelations and overall quality of part 2 is. But as a stand-alone film, _Prometheus isn’t very good, imo.
Now that we have a long career to look back on for Ridley Scott, I think it’d be easy to make a case that his better films weren’t really even his films. Alien could be considered Dan O’Bannon’s baby more than Scott’s. Just as well, Blade Runner could be seen as Jordan Cronenweth’s pet more so than Scott’s. Thelma & Louise is seen as a classic because of Thelma and Louise, not because Ridley Scott directed it. Maybe he’s a hack.
Thomarama, I have to disagree with your post. In my opinion, it is hard to disregard Scott’s involvement in films and the fact that he is one of those directors that prefer to be in control of almost every aspect of the production. Having read The Making of Blade Runner and watching the documentary about Alien, it is certainly evident Scott made many decisions that resulted in the final look both these movies had. In addition, although Scott had certain misses in his career, these were not awfully terrible films. Out of his recent works, I particularly would say Body of Lies and Matchstick Men are very well-made films and stood on their own.
Now, as for Promethues, from the very beginning of its production, I told to myself there would be no point in anticipating another coming of Alien. Scott initially implied it would be a stand-alone film that would open up to a new story arc. As BR had been his last sci-fi film at that time, I came to think Scott might be far more engaged in raising philosophical questions supplied with many symbolic features. Now, when I watched the film two months ago, some things I got right, others not. The film was a sci-fi action only on surface, while beneath it was indeed a philosophical picture. Its story was very different from its plot. What appears to be lazy writing to some, seemed to me as stubborn intent to invoke discussion and interpretation. Many things were left unanswered, true. But wasn’t the same situation with Blade Runner then? People complained of watching what they did not expect the film to be. A rather similar case is with Prometheus in my eyes. It is not Alien’s prequel (although it does have certain bond with the franchise), it is not a sci-fi action horror (it only pretends to be so), and certainly it is not what it seems to be to our eyes.
This is just how I took Prometheus. I have watched it only once, thus I might need to have another look at it. But, so far, I liked what I have seen. It may have a few flaws, but these don’t stop it from being a way better film than anything I have seen this among this summer’s blockbusters.
" The film was a sci-fi action only on surface, while beneath it was indeed a philosophical picture."
Honestly, though, the philosophical questions to me seemed like better beats for character development than actual investigation. People ask each other the questions in order to reveal their motivations. At least to me, the questions informed more about the characters than it made me think or wrestle with their ‘meaning’.
Which again is why I consider the two androids to be the best characters. They never ask any questions, so their motivations are hidden throughout the movie. It makes them mysterious and thus more engaging to watch.
I think Ridley Scott intended for David to be ‘the hero’ and Shaw to be ‘the narrator’, honestly. I think we were meant to relate more to David than any of the other characters.
In addition, although Scott had certain misses in his career, these were not awfully terrible films.
Kingdom of Heaven was pretty bad, imo.
The film was a sci-fi action only on surface, while beneath it was indeed a philosophical picture. Its story was very different from its plot. What appears to be lazy writing to some, seemed to me as stubborn intent to invoke discussion and interpretation.
I don’t really find this argument compelling. There’s a difference between leaving blanks for viewers to fill in themselves and not really having any substantive and/or coherent ideas of your own. Plus, I do think it tries to work as a sci-fi horror film.
I agree with you that David stood out as one of the most interesting characters in the film. However, I doubt there was another android on the board.
I’d advise you to watch the Director’s Cut, which was a far petter film than the theatrical version.
I don’t agreew ith you on Prometheus. The film’s theme was quite clearly stated. The curtain was only slightly open, since giving the audience all answers or clearly hinting at the answer was not Scott’s intention. He rather attempted to build foundation for the ideas to be presented. Besides, the plot line of the crew seeking for survival in the third act plays out well at the nature of human beings in the context of the theme.
I would say it did posses the elements of a sci-fi horror. It had a lot of suspense all over it till that chilly scene of Shaw trying to process the abortion.
It’d have to almost be an entirely different film for it to be better.
The film’s theme was quite clearly stated. The curtain was only slightly open, since giving the audience all answers or clearly hinting at the answer was not Scott’s intention. He rather attempted to build foundation for the ideas to be presented
The theme(s) might have be clearly stated, but I don’t think the film presents enough pieces for viewers to construct meaningful interpretations nor do the pieces suggest that the filmmakers had a very clear or interesting response to those questions. (I don’t remember enough details and specific examples at this point, but that was my feeling as seeing the film.)
I would say it did posses the elements of a sci-fi horror.
Right, and it didn’t really do well on that level, right?
“However, I doubt there was another android on the board.”
From earlier, when I said:
“if anything the most compelling characters are the robotic human (Fassbender) and the human robot (Charlize Theron), only because their flatness and mechanical way of dealing with the world contrasts with their anthropomorphism. They are never really, truly, honestly answered for, despite the pathetic attempt to turn Theron’s backstory into Daddy Issues.
Or maybe that scene was to reveal that she was a robot, calling ‘Father’ the way Fassbender sez ‘Mum.’ Either way I do find those two characters satisfying."
Using one word ‘android’ is just quicker than saying ‘the robotic human and the human robot’ over and over again. Regardless of whether Theron’s character is a literal android or not, nevertheless she’s clearly represented as a dehumanized, robotic entity.
The film did inspire for a lot of speculation. I assume it might have not appeared the same way to you, but for me it did achieve this goal. I agree it was not very smooth in telling the story, especially in the middle. But, scenes like the one in airlock when Shaw tries to escape from the Engineer and the alien, worked very well in its significance. It involved the Engineer chasing a human (creations of the mysterious humanoid race from the opening scene) to be only then subdued by the human’s offspring, an alien that originated from a human and the black goo (also created by the humanoid race). The scene can be interpreted in many ways, but to me it primarily appeared as the strive to kill and destroy by creatures. One creature tries to destroy the other to be only then absorbed by the creature of its victim.
I get your point, but having Meredith as an android is only a speculation again. To me personally she seemed nothing like a robot, but instead a human with cold nature. She was the real daughter of her father, who prefered David instead and that put her in jealousy that her father loved a robot more than his human daughter. I mean this is what I took from her character.
@billy the poet
Legend is bad. White Squall is lame. G.I. Jane is bad. Hannibal is terrible. Matchstick Men is lame. A Good Year is bad. Robin Hood is bad. Prometheus is bad. In my opinion, he’s made one great film: Alien; two very good films: The Duellists and Blade Runner (and even Blade Runner is of questionable quality); and one good film: Thelma & Louise. That means he’s delivered more crap than quality.
As for Prometheus being philosophical, I simply can’t agree. It’s about as philosophical as a horoscope.
“To me personally she seemed nothing like a robot, but instead a human with cold nature”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Are you a robot?”
“…Meet me in my room in ten minutes.”
I might be wrong, but the dialogue implied that she accepted the challenge of proving her sexuality. She was affected and simultaneously offended by him. I doubt the whole talk was supposed to be taken figuratively. Basically, he was simply scoring her. Besides, in the beginning we see Meredith, along with every other member of the crew except David, awakening from the deep sleep on the course of the voyage. If she was a robot, why then she didn’t follow David in staying awake for the whole journey?
Here our views differ. To me, Matchstick Men, Hannibal and G.I. Jane were decent flicks. The former was actually very well-done, as I stated previously. As for Robin Hood and A Good Year, I never watched them. I am not saying every other film by Scott is a masterpiece. What i mean is he’s a talented director, and just like many others in his range, he’s had his misses. But, I wouldn’t call any of his films awful at all.
Again, I’m not really saying that she is a robot, but that she’s clearly presented as robotic, and I believe that is a determined decision of Scott’s to counterbalance her character with David. I think you are correct in how her jealousy of David re: their ’father’s’ relationship plays into that. But that line of dialog is but one of the clear evidence that her robotic personality is part of the point of her character. We have one robot who is a human, and one human that is a robot, and they are family.
Yeah, she’s like the humans in Blade Runner—dehumanized to the point that there’s so little difference between them and the androids that it’s almost irrelevant.
Now, from this angle, I agree with you. She does appear robotic in her characterization. Whether she really is a robot or not is open to interpretation. In my opinion, it makes better sense for her to be a human with a cold heart opposed to David, who expresses more humane warmth (although for his own purposes).
“Yeah, she’s like the humans in Blade Runner—dehumanized to the point that there’s so little difference between them and the androids that it’s almost irrelevant.”
I did have that in mind, and Scott inserts juuuuusssstttt enough wiggle room that, if he so chooses, he can make the claim in some interview (see what I did thar?!) that she really was a robot the whole time:
1) First to get out of the pod, suffers no physical side effects like the others.
2) We don’t necessarily see the sex scene between her and the captain, and for that matter that doesn’t prove anything if you’ve seen AI. ‘Gigolo Joe’.
3) Same ‘father’.
Those are just the technical details. Breaking it down to character motivation, whatever she ‘wants’ is very procedural and brings her no joy. We can play the Daddy Issues reveal only so far: it works with her relationship with David but not with her relationship to the mission and what she claims about ‘other needs.’ (I initially thought this was a ‘The Corporation’ thing, and also thought it was weird that they named the Corporation of the other Alien films… am I right that they never did in the Quadrilogy, or did they and I missed it? Is it the same company?)
Nevertheless, even if it were the case that she was a robot, I wouldn’t find that as satisfying as just how good she is as a character that is a human in flesh, but a robot in emotion, exact opposite of David. Also, Deckard is still a replicant.
Or, to put it like this:
Everyone assumes David’s actions are programmed. But he operates outside of it, even after the reveal about the man behind the curtain. That whole reveling in the galactic map thing.
What’s significant in how Scott portrays Meredith is that her actions are always programmed, even though people assume she’s just working out of self interest, including herself. So David knows he’s programmed, but isn’t, and Meredith doesn’t know she’s programmed, but is. In that sense, her memory could be ‘faked’ as well as the reveal in Blade Runner. But that technical detail being uninteresting to me, what’s more ‘fun’ in terms of what I got out of the movie is the simple fact that her motivations and actions are all pre-programmed, which was a neat touch.
The scene can be interpreted in many ways, but to me it primarily appeared as the strive to kill and destroy by creatures. One creature tries to destroy the other to be only then absorbed by the creature of its victim.
Wait. And that was the main theme to you? For the main theme(s), I was thinking about the origins of humanity or life in general and the reasons for the our existence. I also thought the film might explore questions about humanity in relation to artificial intelligence.
So what’d you think of the film? (Before you answer, I could see you liking at least some of the formal qualities, but I have to believe, even that, wouldn’t save the film for you. Then again, you like many bad Tony Scott films, so I couldn’t be totally wrong. ;)
The scene didn’t particularly respond to the main theme, but rather to its subtheme. I mean for a story to breathe, having just one continuously stressed theme is not enough. It has to live through subthemes, just as plots have plotlines. But, overall, I have to say the scene still would make sense, if it was to address the main theme. If you look at this, the crew and Weyland went all the way to LV-223 for the purpose of finding the human kind’s creator. Instead, they only found its another creation, which is a weapon set against human kind. This means the creator was not really proud of his own creations and simply desired death to them all. Now, this fits well in that scene, when we see his creations striving to survive in the battle against each other. But, what is more interesting is Shaw’s offspring who was also created to kill. I interpret this as the concept of creation and destruction, or, in other words, we were created to kill and to be killed. Plus, Shaw, the Engineer and the alien are all of different appearances and mixes, but their origin is connected. This is a good analogy to humans, different in their demographics, fighting each other, even though we all came from the same roots.
I think whether the film is philosophical or not is also subjective. I found out I couldn’t stop to continue speculating and re-interpreting it over and over again. To me it seemed like a very good work to invoke thought. And, I could relate to the crew members, as they are as clueless about what’s going on as the audience is.
“So what’d you think of the film? "
In short, although there were aspects I appreciated,
@billy the poet
I’ll grant you Matchstick Men and G.I. Jane have their moments, but I remember Hannibal being oh-so horrific. Admittedly, I haven’t seen the film in years, and even then I only saw it when it first came out and then one time after that on DVD, but I still recall it being just utterly dumb and lazy in almost every way. Almost like a precursor to the complete lameness that was Prometheus.
The scene didn’t particularly respond to the main theme, but rather to its subtheme. I mean for a story to breathe, having just one continuously stressed theme is not enough.
I don’t know. I would think adequately handling where we came from and why we’re here is already biting off way more than Scott can chew, but I see your point.
If you look at this, the crew and Weyland went all the way to LV-223 for the purpose of finding the human kind’s creator. Instead, they only found its another creation, which is a weapon set against human kind.
Wait—isn’t the Engineer the creator? (Did I miss something?) Also, didn’t Weyland take the trip because he thought they could help preserve his life? Even if I remembered that wrong, I think his assumption that the aliens would be friendly and have the answers is quite a big one. (You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to know this.)
I found out I couldn’t stop to continue speculating and re-interpreting it over and over again. To me it seemed like a very good work to invoke thought.
It can do that—as a friend and I both can attest to after seeing the film. But we both agreed that the film has little to contribute to the discussion, besides raises some very obvious questions.
Lol. Really? Well, I guess it doesn’t surprise me that much. (But the visuals actually lifted the movie up quite a bit for me—the first 30 minutes anyway, which is weird now that I think about it.)
Yeah, I thought the first twenty minutes or so was intriguing, but I didn’t like were it went from there.