Has anyone here seen Ridley Scott's Prometheus yet?  I've been hearing mixed reviews, with a common theme being "disappointing" (my father's verdict last night), so my expectations are not running high.  But I plan to watch it over vacation later this week, if possible, so am starting a thread here as a place holder for future discussions.

 

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Yeah, I saw it last week.  It was much more of what a movie should be than are most things I see in the theatre.  Fassbender was terrific with his creepy Lawrence of Arabia quips and classical ambiguous droid sensibility.  The directing was strong, peppered with visual metaphors and pleasing technological effects.  

Some of the philosophical commentary was weak but I was not disappointed by its "revelations" in the same sense that Theurj was.  

It seemed to me that the extreme "non-answer" of our supra-humanoid Makers provided the appropriate incommensurability between humans and gods.  The ancient Greeks would have understood this perfectly -- the sheer inhumanity, inexplicableness, and failure to explain themselves is part of the intrinsic style of deities if they are to be more than just adolescent cartoons.  We should always feel a little ripped off by God.

Plot hole: The android David (Fassbender) learned enough of the creator's tech to access their database and at least some of their history (the holograms), even learning to pilot their ships. It would seem he could also access more of their history, like creating humanity and why it was defective and needed eradication.

That said, I do appreciate leaving things open without tidy resolution, perhaps just a bit more tightly plotted. Ebert gives it his highest rating, 4 stars. He informed me that the anthropologist in question, Elizabeth, is Noomi Rapace from The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. I didn't recognize her all healthy and well-fed.

Here's Howard Fineman's review. A few juicy clips:

"What the hell happened to Ridley Scott?... Watching the movie, I decided that Scott himself must have been taken over by one of his alien creatures: a slimy one with the brains and breath of a greedy Hollywood schlockmeister whose only interest was in making a killing, selling popcorn and setting up a sequel.

"Yes...there were nods to Scottian 'Big Questions'.... This time, it was, 'Where do we come from?' But the level of the discussion -- verbal and visual -- was so lazily and blandly presented as to be quickly lost as Scott resorted to livening things up with his old Alien shtick of snot-smeared tentacles bursting from bodies and inserting themselves into space helmets and bodily orifices. You quickly forget about, and never get an answer to, the question. It's not about 'Where do we come from?' but 'How do we get the fuck out of here!?'"

Yes, it was reviews like that one (or my father's: "Save your money.  Disappointing and not worth the price of a movie ticket") that had greatly lowered my expectations and inclined me not to see it. 

A lot of these comments seem strange to me since I never thought of Scott as a "big questions" director.  He's always been a high-action, almost purely visual director who just happened to be associated with some good scripts from time to time.  It would never have occurred to me to expect that questions were going to be answered in this film.  I suspect those who feel something was missing might do well to pay less attention to the so-called plot and more attention to the visual-tactile language and style that is clearly the director's primary interest.

Also it is in no sense a "plot hole" that the android knew enough of the Maker's tech to access their history and understand their motives better in relation to humans -- given that it is well-established throughout the film that David does not reveal much of what he knows and that his allegiance is progressively oriented away from human satisfaction and toward unknown personal motives of his own.  

My only real complaint with the film is that the ending was a bit "easy".  As Hitchcock said, "Always make the audience suffer as much as possible".  I could have happily suffered a little more in the last ten minutes.


theurj said:

Plot hole: The android David (Fassbender) learned enough of the creator's tech to access their database and at least some of their history (the holograms), even learning to pilot their ships. It would seem he could also access more of their history, like creating humanity and why it was defective and needed eradication.

That said, I do appreciate leaving things open without tidy resolution, perhaps just a bit more tightly plotted. Ebert gives it his highest rating, 4 stars. He informed me that the anthropologist in question, Elizabeth, is Noomi Rapace from The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. I didn't recognize her all healthy and well-fed.

Ah, no wonder I didn't recognize Noomi Rapace. She starred in the Swedish version of TGWDT, not the American version, which starred Rooney Mara.

Prometheus was visually stunning but had plot holes big enough to drive a planetary land rover through. Major disappointments: 1) Our supposed creators looked like the albino bastard children of the incredible Hulk. Identical DNA? Please. 2) I really wanted to see the elephant faced creature that was the dead starship pilot in the original Alien.  3) Charlise Theron really didn't have much to work with as the corporate ice queen. She had a much better role & performance in Snow White & the Huntsman. 4) The creature variants were weird, seemingly random mutations & not that scary. I almost shit my pants while watching the first Alien. 5) I didn't buy the ending at all.  6) Ultimately, I think the flawed Alien 3 & Alien Resurrection were better movies than Prometheus.

I did think the planetary landscape & pyramid structures were visually well done. Noomi Rapace & Michael Fassbender gave excellent performances.

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