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PROMETHEUS [Jun. 10th, 2012|06:53 pm]
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Prometheus is an exceptionally well-done stupid movie. Imagine someone deciding to update the Wagnerian opera in all its epic scope and majesty for the twenty-first century, and then determining that the best theme for such an opera would be...Chariots of the Gods?. Prometheus is just like that.


Minus the question mark!

In the grim meathook future of this film, corporations rule the planet, CEOs rule their corporations on whims, and women wear naught but Ace bandages as undergarments, the poor sexy sexy things. Two "scientists"--one of whom is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Papa's Crucifix (Will we ever be free of lockets and necklaces and brooches and rings of import and such in films??)--find some art in a cave in Scotland and other places, and one trillion dollars later they're on their way to space with a mincing homosexual robot and a Power Dyke along the lines of the gym teacher in Glee. It seems that aliens have created humanity, and now we're heading to their homeworld to say "Hey" and such thanks to the dying wish of ConHugeCo's CEO. Forget the fact that this sort of thing is like writing a letter to your vacationing neighbor that begins, "Dear Bob, I am writing to you not to disturb your holiday in Bali, but to let you know something you might be interested to hear--there is water pouring out from underneath your front door."

Once we get to the crazy planet, the gang trade proletarian quips while the science types traipse around the sets from various Alien movies. The robot comes too, because he has a sneaky agenda. Everyone has an agenda in the movie, though God knows what they are. Things don't get much more complex than "Find traps, spring them, have own face explode." Two unlucky scientists encounter a phallic-yonic eel--it kills one and dunks the other into a black pit of evil that makes him show up again later in the film for no reason. The other unlucky scientists have to stick around for the rest of the movie.

One guy makes a point of drinking a lot and ribbing the robot, which is very mean. This is like being nasty to the waiter on a first date. You're just going to end up eating spit. And this guy does. Then he has sex with Dragon Tattoo and things don't go well for either of them thanks to mincing homosexual revenge. The guy gets eye leeches and the woman gets impregnated with an octopus, and has to borrow the Power Dyke's Michael Jackson hyperbaric chamber, but...sucka!...it's designed for dudes only. (But but Power Dyke...listen, who cares.) So she has to go through a lot of tedious menu items before finding Remove Octopus. The surgery is very scary. This is not a movie for pregnant ladies. Eye Leech guy gets roasted by Power Dyke, who is Very Into Staying Alive. (This being a movie, of course she dies. Note that Alien 3 offers an exception to this rule! Alien 3 is much better than this film.)

Mincy finds a big white alien who is still alive in suspended animation, and then the secret is revealed! The old fart CEO is on the ship too--he wants to meet his maker before meeting his maker, you see. Maybe they'll be nice to him and give him a heart, or a brain, or a way home. (He already has a fair amount of movie courage, aka stupidity.) This does not go well, as the alien guy, who looks like Voldemort and Starchild and Frankenstein's monster goes all Frankenstein's monster on everyone. You would think that having had major surgery would make our heroine especially vulnerable, but you can't keep the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo down. She can leap across chasms and wrestle tentacles with the best of 'em.

The theme, once the homo robot has his head ripped off so that the alien can beat the CEO to death with it, has become clear--we live in an amoral universe. The alien decides to complete his deadly mission of destroying humanity by sending the famous monster from the earlier Alien franchise films to Earth to eat everyone. Surely, he just could have waited around for a bit as in the grim meathook future of this series we seem very eager to import aliens to Earth--and anyway weren't there already plenty of those aliens on Earth way back in 2004, and wasn't the CEO alive then and wasn't a CEO with his surname in charge of finding those aliens in Alien Versus Predator and wasn't...ah, who cares?

The theme falls apart rather instantly because after the proles sacrifice themselves, the Power Dyke gets smooshed and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo narrowly escapes the same fate! Funny how the Cosmic Space Bus just hits the baddies in such a grim and terrible future Planet of Only Death. Anyway, then Dragon Tattoo and the homo-head decide to get on another spaceship to go find the other aliens, because, well, not even hideous genocidal revenge, would have at least be interesting. No, she wants an explanation. So imagine one day, many years from now, there's a knock at your door at 3am, and when put on your robe and answer the door it's a former lab monkey who escaped from some experiments in Beijing, and it wants you to explain what the hell just happened to its life.

How's that gonna go for you? Not well, but if you happen to have Prometheus on DVD or downloaded onto your laptop, invite it in for some early morning chips and a very pretty awful movie.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: st_rev
2012-06-11 02:04 am (UTC)

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Two "scientists"--one of whom is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Papa's Crucifix (Will we ever be free of lockets and necklaces and brooches and rings of import and such in films??)--find some art in a cave in Scotland and other places, and one trillion dollars later they're on their way to space with a mincing homosexual robot and a Power Dyke along the lines of the gym teacher in Glee.

I believe this is also the plot of Rush's 2112.
[User Picture]From: luagha
2012-06-11 06:43 pm (UTC)

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Also, the old fart CEO needing to go to space to have his penile cancer cured is totally a Venture Bros. ripoff.
[User Picture]From: silviamg
2012-06-11 02:14 am (UTC)

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I had an awesome time with this movie. It followed all the And You Call that Science! rules with a healthy dose of parent-child/intergenerational conflict (all Boomers must die!) and enough vagina dentatas to keep me happy for a year.

I yearn for the day when I can watch a double feature of Splice/Prometheus at the drive-in.
[User Picture]From: solarbird
2012-06-11 03:34 am (UTC)

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I yearn for the day when I can watch a double feature of Splice/Prometheus at the drive-in.
I hate you.
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[User Picture]From: bev_vincent
2012-06-11 02:28 am (UTC)

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Girl with the Dragon Tattoo survived because she was an evolved being. She could move sideways.
[User Picture]From: pomo_drunkard
2012-06-11 03:32 am (UTC)

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The Engineers advanced DNA enabled some, but not all, of their descendents to turn at 90 degree angles.
[User Picture]From: Gary Gibson
2012-06-11 02:35 am (UTC)

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Phew. I thought you were going to be one of those people who wrote something like 'everybody hates this movie, but I really liked it!' I've had some people surprise me - online and otherwise - with 'hey, I really liked it!' comments and reviews, and somehow miss the blindingly awful stupidity of it all.
[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2012-06-11 04:23 am (UTC)

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After Vandermeer and Delany liked it, I was excited. But noooooo...
[User Picture]From: solarbird
2012-06-11 03:38 am (UTC)

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Power Dyke is Destiny Angel, goddammit. All she did was move the part in her hair.



[User Picture]From: st_rev
2012-06-11 04:34 am (UTC)

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I loved the moment where Spike grabs the grail and drinks it down and says "...it's Mountain Dew?"
[User Picture]From: benpeek
2012-06-11 03:41 am (UTC)

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you forgot the part where it's all about creationism.
[User Picture]From: frogworth
2012-06-11 05:33 am (UTC)

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(y) Like button
[User Picture]From: Seth Ellis
2012-06-11 03:46 am (UTC)

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On Facebook I called it a terrible movie in good-movie drag, and then somebody linked to this explanation (http://cavalorn.livejournal.com/584135.html). Because tenth-grade symbolism makes everything okay!
[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2012-06-11 05:30 pm (UTC)

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The people with the ruined abdomens are symbols of ancient gods.

And all the exploding heads are symbols of how stupid the movie is to discerning viewers!
[User Picture]From: dr_memory
2012-06-11 05:32 am (UTC)

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This almost -- almost -- redeems the 7 hours I spent watching that movie.

The fact that the primary screenwriter was one of the principal writers on Lost should have warned me off, but optimism triumphed over experience once again.

(In fairness, Scott can shoot the hell out of a wild Icelandic vista like nobody's business. I'd totally hire him to video my wedding, as long as he had no input into the script.)
[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-06-11 03:36 pm (UTC)

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could you see Scott and Jackson doing a wedding?
[User Picture]From: rosefox
2012-06-11 07:04 am (UTC)

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"Dear Bob, I am writing to you not to disturb your holiday in Bali, but to let you know something you might be interested to hear--there is water pouring out from underneath your front door."

Someday I want to send someone a letter like this.
[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2012-06-11 11:22 am (UTC)

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(Will we ever be free of lockets and necklaces and brooches and rings of import and such in films??)

Why should we be? Such things are often incredibly important to us in real life, so it is logical that they would be such in film (and books and all other media) as well.
[User Picture]From: mroctober
2012-06-11 11:32 am (UTC)

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But what would have happened if she was Jewish. Oy!
[User Picture]From: helivoy
2012-06-11 03:25 pm (UTC)

Shiny glop

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Apparently, Ridley Scott literally believes in the von Däniken version of intelligent design. Of course the trope of "scientists are really boring dumbasses with zero social skills or common sense" is so ingrained in Hollywood that it's not even comment-worthy any more. Scott just ticked off that particular box in the quasi-obligatory list. Ditto for all the rest of the items you flagged. Eye candy, brain sludge.

Edited at 2012-06-11 03:26 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: fengi
2012-06-11 08:33 pm (UTC)

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This review is useful because I no longer want to pay to see horror movies lacking vaguely coherent reasons for the characters to become monster victims. I'm fond of the first Alien because it featured people who would rationally be unprepared for such a danger making decisions which turn out to be wrong. This one sounds like the deleted footage to include a moment where Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are watching the entire proceedings from a secret mission control, discussing how the crew was fed a steady supply of valium and pheromones while on the trip out.
[User Picture]From: all_unnecessary
2012-06-12 08:46 am (UTC)

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Ha! Thank you, now entered into head!canon.
[User Picture]From: abostick59
2012-06-12 02:02 pm (UTC)

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I thought you were panning this movie. Then I read Topless Robot's Prometheus FAQ, and realized that you were being astonishingly kind.
[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2012-06-20 04:33 am (UTC)

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Yes. Nick was. Because after I read this review, I still wanted to see the stupid fucking movie. At least I didn't pay for it. I snuck into it after Men in Black III.
From: katgoodwin.wordpress.com
2012-06-12 10:28 pm (UTC)

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As soon as I heard about Prometheus from Ridley "SF is dead and has no ideas left and I will never return to it" Scott, I had no interest in it. Hearing all this about it now that it's out, I'm now mildly curious to see the awfulness of it, or at least the clip of the operation scene. It sounds like Scott decided to mix his Alien and Bladerunner movies and then add in everything he could think of: Alien 3, 2001, The Matrix, Anaconda, The Fifth Element, Event Horizon, Ghosts of Mars, Pitch Black, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rosemary's Baby, Final Fantasy, Species and Saw, and then have Damon Lindelof and that other writer take LSD before writing. Why didn't they have Dan O'Bannon write it? I mean, why not, didn't he do the Alien versus Predator movies as well as Alien?
[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2012-06-12 10:31 pm (UTC)

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O'Bannon did die a few years ago, which raised his fee significantly.
[User Picture]From: scottwoods
2012-06-14 01:12 pm (UTC)

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The review I was waiting for!
Yay!
[User Picture]From: Lynne Jamneck
2012-06-17 01:48 am (UTC)

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Why the homophobic rantiness?
[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2012-06-17 02:31 am (UTC)

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Those characters were transparently coded as the worst queer stereotypes. I was reacting to that.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
From: katgoodwin.wordpress.com
2012-06-17 02:06 am (UTC)

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I was forced tonight to go see Prometheus by my husband and daughter as part of Father's Day festivities. It was truly, truly awful. Also slow. Also suffered from look at the landscape disease. However, the operation scene did rock. And if you could have taken Idris Elba's captain and the two pilot characters and put them in another movie of their own, that would have been good. And Michael Fassbender should be given any role requiring endearing creepiness. But man, John Carpenter must just be shaking his head.