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mygif

Isn’t it a different planet? Or did Weyland just rename the planet?

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mygif

No, it’s the same planet.

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Gentleman Mummy said on June 10th, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I respectfully disagree.

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mygif

I thought the film was ok (but not without fault, some of which you have mentioned) right until David’s head was used as a weapon. After that the film felt like a sloppy remake. But the biggest problem is that it was not set on planet LV426, like Alien or Aliens but on plaent LV223. Which begs the question, why finish the film such a tangible connection to Alien.

see: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/prometheus/21559/trying-to-answer-the-questions-of-prometheus

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mygif

Yeah, it’s totally a different planet. Presumably the derelict in ALIEN was transporting genetic material from LV223 and crashed on LV426. And wasn’t the beacon in ALIENS the same one in ALIEN? Coming from the derelict ship?

Anyway, this is a very fair, accurate review. There’s enough about this movie to make it seem A-list, but the script is absolutely on par with an 80s ALIEN knock-off. In fact, it bears an alarming resemblance to Alien Vs. Predator. It also has all the problems Lost did, times ten–characters witnessing astounding, wondrous things with complete blankness, people hostage to the plot rather than any kind of character consistency, dropping in portentious dialogue about Big Issues and hoping that’s enough to make it meaningful, even though they don’t explore those issues in any way, shape or form. Just a massive disappointment, and inexcusable coming from this A-list creative team.

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mygif

Mentioned already while I was typing this, but Ridley Scott says it’s a different planet. Moon. Whatever. In which case, why have the ending look so much like it’s setting up what will happen in Alien? It goes beyond thematic parallels into just plain confusing. I came out of the movie theater thinking that they had just attempted a bunch of retcons and it wasn’t until I was looking at reactions online that I learned that this wasn’t the case.

And I assumed that David infecting Logan was related to getting the whole “try harder” order from Weyland. So it was a combo of him being vindictive because of Logan because he was such a dick to him and…him being curious about what would happen? Acting on Weyland’s orders? He did seem a little hesitant, not actually contaminating the drink until Logan got off one last diss about robots.

And why keep Weyland’s presence on the ship a secret from the crew for so long? Most of the crew didn’t even know what the mission was until they got there, so what difference would it make to them whether the reason was “because the big boss wants to meet aliens” or “because these Ancient Aliens fans want to meet God”? Did they think that Logan and Rapace’s characters would stage a revolt or just stay in the ship if they found out when they got there?

(Also, I assume that there were scenes with a young Guy Pierce that got cut, or at least something that excuses that terrible old man make up)

I think the film started to lose me around about the time the geologist returned as the Elephant Man and got run over. And I am usually more lenient about characters in movies not acting with perfect logic when everything goes to shit, but it seems like so much of what happens in this movie only happens because of the characters acting like massive idiots. You mentioned the part with Elba, but the part with the biologist seeing the giant worm acting just like a cobra and thinking that it was friendly also deserves a mention.

I don’t regret paying to see it in the theater, since it looks gorgeous and I enjoyed it for the most part while I was watching it. Since it’s a Scott film, I’m assuming we’ll get a director’s cut at some point, one that will hopefully smooth over or explain some of the problems in the writing in the theatrical version.

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SilverHammerMan said on June 10th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I enjoyed it right up until the aforementioned body part weaponization. The ending felt weak and just kind of silly, and I really didn’t like Noomi Rapace’s character. I didn’t sympathize with her to the extent I was probably supposed to and I found her to be bland. Elba, Theron, and Fassbender were all delightful, and I really did enjoy most of the movie, but the revelation about Theron’s character and her relationship with Weyland, along with his being onboard the ship both kind of obvious. I liked the movie, but I was just kind of disappointed by how it ended.

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Mitchell Hundred said on June 10th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

According to this post that attempts to tie the two series of films into continuity (http://thewertzone.blogspot.ca/2012/06/filling-blanks-tying-prometheus-to.html), the planet on ‘Prometheus’ and the planet in the ‘Alien’ movies are in fact different planets. His theory is that somebody went in a ship which landed/crashed on the planet in ‘Alien(s)’.

I myself cannot say if that is accurate, since I haven’t seen ‘Prometheus’ (but I will eventually).

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mygif

My pet theory is that the Engineers want to destroy Earth because Earth — and the other planets they’ve seeded — are sacrifices to the gods of the Engineers. Which are the black goo; clearly a superior being, and if you feed your children to it maybe it’ll spare you for another millennia.

This explains why the Engineer was so pissed off: there are humans in his temple, and that’s not cool, cause they might screw up the ceremony. It also explains why there’s a bas relief of something pretty similar to the xenomorph queen in the first urn room, and it makes a ton more sense than the weapon factory theory. That stuff is a lousy weapon; you don’t ever get to use the planet again once you let it loose.

Also it ties the movie together thematically. Doesn’t make it a success, but it makes it more coherent.

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mygif

Memo to the Weyland Corporation:

You might want to reinforce the necks & spines of your androids.

‘Jes sayin’…

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mygif

According to this post that attempts to tie the two series of films into continuity (http://thewertzone.blogspot.ca/2012/06/filling-blanks-tying-prometheus-to.html), the planet on ‘Prometheus’ and the planet in the ‘Alien’ movies are in fact different planets.

That’s also what Ridley Scott said. Not sure if that makes things better or worse – it means that the slight inconsistencies don’t matter, but it does mean there’s another planet out there with some amazingly coincidental things going on.

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mygif

Okay, mea culpa, it’s a totally different planet and that’s not stupid AT ALL.

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mygif

I read a review that was very much inline with my own feelings on the film and I then read a review which was completly the oppisite and now here you are doing a completly different take on the film to those two reviews. All of the reviews were done by people who opinions I respect. And I think that could be a good thing, meaning the movie was a successful work of art. On the other hand it could just mean that the film was terribly vague and ill-defined.

I enjoyed the film very much, treating it as pseudo-prequel but really a distinct enitity. Out of my friends who saw it only me and one other really liked it. We then watched Aliens and altogether found it to be a much better film. However, Prometheus is stuck in my head, when I try think about Aliens I always return to Prometheus, perhaps because it is a deeper film than Aliens, perhaps because it’s a mess of potential. I’m not sure.

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mygif

The AV Club had a very good review questioning (as others have done in this very thread) why it goes to all the effort of setting up Alien parallels for no good reason.

These aren’t just thematic parallels. We expect those, and they’re both welcome and good. They go to the trouble to make it all so very explicit; to put a life-boat with a beacon in it on the surface. To put in a Promethean with his chest all bursted. To crash the big C-shaped spaceship. To show us that huge and iconic control yoke. To have the Weyland Corporation. And at the end they show us a xenomorph.

And then they go “No, its on a different planet entirely” and they get the location of corpses wrong and do a bunch of other shit that completely invalidates all the other stuff they burned valuable, valuable screen time establishing.

The only thing I can think of is that this is some kind of obscure “No, fuck YOU, nerds” from Ridley Scott. Which might be uncharitable on my part but is the impression I get.

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mygif

And I think that could be a good thing, meaning the movie was a successful work of art. On the other hand it could just mean that the film was terribly vague and ill-defined.

Well, I don’t speak to “art” generally. I look at these things as a matter of craft, because – well, because that’s how I look at pop-culture artifacts like this one. As a series of artistic gestures, though, I think I would still find it lacking.

I certainly grant that it certainly aims deeper than Aliens, because that film is a war film and a revenge fantasy rolled into a sci-fi horror setting and is not terribly concerned with primal questions of being. But that doesn’t, to me, make it a better film – although I admire Ridley Scott for trying to make something profound and failing miserably – mostly because the failure in question is drastic and destroys the narrative flow.

I think if you want to compare it, you have to compare it to the original Alien, and on that score I believe it is definitely found wanting; Alien has all of Prometheus‘ strengths (good performances by the leads, stunning visuals, remarkably tense atmosphere and set sequences) and none of its flaws (flabby narrative, ill-defined characters, meaningless plot arcs).

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mygif

Perhaps the theatrical release is Ridley Scott’s attempt to crowd-source the writing of the actual prequel(s) to Alien, via putting out this version as a stalking horse to attract all the nitpicking nerd-rage and thereby identify all the flaws. Then everything so identified will be corrected and accounted for between the inevitable Director’s Cut and the (eventual) sequel, and Scott will be formally annointed the SF Film King Of All Time in a special ceremony at Comic-Con.

Or that might just be the paranoid conspiracist cynic in me talking.

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Joe Gualtieri said on June 11th, 2012 at 2:05 am

“And then they go ‘No, its on a different planet entirely'”

You were told that at the beginning of the film, it’s just you and MGK weren’t paying attention.

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mygif

To be fair, Joe, there was reason to believe they might have simply gotten the number wrong.

I don’t feel like that detracts from the actual substantive points of my critique in any way.

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mygif

Just to be characteristically pedantic, I don’t believe it’s true that every marine in Aliens gets a line of dialogue. Either Crowe or Weirbowski is entirely silent, unless I missed something (I don’t know which one of them was talking to Frost during the drop about his constant pessimism).

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mygif

I don’t really disagree with your criticisms of Prometheus. And yet, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s definitely not as tight as Alien, but it was visually beautiful, touched on some interesting mythological elements, and was thrilling throughout.

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They lost me months ago, with “ancient aliens seeded Earth.” That particular trope has been so abused as to be a non-starter for me.

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mygif

I don’t believe it’s true that every marine in Aliens gets a line of dialogue. Either Crowe or Weirbowski is entirely silent, unless I missed something (I don’t know which one of them was talking to Frost during the drop about his constant pessimism).

Crowe is the one talking to Frost.

In the extended edition (e.g. “the proper one with the sentryguns”), Weirzbowski gets a scene with Bishop in the lab prior to the first major combat sequence.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 11th, 2012 at 11:34 am

@Joe: I “wasn’t paying attention”? Because I don’t know off the top of my head if “Alien” was set on planet LV223 or LV426? WTF?!?

And like Jenny M pointed out, why then go to such lengths to re-create the tableau from the other movies (though they messed that up too, having too much in common to be a different planet, but with certain critical details wrong if it’s the same planet)?

Also wanted to cast a vote in favour of theatrical Aliens over extended Aliens. I think it’s more powerful to first encounter Newt in full-blown post-traumatic survival mode; scenes like Sigourney cleaning her face and saying “there’s a little girl in there” work better that way IMHO.

And I think it’s a cleaner progression to begin the story far away from the colony and gradually work your way towards it, rather than starting there, jumping way out, and then coming back.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 11th, 2012 at 11:40 am

And re:Prometheus, I think my “favourite” scene had to be (SPOILERS!) when Charlize & Noomi are running from the ship about to fall on them, and they do the classic movie character mistake of running IN THE SAME DIRECTION that the thing is falling… if either had turned 90 degrees they’d have easily avoided it. And the scene is so drawn out there’s plenty of time to think “Just turn left, Noomi, for God’s sake, you’re supposed to be a scientist and all smart and whatnot”.

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mygif

Okay Marines, from the top:

It’s a different planet. When Noomi leaves, she is going to another planet because, and this is important, the Engineers have a planet spanning empire.

And the bit about why bother setting up the parallels? It’s the same damn message in every movie. Don’t fuck around with things that are dangerous just because you can.

Engineers use BlackGood(tm) – Base is destroyed (Prometheus)

Ash + WY goes to crashed ship to get eggs – ship is destroyed (Alien)

Colony is ordered to investigate ship – Colony wiped out (Aliens)

Bishop(?) goes to get alien sample at prison planet – damn near wipes out earth (Alien3 – Alien Resurrection)

The message is: People are inherently stupid about bioweapons.

Consider the pile of corpses that the Stoner Geologist and Biologist find. They were all running from something; presumably something got loose and infected them, hence the line about the bodies being mutilated

Also, about the ship from Alien / Aliens – It fucking crash landed. How do we know this? The piloting Engineer was chest-burst’d, and the thing was face planted into the ground.

David also infected Grumpy Atheist Asshole because Weyland basically told him to find out more about the site (“Try harder.”) Why Holloway in particular? Remember the whole conversation about doing whatever it takes it find the truth. David dunks his finger after Holloway agrees with him.

and MGK, when did he abandon the two men? If you’re talking about the biologist and the geologist who hit every horror movie cliche besides doing each other in the BlackGoo(tm) mound, He left the cockpit to doink Vickers and he thought they were safe for the moment, not because he thought “Fuck it, kill ’em?”

The problem I have the movie is that everyone keeps asking the same damn questions with easy answers.

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Jonathan L. Miller said on June 11th, 2012 at 6:27 pm

You cannot spend the first third of a movie setting up, “we’re on a quest for Answers,” then spend the rest of it adding more mysteries and ending it with “we’ve got to leave to find more answers, possibly in an already mooted sequel” and expect it to be either satisfying. The movie was beautiful, Michael Fassbender’s performance and character was interesting and nuanced (unlike every other performance or character). But the script was, ultimately, lacking. I’d call it “pretentious college student profound”–“no, really man, it’s deep if you see what he’s implying with, like, that one shot, there’s no need to actually say it. How could you not get that?” (Or was I the only one to have those types of friends in college?)

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They lost me months ago with the entire plot of the film. Ridley Scott is an amazing director of Sci Fi, and he shouldn’t have wasted his time with this pablum.

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highlyverbal said on June 11th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

@MGK: “Okay, mea culpa, it’s a totally different planet and that’s not stupid AT ALL.”

Note to self: don’t double down before Googling; risks embarrassment.

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Joe Gualtieri said on June 12th, 2012 at 12:01 am

“@Joe: I “wasn’t paying attention”? Because I don’t know off the top of my head if “Alien” was set on planet LV223 or LV426? WTF?!?”

And Aliens.

And LV426 seemed nothing like LV223, since it was all storms, darkness, and HR Giger designed landscapes.

The film had problems, but this is one you guys brought on yourselves. Short of Scott pausing the film to say “Hey, this isn’t the same planet/moon” what else could he have done?

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mygif

Well, since there have been multiple reports that this movie was supposed to “answer” what was up with the “space jockey” that we saw in Alien, I assume that’s why so many people, including myself, were under the impression it was the same planet. You can’t deny that it’s really REALLY dumb to have so many things seemingly happen on this world that turns out to not be the world where Alien takes place. And I have to concur, not many people are going to have a planet’s name memorized if it consists of letters and numbers, like 442 or whatever.

And the HR Giger design work, isn’t that what the entire cave system is, in Prometheus? It looks exactly like the interior of the ship in Alien, where the crew of the Nostromo was found.

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John 2.0 said on June 12th, 2012 at 1:10 am

Yeah, the movie looks great, and is totally stupid.

The basic premise of the movie doesn’t work, because if modern humans have the same DNA as the engineers, how do you explain other primates with almost identical DNA as humans do. More importantly, why aren’t humans 9-foot tall bald albinos with black eyes and extreme muscle mass?

Why are the engineers designing our DNA, teaching us spoken language and writing, having direct contact with early human civilizations and then giving us a pictogram star map 35,000 years ago to the PLANET OF THE DESTRUCTIVE BIO-WEAPONS meant to cleanse earth of those pesky humans? What the hell?

How does the David-activated hologram activate the rest of the navigation systems? A photo of a guy piloting a boat doesn’t cause the boat to move.

Why are the archeologists happily contaminating a 2,000 crypt by taking off their helmets. Why does the geologist in charge of mapping the alien instillation get lost so easily? Why isthe expert biologist so intent on touching an alien who is clearly giving a threat display? Why is David eating/drinking/dying his fucking hair at the outset of the movie? How is the most advanced piece of medical equipment in human history not have the ability to treat females? How does the squid grow in a hermetically sealed environment (I’m actually inclined to give this a pass, since it also happened in Alien)? Most importantly, why does the engineer, a member of a race that is set up as literally gods who can bioengineer planets full of life, turn into cheesy 3rd tier movie monsters when they wake up?

This is the very definition of the Ebert ‘idiot picture.’

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Travesty said on June 12th, 2012 at 1:32 am

Visually stunning, viscerally terrifying, intellectually bankrupt.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 12th, 2012 at 9:20 am

@Joe: I admit, I forgot the well-established rule that all alien worlds are only allowed one type of landscape and one weather system each (see also Wars, Star). Guess I thought maybe Alien/Prometheus was happening on some crazy fantastical made-up planet that could be dark and stormy ONE day, but NOT dark and stormy on another day… but yeah, that would be just insane! The mere thought of being on such a world is clearly beyond the outer reaches of imagination (well, maybe if you live in Vancouver).

Easiest way to indicate it’s a different world? MAKE THE ENGINEER’S SHIP A DIFFERENT SHAPE. Heck, we have all different kinds of ships, planes, cars flying around. No reason why the Prometheus batch of Engineers has to be flying the exact same model ship as the Alien batch was. Give it a clearly different silhouette, and hey presto, we instantly know “this is not the same ship”.

I love when looking deeper into a movie provides new insight. But you shouldn’t have to look so deeply into a movie just to try and make basic sense out of the plot.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 12th, 2012 at 9:22 am

@John 2.0 — I agree, it is completely an Ebert Idiot Movie. Which makes it that much odder that Ebert raved about it. Go figure.

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William Kendall said on June 12th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I’d been on the fence about seeing it, but I’ve heard enough negative reactions to it that I’ve decided not to bother.

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HonestObserver said on June 13th, 2012 at 2:15 am

Can’t wait for David Fincher to make his own post-Alien sci-fi flick!

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 13th, 2012 at 8:47 am

@HonestObserver… good point! What WAS the backstory of all those bald prisoners anyway?

Maybe we can get other prequels with the untold backstory of:

–The skeleton Indy finds at the beginning of Raiders
–The soldier found with his brains sucked out in Starship Troopers
–The municipal zoning committee for the capitol city of Alderaan
–All the henchmen killed in opening scenes of Bond movies

The list goes on and on! :-)

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mygif

Bit of a late arrival to the thread, but I just got around to seeing Prometheus last night, and I’m only now reading this column, as I had done my best to avoid spoilers beforehand.

I agree with some of the criticism re: character motivations, plot holes, etc., and am pretty much in line with MGK’s take on things. My hope is that there will be a director’s cut that will have an extra hour of movie and answer some of the nagging questions.

@John 2.0: My assumption was that the DNA of the Engineer at the beginning of the movie was the source of all life on Earth, not just humans, which could explain primate DNA that is similar to our own. Yes, this could have been handled a little better — say, by making the Engineer DNA not be a perfect match to humans, but rather a closer match than anything else we’ve ever seen — and the fact that it’s just handwaved away as “a perfect match” in a film that obviously doesn’t mind being mysterious and making the audience ask questions is a sign of sloppy writing.

Also @John 2.0: The reason the navigation systems came online when David activated the hologram was because the hologram contained the recording of the Engineer playing the flute, which was the audio key to start the ship. This was shown later when David played the flute himself to wake the ship up. Counter to the DNA example above, this was actually a piece of good writing, in that it provided a mechanism whereby the humans could start the ship and also provided the audience with all of the information to let them know how it was done, but without beating them over the head with it. There could have easily been someone in the background saying, “Wow, it’s activated by sound!” but there wasn’t.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie, and I’m still trying to piece together some connections to the original Alien. Upon leaving the theater, my wife, who is not nearly the sci-fi nerd that I am, asked if the creature at the end was the same creature from the Alien movies. I said, “Well…kinda.” To which she replied, “This is going to take the entire ride home, isn’t it?” I found that after explaining the basic design similarities between the two films, and how the Space Jockey was in the original, etc., that I was at a loss to really tie the two together, which disappoints me.

Final thought: It’s not Blade Runner, but thankfully it’s not Avatar either.

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