Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Spoileriffic Point-By-Point Teardown of "Prometheus"

DON'T READ THIS if you haven't seen "Prometheus" and want to have the fun of compiling your list of howlers on your own. You have been warned! (Which should be sufficient unless you are a "Prometheus" scientist--.)

The movie opens on primeval planet Earth, and we see one of the so-called "Engineers" take a drug and fall into the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls. The drug causes his body to disintegrate down to component molecules and "seeds" the river with his DNA. This seems to be a really ineffective way to raise local versions of your species.

The "Prometheus" is significantly bigger inside than out, a problem shared by lots of non-TARDIS spacecraft, with the exception of the various "Enterprise" class starships--.

If the ship requires an android pilot while the human crew is sleeping, shouldn't there be two in case one fails?

When the crew is revived, the hired scientists have no idea what the mission is. It would have been much better if they had been prepped under security conditions before leaving Earth and so had maybe some sort of plan when they got where they were going.

Other reviewers have mentioned the muddled chain of command. Shaw and Holloway (Rapace and Marshall-Green) are supposed to be the science mission commanders. Captain Janek (Idris Elba) is the spacecraft commander, but it's never made clear what status the corporate sponsor representative Vickers (Charlize Theron) has, and who can override whom.

Other reviewers have also mentioned the arrant stupidity of Holloway opening his helmet just because the chemical mix of the atmosphere is "breathable", without considering the potential for pathogens, allergens, or other environmental nasties. Ironically, this is one mistake that only comes back to bite them on the butt indirectly, since it gives cover for David the android's dirty work later.

The science team blithely touches and pokes unidentified artifacts, with no kind of archeological protocol at all.

The geologist, Fifield (Sean Harris), whom it has been established has a control unit for the laser mapping system on his wrist, gets lost in the tunnels, but the non-geologists don't. That he doesn't call for help until it's too late to be picked up is pure horror-movie "let's split up and get killed" stupidity.

The dead head Shaw retrieves is "fooled" into coming to "life"? (Some kind of galvanic probe?) Then it explodes. WTF?

The supposed biologist, Millburn (Rafe Spall) fools around teasing the sinisterly phallic alien life forms. Not a good idea, given their totally unknown capabilities--.

The black goo that the PALFs are swimming around in attacks and instantaneously dissolves Lexan or whatever the helmets are made of, but not bootsoles, spacesuits, or other material.

Exposure to black goo turns the geologist into a super-strong berserk zomboid who can function outside with a broken helmet. The mechanism of this is never explained or even speculated on.

Engineer DNA and Earth-human DNA comes up a 100% match—no possible way! The Engineers have no skin pigment, evidently don't see color (or don't see in the same spectral range we do, judging by their installations), and have eyes with no whites or pupils that have to be way different than ours. Not to mention all the viral crap our DNA has picked up in millions of years would be absent. Plus, the "dead head" explodes into grayish-greenish-whitish glop. If Engineer metabolism were hemoglobin-based, one would think there'd have been a bit of pink in there somewhere.

Shaw gets up and runs around and fights after crude abdominal surgery? Any woman who's actually had a C-section will tell you, no way!

The squid-sized thingie that is removed from her abdomen is left alone and grows to the size of an automobile with no food? It also gains mass and doesn't just inflate itself. This is pure magic.

Shaw demonstrates that she's a scientist by finally figuring out you can get out from under the giant rolling thing by stepping out of its path (although not soon enough--), whereas Vickers doesn't and gets squashed. Panic can only account for so much idiocy.

It almost hardly counts to mention the profound unwisdom of Weyland's wakening the surviving Engineer, giving that he's lying amidst tons of horrific bioweapons; Weyland is mad in the classic bad-movie obsessive/destructive mode, which is the major plot driver and you have to take that as a given. Too bad they couldn't have come up with something more orginal.

Basically, we've got a supposedly well funded science mission staffed and run under the rules that apply to summer camps and lonely houses in slasher movies, which is really disappointing, since the traps waiting for the crew on LV-223 are deadly enough to be challenging even if the crew acted as intelligently as they ought--which would have made the situation even more scary, if maybe not as thrilling. Unfortunately, the movie makers opted for dumb thrills over intelligent true horror.

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Tags: movies, science fiction
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