08 Jan

Ready Aim Fire

Prometheus, the latest film by Riddley Scott just released on disc, is possibly the fucking* stupidest  film too many people have seen and, because of the director, given too much time to discussing.  Characters include:

  • A crew of scientists who are greedy, self serving, impetuous twits. (Perhaps the screenwriter thought that venal, immature scientists were the only people who could be manipulated into making the trip–regardless, that pushed my first button.)
  • A ship’s crew who blithely sacrifice themselves to save mankind like they’ve just bought an e-ticket (that’s ride, not extinction), wiggling their hands in the air just before impact.
  • A mission commander/corporate exec who spends much of her time looking like death can’t arrive soon enough (and when it does…oops).
  • A race of Promethians who took one long look at us and said, we need to start over (and who, based on what we see of their creations, might not be very good at their job of seeding the universe in spite of their physical beauty and advanced science). Similar, perhaps, to the goals of the corporation exemplified by the android–who is by far the most interesting and, in a sociopathic way, human character. Riddley Scott’s best characters have always been androids.

Too much has been made of the self-surgery scene with the main character followed by her vigorous physical actions–it went too far but can be explained away with shock, drugs, etc–and she does suffer from it later. That may be low hanging fruit to some, but they’re missing all the fruit rotting on the ground.

If you took only the reset attempt by the Promethians as the plot, inserted mature characters into lead roles and left out the forced connection to Alien (a great thriller milked far too long past the first two films), it could have been an SF masterpiece. You’d also need a different director, one who continued to grow intellectually as he aged.

We do learn what would happen if HR Giger and Ed Wood had a baby. Hint: Riddley Scott, who should have erupted from the screen at the end of the film and waggled his finger at the viewer.

The film has one redeeming quality. Gosh is it pretty. Except when it’s cheap and gross. Kind of like the Promethians.

Note: I’m sick today, which has made me grumpy enough to summarize what I’ve been thinking since I watched this film a week ago. It’s an anti-science film at a time we can’t afford it as a culture and a species, masked as out-of-the-box thinking that was a rehash of pseudo-scientific ancient astronaut “theory,” masked as entertainment.

* I promised a few entries ago to rely less on f-barks. But I can still use them sotto voce.

Followup: Gods help me, I never thought I’d link to Forbes anything,¬† but their movie reviewer nailed it (for me), sans dyspectic vitriol.

2 thoughts on “Ready Aim Fire

  1. I’ve somehow managed to miss this one. I guess I’ll wait until it comes out on cable and I can watch it with commercials.

    BTW Do you have a tag for dyspeptic vitriol? Don’t know what made me think of that.

    • I do now (have that tag). I’m almost never vitriolic–I’m more the guy who whistles a happy tune while hanging with the rest of the thieves in the sun. This film pushed my buttons because several people I respect recommended it and, after watching it, I couldn’t understand why. Otherwise I would have dismissed it. And I’m fine with most movies–they’re just entertainments…for someone. It was the anti-science angle, the idiot 2d characters (including the aliens although not the android), the sudden turns to grossness signalled by cheap horror movie tropes similar to “don’t go into the basement” (which were satirized just dandy by last year’s The Cabin in the Woods and, to a lesser degree, the now old Army of Darkness), the lack of any sort of character development or insight, the race to finish the plot, the pretentious and silly double endings. Yes, there were some Big Ideas sort of thrown in for interpretation, but…none of them are worth considering. Maybe he was trying to show that the universe is run by Calvin Kleiniens–pretty on the outside, ugly on the inside. I’ll give him credit for doing one thing right (aside from visually)–he always includes one or two actors who can act rings around the rest simply by showing up. In Prometheus, it’s Michael Fassbender (as the android), in Robin Hood it was Cate Blanchett and Max Von Sydow, in Gladiator it’s Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, and Richard Harris, and so on.

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