Discussion in 'Entertaining Diversions' started by MatthewF, Feb 28, 2012.
Can we get that in the OED?
So, I bought the bluray and have watched the film with the writer commentary.
It is pretty clear that Jon Spaihts (the original script writer) has a mild degree of contempt for Damon Lindelof (the reason Prometheus sucked). In Spaihts' original script, there were traditional face huggers, xenomorphs, eggs, etc etc. Hearing him go on about "in the original script" during most of the scenes that ultimately buried this movie under a metric ton of WTF?!, his version sounds so much better.
Who's to blame for the pile of steaming shit we got? Lindelof. Yea, him.
The unexplainable goo? Him.
The man-eating worms? Him.
The awkward sex scene? Him.
The squid love-child? Him.
The stupidity of Fifield and Millburn? Him.
David's weird behavior? Him.
The gratuitous xenomorph at the end? Him.
Countless other butchered scenes? Him.
I liked LOST and don't hold anything against Lindelof for how it played out. But fuck, man, he took what sounds like a great script from Spaihts and just took a mammoth shit on it.
In one scene Spaihts says "I can see Damon here looking for answers, you know, deprived of face huggers and aliens, how do you do away with them and still provide moments for the villains and evil to play out?"
Lindelof even says, quite flatly, that he's not even sure there will be a direct link between these movies (assuming they make more) and the derelict on LV-426. Dude even has the balls to openly criticize Spaihts' script and thereby imply that he was the savior of this film.
I am henceforth abandoning all efforts to defend Prometheus or otherwise discern any kind of meaning from it. There are no answers here. It's just a collection of disjointed, meaningless stage props tangled together by an otherwise gifted director. I listened to about a quarter of Scott's commentary but lost interest after several minutes of him verbally masturbating to the orb-mapping things.
Piss on this movie. At this point I'm kind of hoping they don't make another; especially if that hack Lindelof is involved.
That's great. I will enjoy my blu ray even more when it's seasoned with your tears.
I'm curious to see this commentary now but I have no interest in handing over more money to that unfortunate mess of a movie.
No no. Ridley Scott is long lost to us. His career has been uneven enough to convince me that while the man can put together a decent composition, but has absolutely no mind for narrative. Unlike with other directors, the quality of his films seems to be at the mercy of his writers. Unfortunately for Prometheus.
He also can't direct action.
Cameron too. He'll only make Avatar movies (and documentaries) from now on.
(I still haven't seen it).
Say what you want about Avatar, but at least it had a logical plot.
I know it's against the grain to say that you liked it, but I liked it. It was beautiful to watch, The story felt fine to me, although sometimes it felt like too much of a nod to 2001. I'm not a huge Alien/Aliens nerd, so maybe that makes a difference?
Really, Athryn? I mean, I assume you thought about the story both during the film and after it was over.
It's just not a good film. Some of it was beautiful to watch, but a lot of it was just dumb. Having the ships ram each other was dumb. Having the climactic meeting between humans and the engineers culminate in an ass whupping was dumb.
When I was a kid I saved up and bought all the first run of Masters of the Universe toys, which I enjoyed for about 1 or 2 months before I realized they were retarded toys for babies. Before giving them away I enacted The Last Master of the Universe Saga. It culminated in Skeletor slaying Teela after she sacrificed herself by leaping in front of Skeletor's sword when he threw it at He-Man. He-Man, his eyes soaked with tears, yanked the sword from her lifeless corpse after awkwardly kissing her in that way only plastic toys (and Sylvester Stallone in Rambo) can achieve, combined it with his sword and swung the ubersword so fuckin' hard it knocked Castle Greyskull over and flattened Skeletor, its magic keeping Skeletor in an eternal state of excruciating pain, or something.
When I saw the end of Prometheus, I sat agape because Lindelhof had stolen my all my ideas.
Alright I'm mostly kidding about the agape part. But not the badass final act of The Last MotU Saga. That shit was truth, homey. Also there are worse bad films to like than Prometheus. I like 2001 and it's dull as dogshit.
Avatar was perfectly decent. The message was delivered with the subtle grace of an iron mallet but it's James Cameron we're talking about here. Subtle isn't his thing. I wouldn't have wanted to see him direct the original Alien but he was a perfect match for its action-focused sequel. Avatar is fine as a silly popcorn movie, if a bit long (which, unlike subtlety, is a Cameron thing).
Prometheus, on the other hand, was saddled with a script that was a muddled mess. The best we could hope for -- and here Scott delivered -- was a visual treat to distract from its incoherent attempt at being meaningful.
Now we're left with the following possibilities regarding the Alien films:
1. A sequel to Prometheus. This seems reasonably likely to happen. And hey, sometimes sequels deliver more than the original (the Wikipedia article on the film offers this: On August 1, 2012, it was confirmed that Fox was pursuing a sequel with Scott, Rapace, and Fassbender involved, and was talking to new writers in case Lindelof does not return. The film would be scheduled for a release no earlier than 2014.)
2. Another Aliens vs. Predator movie. I see no way this could be good. Probably won't happen if the Prometheus sequel goes ahead.
3. A sequel to Alien Resurrection. I see no way this could be good. Or would ever happen, so there's that, at least.
4. The poor abused Alien franchise will finally be put to rest. This is probably the least likely scenario.
5. Someone makes a spiritual successor that equals or exceeds the original Alien. Possibly less likely than #4 but I'll call it a draw.
EDIT: Ha, I thought Athryn was referring to Avatar, since sinnick had mentioned it in the post before hers.
So, no Battle Angel?
Movie was ok. Tony Scott should have really been in on it, but after I heard about his death... damn. I thought the actors were good, if a few a bit forced. Charlize Theron should have played a Terminator in #3, because good lord that woman pulled off the steely ice corp representative really well in this. Michael Fassbender did an amazing job with David. Not much else to say except that the story just should have made any goddamn sense at all and not try to attempt callouts to the earlier Alien movies.
Also, the old suit/makeup on Guy Pearce was just fucked up and weird. Don't do that.
I watched this over the weekend. It is such a visually stunning movie that it distracts you from so much of the stupidity.
The original script as re-written by Lindelof had added the notion of a much more prominent role for the inside of Weyland's head in VR, where the android and him would communicate in order to make clear not only the old man's role in re-centering priorities (ie: why is Rapace's character being put on ice instead of being the center of their concerns? Because David's experiment has made it clear that the goo itself is not the key to their problem, and it's the living engineer who is the focus now) but to further clarify David's mechanistic logic with respect to his creators and their quest. That's where the young Weyland would have been prominent.
But (and I haven't gotten to the director commentary yet, just the writers) I think they realized the setting was the strongest component of the film both in terms of the ship and the planet, and apart from the intro decided no further breaks were in order. The original script also had an "Isabella's jewels" moment at the start where the two archeologists make their case to old Weyland on earth, which was cut in favor of the on-ship briefing.
While Pearce's makeup is a bit distracting, it also became clear that a fair bit in the script especially near the end was modified to give Theron's character more screen time and more of a pivotal role; this sounds like they were trying to make more use of her character but it could also have been meta-negotiation based on her being capable of a certain amount of leverage. And, of course, looking fab in that suit. One of the original versions had the geologist returning with only vengeance in mind, fixated on her, and killing her in his diseased wrath.
Also, Theron's expansion ended up dovetailing with attempts to flesh out the Idris Elba character, who was central in virtually every script and made more prominent by the near-universal love for the actor's performance. The deleted scenes have an alternate rendition of some of their conversations, and while they made better choices with the final cut in this respect I still think they were blinded a bit by star power.
Based on that quote, it really sounds like Cameron is a DM and Avatar is his homebrewed world. Which is exactly what he sounded like back when he came out at the Ubisoft E3 press conference and started talking about Avatar.
His mouth says yes, but his eyes say no.
Alan Dunkin on Qt3 got the DVD/Blu-Ray and watched the deleted scenes:
I find it weird they left out that conversation with Weyland and the Engineer, seems pretty important.
The deleted scenes add quite a bit if not as much as the writer commentary, although I haven't seen the director commentary yet so I'm not done yet. I don't agree with Shinjin's assessment of the Lindelof-Spaihts divide, as I think they both had really good and really terrible contributions to the script, and in general I'm much happier with where Scott and Lindelof ended up focusing than with the straight Alien prequel that Spaihts was commissioned to produce. That's certainly the movie many other people wanted to see, just not me.
The conversation with the Engineer was cut out because (as Lindelof does a great job of explaining) there was no way to do it without making the whole thing ridiculous fake language yammering, and indeed they decided on other ways besides direct exposition in that scene to get their points across. I really like the transition from gentle to violent in that sequence, as the caress turns into a decapitation, so I'm glad that remained the focus of the final cut.
The biologist finding the worm scene was an unfortunate cut, as I think most of us were left wondering why no one commented on the worms underfoot in that scene and it establishes a connection and part of his character with relation to his later Steve Irwinning.
Fiefield's return is mostly enhanced in terms of why it happens in the writer commentary, as it becomes clear that while he is mutated he is definitely self-motivated outside of the goo to return and avenge the shitty turn his life has taken. Specifically, a version of the script had him coming back and killing Theron, who he held most responsible.
The asshole boyfriend conversation was a different spin, iirc a holdover from when Dr. Boyfriend was a much older man than Dr. Girlfriend but also connected to the Spaihts script where he would have been facehugged in the original incursion to the planet and then chestburst in mid-whoopie. Which sounded awful to me, but there you go. In any case, for the final goo-oriented infection they decided they wanted a more affectionate relationship between the two in that conversation, and I'd say the main false note that snuck through was the spazzing out about not being able to have kids. Although to be fair the original asshole version had him spazzing out about his unrequited militant atheism.
You know, taken in the context that the Engineer wakes up to discover that (from what he can tell) his kind's creation (Man) is just a bunch of selfish narrow-minded assholes kind of makes it all make sense.
But to immediately kill them on discovering that?
That's what advanced species do, obviously.
The whole point is that advanced doesn't automatically mean "enlightened in ways that are compatible with human ethics". It *could*, and with the limited information in the movie could still mean that, but the two are not intrinsically tied.
There are a lot of things tied into that, but actually Lindelof's comparison is to a human in cryo being awoken by a bunch of chimps. Obviously setting aside that chimps are really strong, what he meant was that the initial transgression was them being there at all; them being there and represented by old man Weyland and his droid is a tiny detail in comparison.
I'll point out that my post was essentially a joke post but yeah, that makes sense.
Saw this last night and enjoyed a lot. The plot was indeed confusing and ambiguous, but that didn't bother me at all. Much of the movie felt very allegorical, which was an interesting contrast to the hard-sci-fi visuals. I like the recurring theme of meeting one's maker and being unable to even understand it. David was an awesome character; I like that the movie leaves unanswered whether or not he is conscious and self motivated, or wholly the pawn of his creator.
Anyway, I have nothing to add to the thread really. Really enjoyed it, and its the first Scott movie I've enjoyed in a long time.
I spent the entire movie going O_o "OMG WTF NOBODY WOULD DO THAT!"
Why is the first interplanetary contact mission crewed by some of the most blue collar rejects the UK could offer? Also, why is everyone Scottish? Scotland has a space program? Why would the crew have NO CLUE where they were going? Seriously? You have a bunch of guys on a spaceship and they get their mission briefing as they arrive at their previously unknown destination? Are you shitting me?
Hey, let's just rip our helmets off and breathe deeply cuz there's air here. Sure, we don't know what sort of alien microbes we'll be huffing, but that shouldn't matter. Why bother sending in a remote drone to look around first, or maybe the artificial man... let's have all the humans just stroll over there. Hey, we found a 2000 year old mummified alien head. Let's hook up some jumper cables to it and see if it reanimates.
At some point I decided that the movie was checking off Aliens tropes, so I started playing along.
X Crew sent to an alien world by the company, and has no idea why they're there.
X Strong female character doesn't want to let infected guy on the ship
X Man orally violated by alien
X Blue collar crew must state they're only in it for the money, and want their bonus for anything the company discovers
X Android is really behind the whole thing
X Android wants to put infected person in hypersleep to return the creature to earth
X Android has head ripped off, and then provides helpful information plus gurgles the moral to the story
X Ash, Bishop, Call... David. Yep, the android names progress alphabetically.
X Space ship destroyed attempting to stop the creature from getting to Earth.
X Female sole-survivor takes off alone in a ship
I could do this all day, really.
Strange omission of there being no cat aboard the ship.
I think the LOST writers should be run out of the business. I don't enjoy 5 seasons of being strung along, getting 3 new questions as the answer to each previous question and never having anything resolved. I gave up on that show right after the hatch, because it was obvious they were just making that shit up as it went along. Battlestar Galactica pulled the same tricks in season 3-4 and lost me too. Now this style is headed into the cinema, and I again thoroughly hate it.
How do you service the checklist above, while still only answering questions with more questions? Well, you have to make a movie where random and nonsensical shit happens, and people do things that people simply wouldn't do. Then when I'm wondering why the fuck anybody would have done that, you have them do more inept things. At the end, I'm left wondering why this movie is completely illogical yet still manages to check all the boxes required. Really, those waypoints are the only thing that kept the story intelligible in any way.
Lindelof is the worst sort of hack - one who destroys a valuable property because he wants to make it about himself and what a boy wonder he is. Die in a fire.
I saw this a second time with a friend who didn't see it in theaters.
It still sucked fucking meatballs.
It's good stuff, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was interesting revisiting it through the writers/director commentaries, as it's clear that the three participating at that level had very different artistic purposes for the movie and you can see what aspects of the movie most inherited those goals. The actors, unfortunately, still remain a bit of a cypher but they are nowhere near as central to my enjoyment of it.
I just saw this last week. While I couldn't agree more with Aszurom's post, this is one time where it was pretty useful to me to have been massively spoiled in advance. I knew all of those things (and others, like the casual dismissal of the well-documented evolutionary history of life on earth) would bug the hell out of me, but I like Ridley Scott and I like this franchise. So I told myself, "Self, just pretend that all of the 'humans' are actually androids, but unlike David, they don't know it. They're all early-alpha androids with tons of bugs in their AI". In other words, don't think of this as a science fiction movie about first contact... think of it as a fantasy movie about poorly-programmed androids undergoing some kind of Kobayashi Maru test.
And once I did that, I was able to just relax and enjoy the fantastic visuals. It's really a very striking movie, with more than its share of strange and memorable beauty. I might have liked it even more if I had just turned the sound off while watching it.
Actually I do have one thing to say about the movie. Obviously the central reference in the movie is to the myth of Prometheus, the titan who stole fire from the Olympian gods and gave it to humans (or so I remember it--it's been a long time since social studies). Titans were huge beings, so it seems straightforward that the giant aliens in this movie are supposed to take the role of titans. The "stolen fire" also seems to map in a straightforward way to the cargo of the ship. I doubt even detractors of the movie would deny that obvious parallel.
But if that's the case, then the giant aliens didn't make the "cargo", they stole it from someone else. If so, who did they steal it from? The movie doesn't say, and I'm glad that it does not.
Scott's discussion of the movie in the special features seems to be half red herrings and half technique, at times. FWIW, he describes this image as a rendition of a humanoid autopsy or possibly a vivisection in an advanced stage of experimentation.
It still makes the most sense to me as the equivalent of a Biohazard symbol or as a descriptor in a mixture of science and ritual, but there you go.
LK and others have convinced me that the commentaries would make for some very intriguing listening, as they almost always do, but I can't help but feel that towards the latter third I will be wishing I could will Scott into choking Lindelof to death. I was previously excited for the director's cut, but that has been tempered by over-promises under-delivered, it seems.
Well, I guess that means someone (English speaker only) has to watch the film, again, in Spanish to determine whether it is actually better without an understanding of the dialogue. Also, comically bad dubbing might help
Unless you meant that in a 2001 sort of sense, where the visuals are just gorgeous pieces of artwork and the sound is completely off. In which case we need to find someone who hasn't been tainted by this mess by either crowd but still loved the ALIEN series. Any suggestions? - aside from any recently recovered coma patients.
The Prometheus reference by my reckoning is happening on a number of levels. Weyland wants the secret of immortality from his creators, and his creators may not be the top of their chain of creation either as you bring up. In addition, it's unclear what actually happened at that facility that left them barring the others from the navigation room; likely there was some kind of incident with the goo (as the infected head suggests), but it's less obvious what kind of incident would lead to that unusual configuration of corpses, near-survivors, and the one living engineer in his cryochamber.
I would not challenge detractors of the film to what they are willing to deny, though, as the appetite for that is seemingly limitless.
Good lord I hated that scene.
"Don't come any closer, or I'll shoot you! I'm a business executive who's never killed anyone, but for some reason I'll refuse to listen to anything anyone is saying!"
"I infected myself through my own stupidity! I'm scared of what I might have contracted, so I haven't told anyone about it! But now I'm going to stumble towards you and make you shoot me so that I don't infect anyone else! It's noble!"
Logical Audience Member
It's not fucking noble, it's a stupid cliched movie scene with zero tension that makes no sense for either of your characters.
Oh, sinnick, you and your seemingly limitless appetite for detraction!
Don't forget, that guy was supposed to be a scientist. Not some blue-collar trucker like the characters in Alien. A scientist.
Use of "redshirt" continues to be an effective means of sorting comments on the movie into different bins.
He's an archeologist. I'm not sure that counters whatever your italics are implying, but it's sometimes useful to keep the specifics in mind.
On a different but related note, the other guy generically referred to as a scientist or as a biologist at different times was actually an entomologist according to Ridley Scott, and a scene with him initially discovering the "earthworms" was cut for pacing.
Maybe he got his degree through an online (er, holographic) course.
EDIT: Added in quote for context because LK is apparently watching this thread in order to jump in with snark on a moment's notice if anyone dare besmirch the name of PROMETHEUS.
Aww, come on, man. You know I agree with you on the merits of this film more than I do with Bill on the demerits, but the fact that you are so willing to dismiss the detractor's comments, and even comments by people who are pointing out sequences of the film that they thought were legitimately and logically stupid, is beginning to make this look like a fremenesque crusade. Yeah, the hyperbole against the film sucks, because it didn't fuck my dog or anything, but a bullet-pointed list of all the ways Lindelof lazily copped a feel of the good parts of the Alien series and discussing the (lack of) motivations of the characters is a few steps up from six months ago.
Hunky redshirt was infected by David, remember? David put goop into the guy's booze, presumably at the request of Wetland who would have wanted to know the effect of the goop on human subjects.
Also how do you know Theron had never killed anyone and was just a business executive? The movie certainly never says that.
Right, as opposed to all the people who jumped on me for daring to like it! Everyone in this thread is a little bit guilty of something, IMO.
Separate names with a comma.