June 11, 2012

Prometheus (2012)

(aka The Prologue)
Release Date: In theaters now.
Country: USA
Written by: Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts.
Directed by: Ridley Scott.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce.

In 1979, Alien was released to mixed critical reviews. In 1982, Blade Runner flopped. Today, both movies are considered seminal works of Science Fiction, and they changed the way genre movies were made in many ways.

I mention all of this because Prometheus definitely seems to be polarizing audiences and critics alike, much in the same way.

This movie is so... complex, I suppose, that we can't talk about certain things beyond this point without diving into SPOILER TERRITORY. This movie, love it or hate it, will spawn plenty of discussion, and there are just some things we can't leave unsaid at this point. It would be impossible to fully dissect and discuss the movie and its themes in a simple review like this, but we will try to cover the important bits.


Way before the Nostromo found LV-426 and the Weyland-Yutani Corp. decided that colonizing it was a grand idea, the Prometheus was sent on a trillion dollar expedition to LV-223 to meet their makers... literally!

A small crew of scientists believe that they have found the "Engineers" of human life via cave drawings, and decide that it's a good idea to go and seek them out, because they obviously want to meet us. Long story short, they make the trip to the distant planet of the Gods, find a bunch of dead space jockeys and a shitload of Black Goo that fucks everything up, and they end up realizing that they just should have stayed home.

"My God, we were so wrong..."
Prometheus is a gorgeous movie to behold, with over 1300+ FX shots and some set pieces that will amaze. We were immediately sucked into the world and enjoyed every minute its visceral experience. Ridley Scott knows how to craft a movie, both visually and aesthetically, and he's done so here in his usual good fashion. Prometheus feels more like Blade Runner than an Alien film in that its themes are buried in quiet subtext, and left for us to suss out on our own. Not much is blatantly given to us with this movie, and we're fine with that.

Story-wise we enjoyed the movie too, though a lot of fans seem to be of the opinion that while it all looked great, that the narrative was a mess full of unanswered questions and messy plot holes. The characters were weak in some ways and parts of the script were fairly vague... and we're not understanding all of the backlash.

Sure, we had questions that went unanswered, and others that we haven't quite reasoned out the answers to yet, but most of it was there for the taking, if you knew what to look for (at least we think so.)

"A king has his reign, and then he dies. It's inevitable."
We'd be remiss if we didn't give some love to Michael Fassbender here. Sure, it seems as if the whole world is all up on his acting dick lately, singing his praises as one of the best actors around, but that's because he really is. Here, he plays David magnificently, and in a quiet and subdued way, he carries the movie.

We're big fans of Idris Elba here at THC, so aside from the odd accent he had going on, he was great to watch too. That guy is seriously underused in Hollywood, and we hope that changes soon. Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace were good here as well, although it's interesting to note that Theron's heartless bitch of a character was more appealing to us than Rapace's misguided good girl. More on that issue later.

He's so curious!
There were definitely nods to Alien and Aliens to be found here as well; we even got a "we are leaving!" at one point which made us smirk. This movie operates on a different level than the others that it predates though; this is the mythology of the Alien stories (that so many have come to love over the years) unfolding before our eyes on screen. It's the cause to the later movie's effects. It is precursor more so than prequel. Still, we get versions of face-huggers, xenomorphs, chest-bursters, space jockeys... there are definitely connectors to the other films to be found here.

Prometheus has landed.
What you have to understand about Prometheus, is that it is not an Alien film. It is a precursor to the world of the Alien films, and a part of their continuum, but precursor is the key word here. This movie is about creation and destruction. It's about insignificance and grandeur. It's about evolution, which we actually see happening before our eyes throughout the film, in different ways and on different scales; we see an Engineer on some planet (perhaps Earth) ingest a black goo which causes him to break down and reform on a molecular level, and the dispersal of his new DNA essentially creating life as we know it; we see a worm become a space cobra, which then jams itself down one of the scientist's throats, which then forces him to evolve; we see a single drop of a black genetic goo begin to mutate a man who then has sex with a woman, thus impregnating her, which leads her to "give birth" to a creature which ends up besting the Engineer which created its "mother"... it's some pretty crazy circle of life type of shit going on here.

Space Cobra!
David the robot illustrates and continually reinforces the point of the movie pretty well: Why did the Engineers create us? Because they could. Why did we create Synthetic life like David? Because we could. Why do they want us dead after going to the trouble of creating us? I don't know, maybe we disappointed them? Why do we destroy the things that we create? Because it's in our nature.

When meeting the Humans that it created, the Engineer is enraged to find that they themselves have engineered a life form, and so it rips the head off of what it most likely considers an abomination. Is it because we created synthetic life that was more efficient than we are, and the Engineer was jealous that did it better? Who knows, but it sounds reasonable to us.

Evolution isn't perfect and precise, and for every one being that evolves successfully, there are scores that do not. One of the best things about this movie is that we get to see evolution succeed and fail, sometimes both at once. It's an imperfect science, as illustrated here, and in that fact we get the Engineers purpose.

All of it, courtesy of the Black Goo, of course.

"Big things have small beginnings"
The main flaw we had with Prometheus was its characters, and particularly Noomi Rapace's Shaw. Shaw pretty much embodies the misguided notion that we humans need the answers to everything, or else life is nothing but an empty, pointless void. She believes that not only did some crazy Space Gods create us, but that they left crude cave drawings behind for us to find, as an invitation to come and find them. She doesn't stop to think that maybe our creators don't want to meet us, or that doing so could shift the balance of creation in terrible ways. She doesn't even once consider that the drawings were a warning and not an invitation. She believes, she wants, but she never gets.

Even after everyone around her dies, including her true love, she still has to know "why?" As an illustration of the foolish nature of human curiosity, and the fact that we believe ourselves to be above all other life forms, she is frustratingly accurate. She even still insists on wearing her cross when she all but knows that there's probably no point behind it anymore. Why? That's how we're built.

"How far would you go to get your answers?"
The only one who makes much sense here is David. The robot basically tells her that the "why" of it all is irrelevant, but what does he know, he's just a construct that we made. Then again, what do we know, were just constructs of a different sort, that the Engineers made.

I cant help but think that the Engineers are just constructs that a higher life-form made for their own purpose, and I am truly curious at what that could mean. The possibilities are endless. Then again, maybe my human mind isn't made for understanding such concepts. I still want to know though. I feel like I need to know.

Like David said though, it really is irrelevant.

"Oh God! I can see forever!"
The Internets are filled with a crazy buzz of questions about this movie that seem to have no answers. Are the answers there in the film, waiting for us to just open our eyes and comprehend them? Maybe. Did Ridley Scott half-ass this movie and leave us in the dark on purpose, or even by accident? Maybe, but we doubt it. We personally think that Prometheus is one of those movies that gives us most of the dots we need to be able to see the whole picture, but it's up to us to connect them.

Here are our answers to the questions that everyone seems to have. We may be 100% wrong with all of them, but we don't think we are. Then again we're human, what do we know:

-It is a prequel. Not directly, but it is related.

-The Greek Myth of the Titan Prometheus explains a lot about the movie.

-The Black Goo seems to be a genetic mutagen that affects different beings in different ways, though it does evolve whatever it touches. Maybe it's the physical essence of evolution?

-The Engineers create and destroy as they see fit, just like their human creations do.

-The Engineer at the beginning was essentially giving birth to human life.

-David is the key to answering most of the movies questions.

-David put the Black Goo in the Holloway's drink to see its effect; maybe it was a test to see if it would keep Weyland alive, or maybe just to see what it would do. Either way, a test.

-Janek either learns (in a deleted scene that we weren't shown) that the planet is a weapons dump of sorts, or he pieces it together because he has a brain and experience with such things. I assumed the same thing that he did before he came to that conclusion on screen, and I'm just a guy watching a movie. Weapons dump or not, it's obvious that the planet was a way-station or storage facility of some sort.

-Maybe the Engineers decided to destroy the earth because we disappointed them, or they wanted to try something new. They are Gods or God-Like creatures after all, can we even hope to comprehend their machinations enough to understand them?

-Why did the Engineer kill everyone towards the end? Because "Fuck you, I made you, you don't wake me up from my nap and question me!" That's why.

-Also, he rips David's head off because he's engaged that his creations created something that dared address him, or that they created a life form that was better than the one that he did. Gods are vain. At least that makes a lot of sense to us.

-Being a Trillionaire probably made Weyland feel as if he were a God in his own right, hence him wanting to meet other Gods and bargain for some immortality. Vanity and entitlement.

-While we're on the subject of Weyland here, why was Guy Pearce in this movie? We're guessing a lot of his part hit the cutting room floor, and that we'll see it somewhere down the road, but as it stands now, Weyland/Pearce's parts seemed choppy and out of place. There just has to be more.

-It seems as if the whole movie is a cautionary tale about lesser beings reaching too high above themselves and paying the price for it. Like Icarus.

-There are also, like it or not, some Religious undertones (and maybe even commentary) present here. It's fitting, since Shaw is motivated almost solely by faith and the need to know everything about life and creation.

-Hell, Shaw admitted herself that she was barren, and yet through the magic of the Black Goo, she finds herself preggers. Virgin birth, anyone?

-You really want a mind twister? Movies.com did an interview with Ridley Scott in which he had this to say regarding the Engineers and why they might want to destroy us: "But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, "Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it." Guess what? They crucified him."

-Remember that according to the Bible, God flooded the Earth once because people pissed him off too. It's really the same theme being explored here.

You should have had this thing map out an exit route for you!
We loved Prometheus, though it is fair to say that it may have left a bit too much open to interpretation for the person to fully embrace. It's as gorgeous as it is flawed, but for all of its flaws it is a smart movie that makes you think. I will really have to see this again, hopefully in an extended-cut form, before the truth about what this movie is or isn't truly sinks in, but as of right now we are still one of the lovers of this movie.

I personally think that the "missing answers" that most of the haters are complaining about are right there for us to see, but we have to look hard and interpret them as we will. That's something that I don't mind doing during a good movie. I can understand how some folks hate it though. Kinda sad.

Down the road this movie may become an A+ classic in our minds, but as of right now it's a solid B+. Either way, we need to see this one again now that our minds are totally hype and expectation free. You should go and see it too.


South Africa and Sweden sure know how to give us some hot chicks that can act. Also, France. A lot of them come from there too.


  1. Prometheus will be very interesting movie, I did not watch but after entire story I think this will very interesting great movie so I want to recommend to every visit watch this movie and I your fan of horror episodes then Are You Afraid Of The Dark is best show for you, you can buy DVD set from us with original and crystal clear print quality..

  2. I didn't have any questions during the movie or after it. Either I'm strange or it was just obvious. I have no idea what all the nerds are debating about.

    Someone brought up on Twitter (of all places), why did the alien start the computer with a flute? Well, it's all to do Pythagoreanism in case anyone asks again. I got it. I got the Greek myth references. There was nothing difficult in this movie at all.

    The only "problem", I had with the whole thing was that it was just "Alien" all over again but with better visuals and weaker characters. I liked Noomi, the rest were just there.

    It was a typical Summer movie albeit with an even bigger budget and a better director than most.

    By the way, you have a typo. You've written "they wanted to try something knew" instead of "new" in the paragraph about Janek. It happens. I didn't notice any missing scene though. I thought he explained why he knew it was a weapons facility since he was ex-military himself. It was good enough for me.

    As for Guy Pearce, I'm not sure if there was anything more to his role which was cut or not. He was only in "The Hurt Locker" for all of 5 minutes too. Maybe that's his gig now. He never was a "big" actor apart from in "L.A. Confidential" though.

  3. I see no typo, Dr Blood. You must have been really tired when you read this :)~

    Ridley Scott said he has a bunch of scenes and footage he left out, and he's notorious for "different versions", so I'm assuming on the Blu-ray we may get extra scenes or a different cut.

    Nice "L.A. Confidential" mention too. That is a great movie.

  4. I didn't HATE the movie movie but I didn't love it either.

    It was worth a watch but the plot holes and silly characters killed it slowly for me.

    Still buying the Blu ray for the collection.

    This list pretty much sums up what I found annoying in the film: http://www.prometheusforum.net/discussion/1572/problems-with-film-massive-spoilers/p1

  5. Finally! I can vent now! Kill the script writers! They massacred a beautifully made film.

    What the hell was that?! The Nostromo was some sort of mining vessel so different characters that do stupid things (not that many did!) were to be expected. But this was a corporate investment, with hand picked people! What idiot was in their HR department that choose a misanthropic geologist, a biologist that goes the other way when a life signal is found, two "doctors" that can't think outside their narrow belief system and seem to have no scientific method to their actions, and a heartless bitch that doesn't believe in the mission as the leader?! I mean, the only likeable and reasonable character here was the pilot! He fucked the chick and saved the world. Wahoo! The others were ridiculous!

    What kind of idiot does scientific research by "going over there"? They had flying balls that mapped everything, but they turned them on only after they went with their buggies over there? Two scientists just decide (in a confrontational "in your face" way nonetheless) to leave and they can't find the exit?! When the "babies" that mapped the cave belonged to one of them? A 3D interface that has squishy buttons and starts with a flute? Touch activated rocks? Extracting a foreign object from a male the same as a caesarian? Metal stitching?! Running around after your abdomen was pried open? Educated action women that run away from a rolling spaceship in the direction it is rolling?

    What exactly did make sense in this movie except the robot? My interpretation of the film is that people will always be idiots, not that much that they would play a cosmic game of life creation and destruction like the Engineers, but a lot more idiotic than our own creations. And probably the robots will be idiotic enough to make their own better creations that supersede them in every aspect.

    And you are wrong. The Engineer did not get mad because we created our own little creature, but because his mission was to destroy Earth. As I see it, he was "the goo guy", a mortal enemy and bitter adversary to "the Alien guy" and "the I will die to create DNA on a random planet guy" and the "I will be worshipped by a race of technological hunters that try to imitate our own silly games guy". When you are immortal, you play all kind of stupid games, especially if you are dumber than humans.

  6. It's interesting reading, this review, then reading the comments here; it's a great microcosm of the opinions strewn around the internet (that generally, I try to avoid). I'm not going into great detail, but I did want make mention of two key issues that haven't really been touched on. I’ll be the first to admit that I never understood the philosophical undertones of Blade Runner, and this is probably one of the reasons that I never much cared for it. Contrary to this, I have many fond memories of the Alien series and their effect on the world of cinema. In all honesty Prometheus is now my favourite Ridley Scott film, it’s a masterpiece, and I’m sure that much like its predecessors it will eventually be rightly placed among the cinema greats.
    I understand that a number of critics were not particularly inviting of the narrative quality of this film, nor were there fans of every character and their scripts. Perhaps I am not as nit-picking because I’m surrounded by it every day, however, if it were my job or hobby, I probably would be just as particular about these components. I however found the narrative elements of this film engaging, vibrant and perplexing, not in the sense that I noticed plot holes, but more that this film allowed for and in fact encouraged discussion, it appeals to contemplation (an attribute that too few of films have, or execute well). In relation to the script, I thought that characters elicited just enough information to point you in the right direction, but not enough that they out-rightly stated what was happening like an announcer at the races. Nothing about this movie really missed with me, I felt like the script complementing the narrative that supported the visual imagery (I am a huge fan of Giger) that summated in an inherent, yet subtlety profound perspective of the existential question of ‘why?’.
    Now, with that first (almost masturbatory) account of the movie as a whole, I’d like to touch on the broader implications of the finale of 'Prometheus'. Perhaps I was dumbstruck, in awe of its intrinsic beauty, but the final scenes of this movie (to me), managed to execute a scenario where the sequel to this film could take place in two entirely different contexts. On one hand, we could delve further into the depths, chasing the Engineers, while the other could have us hurtling back to Earth. Doesn't anyone else find this intriguing? I'd be lying if I said I had seen another movie that manages to ask these two basic epistemological questions of human origin in so short a time. To pertain to the notion of our history or to our future, with such a succinct and beautiful answer was incredible: We just don't have an answer, Bravo, Scott.

    Honestly, I understand if others wanted to look at this movie as a disappointment, as a lot of people always will, but from someone who wouldn’t consider themselves a cinephile, but loves anything that appeals to these sort of issues (Martyrs anyone?); this movie was incredible. Perhaps this is because I saw some metaphysical quality to the film, or more likely that I went in without expecting anything more than a good movie, but this is going to be a strong contender for my 2012 list.

  7. Oh, I also wanted to mention that what we see in the movie isn't evolution, it's better described as viral mutation. Evolution would pertain to the principles of genetic-environment interaction, wherein phenotypical features would relate to an adaptation to the environment, which is irrelevant in the context of this movie.
    Not that this is a fault on THC's behalf, it's all over the internet. And coming from six months of way too much research into this area (as a substrate to biopsychological research), I have a compulsive need to correct it.

  8. Interesting points as always, Siderite. I do agree that he wasn't happy due to the whole "Destroy Earth" thing, and all of its implications, but I still think that as a "Higher" life form, it was definitely incensed that a lower life form of its creation and its subsequent creation, dared to visit/disturb/address it.

    It's the same parallel that Ripley has with Androids in the other Alien films; she's mistrustful of them because of Ash, and she also has a "I'm your better" attitude towards them, in a sense.

  9. Well said on all counts, N. Worhl.

    I do agree about the viral mutation aspect of your argument, but I also do think that the mutation lends itself to the theme of evolution throughout the movie. Just like the Engineers were not gods, but they may as well be in our eyes, for the Godlike things that they can and have done.

    You summed it all up perfectly with "Bravo, Scott."

  10. To me it is very simple: a good movie (at least a sci-fi one) suspends your disbelief and draws you into the story. You can't be drawn into a story that you can't possibly believe (or in some cases, understand). On that latter point I get why some people would dumb down the story, but great care must be taken on the former: one needs to believe what happens there or at least accept it as a different universe with different rules, like Star Trek or Narnia.

    In Prometheus we are sold on something that is real, with viral fake TED talks and lots of reality markers, like Charlize's character. She is the epitome of corporate management: cold, focused, disciplined, keeping things on track.

    I didn't not dislike the movie, I disliked that in the middle of something that could and should have been great there was a total disregard of hard science, psychology and character development.

    Wouldn't it be grand if the sequel to Prometheus would be Naomi Rapace waking up in an escape capsule, like Sigourney Weaver, only to have dreamed the whole thing? Maybe she could even meet God, while at it, and realize it was his doing all along. Or maybe she was dying and didn't realize it until the end of the film. Or maybe the script was just awful! Occam's razor.

  11. I liked it & look forward to seeing an extended cut on bu-ray.
    I too thought the whole place looked like an ammo dump & figured that waking up the big blue feller would be a bad idea. Why would you want to meet the folks behind the nightmares in that place, why on earth would you presume they would want 'to chat'? And btw the hot bitches running away from the rolling space-ship should have been able to figure out that a 90 degree turn would've got them out of strife. Oh and i thought the sticky black shit was a bio-weapon rather than an evolutionary tool.