Friday Ephemera
Sudden Weight Gain

Why Prometheus is Inexcusably Bad

Noomi Rapace tries to escape from a really shit film.

Spectacular digital effects, of which there are plenty in Prometheus, are complicated, time-consuming and expensive. Likewise, impressive sets and cinematic hardware cost money. Orchestral scores and booming sound design aren’t cheap either. Had Ridley Scott dropped the ball in these departments, it might at least have been understandable, given the number of people to be coordinated and the sums of money involved. But the script, on which everything else in a film has to hang, is one of the cheapest parts to get right. It typically involves a handful of people, not hundreds of technicians racing against the clock. Not getting the basic story and dialogue presentable, or even close to presentable, is much harder to excuse. 

And yes, this applies to any number of other films. 

Update:  The particulars of its badness can be found in the comments. Spoilers, obviously.



Oh dear. I've just booked tickets for tonight.



You may want to lower your expectations, then. I saw it with an excited first-night audience. There was a good atmosphere and the punters were obviously expecting good things. Two hours later, not so much. I believe the word is vibeslayer.

I’d read some mixed reviews but was still hoping for the best. Then, about ten minutes or so in, there’s a really naff line of dialogue – so unconvincing and cack-handed it practically throws you out of the film - and it soon becomes obvious the bad reviews were accurate. There’s a distracting inconsistency – a mix of neat visual details and really clumsy scripting. (A bizarre flirtation scene-cum-minor plot device looks like it was wheeled in from an altogether different film.) Aside from Fassbender’s effete android, there are no characters to be engaged by, let alone root for. There’s no suspense, no plausibility (even on its own terms) and therefore no drama. The film doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it’s meant to be. It’s all vistas and solemnity one minute, inane trashiness the next. It was one of the most disappointing trips to the cinema in quite some time.

Elephants, Gerald

After seeing Scott's turkey last night, this seemed somehow appropriate... (h/t rdbrewer at Ace)

carbon based lifeform

this seemed somehow appropriate...

Now that's a movie.


I woke up this morning having forgotten I'd been to the cinema, you're rekindled my disappointment. Thanks.


er, you've not you're, damn iPad


The big scary monster was a giant damp squid, sums it up.


By the end, I’d pretty much had my fill of tentacle fellatio and vagina dentata.


I didn't think it was that bad. It's just average. It's disappointing because of hype and expectations.


“It’s disappointing because of hype and expectations.”

Well, the viral ‘teaser’ ads were much more intriguing than the actual film. But it’s not unreasonable to expect something better. Thirty years is plenty of time to write a decent story and, you know, characters.

sackcloth and ashes

Sounds like I'll give this a miss.

My last cinema visit was to see 'The Raid'. It was made for $1m, the cast were all unknowns (outside of Indonesia), and the end result was like a combination of the best of 'Ong Bak', 'Hard Boiled' and 'Assault on Precinct 13' (John Carpenter's orginal, not the remake).

It seems that Ridley Scott has forgotten how to make a film that's actually entertaining.



What surprised me was the shoddiness - the basics of telling an engaging story are either mishandled or not even attempted. The film affects some kind of cosmic seriousness but relies almost entirely on back-of-a-fag-packet writing. The characters are so thin at times they’re indistinguishable. I kept trying to remember which of them had just been offed and why I should care. Fassbender is good, but Noomi Rapace - Shaw, the nearest thing to a heroine - isn’t engaging or credible or defined as a character and yet we’re expected to root for her. The ‘C-section’ scene, supposedly a key moment, is shown in great detail then forgotten about as if it didn’t happen and didn’t matter. Likewise, Charlize Theron’s non-character Vickers grabs a flamethrower and kills Shaw’s lover, Mr Worm Eye, and this supposed trauma is also forgotten about by everyone two minutes later. Then Vickers is revealed as Weyland’s daughter and this has no dramatic consequences either. Eventually Vickers dies having served no discernible narrative purpose.

Weyland Senior’s ‘surprise’ appearance and motivation make no sense given what we (and he) already know about the ‘engineers’ and their black goo. His murder, minutes later, is dramatically irrelevant. It’s just something that happens for no particular reason, and about which nobody cares. None of these story details seems to have been prepared in advance; there’s no set-up. Things just happen. We’re told Shaw is tragically infertile and just five minutes later she’s about to ‘give birth’ to an alien parasite. So where’s the dramatic arc? There isn’t even time for grim irony. It’s hack work. And that’s the basic pattern of the film. None of these events goes anywhere or leads to anything much, so there’s no dramatic tension, no payoff. And then there’s the ham-fisted climax, in which the captain and Pointless Other Guy sacrifice Prometheus (and themselves) based on five seconds of shouting by Shaw. There’s no emotional build-up, no sense of heroism and no dramatic fallout when they perish. Just tons of CG rubble dropping out of the sky.

[ Added: ]

And speaking of the black goo…. Isn’t it odd that it just happens to induce whatever random gruesomeness the plot requires? It kills people horribly this way, or kills them horribly in some completely different way. It makes people disintegrate in seconds. It creates human life on primordial planets. It puts worms in people’s eyes. It’s sexually transmissible. And it makes infertile women pregnant and ready to ‘give birth’ in less than 10 hours (and then recover from major abdominal surgery in minutes). It’s miracle goo. Deus ex machina in bitumen form.

sackcloth and ashes

Sounds like a reminder of what 'Public Enemy' once said.

'Don't believe the hype'.


So it's basically live-action hentai.

Exactly what the world needs. ::retch::


That's a shame, I was looking forward to this on DVD. I don't bother much with the cinema any more - too expensive, no subtitles and full of popcorn-munching teenagers and adults behaving like teenagers.



“So it's basically live-action hentai.”

At times, pretty much. Though it does have some wonderful landscapes and cinematography too. So there’s that. But as a ‘serious’ science-fiction film it fails. The portentous speechifying is glib and doesn’t go anywhere, and doesn’t really gel with anything else that’s going on. (There’s one brief but interesting exchange between the android and whatshisname, Mr Worm Eye, about the motives of their respective creators, which you assume will have some bearing on the plot; but the idea isn’t developed at all. By the end of the film - which suggests a sequel - you’re still left waiting for some point - any point - to be made. There’s no sense of conclusion.) Even in terms of its own Alien mythology, seeding life, bioweapons and whatnot, the plot is opaque, erratic and confused. And as an expensive ‘people-in-peril’ movie – which would have been fine - it fails there too, because we simply don’t care about the characters, such as they are. Watching generic nonentities being engulfed by phallic squid-monsters – however meticulously rendered - is momentarily diverting, but not much more.

I can’t see it being a film that will leave an audience satisfied. Unless it’s an audience of tentacle porn enthusiasts.


There was a good atmosphere and the punters were obviously expecting good things. Two hours later, not so much. I believe the word is vibeslayer.

It was the same for us on Saturday. Happy people went in. Lots of pissed off people came out. If his name hadn't been in the credits I wouldn't have believed it was a Ridley Scott film.


Saw it last night and it's a wreck. At the end people walked out in silence.


“…it’s a wreck.”

I suppose what’s galling is that Prometheus affects a cerebral intent as if it were being bold and ambitious, but it’s a dumb, unsubtle film and very confused. It doesn’t display any narrative cleverness or original ideas; it just runs through pale variations of scenarios from Alien: Face-huggers – check; airlock argument – check; something nasty in the abdomen – check; decapitated android – check...

The standard of the script is, I think, best summed up by the scene in which two annoying crewmembers get stranded in the Big Creepy Structure. Someone on Prometheus detects a life sign that isn’t theirs, at which point the duo get even more scared and start running about. The message is clear: life sign equals very bad news. But seconds later, when the same characters actually encounter one of the face-hugging serpent-things rising up and baring its mouth parts, they walk towards it and treat it as if it were a hamster. And – surprise! - they’re attacked. It’s like a parody. Their behaviour makes no sense. It’s just a way for them to get killed off by being incredibly stupid and wildly inconsistent.

And don’t get me started on the whole ‘exploding head’ business…

Tim Newman

This is hardly something new: I've thought for at least a decade that decent scriptwriting has been absent from most Hollywood films, so much so the when a film comes along with a decent script it blows you away. It used to be that a script drove the film, but these days I think the lead actor and actress drive the film whilst the budget gets blown on their salaries, special effects, and supposedly exotic filming locations chosen mainly for the benefit of the cast and crew than the audience. If you want decent scripts go to TV, especially some of the HBO series.


Battleship was just as dumb, yet more fun.


I can’t see it being a film that will leave an audience satisfied. Unless it’s an audience of tentacle porn enthusiasts.

It's about as satisfying as Alien Resurrection. Yes, it's that bad. In fact, Alien Resurrection had fewer plot holes.


“In fact, Alien Resurrection had fewer plot holes.”

If we list all of the script’s plot-holes, madness will surely follow. But

Why is the ship’s captain – a marginal character with half a dozen lines and who’s absent for most of the major events – the one to figure out what the Big Creepy Structure is? Why does the ‘engineer’ pursue Shaw for miles and try to kill her instead of leaving in the ship loaded with bio-nastiness - other than to set up the final, rather comical fight scene? After the fight, why doesn’t Shaw use the stolen ship to return to – and warn – Earth? Why does she head off instead to find the home world of the ‘engineers’ – knowing they’re extremely aggressive, seemingly genocidal – armed only with a decapitated robot? And for that matter, why did the ‘engineers’ go to all the trouble of seeding human life, then return to leave maps for humans to find them at some later date, many thousands of years hence, only to devise absurdly convoluted biological weapons apparently to wipe humans out again? Don’t they have bombs?

And are we supposed to endure a sequel before any of this is explained?

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

This is hardly something new: I've thought for at least a decade that decent scriptwriting has been absent from most Hollywood films,

It never ceases to amaze me that the screenwriter of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls went on to become one of America's most popular movie critics.


Just read the plot on Wikipedia. Sounds a bit like an episode of the old Doctor Who, only with sex and a rather dumb 'creation of life on earth' theory.

(Oh hang on, there was that episode in which an exploding Jagaroth spaceship created life on earth. Hmmm... )

Nothing of the brutal simplicity of the original movie, sadly. Hollywood really should put a moratorium on sequels and prequels. They're destroying their credibility because of the success of a few cinematic classics.



“…the screenwriter of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls went on to become one of America’s most popular movie critics.”

Heh. Bizarre. I had no idea.


Hmmm ... prequel to popular space trilogy sucks ... sounds familiar.


I realized just how bad it was going to be when they decided not to take any weapons with them. They just volunteer to walk into this big scary cave on an unknown planet with nothing to defend themselves.

Because that's exactly what you'd do, right?


“Because that’s exactly what you’d do, right?”

Heh. That’s the nub of it. That’s what’s relied on repeatedly to nudge the story forwards. Characters suddenly behave in absurd and inexplicable ways, utterly at odds with what’s happening and what they supposedly know. And so a film that pretends to be highbrow insults the intelligence of its audience.

sackcloth and ashes

The reviewer in the 'Independent on Sunday' remarked that the last time a director produced a prequel to a stunningly successful 1970s sci-fi film, the end result was 'The Phantom Menace'.

Sounds like Scott didn't fuck up as badly as Lucas did with Jar-Jar Binks, but he was pretty close.


I've thought for at least a decade that decent scriptwriting has been absent from most Hollywood films

The suits can't tell a good script from a hole in the ground, but they can conceptualize Big Special Effects, because that's easily rendered as a line item.


Mr Potarto

Mrs Potarto and I have been re-watching episodes of Firefly this week. I love the way that series is written. I find myself repeatedly saying, "I love that bit, how could they cancel this?"

There seems to be no correlation between success of a movie or TV show and whether it's actually any good.


In fairness to Ridley Scott, he isn't actually a screenwriter; so it isn't like he's been thinking this story up for thirty years. The guys who actually did write 'Alien' are Dan O'Bannon and Walter Hill. The former hasn't written a movie since 1997 and the latter since 2002. The guys who wrote 'Prometheus' are the team behind 'The Darkest Hour' - which is why I haven't gone to see it.

I don't think the suits are wholly to blame for the lack of screen-writing talent. It is genuinely a very tough job and there is a limited pool of talent, which is why decent screen-writers are always booked up. If scripts have got worse, I suspect that has more to do with the declining state of culture. Certainly I read a lot of scripts that are best described as infantile.

Take the Brit List. It is a collection of the best non-Hollywood British scripts, so the suits should have no impact. Yet it is usually full of complete rubbish. Top of the list last year with 10 votes was 'The Call Up', which is one of the most boring, derivative, and badly written scripts I've read. The prior year included 'Jamaica Inn', which was almost literally gibberish. Screen-writing is simply hard.



Well, yes, I suppose the bulk of the shame should weigh on Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. (Lindelof described the film as “hard sci-fi” and I remember Spaihts giving plenty of lip-service to scientific realism, rigour, real-world constraints and such, but is there much evidence of this in the film?) But screenwriter or not, the director should have some discernment, yes? And it isn’t hard to spot the problems, or the fact there are so many of them. After many months of writing, going into production with a script that’s so tatty and uneven seems beyond careless. I mean, we’re talking about pretty basic and obvious stuff. Character continuity, plot logic, lines of dialogue so naff they throw you out of the film, etc. If a director doesn’t know exactly how to fix these things, surely he should at least have the discernment to say, “This isn’t up to scratch, there’s a big problem here. Fix it. Or find me someone who can.”

Otherwise, it suggests the director isn’t paying attention to the story he’s trying to tell. And you can’t fix a bad script with cinematography.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

The prior year included 'Jamaica Inn', which was almost literally gibberish. Screen-writing is simply hard.

You mean somebody's trying to remake the DuMaurier story/Hitchcock film?

Then again, they remade Psycho....


“Aaaiii!! The script… it won’t let go!”


I say we nuke the film from Orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Simen Thoresen

I saw this on Saturday as well, and after leaving the one-third filled theater, I had mixed impressions. I guess most of what I disliked, was my own feeling of disappointment.

I wanted to see the movie that I was promised by the fake TED-talk with Peter Weyland (, I wanted to see the movie where the interview with David ( fit in.

...and I also wanted to see the movie where the opening sequence made sense.

But alas. Instead I was treated to a visually stunning piece of disappointment. Someone should recut this and use the outdoors-scenes as a 20-minute music-video to something by Mike Oldfield. I'd probably want to play that on a big screen.




“I wanted to see the movie that I was promised by the fake TED-talk with Peter Weyland; I wanted to see the movie where the interview with David fit in.”

Exactly. The online-only teasers suggested a much more intriguing and focussed story than what was actually delivered. Maybe the cutting room floor is littered with other interesting material. Of course unused material - like promotional peripherals and non-existent sequels - doesn’t count.

A couple of days ago, I was eavesdropping on some diehard Ridley Scott enthusiasts defending Prometheus on the film’s official message boards. Apparently we’re supposed to wait for the possible sequel in two or three years and a second sequel after that in five or six years’ time, at which point, they insist, the current film will make sense. Some have already devised ingenious excuses: “There could be rival factions of ‘engineers’ with some trying to save humanity and some trying to wipe us out,” etc. Which is all well and good, but there’s no evidence for any of this in the actual film we’ve paid to see.

I can’t help thinking some fans have given the film much more thought than Ridley Scott and his writers did.


Oh great, got tickets for tomorrow night - thats £15.65 down the drain....



On the upside, it is a very handsome film. It’s just that by the final scenes you may be trying to chew through your own neck.

sackcloth and ashes

'The online-only teasers suggested a much more intriguing and focussed story than what was actually delivered'.

Judging by the entry in IMDB, the only good bits of dialogue come from the teaser trailers.


What an awfully conundrum-like shermozzle reading this thread has put me in cos I am still inclined to go and see if I can now salvage something from the savaging above...and I am inclined to believe what I've read.....

Oh god the indecision of it all....

I'm in particular turmoil after now finding out that the TED talk/Dave etc were only online teasers...Ta.....They promised an awful lot.....

Ah well.


"Apparently we’re supposed to wait for the possible sequel in two or three years and a second sequel after that in five or six years’ time, at which point, they insist, the current film will make sense."

The stunning end-of-trilogy twist is that the Engineers did not create humans but robots that thought they were human, to game a planned war against real humans. The reason the characters of Prometheus behaved like decapitated chickens that could vocalize is because of a computer virus introduced into their systems by the Engineers' rivals, the Hippies.

sackcloth and ashes

'Apparently we’re supposed to wait for the possible sequel in two or three years and a second sequel after that in five or six years’ time, at which point, they insist, the current film will make sense'.

I believe that there was a similar excuse for the 'Matrix' films.

A couple of nights back Film4 showed J. J. Abrams' reboot of 'Star Trek'. The film had several plot-holes you could fly the Enterprise through at warp speed, and I wondered why Kirk didn't mourn the death of his green-skinned girlfriend (massacred along with nearly all the rest of the Starfleet cadets in the middle of the film). But other than that I enjoyed it.

Reason? Script.



The Star Trek reboot has several plot-holes – films involving time-travel usually do – but it’s possible to enjoy the thing anyway and get swept along by the drama. But in Prometheus the plot-holes and erratic or pointless character arcs are continually undermining your engagement and any suspension of disbelief. It breaks a basic rule of fantasy films. However outlandish the premise, the film should at least follow its own internal logic. And Prometheus doesn’t even establish what the internal logic is.

For instance, it isn’t clear where or when the opening scene is set. Are we supposed to be on a pre-human Earth or some other world? Why does the ‘engineer’ have to sacrifice himself? And what about the apparently all-purpose black goo that disintegrates him and, it seems, mutates his DNA, thus seeding human(?) life? (Even though ‘engineer’ DNA is later described as identical to ours, despite their species’ rather dramatic physical differences.) Is it the same goo we see later on, and which serves whatever function each new gory death requires? That’s just the first scene. And the list goes on…


"I've thought for at least a decade that decent scriptwriting has been absent from most Hollywood films"

Someone, somewhere, was (wildly) speculating that Hollywood is merely a way for the mafia to launder money, unquestioningly pumping bundles of cash into uninteresting projects. Rubbish, of course, but you do wonder why so many movies turn out to be less than wonderful.


'I believe that there was a similar excuse for the 'Matrix' films.'

Oh yeah. Everyone's sleeping because they're all part of an energy system for robots because Neo is The One because... because... because... hey, look over there! A special effect!

At least in the 1970s they had the good grace to confine their pretentious science fiction to one movie, not trilogies and quartets.


Even though ‘engineer’ DNA is later described as identical to ours, despite their species’ rather dramatic physical differences.

If its identical DNA shouldn't we be ten foot tall super-strong albinos too?



Noomi Rapace is horrified to discover that the Narrative Continuity Unit has once again malfunctioned.

“Danger! Plot failure imminent. You have five minutes to reach minimum safe distance.”


Dammit, David, you keep telling us how awful the film is ... and then linking to pics of Noomi looking as cute as a cupcake in her space suit. That's just cruel...


The script was bollocks, and it sunk it completely. No tension. Not a serious Sci-Fi film, which of course we expected from Scott. Diluted by the studios? probably, but still... come on?!

I'm the admin for the Sci-fi-O-Rama blog btw...



“The script was bollocks, and it sunk it completely.”

Yep, and it’s a pity. Lots of talented people worked hard on the film and did good work - effects teams, production designers, some of the actors. Just not, it seems, the writers.

I think the phrase we’re looking for is “spoiling the ship for a ha’porth of tar.”

Ed Snack

Just sum it up with "your film is bad and you should feel bad", OK ?


@david - Ok it wasn't all that bad, but with some truely terrible moments you have to wonder how some of the rest of the team/crew didnt pipe up and say"naaa, thats not gunno work"

The Space Recorder springs to mind, Charlize Theron getting squashed, re-animating an alien head with a toothpick... What lingers most though is why none of the character seemed to know or furthermore care what was going on! The ghostly hologram effects, the the 5 minute cesarian, the zombie geologist, underline the general complete disinterest in discovering our ancient extraterrestrial ancestors...

I did like the last alien birth scene, and the bit where the "Space Jockey" gets into the flight control exo-skeleton...

A total let down, saved from oblivion by talented craftsmanship.


@david - Whilst I say I like those scenes, they were of course bollocks in the context of the rest of the film and the original. I actually can't remember a film with more glaring plotholes, reading the thread there were some I hadn't even noticed!

Simon king

If you come with a flute to start the engines up then you know it's a lemon.


Here is a good one you might of missed: In the 'waking the engineer' scene why was the 'Security Gaurd' armed only with a peashooter and not an SMG or Assault Rifle! a black widow catapult would of done more damage.....


Perhaps much of the plot ended up on the cutting room floor? Look out for the four hour directors cut.

I'm not sure I'd have the stomach to sit through it, just in case it was as big a disappointment.


If you come with a flute to start the engines up then you know it's a lemon.

Oh God, that f*cking flute...


Fantastic, David, thank you for all this. The disjointed, terrible script will no doubt get a slight smoothing over in the director's cut (hell, RS is the father of the director's cut isn't he; shame that none of his theatrical releases are ever as good as they should be), but there's no fixing the shallow writing without cutting 70% of the dialogue. I have been saying in other discussions that the whole film would be better off silent: everyone is dumb and simple enough we could sympathize better with them if we just watched them walk into harm's way and die. They would seem smarter. All their talking didn't clear up any parts of the story, and as you noted created zero tension with insta-conflict that was brought up and resolved or completely undone moments later. Introduce concept, bang it out. Preschool attention span style, like the audience is channel-hopping. Gotta catch us before the next commercial break? Guess that's what we get from the writer of the notoriously hoodwinky LOST television series.

Fassbender's android is excellent, but what little depth he appears to have is the happy accident of audiences actively second-guessing his motivations, after four movies in a franchise where the android is the wild card. And I was almost shocked by how much the film leans on him: the android is the only character who advances the action. He decodes the language. He opens the vault. He collects the specimen. He infects the crew. He finds the space jockey, lets him loose, and even after his (further shockingly derivative) Ian Holm/Lance Hendrickson fan-service "death", saves the day by piloting the heroine off the planet.

Most of the film's big moments reminded me of other films. As the saying (?) goes, it's a bad sign when something constantly reminds you of something better. Cabin in the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and ending of the live-action Popeye movie all gave me a "hey!" giggle during the ridiculous climax shown in your article header.

Anyway, thank you. Inexcusably bad. Scriptwriter has botched this one. Who knows, though! Maybe Scott will cut all the extraneous quips and hollers of EVERY UNLIKABLE CHARACTER and fill out scenes with a few more minutes of thoughtful scenic contemplation on DVD. I sure hope so, anyway.



“…created zero tension with insta-conflict that was brought up and resolved or completely undone moments later.”

Heh. I’ll have to remember insta-conflict. But yes, that’s arguably the major bug, the thing that crops up repeatedly and kills any hope of engagement. There’s no real attempt to earn the drama. Again and again, there’s no proper set-up, or any set-up at all, and very little pacing or tension or dramatic consequence. Just a series of instant crises, each of which gets forgotten by the writers – and the characters - to make room for another glib or unfinished idea.

In this interview, Ridley Scott says he always wanted the film to end as it does, with Shaw saying, “I don’t want to go back to where I came from. I want to go where they came from.” Which is comprehensible, if somewhat implausible, as a device for setting up a trilogy, as a commercial gambit - but completely unearned dramatically. Like so much else, this bizarre decision isn’t worked towards or made explicable by the film he actually delivered. If Scott wanted Shaw to carry us through three of these things, he should have taken more care in constructing a character that was believable (as a scientist, as a heroine and as a dramatic lynchpin). And if he wanted to set up a trilogy to inspire grand questions, he shouldn’t have made a film that gets smaller and more ridiculous the more you think about it.


I'd like to defend John Spaiths here, as I believe he deserves far better.
He wrote the first main draft of this movie but then Lindelof went over it and apparently changed a lot of things, including the main 'theme' of the movie. If you watched Lost and read some analysis about its themes and references, you'll recognize the same things in the final version of Prometheus, so it's clearly Lindelof's baby at the end.

If you want to know more about Spaiths' writing, I suggest you search for his 'Shadow 19' script. It's basically a high budget SF/action movie, but it is very well written, exciting and would make a spectacular movie. It also has a few layers of story beyond the action, and there aren't any obvious flaws or bad dialogue. Sure, some of the twists can be seen from a mile, but it's a blockbuster, and waaay better than the Transformers sort.


Prometheus is actually an intelligent film masquerading as a dumb one. I understand Ridley didn't get his own way entirely, Lindelof was brought in by Fox to broaden the story for a wider audience. Hollywood is not the home of the avant-garde and risk takers. It's the home of a money making machine that doesn't know what it's audience wants. If you blame anyone, blame Tom Rothman.


Shadow 19 script

Makes you want to read Spaith's original Prometheus draft...


"If you come with a flute to start the engines up then you know it's a lemon." Tears in my eyes from laughing. If anything the movie was worth understanding that reference for the 15 minutes I've spent laughing my ass off. @Simon King


I'm one of the few in my circle that enjoyed the film. I know it doesn't live up to Alien but what could? Sure, there are inconsistencies and dumb moments (the dude reaching out for the penis worm stands out) but in the end I was thrilled and looking forward to the next episode. One thing that I've heard complaints about is that it raises big questions but offers no answers. But just because you ask a question means you deserve an answer. In the end nothing that people were expecting actually happened. That's how things happen.

Simen Thoresen

I feel tricked! It seems other people have watched a different movie than I did.

Prometheus is a film that begins with a question, and throughout the course of the film, we try to answer that question...



Col. Milquetoast

Sorry I'm a bit late to the party.

"How do you know they created us?" "I just know… that the plot calls for me to say that."

The Titans record holograms (talky holofilms) of near random events… except for when they don't. Meanwhile, the crew have cameras running on their suits but when the 2 guys wander off and die no one says "Hey, we can't contact them let's see if we can get video from the suit and/or see what's been going on with them. And no one notices the beacon from the dead guy's suit walking back to the ship to attack? and attack because…

No one at all asks David what any of the Titan's text written on the walls says. wtf happened with the exploding head. It was sort of alive, they zapped it to encourage that, it started to… wake(?) and then kersplatter.

After the fight, why doesn’t Shaw use the stolen ship to return to – and warn – Earth?

I don't fault the character for being selfish and following her own interests. She did send out the warning message. She doesn't seem to have any family and the plot didn't call for her to have any friends. To be honest curiosity could probably make me do the same in her place.

Why were the Titans getting killed by, apparently aliens, and yet one survives only to be woken up and he automatically decides to smack some people around and then go depopulate earth? If that was what he wanted to do why didn't he do that instead of going into stasis?

seeding human life, then return to leave maps for humans to find them at some later date

or perhaps did they visit earth and stay? "Bow before me puny humans, you puny descendants of my vacationing comrades" How did they star map work? How much would gravity and expansion distort a map of star systems over 35,000 years. I note that Pioneer plaque used distance from pulsars and the pulsars frequency. btw, like the Titans, NASA also decided to only use a pictogram and have no written text instructions.

And are we supposed to endure a sequel before any of this is explained?

that would presume the writers have explanations.

Col. Milquetoast

Why does the ‘engineer’ have to sacrifice himself

I took it as a simple suicide. A suicide that released the black goo that then mutated and attacked the other Titans. (Charlie was infected by a speck, the translucent Titan drank a cupful.)

Could not Vickers at least try running perpendicular to the impending doom?

from Alien the Space Jockey with the hollowed out chest cavity was in the navigator's seat but in Prometheus he got out to chase Shaw (because the script says she needed chased some more) and the chest bursting occurred far away from the navigator's seat.

Absolutely the WORST way to implement a spacecraft lifeboat system. WTF. You have to get in a spacesuit to take an escape pod in order to get to the lifeboat?

If you come with a flute to start the engines up then you know it's a lemon.

Considering how few people have any musical talent, a flute could be a good method of locking up a gigantic spaceship to prevent joyriding. If a pilot loses his "keys" then he could start it up by whistling.

Prometheus vs Titan's ship. No collision avoidance system? For a ship that can come crashing to the ground from hundreds of feet up and land on its back and then fall forward and not be smashed to dust and gravel I'm surprised the much smaller Prometheus will knock it out of the sky? (I presume the answer could be some incredible energy source that enables interstellar travel.)

it raises big questions but offers no answers

If events simply doesn't make sense then they need to provide an answer or an explanation of how it is Mystery and not dumbness – especially for the small questions (eg the lifeboat system etc).

the whole film would be better off silent

amen. I went wanting to like it. I still want to like it. I'm hoping it can be edited into something that isn't as disappointing.


Col. Milquetoast,

“If events simply don’t make sense then they need to provide an answer or an explanation of how it is Mystery and not dumbness…”

Yup. Peddling jaw-dropping shoddiness as cerebral intrigue is a whole new low. See also this.


I doubt anyone will read down this far (only skimmed the comments, myself) but I think a lot of what David (near the beginning) is talking about as plot inconsistencies are actually problems with using a plot as an allegory.

The characters and various plot devices seemed more like symbols revolving around the concept of creation. The religious folks in the movie had their hopes fulfilled by actually meeting their maker, but then their hopes were dashed because the answer they got was a non-answer. Basically, "we made you because we could," like the geologist says to the android guy.

Whenever people talked about their parents, it was about problems. David's "parent" only made him to serve his needs. The alien fetus was hated by it's mother because she was horrified by it's existence. The Engineers wanted to destroy earth. The movie seems to be saying that the creation of life is usually some horrible accident. They never explain why David dripped the black stuff in the drink, but to me it seemed like he wanted to try his own had at making life.

Obviously, writing like this creates a lot of problems with consistency, but if you approach the movie from a different perspective, you'll enjoy it much more, I think. I hadn't seen the other alien movies until a few days ago, and I didn't expect anything from Prometheus, so I can say that from this perspective the film was very satisfying. Maybe you're all much too interested in/jaded by the other movies to give this one the chance it deserves?



Wow. This thread just won’t die.

“Maybe you’re all much too interested in/jaded by the other movies to give this one the chance it deserves?”

I went to the cinema with very few preconceptions. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular beyond a well-made, reasonably intelligent science fiction film that would bear some relation to the director’s comments and online promos. How (or if) the film linked to the earlier Alien outings wasn’t a major concern. In fact I was surprised by how lazily Prometheus rehashed events from Alien that are now clichés. What disappointed was that a skilled director had delivered such a shoddy and patronising film. The claims of profundity and scientific realism were laughably misleading. And I was surprised by just how little the elaborate online promos – the fake TED talk and the android ‘advert’ – gelled with what was on screen. It’s almost as if half of the advertised story was left out of the final cut. And that’s before we get to the enormous list of problems mentioned earlier in the thread.

Though I do agree with you insofar as I think the audience’s familiarity with science fiction and horror films does work against Prometheus, and quite badly. For instance, I liked the idea of the android watching and imitating Peter O’Toole, but every other character acts like they’ve never seen a film, certainly not a horror film or any science fiction. And dramatically, that’s a real problem. We, the audience, have seen so many Alien films, and monster films generally, you just can’t get away with characters arbitrarily choosing to go in unarmed, or ‘scientists’ taking off their helmets in alien atmospheres (no microbes?), or petting face-huggers, or otherwise acting like morons. It jars with the film’s pretensions of intelligence and makes it all but impossible to suspend disbelief. At times the effect is of sitting through a parody.

And like most of the other, many, problems listed in the comments above – from plot logic failures to unwritten characters and an intrusive score - these things have nothing to do with allegorical narrative. It’s just bad story-telling.


just wanted to say that i read the shadow19 script that Jack LeCritique mentioned. that rocked. It was a great story and would make a great r-rated anime movie or mini-series. I think its probably too expensive to film though. The living jungle would require avatar level effects imho etc. Id be very interested in seeing Spaiths original script for Prometheus.

Simon Watts

A few people have said that the problems with this film are the "Unanswered questions". They are easy. The Engineers want to kill humanity because we are another escaped bioweapon, what with our warlike ways and fast breeding. It's that bloody predictable.
The problems are the plot holes. Characters, motives, actions, all stupid. As though, really, nobody had bothered to read the script, just filmed it. But surely when Scott edited it, he must have noticed?

The comments to this entry are closed.