The Conversation

Trailer moments

In response to Prometheus Was Even Worse Than Arrested Development Season 4:

Such is the magic of that "Prometheus" script that if you watch it again, it will get even worse.  You might find yourself dwelling on the early scene that establishes the crew of the Most Important Mission In Human History have never even met each other before they wake up from cryo-sleep, mere hours from their dangerous alien destination.  How did that even work?  Did they cryo-freeze these loons in separate locations around the globe and ship them up to the Prometheus for launch?  They didn't train together?  They didn't even have a pre-launch cocktail party?

Have you become infected with a weird, terrifying alien virus while exploring a long-dead facility whose architects - who were over 35,000 years more advanced that humanity - were last glimpsed in a centuries-old holographic recording running away from something in abject terror?  Don't say anything to anyone.  Just tough it out, until you're back in the middle of the mysterious alien base and the stomach cramps become too much to handle.  

Likewise, if you're forced to remove a Lovecraftian tentacle monster from your abdomen and leave it trapped in the automated medical station, don't tell anyone about it.  You wouldn't want them to think of you as a crybaby.

Have you grown genocidally angry at the intelligent species you elevated from the primordial ooze with your DNA, and decided it's time to wipe out the whole spear-carrying, chariot-riding, pre-industrial lot of them?  It's best to use an insanely dangerous bio-weapon that kills everything it touches, and might therefore eradicate your highly advanced species.  Don't just bomb the unsatisfactory primitives from orbit or anything like that.  Think outside the box!

And let's say you're the guy selected to drop those biological WMDs on the primitives, but something goes horribly wrong and you wake up 2,000 years later, and the primitives are standing around you.  Obviously the logical reaction is to beat them to death without saying a word and complete your original mission, even though for all you know, the humans have colonies on other planets by now, since they've mastered interstellar travel.  Well, wouldn't you know it, but the frigging humans go and ram your vastly more advanced spacecraft with their little ion-drive bathtub, causing the ruins of your ship to plummet from the sky and land on Charlize Theron.  What's your next move?  1) Take one of the numerous other ships docked at your base and complete your mission as planned, or 2) hoof it over to the wreckage and see if you can find any surviving humans to strangle in a fit of pique?

What is the exact purpose of the cool-looking control console the captain of the Prometheus literally stands behind - without a seat or any kind of safety harness - while landing and taking off?  I think "cool-looking" just about sums it up.  

Kyle Smith has a savage takedown of "The Hangover, Part III" at the New York Post in which he coins the phrase "trailer moments" to describe random, disconnected scenes that only seem to have been inserted in the film so they can be stitched into the trailer.  (If Smith didn't coin the phrase, I've not heard it before.  It's beautiful.)  I think a lot of movies are composed of trailer moments these days.  "Prometheus" is another example - it did have a very intriguing trailer.  I've grown cynical enough to wonder if certain production teams start with the trailer and work backwards until they have a movie.

You hit my "Prometheus" sore spot by mentioning "Alien," a film I revere, and which was helmed by the same Sir Ridley Scott.  How did he forget so much of what he understood so well back in 1979?  "Alien" gets everything right, including the behavior of a crew the audience feels readily sympathetic toward.  They make mistakes, but the kind of mistakes that a crew of blue-collar space truckers might believably make.  Killing off the captain and nominal star of the film was brilliant - the terrified and demoralized survivors have no idea what to do next.  The pressure they're under is unbelievable; nobody in the audience would want to be in their shoes.  

But the crew of the Prometheus disintegrates into a maelstrom of insubordination, blind stupidity, alcoholism, drug abuse, and pants-wetting cowardice within hours of beginning their mission.  Who cares what happens to them?  The only vaguely likable, interesting character is 1) a robot and 2) a murderer.  I hope he has the good sense not to fess up to #2 before Noomi Rapace sews his head back on.


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