For Me, Bad Sequels and Remakes Never Hurt the Original
I too hated "Prometheus," mainly because it was a lifeless disappointment. But as soon as it was over I forgot about it. In fact, I had completely forgotten about the film's link to "Alien," until John Sexton brought it up.
Thankfully, for me at least, this kind of tinkering with the mythology of something original has never hurt or undermined something that came before. Part of the reason may be that I am both blessed and cursed with truly bad memory. But I also find it easy to dismiss The Stupid.
"Prometheus" is stupid, and for all the reasons John points out, it is especially stupid in its misguided attempt to build on "Alien" by answering a question that was much more tantalizing and interesting when it was left unanswered.
But Hollywood pulls this crap all the time. Look at the "Matrix" sequels or how the "Lethal Weapon" and "Dirty Harry" franchises started out gritty and violent and awesome only to devolve into feel-good comedies. If you want to see my face twitch, just use the words "Superman" and "Returns" together -- which polluted the mythology of "Superman II" in ways infinitely more perverse than anything "Prometheus" tries.
But because these lesser movies simply do not matter, they have never had the effect of spoiling in any way what came before. If anything, I appreciate them more because even their lesser sequels only serve to prove how truly special the orignals are.
For me Harry Callahan will always be mercenary son-of-a-bitch who took justice into his own hands; not the eighties catch-phrase guy posed in back-lighted silhouette as fog-from-nowhere wafts cinematically across his feet. For me Martin Riggs will always be the live-wire who hates God back, not the invulnerable warm, family-centric mellow guy trading quips with Chris Rock.
We will always be at war with The Machines for our liberty to be human, not appeasing them with Neo.
And as far as Superman Returns and Prometheus?
Never heard of either one.
P.S. I actually enjoy the "Lethal Weapon," "Dirty Harry" sequels -- but on their own terms.