In response to Spoiled by storytelling:
I also watched Prometheus again, thinking it couldn’t have been as bad as I first thought it was; maybe I was just expecting too much.
Just to throw one of my favorite Horrible Parts of it your way: This ship is at least a paramilitary sort of venture, right? Like on a sea ship: When you’re in dangerous situations, whether it’s a Naval ship or a civilian one, the captain does have the right to have you arrested for interfering with the safe operation of his ship, right?
I mean, I think he can have you hanged, summary-style, if you’re a big enough problem.
Anyway, among the enormous amounts of Pure Dreadful in this wretched film is this bit. They’ve just landed on an alien planet believed to be inhabited by unknown life forms. Life forms, any biologist can tell you, can be dangerous. Not only can the Really Big Life Forms eat you, but the Really Small Life Forms can do even worse, eating you up from the inside. We call such Really Small Life Forms “diseases.”
So, upon landing, the Captain gives the crew the quite-prudent directive, “The sun (well, the local star, anyway) is setting. Let’s secure the landing site and prep for a search tomorrow; we’ll start exploring at first light tomorrow.”
And a crewman — well, a scientist, actually, so a passenger, actually — sasses back, approximately: “We’ve been cooped up on this bathtub for six months. You’re crazy if you think we’re waiting for dawn. Let’s start exploring now, as nighttime approaches, without making any sort of sensor or remotely-piloted-vehicle survey. Mount up, let’s go dune-buggying!”
And the rest of the scientists all do just that, and the Captain just sort of shrugs to himself and thinks, “Oh well, I’ve been outvoted. I guess I’m not as popular as I thought.”
I mean, the bratty scientist all but put his baseball-cap on backwards, jumped on his skateboard, and zoomed down the ramp saying “You can’t cramp my style, Daddy-O! I’m goin’ on an Alien Safari!”
I think Wipeout might have started playing here, but it’s all such a blur now.
Now, even conceding that this ship was run only on a quasi-military protocol, and that the scientists were not technically part of the chain of command– doesn’t the captain, or at least Charlize Theron (whatever her position is), sort of make decisions about when you can go abroad and come aboard in harbor?
Is this really what their vision of the future is? Trillion dollar spacecraft with discipline looser than in a Montessori school, and chains of command more vague and open to interpretation than in an Andy Kaufman Show writers room?
Even in Alien, the ship had a military heirarchy of command, and that was some sort of civilian-type salvage or transport ship. I always thought that the arguments in Alien about what to do next were caused by the fact that the actual captain, Dallas, died fairly early, which meant that the untested Ripley assumed command during an emergency, and hadn’t yet been accepted by the crew. That is, it was atypical, caused by catastrophic circumstances.
But the mutiny in Prometheus comes immediately, when everything is going okay.
So, in the future, when your commanding officer gives you a direct order, there are two valid responses: “Yes, sir!” is preferred, but “Nah, bro” is also acceptable.