Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Question for the Week of May 28-June 3: Prometheus II

How could Ridley Scott think this Prometheus trailer would alleviate a smart fan's concerns?
In March, I asked a Question about Prometheus, Ridley Scott's new sorta-prequel to Alien. The main issue was that this story seems completely unnecessary, and there's nothing dumber than answering a question that no one really asked.

Sadly, the above clip is great to watch, but doesn't really address my concerns. No matter how good Prometheus looks, the truth is that we all know this will end in keeping with Alien and Aliens. The story will resolve so that mankind has no knowledge of these deadly buggers, Earth will not be destroyed.

Really, those first two movies made it clear that humans in the future are dealing with unknown monsters. As such, Prometheus obviously will wrap itself up so that mankind still doesn't know what it's up against. Although I'd love to see the movie that's shown in this trailer, I still claim that no one needs a real or semi-real prequel to Alien. Just go in another direction with your big world, guys!

Or fight a totally unrelated, different GD alien. I'm sure future humans ran into a couple.

When you direct a story that everyone knows the ending to, you have to work hard to make it worthwhile. This is often done through plot changes, a twist, or a heavy character element. I still see no such new creativity in the story and look of Prometheus. Maybe in 21 days, the reviews will agree with me; then again, maybe not...


  1. Sometimes, my friends comment on my posts elsewhere. I appreciate their thoughts and support, so I can't complain that they don't post here. And, because their comments are on other sites, or by email/in person, I don't copy them here. I don't know why, it just sounds weird.

    I had to make an exception this time, however, because my friend, Gavin S, was very thorough and thoughtful and he had a lot of ideas and opinions that I hadn't heard before. Hell, I hadn't even considered them much before.

    As such, I will post 3-4 more comments here so you can read Gavin's comments with seeing one big block of text; it's not an effort to increase the number of comments on this site, just to make it easier for ya'll to read. Enjoy, please.

  2. Gavin wrote: "The vast majority of big budget science fiction is vehemently anti-science, which isn't surprising since the vast majority of actual space "science" is also anti-science. You find that much of science fiction is written to exploit the similarities between big bang cosmology and creationism, promoting the view that we wee humans are helpless to mysterious dangers in the great cosmos, and we should just be satisfied to hunker down under the protection of our little blue marble in the stars, follow orders and not ask questions we don't want to know the answers to.

    These types of films endeavor to promote the ideology that ignorance is bliss and humans are our own worst enemy and all that. There are better options for science and for science fiction, like plasma cosmology, but establishment science and establishment media prefer not to have their monopolies on either realm questioned. If you go into the film accepting that the premise will be inherently flawed and the message will almost undoubtedly be anti-exploration, anti-reason, and ultimately anti-life, you can just concentrate on craft, and sometimes find nuggets of satisfaction in science fiction of this sort.

    If I weren't so interested in craft myself, I scarcely think that would be enough to hold my interest. But as a writer and a truth seeker, there is always something to be learned, even from those with whom you predominantly disagree. I'll probably set the bar pretty low for Prometheus, and then go and enjoy it like I would reading a children's book as an adult."

  3. Thaddeus wrote: very thoughtful, gavin! there's no way this is going to be serious sci-fi, any more than raiders of the lost ark was an action/adventure with serious ideas about religion or anthropology.

    i'd rather that we got something new, tho, instead of something recycled; and I'd prefer a thriller/horror like the 1st film or pure action like the 2nd.

    i don't know about the cosmology stuff [EDIT: i.e., I know little about the topic], but yes, most films like this have an anti-exploration message. damn, i wanna copy/paste your comment from here and put it on the site.

  4. Gavin wrote: "Most sci-fi films are hell bent on scaring the crap out of you from ever wanting to leave this rock, or ever looking too closely at anything that might constitute scientific discovery. The message is clear, sciience and exploration will kill you and only unquestioning faith in god will protect you from harm. Don't question and leave well-enough alone thing you could not possibly understand or should ever want to understand. We're on a carriage ride caravan towards another dark age of reason, and hollywood is in one of the driver's seats.

    That said, and everyman being his own best judge, I try to ignore the rhetoric and concentrate on the story, particularly how the relationships are drawn. If my focus was on the premises of movies, I probably wouldn't see much of anything. This one does have a silly premise, but that's part of the message and a key to hooking the non-critical viewer who has been prepped by pervasive societal conditions to accept exactly what is being peddled. As for the critical viewers; its a cost-benefit analysis. They're banking that their aren't enough of us and we don't care enough for it to matter than they're pulling the wool over everybody else's eyes. For the most part they're right."

  5. Obviously, my friend is very smart and thoughtful. I hadn't considered the idea that there may be such a strong almost-conspiracy-style attack on the basic principles of science and science fiction. The political situation in this country (USA), however, has had a lot of fighting between creationist-types and... most everyone else.

    I asked Gavin for permission to add his comments here, and I'm adding his final reply so I (and anyone who might publish/repost/etc this blog or his words) can never ignore/forget Gavin's expectations:

    Gavin wrote: "I wrote what I wrote on [EDIT: site name removed], a semi-public forum, and can thus have little expectation of privacy. I would hope though for a credit in the acknowledgements if you ever publish your blog into a book. And since these are the written manifestation of my own thoughts, I reserve the right to use them in whatever manner I please for so long as I live. That should go without saying, and I'm certain that it does, but since this is a litigious society I said it anyway. If you can't lay out your expectations to your friends, than who could you lay them out to right. And besides, though I trust you, such trust would not necessarily extend to a potential publisher."

  6. I've been told that Prometheus started as an origins story, but then turned into its own beast. I'm sure it's still going to end in a way that makes sense in line with the rest of the series, but that doesn't make it any less epic. After all, who doesn't love a good origins story? Michael Fassbender seems to be making a career out of origins stories. Overall, I can appreciate a good prequel. Just so long as George Lucas isn't directing.

  7. Lol, oh Lucas, will we ever stop begrudging him? No, not really...

    Fassbender is just incredible. He's just uber-talented.

    My opinions have... shifted a little, since Mark Kermode (his BBC Radio 5 reviews are in my links, along with your awesome blog) did an interview with Ridley Scott last week. It's clear now that the movie is actually kind of what I hoped for: another adventure in the universe where Ellen Ripley has terrible luck. But I really didn't like the "ancient ruins on earth" stuff, and I don't think a prequel/whatever needs to involve THAT spaceship at all.

    One thing that I loved about Alien was that it's in a future where humankind is already so deep into space travel that they have a small crew of space truckers/miners. In Aliens, we learn that there are plenty of alien races around - one marine brags that he wasn't gay for getting with (iirc) Artcurians, because they're bi-gender! This whole universe is so well-lived and credible, and I don't need more Alien-related stories in it. Any story in that world sounds like it could be great.


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