Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

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Paul
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Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Paul » 10 Sep 2014, 11:08

Skipping over Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection we go right for the throat and eviscerate Prometheus (2012). Cam carefully dissects the problematic themes of the film while Alex crushes vapid characterization as both of us drive through gaping plot holes. [This CC syncs with the theatrical release of Prometheus]
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby wizzerd229 » 10 Sep 2014, 13:07

A good question to ask anyone who's seen this movie, "Why did anyone do anything?"
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 10 Sep 2014, 18:14

Yeeesss.

A few notes;
Reconstructing languages is absolutely a real thing. They use it in a rather silly way because they don't know how to do ancient astronauts properly but it's a "sure" not just BS.

Man do I ever hate the supposed biologist's use of the term darwinism and his bizarre assumption that the existence of the Engineers would invalidate it in a film with Prometheus's themes.

Vicker's being Weyland's daughter isn't supposed to be a twist. You are supposed to learn this in the briefing.

Apparently the script originally included a scene with a younger Weyland which is why they went the terrible makeup route instead of the actual old person route.

David is superior in many ways but not morally. He seems to be intended to be the only actual crew for investigating the planet. The purpose of the trip seems to be solely to make Weyland immortal and pretenses scientific curiousity or weird Engineer worship is strictly there to acquire a crew to act as guinea pigs for David to screw around with who might in their fumbling speed up his research and he doesn't appear to have a problem with this. Which answers the question of why Weyland the making-androids-company doesn't fill a ship with androids to do the mission. Since the movie adamantly believes that androids can't be harmed by alien atmospheres of substances proper safety procedures are ignored since he is going to be infecting people anyway. Of course it would make more sense to assemble a team of the most capable and dependable experts that money or curiousity can buy and just be honest that the mission is being funded because Weyland wants to live forever instead of a bunch of unbriefed low paid space truckers with their profession titles scratched out if you aren't gonna do mono-android. And of course Cam's comments about Agar are perfectly correct.

Why do they even have... so many weird things? Are those flamethrowers seriously for spraying around the airlock in an attempt to decontaminate it? Why is there even weed on the spaceship? Do they not realize that literally everything on a spaceship is put there deliberately or okayed by the quartermasters or actively smuggled in?

I kinda get the idea behind automated surgery pod only working on men since it's there for Weyland and screw anyone else who get's injured but they could easily make it only function for someone with the right genetic key (no need for it to specify whose if his presence is being kept secret). If it will work on anyone why not just have it say that this unit is not loaded with that program since it didn't occur to Weyland that he might get pregnant? Why does it even perform surgery on a woman if it isn't set up for it? Why does Shaw even ask for a caesarian? She shoudn't be actually pregnant. She just has a foreign body in her that is stealing nutrients. The surgery thing is clearly capable of handling something as generic as that.

Androids get brutally torn apart in alien films not just because of tradition but because it "doesn't count" since they can survive it.

Nitpicking is kind of interesting really. People ignore or much more gently pick nits with movies they like so even if the reasons a bunch of people are bringing up for a movie to be bad are minor and not really legitimate it can still serve as a signal that something was done wrong even if viewers can't put their finger on it.

I think it was just lazy to use modern earth in the recording. They could just have David announce that the unfamiliar world was earth for the audience. The existence of the recordings makes sense to me (it's just the result of security cameras) what doesn't is why playbacks are so damn easy to do from inside the room. That isn't a commonly used function.

Looking forward to the next one whatever it is.
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby beowuuf » 10 Sep 2014, 23:02

I would have loved if a light was shone on how disfunctional the crew was. Like the lead scientists actually pointed out that while the people were good in their field, they clearly weren't great nor people who actually sought be be part of that field. As if someone cared more about the secret than the mission when assembling the secret mission.

It would therefore seem more like a deliberate story point that a flawed start continues to create flaws in the plan. The geologist who actually cares more about exploring than exploring for anything, because he gets lost easily. The biologist who hates people and people-related things and therefore is far too accepting of any animal-like. Or maybe he thinks he is so clever he's convinced in the natural habitat of the ship the snake thing could not care about harming anything living, not appreciating the influence of anything 'man-made' in to his equations.

And would therefore be an echo of the engineers, clearly not being benevolent, introducing flaws inherently in to their own creations.


Or something!
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 11 Sep 2014, 00:08

It would help a lot if we got a line saying that the scientists were chosen based on pure technical ability and not other useful traits like an ability to work with others or resistance to panic.

You'd still have to fix things like a biologist in a fit of bizarre lack of disciplinary curiousity just straight walking away when he encounters the dead bodies of an alien. Or screwing with an obvious threat display.

By the way, why do they even have a geologist? Like obviously I'd take a geologist along with me if I was planning this trip but why is he a character in the movie? If I was writing the script I could think of more relevant specialties for a character we actually meet to have when no actual geology is done. He didn't need to be a geologist to release the sciencedoges. Did they just pick a discipline out of a hat?

One thing that's weird is that the movie very often points out how stupid an act is but still expects empathy with the characters and doesn't have them not do stupid things.
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby JayBlanc » 11 Sep 2014, 01:45

I still stand by my position that if you can set aside what you were expecting, and instead view the movie as a cheeseball haunted-house-in-space movie, it holds up kinda okay. It's not a good movie, it doesn't fit into it's franchise*, but it's not the worst movie I've ever seen.

You can kind of see what they were trying to do, and I suspect it really fell apart on the editing floor when very very bad decisions were made as to what to cut. What was cut: Scenes explicitly saying that Peter Weyland's search for immortality had left him bankrupt, ousted from control of Weyland Corp, faking 'death' to flee creditors, and that the Prometheus project was not in any way authorised by anyone at Weyland Corp and he was basically stealing a ship from his former company for it. It hit into that bad-writing flaw, where the writer knows the reason why it makes sense but forgets to tell the audience, or in this case initially told the audience but edited it out of the movie in order to focus on the action and scare scenes. It would have been such a good third act reveal, instead of just unexplained old-man makeup.

I like to imagine the movie that should have been. As opposed to the movie we got after demands for a 3D Action Spectacle were acquiesced to.

It did have some really good cinematography.

(* I would have also said it doesn't really fit into its franchise, but Aliens 3 and Alien: Resurrection)
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby johanlarson » 11 Sep 2014, 14:08

So how might the movie be improved?

I think we can keep the ancient astronauts. They visited earth regularly for a long time, but a couple of thousand years ago they stopped coming. Why? We can keep the archeologists too, and the star map. No trouble so far.

Weyland is a wealthy old man and sponsors a mission to meet the ancients, OK. The mission arrives and finds a desolate planet. They go to one place that is emitting a signal and find a very old hightech outpost with a lot of mummified ancients, some of them changed in horrible ways. Some of the crew try to hack the ancients' tech back online while the rest explore the surroundings.

The explorers find that the environment is full of dormant life-forms, some of which are reawakening. And they are very hostile. The explorers manage to fight off some of the smaller forms, but eventually encounter larger ones that kill a few explorers and wound some others, necessitating a retreat to the ship.

Meanwhile, the hackers at the outpost manage to access the records of the ancients, and learn what happened there. This was once a prosperous planet, but it was struck by a bioweapon that changes living things into vicious monsters (many picture of alien-ified local life forms) that attack virtually anything, and spread. The ancients tried to fight this new ecology, but eventually lost out. This outpost was the last stronghold, but even it eventually fell. The hackers realize their danger and retreat to the ship, by now also coming under attack.

The crew tries to decide what to do, and after much argument decides to return to earth early. They are then attacked from within the ship by the casualties they brought aboard, which by now have been monstrously transformed. The crew eventually wins, but in the process their stardrive is damaged, preventing a direct return to Earth.

The sequel hook is a damaged but possibly repairable ship at the outpost, which just might be jury-rigged up with the crew's ship, to create a viable vessel. But that means going back to the planet. (!)

This plot leaves some questions unanswered, possibly for later films. Did the ancients accidentally release their own bio-weapon, or were they fighting someone else? And if there was an enemy, where are they? Come to think of it, where are the rest of the ancients now?
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 11 Sep 2014, 15:33

Ancient Astronauts can be done well but only with care. The scene with an Engineer sacrificing himself to seed a planet with life is cool. It's not a rational way to go about it, but maybe they have religious beliefs about this stuff or maybe this is a criminal punishment of theirs. Whatever our excuse is it needs to be signaled in the movie. That forms the basis of life on earth but any connection between the Engineers and humans specifically is dumb. I realize that they like the Olmec stone heads but we should stick with the space jocky head. It's less suspension of disbelief straining and people liked it the way it was. It even having earthlike DNA is a strong indication to the Engineers having seeded Earth and we can have a biologist pronounce definite links after having studied it a bit.

Hacking Engineer computers in any reasonable timeframe is bad. It's even worse than trying to reconstruct their writing system from their influence on earth languages and use that to operate stuff.

A movie like Prometheus is, in my opinion, supposed to be about uncovering answers more significant than "they got hit with bioweapons and died." What the answers should be is a little awkward since I like Cam and Alex find the creator's viewpoints rather distasteful. Should we explore the potential of having a non-dick David who is better in everyway to his creators and suffers rather nasty discrimination be mirrored in the way the Engineers treat humans? Or should we try to make the film the film's creators would have made if they were better? Also, should this film be an actual prequel to Alien or just the reason Weyland-Yutani is interested in looking for them?

I think it would be cool to see the seeds of Weyland's unification with Yutani. Maybe they put a lot of money into this starship and really aren't expecting it to just never come back?

Frankly I don't see the necessity of a sequel hook. A story like Prometheus works better without them and if they want to do more movies they can just do more movies in the Alien universe. "bughunts" are a thing in Aliens remember...
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby A-Z » 11 Sep 2014, 16:04

Loved the commentary and can't but help imagining it with some type of video display (you could hook up one of the go pro's) I could keep in a small window in the corner watching as Cam starts taking shot after shot of rum and Alex slowly goes insane due to how badly the story is handled here (or so I'm imagining).
Thank you for suffering through such a frustrating movie on our behalf. I freely admit I listened to the commentary without bothering with the movie. It was still fun and I don't think I actually missed out on any of the crumminess:) looking forward to next time and thanks again
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby ritchards » 11 Sep 2014, 16:43

All I can say is: Sure.

BTW, who does the opening narration for you guys?
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Lysander » 11 Sep 2014, 17:50

Wow, I heard this movie was bad and believed it. I didn't want to watch this movie, but your comments in the previous CC spurred me on. I now have a better understanding of how not to write a science fiction story. The two of you have helped me get through it, because otherwise I'd have to keep pausing the movie and shout at it, or just try to flee the room to escape it's embarrassing storytelling.

I don't understand why the Engineer turned out to be the usual dumb non-speaking monster. Did his brain degrade during his hibernation? Was he a religious fundamentalist that was against the life-seeding in the first place? Was he in fact an anti-Engineer, thinking his people were tampering in God's domain, so brought a ship full of bioweaponry to counteract it? Was he his species version of PETA?

I think it would have been more interesting if Weylund was a brain-in-a-jar, after a failed attempt to transplant himself into an android body. David was was his second try -- Weylund started piloting the body by remote control as a way to prepare for the transplant, but David developed his own consciousness during the process. What follows is a deranged chess game as David sabotages the mission in an attempt to break free. The dream-watching device could be a part of it, as he attempts to turn them to his side or turn them into paranoid incompetents. Then it will be a puzzle for the audience to figure out which of David actions were his or were Weylund's.

Was Charliese Theron's character supposed to be an android as well? I had heard rumors that this was the case, but then re-writes happened.

This feels like there were was a completely different story being told originally, but then someone thought they should make a prequel to Aliens and slathered a whole second story on top of it.

Lazy storytelling annoys me, mostly over the wasted potential. But it also inspires me in a "I can do better" sort of way. I will tear this movie into little pieces, which I will rebuild into something better.

Thank you for your commentary. The two of you were fun and informative. Can't wait to see what you'll watch next.
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby wizzerd229 » 11 Sep 2014, 20:50

ritchards wrote:All I can say is: Sure.

BTW, who does the opening narration for you guys?


Thats Graham
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Tensen01 » 13 Sep 2014, 00:02

I was completely unable to properly synch this up. I kept having to pause one or the other over and over again.

And as far as I can tell I have the "theatrical" version.
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Thysane » 13 Sep 2014, 02:36

Excellent as always, gentlemen. Brought up a tonne of good points, especially thematic ones that I had never even thought about before, particularly the Golden Bough stuff (actually reading that a bit now, far more interesting and entertaining than most of the movies that crib from it). I love these deep readings of movies, because it reveals so much about the writers and directors, about the audience, about all sorts of things. Can't wait to pump the next one of these directly into my ear-canals.
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby VectorZero » 13 Sep 2014, 03:38

The iTunes version (at least) has 30 minutes of silence appended.

The surgipod being male only could be interesting, if we figure that people's actions are indicative of their beliefs and motivations (which, to be honest, there's precious little to indicate elsewhere in the movie.) Weyland cares so little for other people that the med bay is not equipped to treat his daughter, should the need arise.

The staples after the surgery is Truth In Television: they're quicker to apply than sutures, and good for potentially infected wounds, as they can be removed one or two at a time and allow infection to drain without opening the whole wound.

Was Ridley Scott not aware of what "washing his feet" means?
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Tensen01 » 13 Sep 2014, 09:55

VectorZero wrote:Was Ridley Scott not aware of what "washing his feet" means?


Probably not, Ridley Scott, afterall, did not write the movie. I blame this movie squarely on Lindelof. The Direction and look of the movie was good, which is to be expected from Scott, it's the writing that's the issue, as is the case with any of Scott's bad movies. But Ridley Scott hasn't actually ever written a movie.

Whoever thought that the writer of LOST would be a good fit for this movie was a moron. You simply cannot expect that man to write anything that is internally consistent or even halfway coherent. And him writing it should tell you right up front that not a single answer will be given even though the entire movie will pose question after question. The movie didn't answer them because HE doesn't know the answer to begin with. The man is a hack.
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 13 Sep 2014, 12:44

VectorZero wrote:The iTunes version (at least) has 30 minutes of silence appended.

The surgipod being male only could be interesting, if we figure that people's actions are indicative of their beliefs and motivations (which, to be honest, there's precious little to indicate elsewhere in the movie.) Weyland cares so little for other people that the med bay is not equipped to treat his daughter, should the need arise.

The staples after the surgery is Truth In Television: they're quicker to apply than sutures, and good for potentially infected wounds, as they can be removed one or two at a time and allow infection to drain without opening the whole wound.

Was Ridley Scott not aware of what "washing his feet" means?


The surgery thing only doing male procedures displays the begining of a good idea but it really needs polishing to make sense.

The point WRT the staples is that they shouldn't be true anymore given the rest of the technology presented. Staples would fit on the Nostromo where stuff that is shitty but functional and cheap abounds. A bleeding edge medical pod in a setting with trillion dollar starships and androids and whatnot should have something different. Hell even their axe is weird and spacy.

Tensen01 wrote:Whoever thought that the writer of LOST would be a good fit for this movie was a moron.


Or a good fit for any movie.
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Lysander » 13 Sep 2014, 17:37

Damon Lindelof wrote this? What else did he do? Consulting google...

Huh, all of those other movies I disliked because of the wasted story potential. And lack of scale. This guy doesn't know how to write an adaptation that actually resembles the original material.

He's writing Tomorrowland?! Dammit.

My favorite part in Prometheus is when Captain Janek attempts to romance Vickers with a space-accordion. I wonder if that was a spur-of-the-moment thing? Idris Elba thinks to himself, "I need to do something with my hands in this scene. I know -- Accordion! It'll be like Lady and the Tramp."
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Bergie » 21 Sep 2014, 15:57

Maybe I simply exist in an echo chamber where I only frequent sites/hear from people who agree with me on this subject, but does anyone else find it odd how the wikipedia page for this movie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus_(2012_film)#Release) really doesn't contain ANY negative feedback on it? I'm sure that it is liked some people as they are stating it has a 6.9/10 rating, but I've seen more negative reviews of films with a 9/10 rating!
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Re: Corrector's Commentary - Prometheus 2012

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 22 Sep 2014, 00:21

That link is bad, but we all know where you meant.

There is some criticism of Prometheus in the wiki article. "The film is "prone to shallow ponderousness", and that Scott "can still mimic the appearance of an epic, noble, important movie—but the appearance is all."" is an excellent description of Prometheus.

It's worth noting that while I think it could use a bit more critical viewpoints there are many who see cleverness in Prometheus. It's their own cleverness reflected back at them by a film that thinks that raising questions is a useful goal in and of itself but it's a not uncommon viewpoint. The group effort nature of film making also means that Prometheus has many gems of excellence from people doing their job well that are offensively tarnished by a bad script.

Or to put it another way;

Although the most acute critics of Lindelof and even Lindelof himself, were convinced of his profundity, the profundity nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all Lindelofian profundity.

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