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[movies] More on Prometheus - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-06-23 05:43
Subject: [movies] More on Prometheus
Security: Public
Tags:movies, publishing, reviews
I've been thinking about why I have such a strong negative reaction to Prometheusimdb ]. Yesterday morning I snarked on Facebook and Twitter:
The $100MM spent on PROMETHEUS could've bought 10 movies like MOON, or 10,000 first F/SF novels. Much better investment.

That brought a number of interesting reactions, and I made some followup comments, which I am paraphrasing herein.

To belabor the obvious, I don't actually think that funding and publishing 10,000 first F/SF novels is a good idea at all, for a whole bunch of reasons. I was mostly making a point.

Also, I don't mind $100MM movies. Some of them are freaking brilliant. And it's not my money, so who am I to say how it is spent? But Prometheus was such a colossal waste of resources and talent... The script stoopid is so profound that it obliviates the many otherwise wonderful things about that film. To appreciate this movie at any level deeper than the casually visual requires a tolerance of deeply stupid and contrived character behaviors that would embarrass the summer camp teens in a grade-C splatter film.

And it didn't have to be that way.

I wanted to love Prometheus, very, very much. The things that are wrong with Prometheus aren't in its essentials, they're in stuff that could have, at least for the most part, been fixed fairly trivially at any number of stages in the process of making the film.

In other words, stupid problems, not deep ones. It's that wasted potential that infuriates me. With a $225MM worldwide box office so far [no cite yet, this was an commentor's number], no one in Hollywood will see the lesson, because from their point of view, there's no lesson to be seen. Movie got made, earned out its first week in release, boom done. Next!

Hollywood isn't in the business of making good movies. They're in the business of making successful movies. "Good" is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for "successful", sad to say. Given its apparent box office take, Prometheus may well be the ultimate argument in favor of the Hollywood model, and the ultimate proof that script and story really don't matter any more.

Combining that problem with the casual and shallow ruination of what could have been a truly great film is what irritates me so much.

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Edward Greaves
User: temporus
Date: 2012-06-23 13:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=prometheus.htm

According to Boxoffice Mojo, $229M worldwide so far.
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Matt Ruff
User: matt_ruff
Date: 2012-06-23 14:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The $100MM spent on PROMETHEUS could've bought 10 movies like MOON

Speaking for the loyal opposition, I thought Moon's central premise was as ridiculous as anything in Prometheus, and given the choice, I'd rather rewatch Prometheus.
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Matt Ruff
User: matt_ruff
Date: 2012-06-23 14:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Of course what I really want to see is the Prometheus/Moon crossover where Android Michael Fassbender engages in a contest of wits with AI Kevin Spacey.
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Andrew Trembley
User: bovil
Date: 2012-06-23 16:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think I'm most disappointed that Prometheus killed del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness project.
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Coyote
User: coyotegoth
Date: 2012-06-23 18:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Four points about Prometheus: 1) David is by far the most interesting character; alas, his whole points that he *isn't* the central character.

2) Was there *any* dramatic- as opposed to left-handed symbolic, and plot facilitation- point to the relationship between Charlize Theron's character and her father?

3) If you remove yourself from the "Alien/horror" mindset, and look at the film strictly as an account of humanity's attempt to explore its own origins, it's somewhat more interesting...

4) ...but none of this matters if you have- as this movie has- plot holes you could drive a star cruiser through. (Why *is* there an ax aboard a starship?)
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mevennen
User: mevennen
Date: 2012-06-23 19:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes! an axe...and projectile weapons. And flamethrowers, because that's going to be deeply practical on a spaceship.
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mevennen
User: mevennen
Date: 2012-06-23 19:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>To appreciate this movie at any level deeper than the casually visual requires a tolerance of deeply stupid and contrived character behaviors that would embarrass the summer camp teens in a grade-C >splatter film.

I completely agree. This was lazy scriptwriting and could easily have been fixed (e.g. alien technology in the 'ziggurat' interfering with the 'puppies' so that the geologist got lost without appearing to be a complete moron; David having a programmed-in 'Darwinian' agenda to make his behaviour more logical; a more detailed example of pictograms to give precise co-ordinates for the target planet....the list is endless). As it was, my view is very similar to your own.
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martyn44
User: martyn44
Date: 2012-06-23 20:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
'Alien' was the end of my career as a film 'critic'. I asked myself why they didn't just suit up, open the doors and see if the thing could breathe vacuum. It was then I realised movies aren't made for people like me, people who strive to create airtight, motivated plots. After all, most of Hitchcock's films have plot holes you can drive a London bus through but that didn't stop otherwise sensible peoples falling to their knees and crying out 'auteur' whenever his name was mentioned. No, I haven't seen 'Prometheus'. I doubt I shall.
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russ: quo vadis
User: goulo
Date: 2012-06-23 20:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:quo vadis
> With a $225MM worldwide box office so far [no cite yet, this was an commentor's number], no one in Hollywood will see the lesson, because from their point of view, there's no lesson to be seen.

And apparently not enough people with money in their pockets are willing to quit giving money to Hollywood to make crappy movies.

You're complaining about Hollywood doing exactly what you're paying them to do!

The filmmakers ignored the problems and made the film anyway because enough viewers ignore the problems and choose to see such films anyway.

If people would simply quit going to see crappy movies, Hollywood would learn the lesson.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2012-06-25 11:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Not to hijack your blog (and I realize this response is way late, but I was out of town)...

...some of the movie industry analysis described here so reminds me of radio. I was told once by a high muckety muck of a corporation that radio today exists not for the listeners, not for the sponsors, for for the shareholders.

Sigh.
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