Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[movies] More on Prometheus

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.

Tags: movies, publishing, reviews

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