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Excellent review--and this ain't no hack--of a bad movie

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Jun-21-2012 2:49 AM

Prometheus–The Horror! by C.C. Finlay Prometheus is the most frightening horror movie of the past 20 years. And the horror is that this is what American science will look like after a century of teaching Creationism in our schools. [Spoilers ahead.] Why do I think it’s a movie about Creationism? Because as the character of Weyland subtly and repeatedly tells us, he’s spent trillions of dollars on science and scientists for one reason only: so that he can “meet my Maker.” And why does he pick Elizabeth Shaw to lead his mission? Because “he wants a true believer in charge.” But hey, that sounds pretty flimsy when I put it like that, so let’s just look at the science. Anthropology. I know! It’s scary enough just imagining that anyone in this movie could be called an anthropologist. But technically Charlie and Elizabeth have travelled around the world studying the origins of ancient civilizations, and in our time, at least, that would more or less qualify them as anthropologists. So what have they learned? “Hey, you aliens who made us — whyyyy do you hate us? What’s wrong with us huuuuuumans. We’re sooooooorry. We didn’t mean to make you maaaaaad!” That’s a lot more like anthro-apology. “Sorry, man. Sorry.” No wonder, these aliens want wipe us out of existence. Biologist. The team biologist talks about “three centuries of Darwinism” as if it means anything. Just the idea that “Darwinism” could be used as a scientific term by someone claiming to be a scientist should give you the heebie-jeebies. But to top that, in the one instance in which his expertise is needed, he tries to pet an alien life form that looks and behaves a lot like a cobra and then acts all offended when it tries to kill him. So what qualifies him to be a biologist? He looks at an animal and calls it a “beauty.” Aw. Isn’t that sweet? In a fear-for-our-future kind of way. Geologist. Approximately 80 years from now, the final exam to be a certified astro-geologist so elite you get recruited to participate on a major space voyage, consists of one question and one question only: Do you fucking love rocks? If you answered “Yes, I love rocks, I fucking love rocks” then congratulations, you are now a geologist! Which sucks for you because your total scientific expertise consists of throwing some mapping “puppies” in the air and howling at them like a wolf. And then you wander around in circles and get lost on your way out because even though you’re the guy in charge of making maps, you don’t know how to find the map on your computer and couldn’t read it if you did. Medicine. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! But no, seriously, let’s pretend that someone on this ship had medical training. Sterilization = burn it, burn it to death! Contagion-free = these living cells growing on this dead thing’s skull must be safe because they don’t look like an aggressive alien life form. First aid = sorry, woman, you’re out of luck, our medical pod has been preprogrammed only for men because the software is too primitive to treat both men and women. DON’T YOU KNOW THAT MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT SPECIES GOD OH GOD OH GOD?! Astronomy. Hey, look, it’s a new planet. We could circle it in space, send down a probe, create a map of potential landing sites from up here. Or we could dive blind into the atmosphere, aim for the biggest mountain, and then turn right. No, seriously. “Turn ship ninety degrees right.” Yeah, let’s do that. Genetics. So a billion years ago, one of these Promethean aliens came to earth and turned itself into DNA soup to seed the whole planet with life. Fast forward hundreds of millions of years through single-cell organisms to flatworms to fish to dinosaurs to mammals to primates to humans. And the end result is? This alien DNA is a 100% match for human DNA! The computer even overlaps the samples so we can see them line up perfectly! Woo!! And all those intermediate stages of evolution? Hahaha. Dude, we’re just dicking with you. But if you look beyond the specific sciences and the scientists at the scientific method, it’s just as horrific. On being methodical? We just travelled billions of miles and many light years across space. It’s going to get dark in 6 hours, and we don’t know anything about the surface of the planet. Let’s wait overnight and approach this methodically in the morning? Hell no. It’s Christmas Day! I gotta go open up the Christmas presents baby Jesus brought me… RIGHT NOW! On persistence? Thomas Edison experimented with 200+ materials before he discovered the filament that would make a lightbulb work. But hey, my name is Charlie Holloway, and I travelled farther than any human ever has before, and since I didn’t find our Makers in the first structure we checked on the first planet we visited in the first six hours since we landed, it’s time to CALL THE WHOLE THING A FAILURE AND START DRINKING BECAUSE THIS IS JUST TOO HARD WHY DOES GOD HATE ME WHY IS MY WHOLE LIFE JUST A HOLLOW WAY WHY?!? On safety protocol? “Ooooh, cool, I’ve got an extra-terrestrial infection in my eye. It’s like having a really aggressive leech attached to my iris. But why should I tell anyone that or take any steps to isolate or treat it. Maybe if I just pretend it’s not here, it’ll go away. Oh, yeah, that’s a cool idea.” On robotics? Nah, we won’t put any behavioral limits on our robots. Why would we do that? They’re just robots. They would never hurt us. No, I’ve never read Isaac Asimov or seen the Terminator movies; reading makes my brain hurt. Plus there’s no God in these old science fiction books or movies, so I know the ideas aren’t worth thinking about. You think that’s too harsh? The catchphrase for Prometheus might as well be “Shaw, don’t tell.” Elizabeth Shaw spouts the themes of the movie, embodies the themes of the movies, and makes the stupidest decisions of the movies. “Hey, this alien has been in stasis for 2000 years and the first thing he does when he wakes up is kill everyone he can get hold of and takes off in his spaceship full of biological weapons to wipe out Earth AND the last 3 people alive on our ship kamikaze his ship to stop them! You know what I should do? I should figure out how to go to the alien dude’s home planet. Yeah, that can’t turn out bad for anybody. Plus then maybe they’ll tell me WHY THEY’RE SO MEAN TO US OH GOD WHY ARE THEY SO MEAN?” Elizabeth Shaw is the one who, when the giant wheel-shaped alien spaceship rolls toward her like a tire knocked off a stock car in a NASCAR accident, tries to outrun it straight ahead instead of turning to one side or the other. Yeah, Shaw! We know that she’s the smartest and most virtuous scientist and the one who’s going to survive because she wears a cross and she says things like “I choose to believe” and she has faith and shit. And also, after the robot steals her cross and makes sure she has the evil alien baby in her STERILE STERILE WOMB BECAUSE GOD HATES HER she cuts out the alien baby and then we find out the alien baby didn’t die, so it wasn’t really an abortion, which is why she keeps referring to it as a C-section, and she feels sorry for the hungry alien baby so she takes it someone to eat. And then she makes the bad robot give her cross back to her. Science can’t do everything — it can’t tell us why life is meaningful, That’s faith’s business. But it turns out faith is REALLY REALLY BAD at doing science like anthropology, geology, biology, medicine and all the rest. Science and religion don’t have to be in conflict. It’s not an either-or decision. Each has their own realm. But if you choose Creationism, this is the either-or future you’re embracing. Bad science. Bad decision-making. And possibly the death of the human species. You think this isn’t horror? Then you aren’t paying attention. ••• C.C. Finlay is the author of the Hugo- and Nebula-finalist novellas “The Political Officer” and “The Political Prisoner,” and of the Traitor To The Crown series of historical fantasy novels. His most recent story is “The Cross-Time Accountants Fail To Kill Hitler Because Chuck Berry Does The Twist” in the May issue of Lightspeed magazine. He’s married to YA novelist Rae Carson.

47 Responses to Excellent review--and this ain't no hack--of a bad movie


Jun-21-2012 5:38 PM

@dallas!dallas! You should - you might consider keeping them handy. No: I didn't mean, "apology"? I thought it widely understood, that is something completely different. As for, "confusion"?......Not me. I suggest you see above.


Jun-21-2012 3:00 AM

Probably one of the best, most-thought-provoking negative Prometheus movies I have ever seen. Thanks for posting [i]Thread Stickied[/i]

colonial soldier

Jun-21-2012 3:00 AM

Awesome review!! But the fanboys will criticize his logical flaws in his review and will counteract with a substantial argument that makes sense to them. But seriously, when the actors sat down in a read through together for this movie; none of these questions came up? Everybody was just hoping for a job and a generous payday? Did the screen writers do any sensible research when writing a cohesive screenplay? You watch the movie Alien/Aliens and even Alien3 and nothing sticks out ridiculous as all these things do in this movie and you can actually believe this is how the future may be; even with the synthetic humans. Again, to be honest, I have seen better direct-to-dvd movies than this. Also, I am not a hater. I am a true fan of the series but as a consumer of the "Alien-Series" product; I demand a decent final-product so I can be entertained when I am spending 50 dollars of my hard earned money to take my family out. Why take advantage of the people you serve to entertain Mr. Scott? Why can you admit to this artsy trash? Many actors/directors have admitted faults in their previous works.


Jun-21-2012 3:03 AM

[i]Awesome review!! But the fanboys will criticize his logical flaws in his review and will counteract with a substantial argument that makes sense to them.[/i] This "fanboy" didn't! LOL. I liked the review. It presented points and supported them.


Jun-21-2012 3:08 AM

Okay, maybe I am being too hard on all "fanboys". I don't qualify myself as one, but when it comes to the first two . . . maybe just a bit.


Jun-21-2012 3:51 AM

There's several things wrong with this critique. First of all, this movie is NOT creationist. If anything, it borrows ideas from Intelligent design. If the entire premise of a critique is to attack another worldview, one should know enough about it to argue against it. Second, a knee jerk reaction that accuses the movie of making HUGE statements that just aren't there. It's a movie. A science fiction/fantasy movie. This makes me wonder why people go to movies. Do they *need* movies to reflect their own worldview to be worthy of watching? Third, classifying this as horror then claiming it's a total failure because it doesn't excel in that genre. I'm still trying to figure out where in the world people got the idea that this movie was supposed to scare the bejeebus out of them. By all means, complain that the trailer gave you the wrong idea of what the movie is about. But trashing the movie because it's not what you wanted doesn't justify anything. Four. Assuming the behavior of scientists and relying on stereotypes. People are disregarding all the news stories of emotionally imbalanced car rides in adult diapers and drug recall commercials of medication that was rushed through trials. Let's get real. Scientists are people like anyone else, and I've worked in science long enough to know that what I saw in the movie is actually closer to truth than fiction. Does that scare you? Good. Now is a great time to start questioning all those articles on the internet. Science is all about skepticism - it's never too late to start using some. In conclusion: I'd like to see a well thought out critique that didn't use mockery to mask the mistakes they make. Sure, you can argue something with style, but people of substance are going to see right through it. This one in particular seems to be a desperate cry for validation via "let's get fans by being a dismissive, pedantic class clown." Gosh, if that isn't all I've been running into lately.


Jun-21-2012 4:06 AM

Scathing and brilliant


Jun-21-2012 5:57 AM

This language is really quite staggeringly juvenile....but I would have understood that as his deliberate suggestion that, "the film is quite staggeringly silly" - [i]if[/i] he hadn't prefaced the whole thing with the film being, "about", Creationism - which I'm not sure I can understand. If anything, the film seems [i]anti[/i]-Creationist, to me. I mean, [i]what?[/i] I'm very confused - in these loose terms, if it is anything, surely this film would be [i]anti[/i]-God?... If I'm correct, he seems to be using what seems a stupid film, to support his anti-Creationist agenda - while himself either being too much of a buffoon to appreciate the film itself is not promoting a Creationist view, at all. Either that, or he's deliberately misrepresenting the film, just so that he can use it to spin his copy all the way into his sweet little payoff lines at the end and hoping that no-one notices. I do think the actual points he makes about the film are sound - he's obviously been reading this forum - but that's [i]one[/i] thing: he's [i]then[/i] co-opted a, frankly, poor film in order just to make a political point? And yet it seems he can't even do that properly. Ridiculous. I just don't know....he's entitled to his views, but - while Prometheus may well be an ill-concieved, evidently confused and quite poorly-executed film - it yet does seem quite a separate thing from [u]his views[/u] - rather than something that supports them. I really dislike people attempting to drag me down into realms of dishonesty and double-talk by their deceitful, political nonsense - [aka. "propaganda"] - as this little effort surely must have been deliberate. If you're going to review a film, then review a damned film. If you hate Creationists, either declare it or not - but don't conflate the two. Try not to use the one to promote the other - and if you do, try not to make it so transparent and pick a film to use as your tool that actually makes sense in your argument - Prometheus doesn't seem to and it already has enough problems.


Jun-21-2012 6:03 AM

And Fifield smoke weed in the middle of a dangerous and unknown planet XDXD!


Jun-21-2012 6:08 AM

and by the way Janek has more common sense than the whole bunch of "Scientists" but except in "life forms" and then "fails in the instruments" facepalm for him :p


Jun-21-2012 6:48 AM

Ok. Let me get this straight... if you try to sound intelligent, then you're really not. And if you ARE intelligent, then you get the fact you have sardonic license to write a freaken movie review? Did I get that right?


Jun-21-2012 6:49 AM

Of course! It's intelligent design!!


Jun-21-2012 7:47 AM

Pretty much everything Ridley Scott fans (not fanboys) have been complaining about. The movie is just silly and made for the teen crowd.


Jun-21-2012 8:51 AM

This was a terrible review. Wanted to give you a chance, but disagreed with literally every single point you attempted to make. Not worth responding too, especially given the snarky delivery. I enjoyed this movie, but was admittedly disappointed, if only because the material had so much more potential. Not for all the stupid little things that people seem to be splitting hairs over.


Jun-21-2012 8:57 AM

Yes, definitely the best reveiw that I've read from someone who didn't like the film. I love the film but they have explained some valid points very well.



Jun-21-2012 9:14 AM

Ok. Ok. Ok. One last post and I will put the iPhone down! If you say the comment was not worth commenting on, but you comment anyway... Is that not the same contradiction that the original commentator was commenting on? I think that's the gist of it..? Let me know fan-boi's..!


Jun-21-2012 9:32 AM

@mapaxn "First of all, this movie is NOT creationist. If anything, it borrows ideas from Intelligent design. " Intelligent design is a form of creationism. Intelligent design argues that complexity is evidence of intelligent concious design, rather than simply being a result of the processes of natural selection. Natural selection does not have an 'aim'. Intelligent design is a flawed way of trying to add scientific credence to the notional of a divine creator. The engineers influence on life seem to fit the definition of divine creation, does it not?


Jun-21-2012 10:29 AM

@Slipp_Digby Re. your comment: "The engineers influence on life seem to fit the definition of divine creation, does it not?" But, no - it does [i]not[/i] seem to. You have only half defined ID? The remain half of that definition is that ID would still be predetermined upon the intelligent consciousness it discusses, being, "divine" - and that is, literally, "supernatural". The Engineers, quite obviously, are [i]not[/i] divine - being in no way supernatural and, very clearly, actually made of the matter of bio-mechanic flesh and bones and suchlike contents of a general mess of guts that we are so pleased to see spilling across the deck of that lifeboat... I assume @mapaxn misrepresented slightly, by genuine error - but your correction of @mapaxn also seems slightly in error. With that, to me, it really doesn't seem actually [i]possible[/i] to call the film Creationist - and so this reviewer's claim that it [i]is[/i] Creationist remains just as seemingly nonsensically mad as it did before. I cannot see how this film could be described as Creationist like that when, (the Engineers being positioned as The Creators and when they are [i]not[/i] divine) - the proposition seems perfectly, "anti-God", rather than, "Creationist".


Jun-21-2012 11:07 AM

"Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute. The Institute defines it as the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." So intelligent design is a FORM of creationism and the reviewer was not incorrect.


Jun-21-2012 11:43 AM

@allinamberclad I corrected the suggestion that ID is NOT creationism. That correction stands as this is a fact. ID is really a arguing for creationism by using complexity of evidence of a diviine creator. This is fallacious thinking. Yes, you are entirely correct about the definition of ID. The fact that the engineers are made of flesh and blood (I assume) does not in any way preclude them from being classed as ‘supernatural’ in my opinion. Let’s take a simple definition of ‘supernatural’ from Wikipedia: “The supernatural is that which is not subject to the laws of natural, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature” I’d take this definition, for clarity adding that I consider the ‘laws of nature’ to mean established physics, biology, chemistry. Consider the feats that the engineers can achieve using (what I assume is) their technology - the black goo and their knowledge of its application. They can seed a planet and create life; they can destroy life and start fresh; their black goo creates a number of organisms in a tiny time period (space cobra, squid like creature) some of which grow in unlikely circumstances, or in a manner which defies our understanding of natural laws (e.g. the conception of and size Shaw’s offspring reaches in a short space of time). These acts and the speed at which they happen are way beyond what humans could EVER achieve even with the best use of known science. The definition of ‘divine’ on Wikipedia is also relevant:- “divinity refers to things which come from a supernatural or deity, such as God…[]…. Such things are regarded as "divine" due to their transcendental origins, and/or because their attributes or qualities are superior relative to things of the Earth” I’d find it hard to say that the engineer’s technology are not superior relative to things on earth. They can hibernate for 2000 years. The Prometheus crew risk death sleeping for a mere 2 years! Weyland certainly believes the engineers possess supernatural or divine power. He is responsible for some of the greatest advances in earth technology, but even he has faith in their powers over his and any other mans. Faith enough to go in person in the hope of eternal life by meeting his maker. The people who painted the cave painting, they thought the engineers were supernatural. We see an engineer seeding a planet through self-sacrifice. This may not be earth, granted, but the suggestion is there that engineers divinely created us in their image. The engineers are by that definition exactly what I would consider ‘supernatural’. I think the review makes a few good points.


Jun-21-2012 12:16 PM

Nice review, PROMETHEUS did literally is more like a horror science movie

Inquisitor Tremayne

Jun-21-2012 2:07 PM

agree with the review in full!!! i knew people with sense still existed in this universe!!! music to my ears!


Jun-21-2012 2:18 PM

Well, I was definitely disappointed with Prometheus, but only partly because of the many unlikely plot details and unbelievable characters, that this reviewer focuses on. What mostly disappointed me, was; that instead of creating a mysterious space full of suggestions, Scott chose to create a centrifuge of action, where the moral and philosophical quibble is thrown around without making any real impression.


Jun-21-2012 4:14 PM

Ah yes, Allinamberclad returns to clear up things with his endless refrain to any post he/she dislikes: a variant of "just what is the poster/reviewer [i]really[/i] trying to say?" I think the reviewer is pretty clear. And don't trust anyone who tries to make some intellectual distinction between creationism and intelligent design. Any one who has paid attention to creationsists of the last thirty years knows that intelligent design is/was/always will be a more "scientific" sounding way to say the same thing. ID is a form of creationism, whether by god or godlike aliens. And, fans, don't give me the "it's just a movie" claptrap. Ridley Scott was running around talking about how this movie fits in with what mainstream scientists AND the roman-catholic church believe to be the case with our existence, then when folks started pointing out the ridiculousness of that statement, backtracked with, "It's just a movie, lighten up." He dug his own hole on that one.


Jun-21-2012 4:49 PM

@Slipp_Digby I think it is interpreting that which is, "supernatural", as also, necessarily, "divine", that is the fallacy? As I pointed out, the Engineers exist as matter - they are obviously [i]not[/i], transcendent, in the [i]actual,[/i] rather than subjectively interpretative sense? Therefore, they cannot be,"divine"... Anyhow, the larger point stands: we are discussing Creationism, because it seems a little obvious that the film cannot be Creationist - and whoever wrote this, despite it's accuracy elsewhere, while he suggests that it [i]is,[/i] Creationist, must be badly mistaken - or deliberately disingenuous. @visualizer Precisely. @dallas!dallas! My condolences.


Jun-21-2012 5:17 PM

Intelligent design clearly rose out of the creationist school. Yes, Intelligent design strips away an absolutely divine creator for one or ones that may not or may be divine. It is a ploy to use empirical evidence to support a creator and designer. So in one sense, it is simply the child or grandchild of creationism. Notice that people who identify themselves as "creationists" opt for "intelligent design" as the better option. Ultimately, Intelligent designers do argue for a supernatural cause for the universe . . . and very, very few are talking about a non-divine one. Which is fine, but truly disingenuous. And I accept your condolences or did you intend "apology", or is there still some confusion as to the meaning(s) of the word?


Jun-21-2012 6:02 PM

I think I'll make it without them. And check your grammar -- "despite it's accuracy . . .". [i]It's[/i] means it is and is not possessive (i.e. [i]its[/i]). And just let me know if you want me to let you know where you can find the meaning of apology that you still seem to have not looked up. Just want to see you be the best you can be.


Jun-21-2012 6:19 PM

@dallas!dallas! Yes, yes: keep them handy...


Jun-21-2012 6:25 PM

Mapaxn is wrong in that he assumes that intelligent design posits only material causes for creation. ID is, and I quote, " a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" rather than "a religious-based idea".[3] The leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank,[n 1][4] and believe the designer to be the Christian deity." Allinamberclad is simply and utterly wrong when it comes to this issue.

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