When word broke that Prometheus was coming out, I bounced, squeed, giggled, clapped, etc. A huge fan of the Alien universe, this was a big deal for me. I didn’t care that it wasn’t a strict prequel. I knew that it had a great cast, a great director, and a writer that was coming off of a show I adored. This one should have been set, locked and loaded. It was going to be good. I grabbed my now-husband and sprinted to the theater opening weekend, eager to see it. Boy, am I glad that I brought him along with me. I needed someone to confirm that:
No, I could not shout at the screen.
Yes, this movie made about as much sense as a condom machine in the men’s bathroom at the Vatican.
Years later, this movie still pisses me off to no end. The worst part is that it doesn’t start off as a complete train wreck. There were some things I was prepared to overlook: the obvious backstory of Ellie displayed in a pod-viewable dream sequence; the one-dimensional, tattooed, stereotypical badass crew member Fifield, who fled at the first ancient corpse; the overly detached performance of Fassbender; the holograms-as-cheap-exposition convention. I was prepared to accept that, so long as I got my cool aliens.
Nope, Prometheus officially gets shit-faced and decides that it wants to go for waffles about an hour in. Here are my big problems once the movie gets drunk off its ass:
#1 – Milburn, a fucking zoologist, does not have enough brains to step away from the alien snake when it goes into a goddamned attack posture. Really, where the hell did he get his degree? When an animal feels threatened and/or is ready to attack, it makes itself look larger. I majored in English and even I know this. What’s his response? He smiles and pulls a “Hey there, little fella!” while trying to pet it. HE TRIES TO PET IT. The icing on the cake is that the alien snake looks like a penis. That’s right, the zoologist is about to get attacked by an angry dick that he’s trying to pet. When he does get attacked, he’s surprised.
#2 – Hologramatic Backstory, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo. I was prepared to overlook it the first time it happened. The second time? You’re just being a lazy storyteller. Even worse, the holograms of the Engineers in the hidden control room are shoddy at best, while the map of the stars is clear and articulate. If you’re going to stick with a storytelling method, then make sure it’s uniform. Either all of it’s crap or none of it’s crap.
#3 – Captain Janek wants to bring Holloway on board and put him in quarantine. Do these people not have access to protocols and/or any science fiction films? Yes, he’s aged about 40 years in 10 minutes – let’s bring him on board! We can save him! In a rare moment of sense, the film mercifully has Vickers demand that he not come on board… then goes to the extreme route of torching the guy. I’m a bit on the fence, considering that this is the smartest thing anyone’s done in the past 20 minutes of the movie at this point.
#4 – When the newly-discovered-to-be-pregnant Ellie asks David point blank to “get it out,” he refuses to give her an abortion on the grounds of, “We don’t have the personnel.” Really? You have how much intelligence crammed in there, how much equipment on board, and you can’t come up with a better excuse than, “We don’t have the parts”? David, for a superior piece of A.I., you’re a total dumbass. No one believed you.
#5 – Warning, this is the big one: when Ellie can’t get the medical pod to perform a c-section on her because it’s programmed for a male, she enters in a surgery for an abdominal foreign body removal. At this point, I yelled, “Aw HELL no!” in the middle of the theater. Sorry, but those are two totally different procedures. The fact that she’s lasered open, has an intact amniotic sac removed, then stapled up while completely conscious is just not believable. Unless if she’s completely missing a uterus, there would have been a whole organ to cut through and suture. Not to mention that a pod designed for a man would not take a uterine artery into account. She would have bled to death in no time flat.
#6 – The fact that Ellie is able to move so fluidly and vigorously around after she’s had her abdomen sawed open and stapled back up in a pod not configured for a woman is just dumb. There’s not even an utterance of pain until a short while later. I get that adrenaline would keep her going, but the pacing of her actually feeling pain just feels like a writer remembered at some point that there might need to be some believability in this movie. All of her running and jumping would have ripped open those staples and torn fragile tissue. Again, commence bleeding and death without proper medical attention. Not buying it.
#7 – Why is Ellie that easy for Weyland to sway? She gives her speech about the Engineers not being what they thought, and goes from, “We need to get the hell out of Dodge” to the prayer/strength pose after Weyland tells her, “You need to have faith that you’ll find your answers.” Lady, you just had a rapidly growing squid pulled out of your abdomen (see numbers five and six above) – the “have faith, young grasshopper” routine should have been your cue to kick that old bastard over and undergo a mutiny. He’s only got a few days left. He won’t survive the trip home.
#8 – Janek’s explanation of what the planet really is (military installation). Really, Ridley – you’re going to spoon feed me every last bit of this movie? That’s just condescending.
#9 – The Engineer’s rolling donut ship is going down a straight line, so why keep running in a straight line? Go to either the left or the right. It’s not that difficult. Ellie had enough sense to roll after she fell; Vickers, not so much. I wouldn’t have held it against the movie if it had killed Ellie in this fashion, though. She got dumber as the minutes ticked by.
#10 – After the ship crashes into the Engineer’s ship, against all odds, your freakish squid alien baby will still be alive. In fact, it will be bigger.
#11 – When in doubt, use your squid alien baby to dispatch the Engineer trying to kill you for no discernible reason. Let it kill mommy’s tormentors! In fact, it will open up to reveal a toothed vagina AND a penis snake for optimal annihilation. (Moral of the story: fear both sexes.)
#12 – Yes, Ellie, GO BACK for the android that started this whole mess. That’s not going to bite you in the ass. You’d probably be better off dying on that planet than carting David’s manipulative head around. He never once showed regret for the loss of life or utter mess he caused. So he’s an interstellar GPS – what could possibly go wrong with David in tow?
#13 – Final scare moment that we all expected: the birth of the more traditional alien we’re used to seeing in this universe. After all that, Ridley, you give us a bastardized alien that looks like it mated with a hammerhead shark? It was skinny and looked like it was on the verge of having a stroke. I expected something bigger and scarier.
I refuse to watch the planned sequel for this. I’m taking a stand against character stupidity and plot holes. Who’s with me?