Fangirl Movie Review: Prometheus: What Does God Need With A Starship?

Good news: Prometheus is not as bad as Alien: Resurrection. Bad news: Prometheus is not as good as Alien: Resurrection.

Spoiler alert…

 

 

Looks like Ridley Scott put some Doctor Who in a blender and set it to “insipid”.

  • Elizabeth Shaw? DOCTOR Elizabeth Shaw? Are you serious? She may be an archaeologist and not a physicist, but you can’t tell me that isn’t a Doctor Who reference. Especially since her boyfriend’s name is Dr. Holloway. (And does Captain Janek = Captain Jack?)
  • The plot of Prometheus was The Lazarus Experiment plus Voyage of the Damned. Weyland is simultaneously Lazarus and Max Capricorn without the sparkle.
  • Captain Janek is a poorly done version of Shaun Parkes’ fantastic Zachary Cross Flane in The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. “But hey, first human beings to get killed by a black hole, how about that?” I’m sure Idris Elba could have done a better job… the man was Heimdall, for crying out loud! But he was wasted here.

For a movie that was supposedly not an Alien prequel (although Scott says it takes place in the same universe)… please. It would have been a far better movie if they’d just gone ahead and admitted it’s a prequel.

Plot: Nonexistent. If you’re familiar with the Alien franchise then you were not surprised by anything you saw. You could peg who was going to die, when, and how. Yes, let’s leave the two scientists alone in the creepiest room with alien artifacts we don’t understand. Yes, the robot is going to turn on you. Wake me up when the movie starts.

Acting: Wooden. Everyone says how much they liked Michael Fassbender as the android David but even that wasn’t enough to save the movie for me. And if you didn’t want Shaw to be compared to Ripley then why cast a similar cute brunette?

What would have improved the movie:

Make Shaw Weyland’s daughter instead, the heir to the conglomorate. It would have been more interesting and poignant. Let the archaeologists be the redshirts (with apologies to Daniel Jackson). And give us a taste of how this company becomes The Company we know later on.

Put less white guys on the crew. Try not to make its composition EXACTLY the same as that of the Nostromo. (We have one black dude, w00t!) And, although this may be contradictory, the movie could have used an injection of 100% pure Lance Henriksen.

Eliminate the entire “Shaw is infertile but impregnanted with an alien” thing. There was no point except for the self-surgery scene which was entirely gratuitous. You are NOT going to be running around and rapelling down the side of a spaceship immediately after major surgery, no matter how many staples are in your stomach!

Also, when she ran into the room and discovered Weyland and David – did you notice how no one even blinked when a bloodcovered woman with a gaping hole in her stomach burst in? David simply gives her a coat, like she stepped in out of the rain. Uh, medical emergency, anyone?

Related: “This medical device is only calibrated for men?” It would have made more sense to say, “this medical device is calibrated for a particular person [Weyland] and does not contain that procedure.”

Get rid of stupid props. The all-terrain vehicle looked so much like a Landram that I expected Noah Hathaway to pop out of it with Muffit. And the Tron-like outfits with the orange trim, wtf? Also, helmets that don’t get scratched during a silica particle storm, yet can be shattered in single blow and dissolve instantly in Super Alien Acid.

Don’t bring stuff up and then drop it. So… it’s dangerous to operate the ion drives in the atmosphere, which implies a Sontaran Strategem/Poison Sky atmosphere-on-fire concept, except NOTHING happens and they simply fly Prometheus into the alien mothership to blow it up instead. So… the aliens created us but now they want to destroy us and we don’t know why. (See Faith Erin Hicks’ hysterical cartoon review of Prometheus.)

Get rid of the religious references. The whole “Shaw is Christian because of her dad’s death” thing was trite and tried to overlay a heavy-handed spirituality on the movie. We can explore the mysteries of the universe without forcing it into a religious context. In fact you would expect scientists to do just that. Related: Holloway being upset because he was wrong made no sense. Every scientist I’ve ever known has loved unexpected results because it gives them more data.

Put in more one-liners. Good one-liners. The reason we cared about the crew of the Nostromo, and later the Marines in Aliens, was because we got to know them before they started getting killed. There was an attempt at this in Prometheus during the Christmas tree scene but it fell flat. This movie seriously needed some one liners to save it from itself. Decades later, everyone STILL loves Hudson and Hicks. None of the characters in this movie will be remembered like that.

Overall, it was a yawnfest. Apparently my husband and I weren’t the only ones to think so, because the theater was practically empty on opening night. Compare that to when we saw Avengers a few weeks ago and couldn’t even get tickets for the first two showings. Thanks, but I think I’ll go back and watch the original Alien instead. It’s still scarier even though I know what happens.

Life During Fandom

I swear, I was only thinking about my geeky plans for the weekend. Then one line of this popped into my head and I had to do the whole thing.

And I’m sorry. I’m really very, very sorry.

Life During Fandom

(with apologies to Talking Heads and the rest of the universe)

Heard of a con that is loaded with guest stars
Pack up your dice and let’s go
Heard of a bookstore out by the highway,
A place the muggles don’t know
The sound of Stargates off in the distance,
I’ve got a D.H.D. now
Lived in a TARDIS, lived on Darkover,
I’ve lived all over Known Space

This ain’t no starship, this ain’t no dungeon,
this ain’t no fooling around
No time for Tolkien or timey-wimey
I ain’t got time for that now

Transmit the virus to the invaders
Hope they will blow up someday
I got three novels, a couple short stories
But they’re all fanfic for now
On my friend’s TV Trek II is starting
everyone’s ready to KHAAAAN!
I filk in the daytime, I slide in the nightime,
I might not ever get home

This ain’t no starship, this ain’t no dungeon,
this ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Watchmen or InuYasha,
I ain’t got time for that now

Heard about Warcraft? Heard of Avengers?
Heard about Trek on Blu-Ray?
You ought to know not to stand by the airlock
somebody throw you out there
I got some Buffy, some Game of Thrones here
to last a couple of days
but I ain’t got no comics, ain’t got no manga,
ain’t got no Skyrim to play

Why be a mundane? God, that’d be boring!
Gonna read Hunger Games now
Can’t roll for damage, can’t find my phaser
I ain’t got time for that now

Trouble with nanites, we got you covered
We like our John Williams loud
We got computers, we’re checking Twitter
We’re all on Pinterest now
We dress like Cylons, we dress like browncoats,
or in a fez and bow tie
I’ve changed my cosplay so many times now
I don’t know what I look like

You kill that ogre, I’ll get the darkspawn
We make a pretty good team
Don’t get exhausted, you’re out of hit points
You ought to get you some CON

Burned all my Twilight. What good is Twilight?
I’d rather slit my own throat.
My books are breaking all of my bookshelves
Ooh, look! New reprint of Dune!

 

My Love Affair With The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Today’s the anniversary of the first Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy radio show. How did you first become enamored with that wholly remarkable book?

I discovered Hitchhiker’s in the library of the stodgy girls’ school I attended. Think Catholic school, minus the Catholic but plus plus on the plaid uniforms. As you can guess, the library was dull enough to bring a tear to Giles’s eye (but a bit short on demonology texts for his tastes, I’d imagine). There were the obligatory copies of Emily Dickenson, a bust of Margaret Mead on the table, inspirational “reading is FUNdamental” posters on the walls.

And, way in the back, a whole shelf of science fiction.

Somebody in that school was a serious closet SF fan. It was like a hidden message for future likeminded students, a little cache of bliss among fifty-year-old copies of Great Expectations*. Besides Hitchhiker’s, there was Asimov’s The Caves Of Steel which introduced me to his Robots novels, some Heinlein juveniles including Podkayne of Mars – as well as Stranger In A Strange Land, which proves no real librarian ever looked at that shelf or they would have spirited such naughty tomes away from the innocent eyes of us young ladies.

I’d already become addicted to SFF through Star Trek, Buck Rogers, and the original Battlestar Galactica. Finding Hitchhiker’s was like a fresh delivery of lemon-soaked paper napkins. The library card filled with my initials. I went out and bought what was then a trilogy, in both book and audio form. I could quote parts from memory. My stodgy school became accustomed to the girl who wandered around muttering about Frogstar Fighters. They called me a nerd, but I didn’t care. The fact that somebody had written a bestselling series like Hitchhiker’s proved that I wasn’t the only one who thought science fiction was fun.

I must have discovered Doctor Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide around the same time (insert irony here), because I can’t remember which one I fell in love with first. I do remember that we didn’t get the Douglas Adams episodes for ages thanks to the ridiculous policies of our local PBS station, so by the time I saw The Pirate Planet I was already addicted to Hitchhiker’s. Part of the allure was the quintessential Britishness of it, during the 1980s when everything British was kewl. (I was am also a huge Duran Duran fan, which probably contributed to my infatuation.)

But there was something special about Hitchhiker’s. You couldn’t read it and not laugh your ass off. It was the perfect diversion because it was so ridiculous, so witty, and so British. The latter, as I discovered, doesn’t really translate. I bought a foreign language copy in France, in which Zaphod becomes Zippy Bibicy (as in, BBC) and Ford Prefect is Ford Escort because apparently that’s funnier in French. It just wasn’t the same. As Mickey Smith comments in the Doctor Who episode The Chrismas Invasion (which itself is an homage to Hitchhiker’s), if the world was ending the British would have tea. That’s a very Hitchhiker’s sentiment.

Over thirty years later, Hitchhiker’s has become such a part of our culture here in the U.S. that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know the meaning of the number 42 or the phrase “Don’t Panic!” Take some time today to celebrate The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, before that Frogstar Fighter Class D comes to get you.

* Don’t get me wrong. I like classic literature, just not Dickens. I’m more of your Mark Twain type. Sorry, Vincent.