For the past few months I’ve enjoyed the moments of going to movies again. Sitting in somewhat overstuffed chairs designed for the ever-increasing girth of Americans. The smell of popcorn. The crackling of candy bags as people stuff more sugary goodness down their gullets. The gasps at scary moments. The laughs during a really good line or moment. The adrenaline pumping knuckles tightening around the armrests as the hero chases down the bad guy.
But today I had none of that. Today was rather meh. And why kind reader would the guy who loves movies of any genre struggle through a summer blockbuster? Why would the collection of talent gathered for this film leave me craving Howard the Duck or even Leonard Part VI?
Because the first thirty minutes to Prometheus were confusing, redundant, boring and left me not really caring about the rest of the film. Basically the start left a bad taste in my mouth that affected the rest of the pretty looking movie.
The intro to the summer blockbuster and return of Ridley Scott to sci-fi was trash. Choose a four letter word and more than likely your word choice would be perfect.
Crap, Shit, Slop, Snot, Puke, and Poop.
In the first 10 minutes I knew my mind was going to have problems. Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her dopey boyfriend / finace / husband found something in Scotland (from 35,000 years ago I might add) that resembled artwork from other ancient tribal cultures, pointing (inviting according to the movie) to a new world. Dr. Shaw calls the unknown beings from the artwork the Engineers. I could watch Ancient Aliens and get more enjoyment from watching Tsoukalos talk.
Then we jump ahead 3 or 4 years. (Honestly, I don’t remember the correct one.) A ship called Prometheus is carrying everyone you would choose to create the biggest conflict in the world on a spaceship in deep space. During the next twenty minutes of the movie we are given the backstory of every possible way they got to this point and why they are there.
Now here is where my scientific side comes out. When we went to the moon we were able to use telescopes and map out landing sites. When we started looking at the Jovian planets we would send out satellites to take pictures and do some minor mapping of the moons.
For this movie the plan was to just fly the ship to the location while everyone stays in suspended animation until we are right on top of the damn place. We arrive and discover it is a planetary system. The planet we are near resembles Saturn. We are supposed to go to a moon that apparently has an Earth-like atmosphere. Except the CO2 is higher, and very toxic to breathe. So, this means everyone gets to wear really flipping cool space suits.
Alright, STOP. Get me my hero!
This place is far enough away that telescopes could only see a star and that it had a wobble. Which denotes the possibility of an extra-solar planet. The Weyland Corporation, yes, the right-wing neo-con knuckle head that brought us androids, has a ship designed, built, and launched and it is arriving at this far off location four years after two doctors find some matching artwork. At this point my mind is reeling because there was no mention of satellites orbiting or mapping out the moon.
Really? We just flew billions of miles in two years of suspended animation. Now we are going to take the whole ship and land on the moon.
Really? At what point were we going to find a landing place and setup shop?
Really? We’re just going straight down there through storms we know nothing about and then land where the doctor of something, sitting three rows back, spots a location outside of his small window?
Really? My response would be,”Get the fuck outta here.”
As a screenwriter, aiming to write a summer blockbuster some day, I came up with the perfect way to chop off 30 minutes of WTF and keep things flowing without losing everyone.
1st – Keep the bulked up Voldemort and his X-Files black goo shot of death. A great way to hint at our beginnings or at least the death of planet.
2nd – Open up on David the Android doing his thing. Good job Mr. Fassbender!
3rd – Get everyone out of suspended animation. Let them know we’ve arrived. There really is a planet, but we’re going to a moon. As Prometheus neared the location it sent out satellites to map and study the area. Now that everyone is awake we found that we are going to the moon not the gaseous planet with rings like Saturn. Oh and we mapped it and found a safe landing spot near the damn freaky spheres in a straight line. Get suited up we’re walking on the surface folks!
BAM, no boring backstory of the multiple ancient civilizations. No get together of the crew that apparently never met each other until they woke up. And finally a chance to get us going on the strange moon and really moving the story along. Let the crew interactions occur on the surface where everyone would be tense already. Why have the crew be tense with each other right as they come out of the deep freeze?
Observations throughout the rest of the movie:
1: Why are the scientists so stupid? Excluding David, they repeatedly poked, prodded, and touched whatever they came across. Do scientists in the future learn things quicker this way?
2: Why did it seem like David was there before? He touches some slime then runs his fingers through the grooves in the wall, which is writing, which in turn opens doors or turns on holograms. Was this a part of the learning he was doing with the futuristic Rosetta Stone?
3: Why would the Engineers have holograms of themselves? If what they were playing with was so horrible, how come they didn’t have better protection?
4: Why wasn’t Dr. Shaw’s love interest killed earlier in the movie for being a colossal dick? I think a quick test of airlocks would have made him nicer.
5: How come the ship’s Captain just jumped in to save the day and explain the moon was really a giant collection of weapons of mass destruction? When did he become Mr. Wizard and understand all the scientific research everyone else was frantically trying to figure out?
6: Why wait to ram the alien craft as it is getting ready to fly off? Why not do what Dr. Shaw said right away as the hangar doors were opening and fly over the top of it and burn it with your GIANT ion engines?
7: Why is it that at the end of the 21st century, on a spaceship billions of miles from Earth and stranded on a moon there is a fire axe? Dr. Shaw never even got a chance to use it.