A few nights ago, I watched the DVD of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. I’d seen the film at the cinema earlier in the year, and been most unimpressed. It looked gorgeous, but there wasn’t a single functioning brain cell in it. Anyway, here are some notes I took as I watched the DVD…
- When DNA breaks up, it does not form magical chemicals that can reform as DNA.
- Noomi Rapace’s character is fond of saying, “it’s what I choose to believe”, which does not mean “it is true”, and any scientist with half an IQ would know as much.
- The Prometheus starship appears to be somewhat bigger on the inside than the outside – I mean, if the crew are going to spend the journey in cryostasis, why would you put a huge gym in the ship?
- The Prometheus takes two years to travel approximately 34.5 light years to LV-223, so the moon could be orbiting either Pollux, Gliese 649, Gliese 86… or some completely made-up star.
- Why does David the android (Michael Fassbender) eat?
- The lifeboat in which Charlize Theron’s character lives has everything she might need… including a grand piano?
- On arrival at LV-223, they discover the Engineer facility because “God does not build in straight lines”. Er, what? Nature certainly does, physics certainly does.
- Why does everyone aboard have a seat on the bridge of the Prometheus? Shouldn’t only the crew?
- The ancient paintings depicted a “galactic system”. This means absolutely nothing.
- The civilisations which made the ancient paintings apparently never had contact with each other. Unlikely. Even if centuries apart, there would still be historical artefacts – like, er, the ancient paintings which prompt the mission to LV-223…
- The cave painting on Skye was dated as 35,000 years old. Northern Europe was still experiencing the last ice age at that point (the Flandrian interglacial didn’t start until 10,000 years ago).
- Why does David the android dye his hair? Can’t he just swap it?
- The Engineer facility is a sugar-loaf type rock hill inside a circular rock wall, and it has an undercut entrance supported by carved pillars – so yes, it would be easy to say it is not natural.
- Speaking of entrances, the scientists have to duck to get inside – yet the Engineers are enormous. What a silly way to enter a building.
- Speaking of the Engineers, their spaceships are famously boomerang-shaped… Except for the one which opens the film, which is saucer-shaped. Why?
- The scientists are inside an alien facility, their sensors have told them the chemical composition of the air, but there’s no mention of biological contaminants… so let’s all take our helmets off. Right…
- Several of the scientists make jokes about Martians – eh?
- The man responsible for mapping the Engineer facility… gets lost. Fail.
- Why is there a xenomorph in the mural?
- Two scientists are in charge of the expedition– no wait, one scientist and his “zealot girlfriend”. So no gender equality in the 22nd century, then.
- How do you trick a severed head that’s been dead for 2000 years into thinking it’s alive?
- And, what do you know, a perfect match between human and Engineer DNA. So much for evolution.
- David the android does not need to drink, or indeed breathe, but he still eats food – eh?
- The two lost scientists don’t know where they are… but they can give their coordinates to the ship.
- It’s the twenty-first century, haven’t we moved on from infertility as the sole motivation for a female character?
- Or indeed, when a woman is asked if she is a robot, offering sex is not the first or most efficient means of proving your humanity.
- Some of the scientists and crew smoke cigarettes. Aboard a spaceship. Fail.
- What generates the holograms of the Engineers running through the facility? Where is the machinery? You can see it in the engineer spaceship.
- And how come it still works after 2,000 years? The Antikythera Mechanism didn’t.
- When Noomi Rapace takes off her clothes, she is apparently wearing a bandage around her chest rather than a bra.
- When Weyland makes an appearance, where did his nurse come from?
- Why do all the Engineers look identical?
… And at this point I gave up making notes because it was all getting too silly. Why bother mentioning that Rapace has to abseil out of the Engineer spaceship… so how did she get into it? Or that running away from a rolling spaceship along the line it is rolling is pretty bloody stupid.
I was also informed that the DVD version featured a different start and end, and a number of additional scenes in the middle – as if it were, you know, a different and less stupid film. I didn’t notice any difference. Perhaps the version I bought is the theatrical release – it doesn’t say it is, but it also doesn’t say it’s not. That’s annoying.
I’m all for science fiction cinema, and I would like to see more of it. But this is shoddy writing, this is a failure of writing craft. It’s indicative of the contempt in which Hollywood holds the audiences of its films. It’s no wonder I’ve found myself increasingly watching world cinema, art house cinema and classic movies…