- I went in to the movie with relatively low expectations ("If it's better than Alien 4, I'll be happy.")
- I was pleasantly surprised
- If Alien was a horror movie and Aliens was an action movie, Prometheus is a science fiction movie. It's very different from the rest of the series in this respect. (However, note: it's not hard science fiction. There's very little realism to be had here.)
- The recent movie that Prometheus most resembles is probably Sunshine. Not that they're similar stories, but they feel like they're in the same genre.
- I would say that this is sort of like the reverse of what Abrams did with the Star Trek reboot. Instead of stripping out the ideas and thought experiments in favor of high-intensity action and drama, this steps down the tension and piles on a shit-ton of ideas.
- The movie confounds viewer expectations frequently. Stuff that I thought would be important is trivial, stuff that I thought would be climax is midpoint, conflicts I anticipated sometimes didn't manifest at all. I thought this was mostly positive, but I imagine it really grates on diehard fans.
- Some people seem to not like the idea of the "Engineers," because the whole Daniken thing is played out. This doesn't bother me at all.
- And I love the fact that they actually look like giant white people. I love it. While the xenomorphs were always great horror monsters, they were never great science fiction monsters, because buglike and/or murderous genital-like aliens are the next best thing to little green men when it comes to cheap shots in sci-fi worldbuilding. the Engineers force us to confront the same horror we've grown to associate with the xenomorphs in a package that looks like an idealized version of ourselves.
- I also love the Engineer -> Human -> Android thing. I love that Shaw is either oblivious to or totally at peace with the irony of telling David that -- because he's a mere robot -- she can't explain to him why she wants an explanation from the Engineers.
- The proto-chestburster thing is just so absolutely brutal and bizarre. We're introduced to Shaw's infertility (and her pretty distraught feelings about it) and almost immediately shoved into this bizarre little reproductive rights fable where she has to program the men's-only surgery chamber, undergo a five-minute alien abortion, and then stagger, bloody and drugged, into what amounts to a family reunion-cum-staff meeting with the parties responsible. Is this bad writing or great writing? I honestly can't say. But it makes for an interesting divergence from the way in which the previous movies have approached the maternal aspect of Ripley's character, and I think it fit very well into my overall experience of the movie.
- I do like the fact that science and technology (technology which is explicitly presented as class- and gender-mediated, no less) turns what in previous movies is basically a fatal curse into a soluble medical problem. And I like that Shaw thinks about it and deals with it on those terms.
- It's interesting that a lot of the stuff that is implicit or symbolic in the other movies gets...is the term diegetic? Or am I totally confused here? The characters view their world more as the audience viewed the world of Alien and Aliens than as the characters in those movies did. I liked the cross, and how it wasn't just sitting there as a signal to the audience, it was something the characters themselves treated as a symbol.
- Also, I was really frustrated by Annalee Newitz's read on Shaw's "spirituality." Nothing about Shaw's behavior or dialogue indicates that she is especially "devout" as a Christian; her spirituality -- like that of most real Americans today -- is not a theology so much as it is a general sense of optimism about the possibility of things like an afterlife and an ultimate meaning behind the way the natural world works. And Shaw's faith is as much a scientific one as a religious one, as we can see especially from the end of the film.
- My initial expectation was that, like Ripley, she would aspire to nothing more than destroying her adversaries and either escaping intact or dying in peace. (Because Ripley is, at heart, a fighter.) And once David -- who had murdered someone she loved, infected her with an alien organism, and basically orchestrated all these deaths and this whole disaster -- contacted her to inform her that he could operate the ships, I assumed that she would update her to-do list and make permanently disabling him her last significant goal -- the only way to be sure, after all. But no -- she wants to go exploring. She's not done being a scientist. Or an optimist. She's basically a budding Walter Bishop.
- Hmm. Surprised that nobody seems to be comparing the infection(s) in Prometheus with the descolada in the later Ender books.
- People who ding the shit on the Engineer ship for not making sense are missing the point. The Engineers have to be incomprehensible.