So… it’s been a week now, or close to it, since “Prometheus” opened. I made some comments in my previous post about my problems with the movie’s “plot”. At that time I didn’t want to spoil it for anyone who might want to go see the movie, but after a week I feel like I can post my thoughts more specifically. Especially since I really think this movie is one of the worst written “sci-fi” movies I’ve ever seen. So, WARNING! SPOILERS!!
I have been particularly hard on the plot of the movie. Here are my specific reasons for feeling this movie was so poorly written.
The entire concept of the movie is based on the fundamental premise that the “giants” or “engineers” who created humans on earth had spent time interacting with humans and helping them develop civilization all over the Earth, and in each case they had left a deliberate and highly specific “map” that would allow humans to one day locate their planet. The heroine of the movie and her boy toy interpreted this as a specific “invitation” from the engineers to visit their home world, presumably to get answers about the most profound and important questions in human history. “Why are we here?”, “What is our purpose?”, “What else can you teach us?”
But later we learn that the planet the engineers “invited” us to, was actually some sort of military base that was specifically built as a means of creating and delivering weapons of mass destruction (in the form of alien creatures) to EARTH! Yes, the “engineers” apparently deliberately communicated to EARTHLINGS where they were building the genocidal weapons which they would use to destroy Earth itself.
Why? What possible rationale would the engineers have for giving earthlings a map to the planet where they were building the weapons they would use to destroy Earth? The answer is that there is no such rationale. It beggars belief. It makes, quite literally, no sense whatsoever. It’s like the Aemricans in WW2 provided the Nazis with a map of where they were developing the atomic bomb. It’s not merely silly, it’s incomprehensible. And that’s the FUNDAMENTAL PLOT DEVICE of the movie.
Now… throwing that aside…
So a starship is built with ion engines that can cross 35 light years of space. (I think it was 35 light years, although this is unclear because the diagrams they show and other comments in the movie imply that the planet is halfway across the galaxy, or something on the order of 100,000 light years. Not that it matters. The engines the ship has could not possibly cover even 35 light years in anything less than generations. Clearly the writers simply have no clue what they are talking about in terms of space travel, propulsion or anything else.
But… much more important than the complete ignorance of distance and time considerations is this.
They flew the damn ship directly into the planet’s atmosphere!
This is more than bizarre. This violates pretty much every single precept of mission management, physics, logic and common sense. You don’t fly your interstellar spaceship onto the planet! You have smaller shuttles that you send down to the planet for investigation! Even if you might EVENTUALLY land the main ship, you sure as hell don’t fly across half the galaxy and then just nose down into the atmosphere and start flying around searching for things VISUALLY!
I can’t even begin to describe how totally and completely freaking insane this is. They literally were flying their whole spaceship MANUALLY through mountain ranges and canyons such that they DIDN’T EVEN SEE THE ENGINEER’S STRUCTURES until they were right on top of them.
Look. You have a spaceship. You are coming into a stellar system where you suppose an exponentially superior technological race has their HOME PLANET. You don’t even go into orbit around that planet at first. You park your ship somewhere and send probes in. Then, if you decide that it is safe to proceed, you might go into orbit around the planet, but you would dispatch some tiny mapping satellites which would not only map the entire planet in a few hours, locating any structures, for example, but would provide all of the navigational aids you might need when you actually send a scouting party down in a shuttle.
But no. They just fly straight in, drop into the atmosphere and start FRIGGIN LOOKING AROUND WITH THEIR OWN DAMN EYEBALLS to see what they can see.
Such complete and utter incompetence deserves to be eaten alive by aliens.
I could go on.
“Hey, let’s take our helmets off!” No worries man. Just do it.
“Joe and I are bored, we’re heading back to the ship.” Sure. Split the party. Nobody’s really in charge anyway. This is a “scientific expedition” there’s no need for discipline, logic or regard for physical safety while exploring the ruins of an advanced alien technology that appears to have been destroyed by mysterious attackers who might still be around.
Joe and his buddy get lost. I mean really? They can map an entire underground structure to the sub-millimeter level and beam the holographic image back to the main ship, but two guys in spacesuits can’t follow a breadcrumb trail back to their ship without getting lost?
“Hey, look, I’m an engineer who has just been revived from hibernation, and I can see that all of my comrades are dead, our entire military infrastructure has been compromised by the very genocidal creatures we were creating, who now appear to be loose on the planet, but who cares about that? There’s a friggin EARTHLING! KILL KILL KILLKILLLKILLKILLK!!!!!!”
I was on the verge of outright hysterical laughter at that point.
Just the high points.
Oh, so why did they land their entire interstellar spaceship on the planet’s surface anyway?
Because the directer apparently thought a violent ship to ship ramming scene would be just the perfect visual climax for his movie. That’s why.
In fact pretty much every stupid, idiotic thing that happened in the movie (and there were truckloads of stupid, idiotic things) were clearly put in the movie to force the plot to happen the way the director wanted it to go. Not because it made any sense at all. It just had to provide the right impact to the viewer. That’s all.