Science Fiction Round 57: Prometheus
Sooo…. I really wanted to watch something sci-fi on the plane, and I’ve seen all the Marvel movies, and re-watching the film version of The Martian would have cost money, so… there was Prometheus, prequel to Alien.
I probably would have been happier re-watching one of the Marvel movies. Or Alien, for that matter.
The Scientists Are All Clueless
Then again, so is everybody else, but I’m inclined to give the science folks less slack.
Here are three things that really annoy me:
- The people all take their helmets off when they learn the air is breathable. Um, hello? Have you not heard of biological contaminants? Even if nothing can make you sick or eat you (and this is an Alien movie, so of course it can), you’re going to be contaminating your pristine environment with your own cells and bacteria. That’s going to mess up all your tests for alien life, folks. Not cool.
- Not only do two of the exploratory dudes get lost, despite having comms to the main ship, trackers, and an auto-generated map, they are also too stupid to live when they encounter a small-ish alien lifeform. Guys, you don’t have a nice big prod, or forceps, or some sort of stick, for dealing with things that might try to eat your face?
- After getting the “I would do anything” to get answers response from one of the crewmembers, the alien deliberately causes him to injest some of the mysterious alien liquid stuff from the mysterious alien ruins. This is, obviously, the best way to test what it is and how it works, as opposed to, say, doing chemical analysis or testing it on some animals first. And there are also definitely no ethical issues. None at all.
I’m not even touching on how bad all the biology that happens after #3 becomes.
Of course, it gets worse.
Not Bothering To Explain
Nobody bothers to explain what the alien “Engineers” did to create humanity, or how that jives with what we know of evolution… aside from one comment along the lines of “But what about evolution? Where’s the evidence?” Which was essentially given the response, “I have faith.”
Look, the real world has no evidence for ancient astronauts, and humans are pretty clearly descended from apes. I need at least SOME explanation beyond a little lampshade. I mean, aside from a few vague cave paintings and coincidentally similar ancient murals, what do you have that motivates a big corporation to dump 1 trillion dollars (yes, they said that in the film) into this expedition?
My disbelief suspension system was kind of torpedoed at this point, and this somes from somebody who’s used to Star Trek.
Seriously, Why Does That Not Come Standard?
There’s a fancy automatic surgery unit on the Prometheus, but it’s only calibrated to work on male patients? What? Why would you ever build a device like that which only works on men? I mean, come on. Especially since the character who needed it was able to reprogram it to force it to suit her needs at the time.
Given who brought it on-board, I can imagine that he might want to turn off the features to prevent his daughter from using it, or… something. It still seems immensely ridiculous.
Then again, it does reflect some aspects of modern medical research and healthcare in the US (for example, some medicines intended for people in general or even for women are initially only tested in male subjects…), so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.
What Made You Think That?
As it turns out, Weylan, the CEO of the corporation sponsoring the mission, wants to have the Engineers who presumably created humans to cure his of old age. In short, he wants to get immortality from them.
I have no idea where he got this from. Certainly, it wasn’t a part of the pitch by the scientists who were running the mission — nor is it explicitly mentioned as a possibility before his appearance.
It was very jarring.
Why Is Everyone Murderous?
The other part I don’t get is why the Engineers created humanity, and then apparently spent a while developing a bioweapon that’s effective at killing both humans and Engineers. And then the sole surviving Engineer goes into stasis indefinitely. Upon being woken up, he immediately goes berserk, kills everyone he can get his hands on, and then tries to go to Earth so he can kill everyone else.
Sure, it’s okay to have some questions left at the end, and it works thematically (insofar as Prometheus has coherent themes). But much of the alien structure and its contents are like a murder mystery with no clear explanation of what happened and no real sense that any of it is coherent.
But if you really want to know the answer to the “why do they hate us now?”, it sounds a sequel is in the works. Hm… I think I’ll skip it.