Dear Hollywood, there are no “big questions”.

Posted by | Posted in alien, aliens, evolution, film, movie, plot | Posted on 05-06-2012

Dear Hollywood,

There are no “big questions”, space is interesting in and of itself, Evolution cannot be “proven wrong” or to quote:

“Certainly, it makes an argument that will move away Darwinism, let’s just say!”
Logan Marshall-Green

More than that though, the “big question” of where we came from, isn’t a big question that needs any more “answering”, prodding, poking or jibbering on about with pseudo-scientific crap and Evolutions predictive usefulness is neither in doubt nor will it get somehow less accurate based on us learning something new. It’s like discovering the Earth isn’t flat but is instead a sphere, once you’ve discovered it there’s nothing you can learn that will flatten it again, you can only progress forward learning that it’s not a perfect sphere, how the weight of the ice caps and rotation affect it’s shape, etc. Knowledge is progressive. Besides which if we did discover that we were put here by aliens the theory of evolution would still be a valid Theory! Theory with the capital ‘T‘, the scientific Theory kind, the one where it’s a Theory because it has a testable and repeatedly and independently verified hypothesis that affects many disparate fields of science and just keeps working and getting more and more refined.

It could turn out that Bill and Ben the flowerpot men are actually time travelling planetary germinators who created all life on Earth and then started the clock ticking in 1952 and just really liked being on childrens TV for a bit so hung around and even in that case Evolution would still be a valid, testable and verifiable Theory with useful purposes in modern society!

Also, that would be a better plot than Prometheus has.

I feel this all of needs repeating since Prometheus appears to have based everything around the creation of man as being some separate, wonderful and distinct event perpetuated entirely by alien beings for completely mysterious reasons. That it did this at the expense of being a good film is a real shame because there are lots of amazing and interesting things about almost any possible alien species that have been extensively covered in literature for the past couple of hundred years which Prometheus decides are far less interesting than the tired old tripe it chose to rely on.

I found the film good, but disappointing. Good because the acting was solid, including some stand out scenes from Michael Fassbender – as David he really is the highlight of the movie actually, with a lot of awesome CG work and some obviously great direction. Disappointing because the “plot” is so tissue thin that it’s genuinely pathetic. Some places are saying that it cost ~£85 million to make, of which the plot must have taken… oh, £3.50 for the Starbucks coffee where it was scribbled onto a napkin. Everything, and I mean everything proceeded with total predictability. No surprises, no shocks except the odd thing jumping at the camera etc. Very derivative.

Who ever thought I’d have to call an Alien prequel directed by Ridley Scott: “Derivative”. Madness. Each character played their role just as you expect them to, complete with sentiments, sacrifices and wise cracks just when, where and how you’d expect them to be delivered right on cue with the major events in the film. Going in I couldn’t have guessed what the plot and storyline would have been, but within 10 minutes of the start you could have stopped the film and I’d have told you the ending correctly.

That’s not me being awesome, that’s the film being predictable.

Why not actually surprise the audience? Sure follow some star map found in caves that point to a star system 39 light years away, find something horrible, but how about it having nothing to do with mankind? Why try to make us “special” instead of just another thing in the universe, have the damned aliens find the very concept funny, most of us do! Have them be terrible, have them be enlightened beings, have them fallen from such heights, have them be machines or beings that have abandoned physical form, have them be near gods in their abilities and cruelty just so long as you have them be interesting instead of having them be (very human) people in funny wiggly looking spaceships.

Whilst I’m here asking for the unlikely and improbable, how about also having SPACESHIPS actually use their engines to slow down and maneuver, y’know, turn them around, or turn the whole ship and slow down. Constant thrust in one direction does not make you slow down, it makes you go faster in that direction, so if you’re pointing at a planet you will tend to smash into it very quickly. We can manage that on Pioneer you can even take the code if you like! It is open source.

Anyway, Prometheus – worth seeing I think, for the Fassbender and Rapace performances, also there’s some cool graphics so just set your expectations really low for the plot and then turn your brain off to make really sure.