Serious Prometheus is Serious

So, I saw Prometheus last weekend, and amidst the mini-dramas of that weekend, and assorted things happening this week, have been stewing on it and what I thought about it. In the meantime, I’ve been reading assorted other opinions, which seem divided between two camps: either whoa hoa, that is one metric buttload of What-Is-This-I-Don’t-Even or oh hai guize this movie was deeeeeep. Sadly, I’ve come to agree more with the former than the latter, which is not what I went into the theater expecting or hoping to do.

As far as action and spectacle are concerned, it was entertaining enough. It checked off most of the Alien prequel plot points in satisfying ways (save for one glaring bit, the name of the planet itself). And Michael Fassbender’s David seemed to be living in another, much more fascinating movie. But… but…

There are enough bits in the story that either contradict one another or just float off on their own that it made me wonder whether the script supervisor did any actual supervising. There’s the geologist who makes a very heated point about getting the hell away from the scary dead giant things, but then is seen loitering about later doing scientific things as if nothing had happened. There’s the escape-and-self-surgery scene involving Noomi Rapace’s character, very thrillingly told, save that it’s like a set piece that affects very little of what happens afterward, except at the very end. Basically, things that the characters do and say for no other reason than the movie needs them to do and say these things to get on to the next plot point, regardless of whether they seem even remotely plausible or in-character.

So, okay, not great, but hardly worse than a lot of movies out there, right? Well, yeah. But then you get to the deep philosophical stuff. Or, should I type, the Deep Philosophical Stuff… because that’s what the makers seem to think they have on their hands, and take every opportunity of making sure we in the audience know it. Big Questions on the origins of life, the meaning of existence, the quest for truth, and all that, all delivered with ham-fisted obviousness and larded with juicy, juicy smug. (Yeah, yeah, like I’m the one to criticize that…)

I could forgive even that, though, if they didn’t also sidestep or postpone having to come up with answers. This is basically a movie that desperately wants to score points for invoking big debates on science vs. religion, fate vs. destiny, etc., without actually having the debates, nevermind choosing sides. Without that, all the Deep Posing that goes on in the movie never stops feeling like Posing.

Say what you want about the Alien vs. Predator movies… at least they were dumb action movies that knew they were just dumb action movies and never pretended to be anything else. I knew going into those to set the bar low, and could enjoy them for what they were. With Prometheus, I expected more, and was rewarded with a dumb action movie that thinks it’s smart and knows it’s Important. If it backed up that attitude with substance to match, or at least a story structure that didn’t make me want to slap it, I’m sure I could have like it a lot more.

But, like I said, the action bits and the overall spectacle were good. And Michael Fassbender is really good. I can’t say I wasn’t entertained, even while I was being vexed. I watched a matinee, so I didn’t feel too ripped off. But… but… (le sigh).


Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. His blog originates here.

My brainmeats are all wrung out, so…

It has been a long week for me, for reasons I can’t really talk about. I was going to see if I could kludge together some book reviews, but… maybe next week on that. So, let’s see… what can I talk about?

There’s writing, of course. The Morpheist is at 26.5k, and I’m thinking I can get it to the end (about 32k or so) within the next two weeks. As first drafts go, it’s rough enough you could use it to shave a moose, but it’s workable enough to go on with. Once it’s done, I’m gonna put it away for a little bit (but not too long) and work on something else, but I’m not sure what just yet.

I’ve been kicking about an idea to record me reading the first chapter of Brutal Light. Either just as an audio freebie or something to go up on YouTube. Of course, if it goes up on YouTube, I’m gonna have to come up with some visual bits to add to it, so it’s not just my comical-lookin’ mug up there reading for 7-10 minutes. I want to attract people to the book, not drive them away…

I haven’t seen too many movies on the big screen this year, for some reason. There’s been a lot I’ve wanted to see, but they just seem to whoosh by. Last ones I went to were… let’s see if I can remember… The Hunger Games and The Avengers (both of which were as good as I’d hoped, and even a bit better). More and more, I don’t end up seeing the movies until they end up on DVD. And it doesn’t really bother me. (In other news, you kids get off my lawn.) I think I should be able to get some friends together to go see Prometheus this weekend, though…

Theme from ‘Super Skrull’ by Ookla the Mok. I have the CD that this is on, but I only re-listened to it recently. Super Skrull is possibly one of the silliest characters ever created by Marvel; this song does him justice.

Author Tim Marquitz has the first chapter of his new dark epic fantasy novel, Embers of an Age, posted for your reading pleasure. Also, the book that Embers is a sequel to, Dawn of War is now free on Kindle!

If Earth is invaded by aliens and you were going to place a bet on the outcome, here’s why you’d be foolish to bet against them. In case that was something you were going to do.

Gladiator Ariel and other crazy designs from a nonexistent fighting game. My wife would demand we get this game, if it existed. I would cheerfully comply.

Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppet Types. I’d like to say I’m a Chaos Muppet, but in all honesty, I’m probably an Order Muppet. I will not comment on my eyebrow size.

Right… time to get on with Friday. Hope yours is a good one!


Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. His blog originates here.