Originally Posted by agracru
If I respond in the affirmative to these questions, does that mean I lose street cred as a film writer? I'm sure you don't mean to sound like you're lying in wait with incredulity, but there's something about this line of questioning that sounds preemptively accusatory. Again, I doubt that that's your intention.
Suffice it to say, yes, I disagree with you. Prometheus didn't bore me. It kept me in suspense from start to finish, sans maybe one or two bumps along the road where it became too overtly hackish for me to keep my disbelief suspended. Suspension of disbelief is a two-way street; we have to be willing to do our part and the filmmaker has to be able to make it easier for us to hold up our end of the bargain. They have to suck us in. Prometheus sucked me in. It kept me engrossed. Shit, Milburn and Fifield were acting like total dumbfucks and I still felt nothing but gripped by the snake attack scene. Dallas was kind of a giant dink for climbing into an air duct with a shitty flamethrower to kill the monster in the first Alien film; arguably he had no idea what he was up against, but then, neither did Fifield and Milburn. Regardless, poor decisions don't make something less gripping by default.
I think the cast is primarily composed of static characters; few of them actually end up in a different place at the end than at the beginning (well, okay, they're all dead, but mostly they don't change as characters). Shaw, I think, is in a different place, and she certainly undergoes change. She remains a person of faith and conviction, but now I don't think she's out for truth and answers because she's curious; she wants to know "why" because the first time she asked, everyone she knew got fucking killed. When she and David fly out of LV-223, she's seeking closure and maybe a measure of justice. Now she's asking "why do you want to kill us" instead of "why did you create us". I'd say Janek undergoes a change, but I feel like his arc is undersold. Holloway remains fairly static. David, arguably, changes more than the rest of them just because Weyland dies and can no longer order him around; Weyland's death gives David the "free will" to assist Shaw.
I think the Zombie Attack looks fine-- I understand the geography well, I get what's going in each shot-- but it's silly. That doesn't stop it from being effective in a vacuum, but it's strange outside of itself. I wish I knew more about the black ooze before going into that scene, or, barring that, I kind of wish it had been more grounded. Fifield lumbering around causing mayhem works better than Fifield leaping around like a frigging vampire. I think the ship crash looked really great, though I think crushing Vickers is just flat-out stupid when Shaw, faced with the same death, just rolls left 5 feet. That made me roll my eyes. But again, in terms of geography, I didn't notice anything in the ship crash that looked out of sorts and the effects looked fine.
Thematically, this is again a movie about company avarice putting working men and women in danger for the personal gain of a few, but less so. (Which I think is a mistake that would have been rectified had the film been excised of the stupid Weyland twist.) More than anything it's a movie about creation and why we create. As I've said before, creation is all over the place here. First, there's the obvious bit about humans trying to meet their makers and understand why they made us in the first place. Then there's Shaw, whose inability to create arguably necessitates her having a conversation with beings who can create so as to understand the act of creation in the first place. Then there's David, whose purpose is questioned by Holloway (quite callously) at several junctures. I honestly think David's existence is key to understanding why the Engineers created humans, but again, that whole thing is undercooked just by virtue of Weyland having so little presence in the movie except for when the script calls for it.
There are two reasons for David to exist. One, purpose. He's a machine, he serves specific functions, monitoring the crew as they sleep and performing those "distressing" tasks humans (read: Weyland) either cannot physically do themselves or will not do themselves out of ethical concerns. (Though I honestly think having Weyland infect Holloway would have been more satisfying dramatically than having David do it instead. Still, it works, considering especially how antagonistic the two are with one another.) David does that and so much more; he's a super computer who happens to look like Michael Fassbender. You figure it out. (Coincidentally, "function" comes up again in the film with things like Fifield's "pups", the orbs that detect life in the temple/ships. They exist for a specific purpose, too. Someone created them for a task just like the one they perform in the film.)
The other reason is legacy. Clearly Weyland thinks little and less of Vickers as a child; she can do what he does but he doesn't really much care for her. I think David is more his legacy, serving as his foster son; David will out-live Vickers and carry on the Weyland name far, far longer than she. So David represents Weyland's stamp on the world in a way Vickers cannot. And if you take those two things-- function and legacy-- and put them together, you can start to wonder as to why the Engineers may have created us.
I wish this had been explored a bit more in the film, but to a degree I'm okay with it being open-ended. I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY think that Weyland's movement in the film fucks all of this up. If it's not clear that I think the Weyland character is a massive, film-marring fuck-up, then I don't know how else to convey that. He should have been a character in the movie, not a script convention. Weyland being alive from start to, well, his death in the last act would have lent itself to the further development of the human creative drive, it would have eliminated the need to have the red herring "male calibrated" surgical equipment, it would have let the tension between Vickers and David play out with superior drama, and it generally would have made the whole film a richer experience. Why do the Engineers create? Look at Weyland and think about it. Unfortunately it's hard to say that with Weyland being such a non-presence in the film.
Here's my final take on Prometheus. It's a great cinematic experience, a movie that can hold people in its thrall from start to finish because Scott-- for everything he did wrong here-- is an outstanding storyteller. Under a harsh light, or even a soft light, Prometheus has a ton of flaws that will keep it from being anything more than a technical achievement in the future; he's not made an Alien or Blade Runner here. There are a ton of mistakes here, and frustratingly most of them could have been fixed on the script level, so I wish he'd been a bit more judicious about reading and processing the drafts put before him. None of that stops the movie from working as you're watching it, because he's a master, but it doesn't hold up well to criticism outside of itself. I like it, I think it's good, but I think it's just "good" and not "outstanding", which is where it really should have been. (And where it easily could have been.)