MovieChat Forums > Prometheus (2012) Discussion > Why do people hate it so much?

Why do people hate it so much?


Curious about why?

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I'm guessing it's about the expectations. It doesn't have the same "Alien" feel to it. Also, I too would have liked it to dig more to the root of it. Even though we can speculate and find our own explanations, maybe it was still too mysterious for some. I don't know.. maybe it's something else too. Personally, I still liked it.

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Because their expectations were so high

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Because they don't appreciate the classics... They wanted something that felt like "Aliens", the James Cameron movie... But Ridley was never going to make a movie like that...

They wanted a team-based action movie with Aliens and a happy ending... Intead Scott delivered an entertaining sci-fi movie about the origin of human life, with themes about the nature of man, aesthetics and even transhumanism, that lingers long after the credits have rolled...

In the sequel to this, Alien: Covenant, Scott went back to the horror elements of the original Alien, with a lot more suspense and thrills beyond the James Cameron Aliens movie and these fanbois still complained (he did manage to include allegory to Milton's Paradise Lost)...

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Good post.

To be honest, I disliked it when it came out, but as years passed I've watched it differently. The story is really good has a fantastic potential.
The problem, from my point of view, is how 90 % of the cast acted. Noomi and Fassbender where really solid, from my point of view, but the other were in a teen comedy/slasher. Taking their masks off, acting like spoiled brats, super horny. I reckon that might be from the pressure of the studios to make it "watchable".

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This is a key problem with the film; the character are supposed to be professionals and highly competent and intelligent. and yet the plot only moves forward because of them all doing very stupid and irrational things. It is never good to have your plot moving forward only because the characters are being dumb.

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The same goes with Covenant also, who make the cast of Prometheus look class.

I just don't get the mess around this and what did Scott actually do to the sequel. The story builds something, good or bad, but has something. Then Covenant comes outand brings everything down.
Script, direction, cast, everything is a mess.

It really seems on purpose they are trying to end this.

Read something at some point, no idea if it was true, but read that Scott signed a 3 movie deal and after Prometheus and the calamity around it from the studio, he wanted to kill the saga by doing Covenant the way he did.

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Never saw Covenant myself; I didn't like Prometheus and I heard Covenant was even worse; it looked worse from the trailers so I never bothered.

I don't know what story Prometheus was trying to set up; it was playing with a 'chariots of the gods' type idea but the problem with that is it has been done much better in other media. So I am not sure what Covenant brought down.

It could be on purpose. I don't think Scott actually wanted Prometheus to be a prequel to Alien; but the studio pressured him to do it and he caved; hence why Prometheus has this jarring 'not a prequel' prequel.

Well if he wanted to kill the franchise I would say he is successful.

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look around you... at the various classes of professionals that are messing things up IRL... people are human and flawed... that's what's brilliant about Prometheus, it peels back the facade and exposes the characters human faults...

The way the characters are presented, their motivations, their backgrounds and ideologies... their needs and wants... all are quite clear and it's interesting to see the way they interplay with one another and indeed, with David (the bot) and events as they develop....

It's so good...

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Professionals make mistakes but they rarely do so from being just flat out stupid; such as trying to pet a alien creature; taking off helmets without knowing if pathogens are present, losing your shit when you are scientist and you are exploring a alien ship that is for all appearances mummified; then getting lost. I can go on but the point is, the plot does not move forward without multiple characters doing very stupid things (not just making mistakes but being stupid, there is a difference) and that is a problem; when the plot depends on the stupidity to move forward it is not a good plot. And it is unrealistic; like for example how fast Shaw convinces the ship crew to kamikaze themselves. It took such little convincing and they all stay to go down with the ship; which is also a problem because those same characters seemed to be profit motivated throughout the film than suddenly and for no reason become so altruistic they sacrifice themselves, based on a bout 3 lines of dialogue. that is not character human faults; that is people not behaving like humans.

Only about 2 characters get any background and fleshed out motivations, shaw and david. The rest get a few throw away lines at best. Half the characters they don't even spend enough time with for you to even know who the hell they are.

it is not "so" good. maybe you enjoyed it despite its weak writing but objectively it is a weakly written film.

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Stupidity is a human constant... Smart people doing dumb things is common IRL...

- Have you not read about the bat researcher in china who got pissed on and bitten? took it as a sign of pride as he was the most prolific bat wrangler?
- or neil ferguson, the uk epidimeologist (responsible for convincing the government to shutdown the country) who broke quarantine to sleep with his married lover... the irony puts anything in prometheus to shame...
- or the prime minister of the UK, after being briefed for weeks about the disease by the top scientists in the country, who goes to meet patients and boasts about shaking a lot of hands... in ICU weeks later... this is IRL...

and this is just with a local virus here on earth... imagine being a professional scientist nerd, dreaming of alien life for decades and then you're face-to-face with it... i'm surprised he only pet the thing... lol

in fact, it's a key theme of Prometheus... that our sense of wonder and our search for meaning (Shaw, the petting biologist scientists, the archaeologist boyfriend guy, etc..) makes us naive to the universe's indifference to us (symbolised by the engineers and alien virus/black goo) and therefore the risks...

In terms of characters, they're pretty fleshed out for a sci-fi/horror. In addition to Shaw and David (the two main characters):
- You have Wayland's daughter; the daddy issues thing, the desire to gain his approval, her envy of david, etc...
- The boyfriend archaeologist guy's quest for greatness and to find meaning... his dissillusionment and such... his decline and the interplay between him and david was excellent...

The character depth is there... But even it's absence does not make the movie less valid... Lots of movies are about more than just the characters feelings (Kubrick, Nolan)... Prometheus, aside from being a fun sci-fi, asks questions about human nature, about our origin and how we find mean in our lives... It's kinda beautiful... I think I want to watch it again...

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Mistakes are, and people can be wrong and make mistakes. but an entire team of experts doing outright stupid things that no expert would do; petting an unknown alien lifeform; taking off safety gear without thorough testing. No that is beyond being stupid; that is them acting like amateur explorers and not professionals.

to compare you 3 examples with Prometheus would be like all 3 IRL people being on the same research team making the mistakes in rapid succession of each other and also having 3 other idiots with them, named Moe, Larry and Curly. the level of stupidity out of the characters is not comparable to real life and is silly within the script and the plot depends on them all being stupid in rapid succession or the plot literally doesn't move forward. That is a bad plot.

How many IRL scientists are licking the face of covid patients? That would be the IRL comparison to what the crew of Prmetheus was doing. Also how many scientist drivers are purposefully getting infected and then volunteering to be human guinea pigs? That would be the IRL comparison to what the captain and his crew do. Come on man, you are being way too forgiving of the stupidity out of these characters.

That nihilistic universe theme has been done so much more in depth elsewhere. Prometheus comes across as some first year college students interpretation of Nietzsche but then acts like they are the first person to really 'get' him. By the time Prometheus gets to this theme it is trite and cliche.

to be continued:

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"In terms of characters"

-Weylands daughter got like seriously 2 lines of dialogue about being Weland's daughter and the envy of David is totally unexplored and not fleshed out in the slightest. In fact this film should have done less with aliens and more with the interhuman relations.
-The boyfriend was about one of the most shallow and uninteresting characters. His motivation you just described are not his, they are Shaw's motivation; he just tags along and has none of his own. That is why when he dies the motivation didn't vanish because that is the identical motivation of Shaw. That makes him a stand in for the man character and not even a real character of his own. pretty thin stuff for so called 'fleshed out' characters.

Then what about the rest of the crew; they are so forgettable I can't even remember any of them.

"But even it's absence does not make the movie less valid."

Less valid? what does that mean? I am not trying to say the movie is not a movie; I am saying the writing and characters are bad quality.

And even if the movie didn't have interesting characters, it didn't have any interesting concepts either; the only thing interesting it was exploring was only interesting because of our intrigue of the space jockey and the reveal is so much less interesting then the mystery.

" asks questions about human nature, about our origin and how we find mean in our lives... It's kinda beautiful... I think I want to watch it again."

go watch mission to mars instead that very question is explored with much more depth and nuance; and I don't even like that movie either. But the 'question' in Prometheus is basically a rip off of that movie and also most other "chariots of the gods" themed material. Prometheus explores these themes with much less subtlety and nuance than many other material. So beautiful? no, more like an ugly weak attempt to do what others have done better.

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To be honest I was super excited for this. RS coming back to the franchise! Alien is one of my all time faves however Aliens I despise with a passion!! (I know I am in the minority) so I went in hoping for the slower film with the same tone as the original but was still disappointed. For me what let it down was it tried to be both but wasn’t really either. The first bit was good when discovered the ship then just went really naff, the blue guys looked ridiculous, some of the deaths were really hammy particularly the crab man bit and It kinda felt like it was a set up film for the film we were told it was gonna be. So were left at the end with all the same questions and more!

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I don't know if I agree with this. There are just as many people out there that love both Alien and Aliens. With Scott being the director the audience had to know they should not be expecting a Cameron style film. I think what people didn't like is:

the fact that it was both too much of a prequel while not actually being one.

The characters behave stupidly and dumb decisions they make drive the plot forward.

The film tries to be too clever with itself and presents overdone themes (such as 'why does God hate us) that have been done better in other places. Also the 'aliens creating people' concept is way overdone as well.

Also (the big reason) The more that is revealed of the 'origins' of the Alien and the msytery of the space jockey revealed; the more the 'fear of the unknown' is reduced for the original film. in Alien it is much better not knowing the origin of the derelict ship and the space jockey story.

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I can definitely agree with the more that is explained, the less fear there is in the unknown... Even though this series is long standing and there is already a lot of lore and explanation.. the more you clarify the past, the less mysterious the present seems...

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Exactly. I think for me this was one thing that didn't bother me while watching prometheus but then I went back and watched Alien again and was like; man the impact and effect is so much better if you never watch Prometheus. The entire scene exploring the derelict ship is so much better when you know nothing about it.

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There is a combination of things.

1. The characters (that are supposed to be competent and intelligent) all behave very stupidly. If the plot is being driven forward by characters doing stupid things it is hard to feel the story is compelling.

2. It both wanted to tease being a prequel to Alien and be a prequel at the same time; which caused a bit of an audience disconnect from the independent story it was trying to tell. The film might have been better if it was just completely disconnected from the Alien franchise and was just doing its own thing, but it was like it couldn't decide if it was a prequel or not. this ended up causing a half cocked but never able to pull the trigger type of feel.

3. The engineers had unclear objectives and no established motives, they seemed to be just insane gods, creating and destroying as they saw fit; which undermined the mystery and unknown origins of the space jockey from the original.

4. The film wanted to be very clever and make you ponder deep thoughts about the nature of life and death; and thinks that the theme question of 'why does God hate us' offers that nuance. But the idea of alien god creators has been overdone and much better in other media. Mission to Mars had the same theme and more nuance then this. Also the theme of aliens made humans was much better done in films like Stargaze and the Assassin's Creed series. So the engineers ended up feeling cliche.

5. White bald muscle men were way less creepy/intimidating than the imagination sparked by the space jockey; the fear of the unknown is reduced the more the unknown is revealed. Basically the entirety of Prometheus was reducing the impact of Alien by showing all the things that we imagined where more terrifying then what actually happened.

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Good post

But the question is really this: when did we see the last big title movie where the characters act intelligent?
I really cannot remember a single one, but then I see that they are making Fast & Furios, what number are they now? 8? 10?

Maybe they are making the movies because, sadly, 90% of the audience are really dumb.

Ripley really had a point: Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?
It looks like it did.

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Sadly, most of the time the marvel characters are not behaving stupidly; they make mistakes sure but not by being flat out stupid. that depresses me to say that is the first example that came to mind. Ford v Ferrari has competent characters behaving with intelligence. That is all I can think of from very recent films.

Sadly this is true; the majority of the consumer are below average intelligence. and even the smart ones still pay to see dumb films. They don't make big budget movies that only apply to a small minority of 'thinking people' most of the time even the deep thinkers don't go to a movie to think deeply.

you know funny thing about IQ is most people are below average. The average is 100 right; but if you look at the weighted average or even better the multimodal numbers; more people fall in between 85 and 95 then anywhere else. this is because very few people fall below 70 and almost no human is below 50. but on the opposite side you can have IQ's going over 200 or higher. this throws the IQ average off.

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Your point 5 is a good one and definitely a reason I wasn't so taken in by the movie. The Space Jockey scene in the first Alien lent so much mystery and intrigue to that scene. Some things are better left to the imagination and don't need explaining, least of all when it ends up just being a big white, bald fitness freak wearing a suit. The even more inferior Alien Covenant then goes and further trashes on the original.

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Yeah; between the stupidity of the characters and the lessening of the mystic of the space jockey; are probably my 2 biggest complaints with Prometheus and them main reason I didn't like it.

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I never hated it, but it's definitely more of an exercise of Sci-Fi film tropes rather than a tightly knit story about discovery gone wrong, which was the crux of the original movie using basic human horror story elements.

Ridley and his writing team were striving for something more by playing up philosophy and anthropology as a backdrop to the alien's origins with a little bit of ancient aliens thrown in. The problem for me is that all of this was regurgitated gunky psuedo-intellectualism disguised as science fiction. Ridley even played up his homage to 2001 again but with more gusto behind his ambiguous David character defying the mission and causing chaos. Ok, we get that but the whole Weyland story was never fully explained in the theatrical release. Instead we had to see the BluRay and BTS interviews to later learn that Weyland was seeking immortality. It also didn't help that Ridley cast a bunch of witless and annoying characters who come across as a bunch of EU hostel hopping millennials.

Overall, the movie plot was weak, and the supposed payoff didn't justify a sequel, which in itself expands on the disheveled backstory of the engineers and again David's ambiguous actions that lead to all of the killing and gore. *yawn*

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^This;

I couldn't have said it better. It is just so full of tropes and yet has this feel were it seems to think it is being so deep and clever when really it is just a bunch of cliche psuedo-intellectualism and shallow superficial philosophy, like a first year college students take on Nietzsche. Almost everything theme wise in Prometheus has already been done and better; but with one additional caveat; in those other films the characters (that are supposed to be competent and intelligent) didn't act like complete retards, and the plots didn't depend on the characters being retards to move forward (unlike Prometheus).

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For me it is because every character in every care behaves like an absolute insane idiot. Same with Covenant.

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True; this is probably the number 1 flaw of the film; but I will add one additional point; it is not just that the characters behave like "absolute insane idiots" but the plot depends on them to be insanely stupid for the next plot event to happen. Nothing in this film would happen without the characters doing very inexplicably dumb or completely unreasonable things.

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> this is probably the number 1 flaw of the film

Yeah, but it is so ridiculous and glaring I cannot characterize it as a flaw, I have to say it ruined the whole movie for me, and actually made me extremely angry -- probably a lot of other too. Like people were waiting decades for this movie and really wanted to see something cool and new, this just shoved BS in their noses. I think that is they it was exceptionally badly received.

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True, it does not seem like a movie 'flaw; it is so pronounced and degrades the quality of the plot so bad it actually makes you want to scream at the TV. These people were not supposed to be stupid Teens in a slasher film; but that is what they acted like, they were supposed to be professionals and educated tested scientists. Go see the argument I am having with CheekyMonkey in this discussion; the poster is actually defending their stupidly by equating it to real life examples that don't even come close to how stupid ALL the characters were being in this film.

Feel free to jump into that discussion if you want; maybe you might be able to make a more effective argument than me.

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> These people were not supposed to be stupid Teens in a slasher film;

Yeah, no kidding. If you think about, imagine how many resources went into the Prometheus expedition. Even at some imaginary hugely technological and prosperous future, that ship, all the planning, training building, configuring would have been worth trillions - and the audience is expected to believe that this group of retards was put in charge of it? That facts stares the viewer in the face, if not slaps them in the face, constantly throughout the whole damn movie, and by the end I had had enough of being insulted and taken for granted - in short having my money stolen. Damn Ridley Scott ... and whoever else, and that went double for Covenant which was even worse.

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Exactly, this was a highly professional and financed endeavor and everyone was supposed to be the 'top' of their field; hand selected by Weyland with almost unlimited funding and dedication to ensure his goal of living forever was accomplished; and they all act like a bunch of amateurs like high schoolers on their first science trip? No it was like getting slapped in the face; like Scott and the other filmmakers had no respect for the intelligence of the audience. Combine that with the extremely amateurish and superficial way it handles the 'deep' themes it is trying to have, is one big slap in the face to the audience.

I admit I liked Prometheus as I was watching it; it took the combination of what I watched and listening my idiot brother-in-law (who I saw it with) praise it made me realize what was bothering me about it; it was treating me like I was an idiot.

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^^^ This. In droves. They land on a planet that's been deserted for 2000 years (their estimate from the carbon dating, from memory) yet within a few hours, Charlie gives up the search despite exploring a tiny fraction of the complex, and a few hours more they're all but dead.

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BOREDOM AND FREE WILL...FEELS GOOD TO HATE,EVEN IF YOUR TARGET IS WELL ABOVE THE AVERAGE...THROW SOME SIMPLE,BULLSHIT RATIONAL ON TOP AND BINGO...STUPID CHARACTERS,THEY DIDNT SPELL IT OUT AT THE END,NOT ENOUGH ACTION....PEOPLE SUCK...THIS FILM IS TREMENDOUS.

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I did not like it myself but after I watched this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNP6npTaxjY

I turned around a bit.

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You must love commercials

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