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Er...okay. I accidentally took a double dose of one of my meds last night, and I'm a little...wonky. Still, I have the usual "many things I could write a blog entry about today" thoughts in my head. Instead, however, I'm going to devote this entry to my observations and reactions to Ridley Scott's Prometheus, which Spooky and I saw yesterday at an 11:30 a.m. matinée. I'm not placing this behind a cut, because there are no spoilers here. I do I employ one very crude simile, but folks can live with that. In fact, this is stuff I think you should read before you see the movie. First, though, in short, I was blown away, and it's a brilliant and breathtaking film. I loved it. Oh, also, this is going to be long, and so I'm splitting it into two parts. I'll get Part Two written ASAP.

1) Here's the first thing you need to know before seeing Prometheus – and, truthfully, it goes for any work of art – Wait. You know what? I've said this already, in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. So, I'll just repeat myself:

This is the book it is,
which means it may not be the book
you expect it to be.

That is the sort of thing that should be obvious to everyone. But it's not. In fact, this sort of things is only obvious to a few people. But, yes, before you see this film, accept that it's the film it is, not the film you think it will be, or want it to be, or need it to be, or whatever. Otherwise, you're crippling it – and your ability to appreciate it – from the outset.

2) Okay, by now everyone here ought know that I can't see in 3-D, as I have one functional eye and, therefore, lack binocular vision, which you need to see 3-D films as 3-D films. Also, most 3-D films are gimmicky abominations that destroy any hope of good cinematography, and I am generally opposed to 3-D on this principle (Not because I can't see it, though I think some believe my inability to see 3-D is why I hate 3-D). So, we had to find it on a 2-D screen. We almost always go to Warwick Showcase, which has two large screens and can usually be depended upon to screen "big" films on "big" screens. Yesterday, we struck out. Because they'd put motherfucking Madagagascar 3 (in 3-D!!!!) on one of the two big screens, which left one for the 3-D showing of Prometheus. Which put us in a closet. We could actually see the edges of the screen around the picture and the glowing green exit sign in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. So, I would say, yes, I have watched this film, but, no, I have not seen this film. Scott even (as Roger Ebert points out) manages to make a 3-D film that doesn't look, in 2-D, like a 3-D film (much as Cameron did with Avatar). But then, despite Scott's achievement, that pathetic excuse for a screening room butchered it.

It's sort of like this: You get the chance to fuck Natalie Portman, but you have to do it in the worst toilet in Scotland. Sure, you have undoubtedly fucked Natalie Portman. No argument. But, how would it compare to getting to fuck Natalie Portman in the luxurious Empire Suite of the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan? Or, hell, in your own bed in your own apartment? This is the tyranny 3-D is imposing on those of us who cannot see (or do not want to see) 3-D films. Until I can fuck Natalie Portman in my own bed, I'll not truly have seen Prometheus.

3) This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding issues of continuity, but: Prometheus DOES NOT take place on the same planet (actually large moon) as does Alien (1979) or Aliens (1986). Both of those films took place on a planetoid designated LV-426. Prometheus takes place on a planetoid designated LV-233. Both orbit, presumably, the same gas giant. But they're different planets, and that's important. Very few people are picking up on this. That said, there's is not perfect continuity between Prometheus and the four films to which it is, ostensibly, a prequel. Some of these discontinuities can be accounted for by the fact that we do have events occurring on two different planets. As for most of the others, the other discontinuities, I think Ridley Scott says it best: "For all intents and purposes this is very loosely a prequel, very." And in very loose prequels, we do not get perfect continuity and one-to-one correspondences, so, if you fault the film on that, you've not done your homework. And your expectations have defeated you. And we're back to my first point on this list.

Here ends Part One of my observations and reactions to Ridley Scott's Prometheus. To be continued.

Now, I suppose I need to get to work.

Aunt Beast


( 16 comments — Have your say! )
Jun. 9th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
I can see 3-D but I hate it too. It seems like a novelty for kids.
Did the book on Mars ever arrive?
Jun. 9th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)

Did the book on Mars ever arrive?

Um...I'm not certain. Do you red call the title?
Jun. 9th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
The travelers guide to mars or something close to that.
Jun. 9th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)

Then I fear it has not arrived.
Jun. 9th, 2012 08:24 pm (UTC)

Aha-ha! The book just arrived! Thank you!
Jun. 9th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
It's strangely difficult to explain the term "side story" or "shared universe" to people. They expect stories to be in linear terms. The idea of a story being set in the same place, tied to events there, but not a direct sequel or prequel causes some disconnect.
Jun. 9th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)

Jun. 9th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
I think part of the problem in this case is that there's, basically, identical or at least very similar imagery on both planets. The derelict ship with the space jockey room is such a familiar and iconic image (at least, to the people who will be having conversations about these things!) that it's hard for them to show us the same thing in a similar context and expect us to remember that it's, in fact, a whole different ship on a whole different planet. It feels like there was a version of the script in which this was a direct prequel to Alien until they decided to make it a "loose" prequel but keep a good portion of the set-up for the other film intact anyway. Like they wanted to make a direct prequel, but couldn't quite get the details to work out in a satisfying way, so were like, "Ah, forget it, we'll just have space jockey derelicts on two different worlds. . ."
David Lemoine
Jun. 10th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
In the special edition Alien Anthology Bluray, Ridley Scott writes explicitly that he is in the process of writing the Alien prequel. So, I imagine you are correct.
Jun. 9th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
I have very limited vision in one eye and cataracts in the other. The review I read in the paper said most everything takes place in reduced lighting. Ergo, wasn't planning on seeing it, tho I like R Scott a lot. I will wait until you post part two of your review. mI trust your judgement.

Oh, I don't know if I dislike 3d, havn't seen any that didn't exist to just poke stuff at the audience.
Jun. 9th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
I'll say that the first thing I read about Prometheus was that it was something of a disappointment. I do not take that poorly, but rather as a warning that I should ground myself. When I originally saw the trailers, and learned of the project, my hopes were soaring and more than contaminated by a lot of nostalgic enthusiasm. To go in like that, as should have been obvious to me earlier, would be folly. To say that "it wasn't what I was hoping it would be" is so self-evident and obvious a truth that it becomes invisible, and so one might easily lose it.

So, yes, I think your statement above is a necessary caveat (caveat voyeur?). And I'm glad I had myself brought down to reality so that I might be able to engage the film in something like a reasonable, mature fashion.
Jun. 10th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
I'm hoping to see this film on Monday, providing I can readily find it on 2-D at one of our two theaters here. I can't do 3-D, either, owing to the great eyeball-skewering-by-seamripper fiasco that befell me when I was two, leaving me with minimal, cloudy vision in my right eye.

I echo your sentiments about 3-D. I've never hated it because I can't see it, either. I mostly hate the gimmick behind it, going for pop-out shots for the sake of pop-out shots alone. I think its ubiquitousness of late only contributes further to its cheapening effect on cinematography. 3-D once in a great while is a novelty for those who can watch it. 3-D everywhere and all the time is just blatantly tacky.
Jun. 10th, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
I can't mention Spoilers, well, not without thinking of River Song
Went to see Prometheus yesterday in 2D and, until they give me prescription 3D glasses, I can quite well live without 3D. The imagery was wonderful, which was to be expected from Ridley Scott, and the acting was excellent, even the cannon-fodder. I WAS slightly, only slightly, disappointed that it wasn't more of a prequel to Alien, but as a film set in the same universe it definitely beat the crap out of all the films made after Alien, even Aliens, though that was a great, though different, experience. People that don't notice that Prometheus is not set on LV-426 are obviously not paying much attention, as it is blatantly stated. I'm very glad I went to the cinema to see it and it's one of those films I will be buying on dvd when it comes out. It had enough impact on me that some of it actually made its way into my dreams last night. See, I avoided any spoilers, so go and see it those who haven't, anything to stop 20th Century Fox from making another damn AVP film.
Jun. 10th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC)
So, so, so glad you liked it. I was absolutely satisfied, and spent much of the next day finding and plugging what seemed to be holes, with almost universal success. It's my contention that all of the pieces are there if you want to look for them, and that people who state it's an outright disappointment mainly seem to be stuck into cogitative blind spot between not wanting to be told everything, goddamnit, but also wanting to somehow be told the conclusions they have to reach themselves are "right". (Well, that and the usual knee-jerk "ew, ewwww" reaction towards a person with faith being the protagonist rather than the antagonist, how dare they. Man, I'm tired of observing how much this trope annoys me, particularly when I'm not even damn well religious.)
Jun. 10th, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Can't wait to see it, and I have no expectations of any kind. None. Bring it. Ridley Scott is a god. Can't wait.
Completely agree about Natalie Portman. Hell yes. Um, HELL YES.

I have a story, unrelated to this blog, that I have to tell to someome who might relate. Which maybe is you. Here goes- I'm working at a dog kennel and part of my job is to walk dogs, on this beautiful trail through deep woods. I have to go back after and do poop maintenance, pick-up, and I see a snake, and being me, I grab it. I assume it's a Bullsnake/Gopher snake, due to it's coloration and which I have caught before. It tries to bite me, and it's mouth opened unusually wide, I rolled my wrist, acquired head control, admired it's beauty, and let it free.
Evening- I do an Internet search of snakes of PA- found a great site with pics, 22 non-venemous, 3 venemous. Hm, Gopher snakes don't live here. Oh. From the top, I scroll down, no, no, not it, nope. To the very bottom, last snake, number 25, that's it!
A Massasauga rattlesnake. Which is an endangered species here in PA. I'm more likely to be hit by lightning than to find this animal. But I did. And I ignorantly PICKED IT UP. Thanks for letting me share. Aunt Beast, Holy F**k. Massasauga. Holy FUCK I am lucky- jesus christo-
Jun. 12th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Until I can fuck Natalie Portman in my own bed, I'll not truly have seen Prometheus.

This is perhaps the best piece of film criticism I've read all week, and the book I just read on the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup was genius.
( 16 comments — Have your say! )