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June 6, 2012


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Pol Pot Plant

Just saw this movie on Blu-Ray. Sometimes I find Walter C's reviews can be a tad self indulgent... but as an 'Alien' fanboy since seeing those first previews in Starburst magazine in 1978 (desperate longings to watch a movie I was too young to get in), it's got to be said that this review is spot on.

Plot holes, retconning, bad effects, pseudo-intellectualism, terrible writing, hateful cardboard characters, clanging dialogue, and *spoiler*! Charlize Theron's ludicrous cartoon death. There's nothing to redeem this movie, absolutely nothing. It's frustrating, stupid, empty and lacks any tension or drive. Oh yes, and the music is way off tone for the mood.

Alien Resurrection looks like a masterpiece compared to this. I guess the take home message is: No Dan O'Bannon -> no canon.

Shame, because the marketing was really effective. I'd love to have been able to wear one of those t-shirts with the big head on them without getting pitying looks.


Actually MWD...Alien wasn't so much brilliantly scripted as it was brilliantly shot. Technical limitations make for amazing use of other devices to get your point across..keep this in mind, Alien was originally proposed as "Jaws in space" and suffered from the same technical limitations which oddly enough, redeemed both films. Steven Spielberg was once a canny film maker and he knew his pneumatic shark looked awful (the only time we see it is in the near destruction of suspension of disbelief when it mounts the boat) so he used music and camera techniques to suggest danger which made the danger all the more terrifying. Jaws 2 and 3 show what happens when someone 'lets people see the monster' and they were awful. Now, onto Alien...there are approximately two scenes where we see it and both times it becomes obvious it's a guy in a suit (one is a horrendously deleted scene that would have wrecked the entire film..if anyone who reads this doesn't know what scene it is, check or the scene where it attacks Lambert and Parker was once LONGER...) so they didn't show it much. That and the use of light, reveals and suspensful sound effects and music along with Sigourney Weaver's vulnerable survivor character make Alien so memorable. Script-wise there was not a lot to it, just normal dialogue until the big reveal (which no one knew was coming...check Lambert when the blood spurts, she was terrified), questionable science (which gets more to the created nature of the monsters...) and the mysterious 'Space Jockey' that apparently inspired the direction of this film. Great movie and Aliens (aside from producing the Alien queen, Ridley Scott's solution for egg creation is just...terrible) pretty much took a shit on the original. Oh least Alien 3 for all its faults was much closer in both suspense (the problem was the horrible CGI (bluescreen?) creature shots when it's obvious it wasn't there...) nature and tone with the original...163 of the Aliens from Alien and Alien 3 would have easily killed a platoon of marines...okay, I still like the movie but come on!

OH! And I also like the new format of the site.

Great review!!! You really have to hate this movie to make a review like this.
BTW, I slept half of the movie, but I got this: Centuries ago, god created life on earth and went to another planet. True believers sent a ship full of atheists to capture god and questioning him. In the end, god kills them all (as he does with all atheist that try to question him, like you, mwahahaha) and the only one saving her ass is the one that led them there, 'cause it had to be a girl.

Martin S

It was a good movie, VISUALLY, alas it had it's plot problems andthe script was full of holes. I really like Mr. Chaw's Reviews. They are thought provoking, challenging, compelling, and {quite frankly} ENTERTAINING. I like the Alien Franchise, I am BIASED, as a result, it becomes the Movie-goer's Right as a Consumer or Purveyor to exact a little bit of the 'ol "Self-Fullfilling Prophecy". In other words, IF I think Something {a movie, MY 24 hours in a DAy will be Good, then, mostlikely it will be "GOOD". O nthe other hand, If i Think I t will SUCK, then I will unconsciously Find any reason, valid or on the peripheral of Semantics to act in ways to make it BAD}. Same goes for anything.
I don't like, however, Filmmakers/actors, et al, Saying, a movie isn't "really a prequel", when in Fact, it Obviously Is: Chronologically, Characterization { Rapace does her Best SW impression back lacks the Innate Sympathetic traits of Weaver's Beleagured Protagonist.}
Walter, as usual, I do AGREE with you AFTER watching the movie{s}. Your points are valid, and, to be honest my Friend and I went on a Couple of Free passes. If I had to pay FULL AMOUNT, {and I may have} my intellect may have been lacking that day/week. Hey, sometimes it is ok, to be an "Idiot" and I don't PERSONALIZE what your critiquing and I don't take Cinema too seriously, not saying you do. At the end of the Day, ultimately, It fulfills the intention of Being Entertained FIRST, and then {after some debacles filter down in my Brain!} Elightened or Educated. "God" day, 'yall.

Jay Wyrd

What, no complaints about all the Asian racial stereotypes in Prometheus?

Dan C.

Also, maybe I missed it, but shouldn't they have payed off the early allusion to LAWRENCE OF ARABIA? Given that the android character repeats O'Toole's line, "The trick is not minding that it hurts," there is absolutely no reason that he shouldn't repeat it when (spoilers!) he is inevitably dismembered admidst jets of milky blood. Just sayin'. Wasteful.

Dan C.

PROMETHEUS struck me as the mid=point between a remake of Mario Bava's PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES and a half-hearted adaption of Lovecraft's AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. Ridley Scott has always been a high-budget Bava, committed to atmosphere and pictorialism to the occasional detriment of plot and sense, but I'm not sure Bava ever made a film this diffuse. ALIEN was minimal and suggestive; this one is just vague.

The effects and design in PROMETHEUS are pretty enough that a straight-ahead adaptation from any of the probable sources would have been an interesting film, but I have no idea why Scott decided to indulge the kind of new-age nonsense that made LOST shrivel from the poor-mans Vonnegut into the illiterate=man's LEFT BEHIND.

Further evidence for the theory that Ridley Scott has been thriving on the intellectual generosity of his admirers ever since BLADE RUNNER, which (to my eye) was the last time that his design sense has any kind of plot under it. BLACK HAWK DOWN is better than most of his other recent work, but it still leans to obviously and heavily on the political null-zone of those fade-to-blue washes. Transcendence my ass.


Bryan Gatwood:

I found the score interesting enough (if underdeveloped thematically); it just didn't seem to fit the images that it was supposed to be connecting with.

However, I was also disappointed with the film overall (as so many others were).

Eamon Ymaus

Wot no mention of The Duellists?


I'm pretty sure you don't have to worry about either of those things happening.


"These aren't people looking for probing, intelligent discourse about the state of cinema. These are sneering hipsters who think that liking Synecdoche New York makes them interesting at parties."

Would much prefer to chat with those sneering hipsters than somebody trying to corner me in a conversation about Prometheus.

Byron Gatwood

Is it just me or was the musical score a letdown as well? Forgetable.


this review is amazing. i dont think ive seen a worse movie in my entire life. so much stupidity packed into 2 hours.


The point Whaw is religion is NOT science, never will be (and "intelligent design" certainly isn't science.) Therefore, science cannot be a religion. Science requires the rigors of the scientific method. It's not just a culture belief system. You can use the pejorative if you want, that's your belief. The quest for God is futile, there is no proof. I do understand spirituality is a probable requirement of our human intellect, but a God head, the Creator, the overseer of all things is fiction. Are there other REAL life forms somewhere out there in the universe other than Earth? Probability tells me yes, not the Bible (and as far as I know, no other religious text either.)

Chalter Waw

"This Whaw is and always will be scatological rumination nonesense. One can ALWAYS challenge science with SCIENCE, and there is zero to no science in religion"

Yes, you just defined scientism. Now, what is your point?


I personally loved the movie! I'm a huge fan of the Alien franchise, went in with no expectations but to see what R. Scott's take was on this prequel. I thought it was rather good. I think most people, including this critic, had great specific expectations about this movie and thus were disillusioned, feeling robbed in the process. Mr. Scott, job well done, you are still a talented genius, don't mind the haters.


Really boring movie. Another "Hugo", if you will. People want to be entertained when they go see a movie--on this point alone Prometheus fails miserably.

The worst part of this movie is that the story is so stupid and riddled with plotholes that it insults your intelligence and just kills your suspension of disbelief.

Ridley Scott hasn't made a good movie since Black Hawk Down. I think part of the problem is that he has not chosen good scripts lately. Visually, Ridley Scott is a genius but movie audiences want a story and characters they can relate to--Prometheus is such a huge disappointment in this respect. Nice visuals but no heart. Prometheus never connects with the audience at any point, and this is a real problem. Even the corny Dances with Smurfs by James Cameron was miles better than Prometheus because audiences could relate to some aspects of the story and characters.

Honestly, since 1986's Aliens, there hasn't been a truly great sci-fi movie. Aliens just hit all the right buttons--great characters, solid plot, great suspense and thrills, and great action. Who can forget Ripley in mum mode kicking the alien queen's ass? It just connects instantly with audiences--there was no need for tons of meaningless semi-mysterious dialogue like in Prometheus. Everyone understands how ferocious a mum can get when defending her child, people get this instantly. There is nothing like this in Prometheus, just emotionless dialogue and characters doing stupid irrational things.

Wish that movie directors in general would study Aliens and get back to basics. Seriously folks, this is not rocket science--people just want to be entertained. If you're going to spend hundreds of millions on a movie, (1)don't insult the audience's intelligence and (2)make sure the movie is entertaining. Look at Avengers 2012, not a classic by any means but entertaining and it cleaned out at the box-office.

Heck, even The Artist 2011 was way more entertaining and thought-provoking than Prometheus--and it was made on a $15 million budget in black and white! If Blade Runner 2 is going to be more drivel like Prometheus, seriously Scott--don't bother.

The best science fiction movie in the past 3 years remains District 9--made on a small budget yet was superbly entertaining and thought-provoking. Even "Moon" by Duncan Jones (another sci-fi movie made on a small budget) kicks Prometheus' ass bigtime.

Rob Crampton

Enjoyed the movie. Wasn't expecting it to be another Alien, like some of these commenters. Glad it wasn't. If you were hopin' for that, then you should ask the Crap brothers that shitted out AvP:Requiem to write and direct and you would have had a piece of crap.

Liked the little ties into the origin of the alien creature and it's potential to become what eventually the crew of the Nostromo encounters. Like how the moon they landed on was not LV-426, which leaves open the possibilities of the ship that the crew of the Nostromo found. Liked the potential evolving relationship of Shaw and the beheaded David.

In some ways it is visually stunning and in other ways, Ridley gives in more to money rather than art, but still fun.

Justin B-H

Saw it yesterday-trust me, Walter's review makes perfect sense if you've seen the film, which is hardly an endorsement of it. Apparently edited in a blender and demanding not only suspension of disbelief but suspension of logical faculties...


Phenomenal review, but I had a severely different reaction:


What a complete piece of crap!!!!!


Walter, thank you for this completely accurate review. I also agree with other commenters that it somehow doesn't go far enough. It is utterly depressing that anyone is defending this movie on any level. To defend this movie is to hate movies as movies. It is so sad that fandom will not stick up for itself and insists on excusing this dreck, they would get better films overall if they kicked this stuff to the curb.

Emil, you are also great for pointing out that this is anti-cinema. Completely true and deserving of an essay in its own right.

Not only that, but it is anti-cinematic. People gushing about the eye-popping visuals and somehow thinking that his exonerates the film are sadly misled. Anyone who allowed Guy Pearce's old-man makeup to make it past the screen-test must have their "visual genius" bona-fides revoked. Not only that, but there really wasn't anything terribly memorable, innovative or interesting about the production-design work. More shiny space-stuff. R2's Leia hologram inspired more fascination and curiosity in audiences than all the hologram work in this Prometheus no matter how screen devouring and 3D it got. The medlab was memorable, but as Walter says, made ridiculous by an unnecessary contrivance. The cartography balls were fun. I'll give him that.

It is worth considering that the early shots of David simply walking through the corridors and riding the bike are the only genuinely cinematic moments of the entire show.

Mike Bay

Imagine the agony of receiving a concrete enema...then waiting for it set. That's what reading a Chaw review feels like.

Van Iblis

If you're going to bash a movie, at least bash it for things that are accurate. You make a number of flat out incorrect points.

Alex Jackson

PROMETHEUS is more KNOWING or EPISODE 1 than ALIEN or 2001. I don't exactly mean that as pejorative. I actually like KNOWING and EPISODE 1. Some arresting images and/or good performances, along with an overall sincerity and meshugganas (sic?) is enough to sustain me. I think it's enough to make the experience worthwhile. The film is kitsch, but I really don't think that you can address the God question without lapsing into kitsch. It's ridiculous, Man in the Sky and zombie son and everything. But believing in the ridiculous may be preferable to confronting the abject terror of a universe where there are no consequences for our actions (except those irregularly applied by society) and where life has no intrinsic value or meaning aside from that which we construct ourselves. To the degree that I admire PROMETHEUS, I think it's because it's frankly a little tacky and that tackiness has it's own kind of truth.

Aside: not commented on enough that the film basically follows the same plotline as the first ALIEN film. Kind of didn't payoff that promise of being a prequel set in the same universe. Also, EPISODE 1 connection, it makes explicit what we could have reasonably surmised from the first film about the nature of the Space Jockeys and the xenomorphs. If anything, the film has been masterfully marketed. For such a questionable product, it has fostered a very deep emotional response among fans and audiences.


Alas--in a way deep down somewhere we all knew this would be true about Prometheus. It would be good in its own way (it is Ridley Scott returning to the Alien universe/genre he created), however it is not the Alien prequel or anything 'really related' to the Alien story we all hoped for.

Originally, the first working draft of the Prometheus script before it was presented to one of the previous writers(David Lindelof)of the Lost TV series, was in fact more a true prequel tie-in to Ridley Scott's original Alien, complete with eggs, chestbusters, etc... This was the movie all of us were more or less hoping for. David felt (along with his co-writer Jon Spaihts of course--there were two writers of the Prometheus script we're seeing today)and took his feelings/convictions to Ridley Scott, that they should steer away from the Alien story altogether, not touching it, and instead let Prometheus be in the same "universe as Alien" but essientially tell another story all together and do its own thing leaving the Alien mythology well enough alone. After listening to Mr. Lindelof and Jon Spaihts, Ridley Scott then decided/or was convinced that this new direction for Prometheus was the way to go, and thus long and short of it, that's why we didn't get the Alien tie-in prequel everyone was hoping for or having such high expectations for.

Truth be told, I think everyone was feeling the pressure of "delivering the goods" so to speak with this movie when it was in the pre-production phase. Alien is one of the few films that Ridley Scott has left relatively untouched/unchanged all these years except for a very few minor things(which didnt change anything about the film) in his directors cut release, and for good reason. Could he match that again with the Prometheus prequel? Would it mess up or have the potential of messing up what he did with the original Alien? Everyone's expectations for Ridely Scott's Alien prequel would be sky rocketed to the heavens. I think Ridely was feeling all of that pressure to deliver, and I can guarantee you that two writers trying to tackle this monster of responsibilty script re-write were feeling the "weight of the world on their shoulders". Nothing they came up with probably seemed good enough, or done do death. How could you do something that lived up to the original Alien/etc....? So realistically, what happens? The two writers maybe stress out, get scared a little maybe, back away a little from that daunting of a task and try to hide that running away by trying to tell another 'daunting and complicated story to distract us from the fact that they shrunk away from the Alien tie-in prequel story we all wanted--why? Because honestly, know one knew how to tell the story. In the end they got cold feet and decided to go another way with it.

Can you really blame them? I can at least understand. I, as a Alien fan, would be really upset and disappointed if Ridley Scott had released a true Alien tie-in prequel that was subpar and truely a flop. At least this gives him some breathing room and still leaves the door open to eventually come back (maybe/hopefully) one day and give us all the true Alien tie-in prequel we have all been waiting to see for so long by Mr. Ridley Scott. No other person has any other business bringing that story back to life at this point from a prequel perspective. Ridley Scott can still breathe live back into and actually give it a new life not just a ressurection with it still being Alien and not just an Alien spin off in the same universe. Ridley Scott enjoys a challenge, he always has. He is an innovative film maker and one of the best at what he does. I don't think he should back down from this because he's afraid of messing it up. It will be difficult, and Ridley knows that. But he also knows he can do it. It will just take a long time and a hell of a lot of work and effort. The question is, is Ridley Scott ready and willing to put in that kind of work right now into Alien(because with Prometheus he was just flirting with Alien again). Is he truely ready to revisit Alien again. That's just truly up to him as a director and what he wants to do artisticly and professionally right now with his time/life. Hopefully, for all the Alien fans out there, he will. But alas, its entirely in Mr. Scott's control. Isn't waiting frustrating?


Walter, I agree with most of your review, but I would make the point that Michael Fassbender's David requires some recognition as the Embodiment of Technology. It's a hamfisted way of delivering the message that using technological advances to a) seek immortality or b) discern a higher purpose just leads to getting people killed. But recognizing this, I think, makes the ending of the movie a bit more subversive. It doesn't save the movie, but I think does make it a bit more coherent.

Perhaps I'm giving the screenwriter too much credit. What do you think?

Tom Strong

Seeing a lot of idiot nerds who don't know a good movie from shit like Transformers. Just go back to watching Transformers!


Awesome, hilarious review. I can't disagree with most of it even though I enjoyed the movie. I am the ultimate ALIEN-sequel apologist, though the scene where the biologist and the geologist act like fucking idiots and get killed as a result is really bad. And Charlie just sucks.

I would argue, however, that the movie is a little more sly than you're giving it credit for. In Weyland's final moments, he utters something which I found telling of the film's overall perspective -- that the talk of "God," at least in this context, is a lot of nonsense, and by the end I think Shaw's idea of what God is has changed. It's far from revelatory, but hey, at least it didn't piss me off.

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