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June 6, 2012


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"...people who reject religion thinking that doing so automatically rids [themselves] of all the problems associated with ideology, not realizing that scientism is the new religion." 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, period.


Walter has a strange obsession with the things he hates that a lot of people like (Inception, Joss Whedon... God, apparently...). Most of his reviews in regards to these things tend to become about those people and his contempt for them rather than the property itself, and you can tell how angry they make him because he tends to abandon journalistic integrity in order to make a point. I'm not saying that Joss Whedon hates women, but a nerd transformed into the Hulk and attacked Scarlett Johansson. Just saying.

I guess I'm not all that unlike Walter in the sense that his strange band of acolytes bother me infinitely more than the actual man. Take a look at some of the comments tagged to this review.

"Once again Walt stabs fanboys and thumpers right in their raisinettes [sic] and leaves them wriggling like a mackerel on the end of his poison pen."

You know, his good buddy Walt? They have nicknames because they're tight like that. 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. And I think part of the reason his writing has gotten progressively nastier is because he realizes the cultish devotees who are drawn to his particular brand of iconoclasm are the same people who get their rocks off when they see less sophisticated popcorn munchers than themselves quickly dispatched as "fucking idiots." It's not even about the movie anymore.

Howis Lynn D. Lofamous

I love how the army of Ridley apologists point to the anticipation factor as being complicit for negative reviews for this indecipherable trainwreck. The truth is it takes a lot of special qualities to be able to turn a film w/ this cast, this director's eye, this budget and this sci-fi brand into Phantom Menace (filtered through the lens of Michael Bay, but minus the 'gratification' part of the 'instant gratification' equation.) To be clear, this is a terrible movie, and it had ridiculous hype, but these two things are mutually exclusive. Walter, your review, in addition to being 100% dead on, is the most entertaining and satiating thing about this movie.

the soldier

I saw the movie yesterday and this review is spot on!! It truly stinks and a waste of money. I hope it flops big time!!


Walter, thanks for this review. If anything I think you weren't harsh enough. This film is grindingly awful. It really is about as good/bad as Supernova (although in truth it's even more inane than that.)

Hollywood circa 2012 is simply too stupid and too obsessed with never offending even the dumbest members of its potential audience to ever make a worthwhile science fiction film. They should quit trying.

Chalter Waw

You know what's really funny, Mr. Chaw? The fact that you watched the whole movie and, quite rightly, decided it's terrible ... yet completely missed its childish and idiotic point.

The movie was not 'about God'. The movie was about man's origins as a strict scientific pursuit. Nobody was looking for a mystical creature (ala Star Trek V). There was no attempt to find a 'heaven' or a first mover. They went into space looking for mortal beings that 'fathered' our species. The reason you can't tell is because you're a member of that tired, pervasive modern group of people who reject religion thinking that doing so automatically rids you of all the problems associated with ideology, not realizing that scientism is the new religion.

The true ham-handed, overarching theme was one that permeates most crap Hollywood movies: daddy issues. The Abercrombie and Fitch model who was supposed to be a scientist actually voiced this idiocy (needlessly, much like when Charlize Theron has to actually call the guy 'father' or say 'he cut me off' after a big, awkward pause - you have to make sure you drive those obvious points home). He said repeatedly "Why did they abandon us?!?", like a kid whose dad left him. And when he went to find daddy and daddy was dead, he got drunk and cried about it.

The only ham-handed religious stuff is the cross, which was terrible (how thoughtful of the android to carry that 'potentiall contaminated' cross around with him!) but it was by no means the focus of the story; it was one awfully-writen character's awful method of expressing the awfully-written and tired central theme: a search for meaning and belonging.

Joe Winters

Prometheus does suck, but your tiresome attack on one specific religion itself rather than this hamhanded ode to it written by people probably just as hostile in their atheism as you are really just makes you look like a bitter jackoff. And awwwww, you got a snide little defense of Islam in, even though you must think it's stupid too ... coward points!


Prometheus is to Alien as Avatar is to Aliens.

Great directors, past their prime, working with subpar scripts, hoping audiences will be so dazzled by the 3D CGI visuals that they won't notice that the rest of the movie is a shined-up turd.

Brice Gilbert


What about the big evil bad guy realizing at the end that "There is nothing" to which David replies "I know". It's like every character insists on asking "What the meaning of it all is" without considering that maybe that's a dumb question to even ask. This exchange might be fantastic in another movie, and Prometheus it kind of brings to life those final 30 minutes, but ultimately doesn't.


First time at the sime - Great review - and dead on - will come back again. Saw Prometheus earlier today and wished I hadn't. But should have known better when Lindelof was involved.

Jefferson Robbins

"A person in your position's job is to help people to decide whether or not to see a film, not shoot it down out of personal opinions."



I really do want to respond to this in an intelligent way, but I'm close to being blinded by rage at any comparison of what is truly a good film (sure it does has it's problems,) to Episode 1.

As for minor logic lapses:
1. While I questioned the technology being more advanced than in Alien, it wouldn't be too far fetched to believe that a ship built to carry the head of the Weyland corporation itself would be of superior build to the towing vessel Nostromo.
2. Our scientists that are killed off first- so what if he doesn't care about rocks, his character seems more interested in making a show and then later surviving. And if I were his biologist friend, I would want to closely examine a discovery as well, unfortunate results aside.
3. The med pod is simply not calibrated for feminine-specific surgeries, and never says it wouldn't accept a female subject. I really don't see how this is a problem.
4. As for inhabitability of the setting, the planet they landed on was in a sustainable zone in its system. They wouldn't have any idea that the air itself wasn't breathable until they touched down on the planet.
5. While Davids motivations regarding Charlie were questionable, it's simple to interpret that he was maliciously curious. And of course he didn't know Charlie was going back to seduce his girlfriend-he never made any hints that his intention was to somehow impregnate Shaw. How would he even have known that this was a possibility?

And most people's biggest gripe is that while Prometheus leaves more questions than answers, shouldn't an intelligent audience anticipate this as the point. After all, didn't Douglas Adams teach us that the question is more important than the answer anyway?

Finally: I can respect your need to find flaws- I have this trait myself, but I have learned that I usually pounce on the material that I, MYSELF don't like. A person in your position's job is to help people to decide whether or not to see a film, not shoot it down out of personal opinions. I can also respect that you hold no gripes with Christians, only Idiots. As a Christian myself, I am surprised how often those two overlap. However, if by "overt cannibalism," you are referring to Eucharist, I would encourage you to do more research. Lastly, I can respect your work as a writer, but calling Prometheus a piece of shit, and comparing to the washed up works of Burton, or any of Lucas' more recent creations I have been subjected to seems a little excessive. Perhaps even focussed on bending fanboys out of shape.

-Bent out of shape fanboy.


The film indeed did have a few flaws. However, after reading this review, perhaps the biggest unanswered question is how Walter Chaw managed to find the time to produce such a lengthy review despite his protracted obsession with furiously masturbating to his self-portrait. Will we ever find the answer?

Jared Ladish

On a whim I skipped the midnight show. Your review makes me glad I did and made me laugh too. Nicely, written.

Luke Allison

Walter, I appreciate the fact that you responded to all of our comments.

Is your friend a Catholic? Outside of some Orthodox circles, not too many other subsets emphasize the actual consuming of Christ's flesh and blood in the eucharist, which does sound vaguely cannibalistic, if not for the whole "divine mystery" part.
That said, I think 1st century Jewish Christians were more likely celebrating Passover and/or sharing actual meals (rather than performing a rite of some kind) and seeing the presence of the resurrected Jesus in the communal aspect. Meals were very sacred things, especially to Hebraic communities.

There are lots and lots of scholarly interpretations of just about everything, which means I don't believe you are crazy, lost, or going to burn for eternity. That has been in the history of the Church's teaching, but doesn't seem to be the primary focus of the 1st Century writers.
I think there are perfectly good reasons to believe in the Resurrection (and frankly, why be a Christian if I don't?), but I think there are perfectly good reasons to not believe in it, ie "people tend to not rise from the dead after three days."

But I do think you're more sophisticated and intelligent than "his zombie son." That sounds like a 20-something angry basement atheist, not Walter Chaw.
But, yeah, Prometheus is as deep as 6th grade sleepover's 2AM discussion.


Fine review. However, I don't think it does justice to the depth this 'film' has fallen to. You see, it's not just a question of bad screenwriting. On the contrary, this screenplay is perfect - from the perspective of what it really intends to do. You see, Prometheus is not intended to be a proper film, in terms of there being an intention to tell a story. Prometheus is a non-story. It is a disjointed sequence of events designed to confuse the audience and pose a million questions so that fans can watch several sequels and special editions, buy video games, comics, novels, and discuss these stupid questions and apparent plot holes on discussion boards.

The film is not intended to be a story that begins and ends in the cinema. It is just a huge teaser trailer whose life begins OUTSIDE cinema. Instead of telling a story, the film just throws out a million questions and cues so that fans can imagine their own stories based on that. It is a trend that started with The Matrix and its confused world that only made sense to devoted fans who did detective work on the Internet in order to try and make sense of the 'plot'.

The bottom line is that this film isn't just bad, it is a project that delibeerately and cynically distances itself from everything cinema is supposed to be. It is anti-cinema.


This is brilliant! Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou... I've had to sit through so many people in the past few days explaining to me how "deep" and "non Hollywood" this film is, I wanted to puke. I needed this review. I will be back to read more...


Some of you really need to get some perspective. This is a movie produced by hollywood. Get over it. It's not a literary treatise on the human condition. If you want good science fiction then you need to read books or see small budget films which left US audiences confused and didn't make hundreds of millions of dollars for their right-wing conservative paymasters. Ridley Scott does depressing futuristic nihilism - he once did it well. But now doom is just cliche. How can you write so much about this film?!?! There's very little to say about good stories and so much isn't being said about how crap hollywood scripts are!!!

Paul Hunton

I'm confused about Blade Runner and Alien being silent Kubrickian masterpieces?Prometheus is a stones throw away from both of those films in style, dialogue, and narrative discourse. Of course both of those films(2001 too) were met with middling critical praise as well.


Very good point about the producer of
Supernova and the transplant character of Charlie Holloway. Maybe Ridley Scott had to make concessions to hire Lindelof to write the script. It's outside personal vendettas that screw up a phenomenal work. They keep pushing the same idiotic ideas and characters from other failed movies and try to force them to work in a project they have no business being in to the detriment of a highly anticipated sci-fi film phenomena. Lucas did the same. He tried to force reality to accept childish Ewoks did not ruin the SW trilogy by making Ep I a childish movie and sticking to choice childish dopey looking production designs and characters in Ep II and III all to get back at Gen X audience comments and disappointment. I recall the surprise screening of ST2009, the one with Nimoy on stage, and saw some bald head bespectacled guy singing the TOS theme in a disrespectful way and now realize that jerk was Lindelof. Why hire writers who subconsciously at their core want to diss classic sci-fi franchises and old fans.


The review addresses the lack of internal logic, the shallow to near nonexistent characterization, the propagandizing of "Intelligent Design", and the spiffy visuals (it's only real selling point).

As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Chaw is correct on all counts.


"Let me just say, too, that I'll fully own being an asshole - if you fully own that Prometheus is a piece of shit that's requiring altogether too much apologizing and equivocation from people that won't figure out that it's a piece of shit for about a year."

I have no interest in defending "Prometheus," which I did not like all that much. But, believe it or not, it is possible to dislike this movie -- even hate this movie, even give it a thorough and complete bashing -- without being such a fucking asshole, you fucking asshole.

"If Prometheus begins a question in your mind about Faith and the mysterium tremens, then I hate to be probably the eighth person to already tell you this today, but you're a fucking idiot."

What a thoughtful and insightful piece of commentary. Go eat a dick.

This is what makes you such a frustrating writer, Walter -- you have such high standards and a clear desire to raise the discourse, yet you always seem to end up lowering it instead.


Sounds like a navel-gazing misfire, childishly spelled out for the audience, like most prequels. Based on what Walter wrote, I get the Episode 1 comparison. I expect the same from the Blade Runner prequel, you know, to answer all the open-ended questions in the original which is what made it interesting? The main question is: does it take anything away from the good Alien film? Because I just can't with the SW prequels. Tarnished. Same for Tron (which I know Walter thinks is dumb fluff, but which I think is The Robe for the Computer Age).


3 starts for Madagascar 3 and 1 for Promotheus? wtf???


Favorite word in the review: "Cuckold." This dude is either the Lord of Self-Depricating Satire, or a douche. (Imagine a Phil Hartman voiceover, "That's OK - the box is empty!") Seriously though, I liked the review. Probably will like the movie too. Dear Ridley Scott: continue rubbing your tired prick against Hollywood's sandpaper loins.

Rick Blain

A very funny piece of writing that correctly notes the weaknesses in the screenplay, story structure and many characters. And yet for all Walter's well written witicisms, the film is not bad at all. Okay, so the theology does not work for Walter Chaw, that's okay, I found it a little childish, but in suspending disbelief just a little more, I managed to enjoy what was on offer, that did look good, that did flow seamlessly. It is not the ataggering disaster it is described as here, nor is it anywhere near as ludicrous, shallow and horrible as Parts 1, 2 or 3. Perhaps Walter was angry because the film was not what he wanted/expected? And so he took it out in a scathing review. I suspect that time will temper his mood and I hope we get a re-review one day then I am sure we will get a funny review, but more accurate and less angry.

Allen Skurow

Once again Walt stabs fanboys and thumpers right in their raisinettes and leaves them wriggling like a mackerel on the end of his poison pen.

Walter Chaw

I know this is a mistake and I probably won't make it again: but here's the dealio - I got no problem with my writing being personal. I have more of a problem when my writing is perceived as impersonal. Yes, I justify my existence and cement my piece of immortality by writing. It's for me. Ozymandian, I know. The first criticism of criticism I don't understand is the charge that it's biased. Well... no shit.

Then there's all this stuff all the time about spoilers... spoilers. If you don't want a spoiler, look at the star review and move along. That's the consumer reporting portion of the proceedings - when I read someone's opinion of something, I'm expecting them to talk about the text. If your expectations are different - you're in the wrong place.

And last - it's a little galling, I think - and largely due to the fact that "big" pictures attract new readers - to have to constantly feel this tug to re-position on stupid arguments. I don't hate Christians, I hate idiots. I know that evolution is compatible with many Christians; I've had this conversation with my buddy who's a great Christian and a great doctor, too. I've never successfully, however, gotten him to justify to me the overt cannibalism involved in his ritual belief system. Of course, he doesn't have to justify anything to me. I believe that no one has ever risen from the grave after three days in it - for a lot of you, that makes me crazy, lost, and doomed to an eternity burning in hell.

Just like a review ago, I know that Snow White 3000! isn't feminist in any way - but I also know that it thinks it is. Similarly, I know that Prometheus isn't about anything, but if we go back with a clicker, I'd wager that a good 25% of its dialogue is about God. If any conversation is 1/4 about God, it's a religious conversation. Prometheus isn't about God, I totally agree, but it sure thinks that it is.

Look, I like Roger Ebert - I like him a great deal personally - and I think that anyone that's been through what he's been through will look at any film that fucks around this much with ultimate questions will appeal to him.

Is that everything?

Let me just say, too, that I'll fully own being an asshole - if you fully own that Prometheus is a piece of shit that's requiring altogether too much apologizing and equivocation from people that won't figure out that it's a piece of shit for about a year. I remember a lot of the same comments in defense of our review of Episode II.

I don't hear a lot of defenses of Episode II anymore.

Haemoglobin Juniour

You're the only one with a fixation on the God question. Prometheus naturally skimmed over it relatively untouched, considering the subject matter.

Also, your analysis of a typical conversation about god is actually a better description of your review. You've interpreted the film in one way, not considered that the questions were left open to multiple theories that the audience can decide and then thrown up a rant on here as if your idea of what the plot was doing is the only one.

I never seen a review that so misses the point, and gets so side-tracked, as to completely avoid reviewing the actual content of the film.

Luke Allison

I get the sense Ebert may have been overwhelmed by the aesthetics and given grace to everything else.

That said Walter, you seem more and more intent on validating your existence every review. Something like half of the scientific community sees the theory of evolution (perhaps minus its uber-naturalistic varieties) as perfectly compatible with belief in God, even "his zombie son." That's good empirical evidence that the two are not mutually exclusive.

I agree that Prometheus is the equivalent of a middle school summer camp conversation. And I appreciate that you loved Tree of Life even if you read some of your own personal belief system into it. That was one of the only films I've seen that addressed theological issues in a way that actually reflects real-life experience, ie "there doesn't seem to be anything happening and yet life has to be more than this, etc."

Keep living.

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