Do sci-fi movies really suck?

Posted by Gcrush 
I remember hearing that nutjob Orson Scott Card saying along the lines of the only difference between sci-fi and fantasy being the rivets. I can't argue with that. And while it's cheap fun to poke holes in sci-fi, I can't help myself after watching Prometheus yesterday.

I'm not going to review or spoil the film. If you like Geiger-esque visuals, go see it. There's enough there to make any fan happy.

But some stupid and totally unnecessary details in the film irritated me. I’m only going to talk about one since it's a classic example of giving too much information. Like, we didn't need to know about the bullshit process behind the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Just show the scientists in a lab and then roll out the dino-murder. Anyway.

The crew of the Prometheus travels just over two years into space in order to reach their destination. This is explicitly laid out in the film, real big on the screen in order to make sure you don't miss it. Aaaaand that's just dumb.

The nearest known star to Sol is Proxima Centauri, about 1.3 parsecs away, so even if the Prometheus is traveling near the speed of light, the ship hasn't even gone halfway to anywhere.

If we should assume the Prometheus actually arrived at the destination in the amount of time explicitly specified for us dumbshit audience members by the brilliant screenwriters and director, then the ship is basically a fucking time machine.

This just scratches the surface of the mindboggling disbelief suspending fucktardedness of not just Prometheus, but sci-fi in general. So rather than getting dickslapped in the brainpan with any more limp rivets, I’m petitioning right here and right now to legally change the name of the genre from “sci-fi” to “Space Wizards”.

Who’s with me?
Is it explicitly laid out that the ship left from Earth, and not from another, already-colonized planet or a deep space waystation?
(If it's not a spoiler to answer that.)

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2012 11:06AM by asterphage.
asterphage Wrote:
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> Is it explicitly laid out that the ship left from
> Earth, and not from another, already-colonized
> planet or a deep space waystation?
> (If it's not a spoiler to answer that.)


I don't think it's a spoiler, but, yeah - the films explicitly points out with a subheading that an opening scene is supposed to take place in Ireland. The film also uses subheadings to tell you what year that scene occurs, what year they arrive at their destination, and how long they've been "asleep" in flight. Based on all that, even if they travelled from Earth to a space station or colony or something they still wouldn't have enough time/speed to make it half-way to anywhere.
Sanjeev (Admin)
See, for me personally, I usually don't care about glitches like that (oddly despite being a rocket scientist)...but I can totally see where your annoyance is coming from. It's a mistake that didn't need to be there. And THAT'S the type of shit that bothers me the most about, well, ANY movie.

Like, how fucking hard is it to hire one scientist to give the script a once-over to look for glaringly stupid (even if small) science errors?

I'll give you a different example: my homeboys always bust my chops whenever we go see movies about feudal Japan (or otherwise involve Japanese swordplay). See, in these movies (the Western ones), invariably, there'll be a scene when someone dramatically sheathes or unsheathes a Japanese sword...and just as invariably, it will make a metal-on-metal sliding sound effect. For some reason, this fills me with Hulk-esque rage [Japanese swords' scabbards are made of essentially balsa wood, so there is almost no sound whatsoever during draw and resheathe.]...and, naturally, my buddies tease me about it incessantly for the rest of the flick.

So, similarly, if you're gonna make a martial arts flick (or just a period piece, in general), how fucking hard is it to hire someone who knows an iota more than just which end is the pointy one to consult on sword details???
In Aliens and Doom the "Marines" don't address their superiors correctly and most of their hairstyles are way out of regs (forgivable). In Aliens, Pvt Hudson calls GySgt Apone "sir" (a term used only for officers, never enlisted) when he wakes from hypersleep and later calls him "Sarge" (a term used by the Army not the Marine Corps). The right term for a Private to address a Gunnery Sergeant would have been "Gunny" in both these instances. In Doom, the Rock has a line where he says "I NEED SOLDIERS", but soldiers are troops in the Army. Marines are called Marines and calling them sailors, or airmen, or soldiers is considered an insult. You might argue that its in the future and perhaps the conventions have changed but if the writer was really thinking about it they would have made up new ones, not just used the ones that are considered insults and breaches of ettiquete today. Its obvious that the dialogue was written by someone without a clue about current conventions. Anyway, you'll always notice mistakes with things you're familiar with. If the rest of the story and characterization works I can forgive these "mistakes".

Although Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time, Alien is not as great as people make it out to be and the reason that Blade Runner and Alien worked so well is probably more because of all the creative people that collaborated on it, not just because of Ridley Scott. Blade Runner wouldn't be Blade Runner without Syd Mead and Alien wouldn't be Alien without Giger but I'm sure they'd still be alright without Ridley Scott. Everything I've read makes Promotheus sound like a mess and another Star Wars prequel dissapointment fiasco.

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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2012 01:13PM by Scopedog.
Assuming they're exceeding c, how fast would they have to be travelling to make it to the closest star in two years?

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Sanjeev (Admin)
2.13c
This reminds me of the "Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs" line from Star Wars.

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2012 05:39PM by Scopedog.
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> See, for me personally, I usually don't care about
> glitches like that (oddly despite being a rocket
> scientist)...but I can totally see where your
> annoyance is coming from. It's a mistake that
> didn't need to be there. And THAT'S the type of
> shit that bothers me the most about, well, ANY
> movie.

It's like I almost always usually say:

LESS > MORE

Like, one of the things that pissed me off about Harry Potter was how they try to explain the magic. Seriously? Explaining spells and potions? How fucking nuts is that. It's already magic. Just let it be magical and move on.


> Like, how fucking hard is it to hire one scientist
> to give the script a once-over to look for
> glaringly stupid (even if small) science errors?

I'm going for the even more cost effective method of suggesting writers and direcctors make zero attempt at scientific efforts in a work by expunging them entirely. Just go with Space Wizards and everything else will naturally fall into place.


> I'll give you a different example: my homeboys
> always bust my chops whenever we go see movies
> about feudal Japan (or otherwise involve Japanese
> swordplay). See, in these movies (the Western
> ones), invariably, there'll be a scene when
> someone dramatically sheathes or unsheathes a
> Japanese sword...and just as invariably, it will
> make a metal-on-metal sliding sound effect. For
> some reason, this fills me with Hulk-esque rage
> ...and, naturally, my buddies tease me about it
> incessantly for the rest of the flick.

Yes. The dreaded sword-farts. Makes me as crazy as watching people hack swords into each other like they're fucking axes. Or how the sword slingers will look like they're actually trying to clash swords instead of, you know, attacking each others' hands or throwing shit in each others' faces - because blinding attackers and taking away their ability to hold a weapon never actually work. Sure the clashing blades and sword farts add some razzle-dazzle to an otherwise boring fight to the death, but you know what's more realistic? Just about anything other than that shit.


Scopedog Wrote:
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> In Aliens...

Don't even get me started on that one. I'm sure Cameron's first draft on Aliens was set in Vietnam.

The Marines are in all practical aspects just Mercs, so why bother with the military gloss? Lame. But even more lame is the fact that they utterly suck at their jobs.


> Although Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies
> of all time, Alien is not as great as people make
> it out to be and the reason that Blade Runner and
> Alien worked so well is probably more because of
> all the creative people that collaborated on it,
> not just because of Ridley Scott. Blade Runner
> wouldn't be Blade Runner without Syd Mead and
> Alien wouldn't be Alien without Giger but I'm sure
> they'd still be alright without Ridley Scott.

Agreed. I don't think he's the genius behind his only two good films.


> Everything I've read makes Promotheus sound like a
> mess and another Star Wars prequel dissapointment
> fiasco.

If you go for the images you won't be disappointed.
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> 2.13c

Right. And, just like every other Space Wizard film, if human beings can actually travel that fast then they should be doing shit that is a lot more interesting and metaphysical than what we see on the screen.

Again, trying to avoid spoilers for Prometheus, but if their ship can achieve that speed then their reason for traveling at that speed is rather pointless.

While the concept of 2.13c is perhaps a bit afield from the minds of most audience members, why is it even included? It clearly doesn't add anything and it's not like the audience was going to think about it anyway. Worse, it makes everything else seem kind of anachronistic. Like, we have a space ship that can exceed the speed of light, but our civilization somehow forgot the concept of the remote control vehicle? Just like in Aliens and every other Space Wizard film where human beings personally enter into direct confrontation with potentially dangerous situations, no one ever seems to pack a remote control car. Just pop a couple of cameras on that thing, drive it into the scary place, and take a good look around before you just walk in there and start making mistakes that will get your shit killed. That's not so hard, is it? It's like every Space Wizard it actually a drunken teenager with a raging suicide boner.

And, man, don't even get me started on artificial gravity and spaceships with windows...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Gcrush Wrote:
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> LESS > MORE

Ah! Jeah, I smell ya.

But still, while you simply cannot explain magic, you CAN explain science. So in theory, you *could* include those sciency bits...and IF THEY'RE FUCKING ACCURATE, you may adding actual value to the picture. Kinda moving towards that "hard scifi" discussion that went on a couple months back...


> ...sword-farts...Makes me as crazy
> as watching people hack swords into each other
> like they're fucking axes.

No doubt. Don't even get me started on that...

And as for Aliens, it was actually my understanding that they sorta WERE mercenaries or some shit. I never really liked it, so I haven't seen it all the way through in fucking ages, but I always had the impression that they were some sort of public/governmental fighting force that were basically a bunch of fuck-heads. I just figured the government was weak as shit (hence only, like, 10 "marines"). The Weyland corporation held all the real power--and you saw how they sent in crazy well-trained/equipped high-end thugs at the end of the third movie.

Well, whatever...it's not surprising that they fucked up all the military lingo.
If you are talking speeds where relativity is a factor, a long trip could have taken the crew only two years while taking much longer for every one not in the ship.

-Randall
randall29 Wrote:
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> If you are talking speeds where relativity is a
> factor, a long trip could have taken the crew only
> two years while taking much longer for every one
> not in the ship.

Yeah, but the film gives a initial date that is Earth specific and an second date that is, presumably, also Earth specific since it's within that two-year time from.

And, again, on the order of magnitude in their travel there would be thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Earth years passing while the Prometheus was skipping forward in time to its destination.

At one point in the film a subheading also gives a figure of their speed/distance in scientific notation. I didn't write it down, but I'm pretty sure it was even more bullshitty than the two year magic number.
Gcrush Wrote:
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> Right. And, just like every other Space Wizard
> film, if human beings can actually travel that
> fast then they should be doing shit that is a lot
> more interesting and metaphysical than what we see
> on the screen.

Also, if human beings can actually manufacture materials that can handle rapidly changing, unequal stresses from multiple directions while traveling at near sonic speeds (such as when a Valkyrie transforms or when a Gundam engages in melee) wouldn't they be able to make non-transforming vehicles that are infinitely cheaper and more durable than a Valkyrie or Gundam? Imagine a plane or a tank or a space fighter made out of the material that a Valkyrie's transformation joints are made out of- it wouldn't even need armor! All the mass and volume taken up by transformation and redundant systems could be used for weapons and thrust or more armor. A Gundam or a Valkyrie wouldn't stand a chance. Everytime a sci-fi story comes up with an incredible technology with a limited, niche use they always beg the question of what prevents it from being applied more broadly or to something more mundane or useful. Fuck sci-fi.

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Gcrush Wrote:
>
> Like, one of the things that pissed me off about
> Harry Potter was how they try to explain the
> magic. Seriously? Explaining spells and potions?
> How fucking nuts is that. It's already magic.
> Just let it be magical and move on.

It's silly in the movies, but in the books I think it goes a long way to make the world convincing. It's a world where everyone uses magic every day for every menial task, and a conversation over how a spell is properly executed is just as ordinary as, say, one over how to correctly set a microwave timer. Potterverse magic is just like technology - everyone has to use it, it requires a certain basic competence with the interface, but most people don't quite get what's happening when they turn it on.


> The Marines are in all practical aspects just
> Mercs, so why bother with the military gloss?
> Lame. But even more lame is the fact that they
> utterly suck at their jobs.

In a contemporary film, one would hope that type of detail would be used to express how the private sector is co-opting warfare. The introduction of Marines with ostensibly government-established positions being ordered around by a company offers an interesting opportunity to establish how this world is actually run. Of course, that would be for a movie less like Aliens and more like District 9.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Gcrush Wrote:
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> Scopedog Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > In Aliens...
> The Marines are in all practical aspects just
> Mercs, so why bother with the military gloss?
> Lame. But even more lame is the fact that they
> utterly suck at their jobs.

Their branch of service is United States Colonial Marine Corps. "Colonial" such as a colony like LV-426. I don't think they work directly for Weyland Yutani although I'm sure the corporation has undue influence over Earth government or is possibly sort of a government in itself with respect to the colonies around the atmosphere processors they own. There was every reason for Earth government to send Colonial Marines to a Weyland Yutani adminstered colony accompanied by a Weyland Yutani representative. Burke was not in charge of the mission, Lt Gorman was. When GySgt Apone died and Gorman was incapacitated, Cpl Hicks was the next in the chain of command. His first command decision was to "...nuke the site from orbit, its the only way to be sure." The Colonial Marines had top of the line military gear, instant obedience to orders and a clear chain of command. Competent or incompetent is debatable but in what practical aspect are they more mercenary than military regular? I don't see that at all.

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2012 06:34PM by Scopedog.
So wait....who is Jack Lemmon and who is Walter Matthau, here? Fucking turds in the punch bowl, you lot are.

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hillsy Wrote:
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> So wait....who is Jack Lemmon and who is Walter
> Matthau, here? Fucking turds in the punch bowl,
> you lot are.

So do you like Promotheus or not?

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Saw this on IMDB:

2 years 4 months 18 days 36 hours 15 minutes
by leo_c 22 hours ago (Thu Jun 7 2012 14:00:33)

So according to David the trip to LV-223 took this long. Why 18 days 36 hours and not 19 days 12 hours, are they no longer counting in Earth days?

Anyway if we assume 1 day = 1440 minutes and 1 year = 365.25 days like on Earth, then the trip took about 75 125 700 seconds in the reference frame of the Prometheus spaceship. It is also stated during the movie, the first time we see Prometheus on-screen, that LV-223 is 3.27*10^14 km away from Earth. So Prometheus travelled at the blazing speed of v = 3.27*10^14/75125700 = 4352700 km/s, or about 14.5 times faster than the speed of light!

Fortunately something is not right here besides Lindelof's writing, since the formula v=d/t is only accurate when v is much less than the speed of light. That's the case for a Boeing 757 or for the fastest man-made object as of today, the spacecraft Helios II which reached a mere 70.22 km/s back in 1976, but not for the blazingly fast Prometheus of 2091. In fact, as was suggested by Einstein and later proven by numerous experiments, time goes slower for a moving object than for an object at rest, relative to the same frame of reference, so during the trip time went slower inside Prometheus than on Earth. Precisely 1/sqrt(1-v²/c²) times slower, where c is the speed of light, v = 3.27*10^14/t' is the "real" speed of Prometheus relative to Earth, and t' the time that passed on Earth while Prometheus was on its way.

From this relation we can deduce that Prometheus travelled at a speed of 299139 km/s, about 99.8% of the speed of light, and that while it took 2 years 4 months 18 days 36 hours and 15 minutes for the spaceship to get to LV-223, almost 34 years and 8 months passed meanwhile on Earth. So technically Prometheus didn't arrive in 2093 but sometime around 2125, Earth time, and had the crew made their way back to Earth they wouldn't have arrived until 2160, after almost everyone they knew lived out their lives.

This may help explain why chaotic/brainless characters the likes of Fifield and Millburn ended up being chosen for such an expensive mission, but I doubt Lindelof thought about that when writing the script.

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<<So do you like Promotheus or not?>>

I'm seeing it Saturday. Thankfully, my suspension of disbelief filter is in proper working order when it comes to sci-fi. You all come off as joyless fucks.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
The dude does not abide sword-farts.

But I still liked Ninja Assassin.

I'm probably the only one in America who did. :P
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> The dude does not abide sword-farts.
>
> But I still liked Ninja Assassin.
>
> I'm probably the only one in America who did. :P

I liked Ninja Assassin. It's easier to enjoy these films when they clearly don't take themselves too seriously.

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AND SHO KOSUGI!!!
PROMETHEUS SPOILERS, THIS NEW TYPE OF XENOMORPH APPEARS IN THE MOVIE
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-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Scopedog Wrote:
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> The Colonial
> Marines had top of the line military gear, instant
> obedience to orders and a clear chain of command.
> Competent or incompetent is debatable but in what
> practical aspect are they more mercenary than
> military regular? I don't see that at all.

I don't think access to gear and a chain of command are enough to distinguish military from merc. The difference is the command and control system. Like, the Colonial Marines had no command, intelligence, or logistics within their operation. The fact that they're basically being sponsored by a corporation furthers the idea that they're a private army of irregulars and not a functioning military unit in the contemporary sense.

A company puts together their operation from the very start, automatically implying a mercantile relationship.

All the enlisted personnel are way out of regulation well before they even started the mission, because they sure didn’t suddenly get that way during sleep.

Their equipment has so many gaps that it ends up being inappropriate and inefficient. Among other things, while someone remembered to pack the motion trackers and infrared lenses, they didn’t bring the night vision goggles and instead opted for flashlights. Let’s not even get started on what type of sleeveless shirts constitutes body armor in their unit.

Their intelligence was woefully inept, even by the lowest standards. They hired a civilian as a consultant specifically for her “knowledge” about the hostile alien species, refused to believe her claims that the species was hostile, and then brought her into direct confrontation with the hostile species. Oh, and they also let her strap into military hardware to “lend a hand” packing up cargo because she “was licensed” to use the space forklift when all that shit would have: a) been taken care of before they even launched; and b) gotten Ripley and several other people into serious trouble.

Their tactics defied even the most rudimentary grasp of military strategy. Suspecting a hostile presence, did they secure their drop-ship or use any remote detection equipment whatsoever? No. Someone forgot to protect their only way off of the planet and to pack the RC cars with cameras on top. The only mobile automated unit they brought was an android that they never used to scope out the situation despite it being the most obvious choice – the android is programmed not to kill humans so there’s no chance it will get jumpy and misfire on a colonist, it’s more mobile than a squad and the least likely to attract attention for reconnaissance, it’s the most adept at the technical analysis of data and schematics, and it has zero problems with morale and insubordination. If anything, the Colonial Marines should have sent in a squad of androids before sending in the A-Team.

Their command was non-existent. Despite the availability and later (plot-essential) use of telepresence technology, Lt. Gorman never seems to update his superiors and actually enters potentially hostile enemy territory. At what point does sending your highest ranking asset into a combat zone get the green light from central command? The Sulaco is the fucking green-zone and they take everyone off of it and down to the surface of the planet; if everyone gets killed, the ship is just stuck forever floating out in space. That’s like everyone disembarking the Roosevelt every time they send a unit out for a mission.

In terms of logistics, there appears to be little or no support crew. Did they even have a medic in their unit?

Aaaaand, yeah. There are so many fundamentally flawed issues in the nature of the Colonial Marines that they couldn’t have passed for a military unit in the Korean War. But they’d be extremely believable as a group sent out by Blackwater Intergalactic.
hillsy Wrote:
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> I'm seeing it Saturday. Thankfully, my suspension
> of disbelief filter is in proper working order
> when it comes to sci-fi. You all come off as
> joyless fucks.


Just you wait, Mr. Hillsy. When those Space Wizards start rubbing their unlubed suicide boners on you we'll see how joyless the fucks get.

Seriously, though - the images in the film are every bit as outstanding as Geiger and Mead's work on the Alien films. That alone is enough to please.
Sanjeev Wrote:
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> But I still liked Ninja Assassin.

Rain is so hot in that film that when the building catches fire in the final showdown it's like some kind of metaphor for the latent homoerotic urges he can enflame in the men of the world. When you're that pretty, hairless, and toned does it really matter if you have a dick swinging between your legs? Ninja Assassin unequivocally answers that, no, it doesn't.

Space Wizards are douches. Ninja Wizards are hot.
Gcrush Wrote:
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Jesus Christ have you even watched Aliens? Dietrich is their Corpsman.

(seriously though, I can forgive all those flaws and inconsistencies because, in my opinion, most of the perhaps unrealistic writing choices that you point out still manage to successfully enhance characterization, dynamics, plot, or exposition. Besides, their organization, logistics, and tactics isn't much worse than the Marine squad in Full Metal Jacket or the soldiers in Platoon. For a war movie in space I think Aliens is exceptional and its one of my three favorite movies of all time, the other two being Predator and Transformers: The Movie)

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Scopedog Wrote:
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> Jesus Christ have you even watched Aliens?
> Dietrich is their Corpsman.

Yeah, I remember the scene where she checks Newt's temperature. But doesn’t it strike you as odd for a corpsman to carry a flamethrower?


> (seriously though, I can forgive all those flaws
> and inconsistencies because, in my opinion, most
> of the perhaps unrealistic writing choices that
> you point out still manage to successfully enhance
> characterization, dynamics, plot, or exposition.

I know, I know - every movie needs some ridiculous shit to keep the story rolling forward. If Aliens ran with the efficiency of a real military operation it would have been over in 30 minutes and with only one casualty (from friendly fire) while probably managing to look more like the painfully believable Jarhead. And that wouldn't have been interesting, or scary, at all. We need the alien queen to know how to work an elevator so we can get the final showdown with the space forklift. Because it's badass and that's enough to justify it. I'm not arguing with that.

I'm arguing that using the term "Colonial Marines" instead of "Private Security Force" doesn't add anything to the movie. At all. Aside from perhaps making James Cameron feel like his clumsy Space Wizard project is a much more nuanced tacti-cool allegory for Space Vietnam. Using "Colonial Marines" just injects a lot of uneeded mess and inconsistencies.


> Besides, their organization, logistics, and
> tactics isn't much worse than the Marine squad in
> Full Metal Jacket or the soldiers in Platoon.

Agreed. Most war movies suck because they're just a camouflage setting for ordinary cinema tropes.


> For a war movie in space I think Aliens is exceptional
> and its one of my three favorite movies of all
> time, the other two being Predator and
> Transformers: The Movie)

Aliens gave us some exceptionally cool Space Wizard designs that I still very much enjoy. Predator gave us some glorious 1980s testosterone fueled homoerotic snuff-porn for aliens. I watch both of those at least once a year.

But Transformers: Teh Movie? As much as I love the transforming Devil Planet and the cute little Sharkticons, I can't watch that anymore. Between Rodimus, Wheelie, Ultra Magnus, and that human kid I get nauseous every time.
Gcrush Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Scopedog Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> I'm arguing that using the term "Colonial Marines"
> instead of "Private Security Force" doesn't add
> anything to the movie. At all. Aside from
> perhaps making James Cameron feel like his clumsy
> Space Wizard project is a much more nuanced
> tacti-cool allegory for Space Vietnam. Using
> "Colonial Marines" just injects a lot of uneeded
> mess and inconsistencies.

I'm arguing that making these questionable writing decisions and having them unsuccessfully drive any element of the movie makes them more obvious and painful. I'm personally very partial to the drizzling of Marine Corps trappings in Aliens and do not feel the movie would have engrossed me nearly as much without it.

Getting back to why sci-fi sucks, why does the M41A Pulse Rifle, firing 10mm explosive tip, caseless ammunition, seem to eject casings (perhaps they're ejected duds)? How do you fit 99 10mm rounds in a sub machine gun magazine with a 20 round maximum capacity for .45 ACP?


> But Transformers: Teh Movie? As much as I love
> the transforming Devil Planet and the cute little
> Sharkticons, I can't watch that anymore. Between
> Rodimus, Wheelie, Ultra Magnus, and that human kid
> I get nauseous every time.

The music, the voice actors, the gorgeous animation, and the lack of pretense to being anything other than what it is (a relatively high production value animated movie about Transformers, which is all I need it to be). I typed the reasons as they came to me so on a subconcious level they probably impact me pretty much in that order. I'm sure I've seen it over a thousand times and I could still watch it a thousand more.

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Prometheus is a follow up to ALIEN. I have never considered ALIEN and Aliens to be perfectly related; I prefer to consider them different takes on the same characters and similar scenarios.

Case in point: Predators DO NOT exist in the universe of ALIEN, but for some inane fanboinerdragesex reason, they somehow got added to the universe of Aliens and EVERYONE JUST ACCEPTS THIS AS GIVEN. There are even those who insist that Batman and Darth Maul be added to this nuttiness.

Anyway, I saw Prometheus last night with what was apparently a theater packed full of Aliens/Predator people, and while I enjoyed the film (I'm an ALIEN fan) some things didn't quite come together for me, particularly that Scott wasn't quite able to conjure the horror necessary, that would have hearkened back to the original meaning of the one-word title ALIEN. But it makes it fun to talk and think about it afterwards.

BUT, some of the comments I heard as the lights came up...you know what I'm talking about, these blowhards who start bellowing kingly pronouncements into the crowd the moment the credits start rolling, even though they only know the two people sitting next to them? Imagine a whole theater of them. One great one was "I can't believe how long it was before someone actually died!" Well, you get the picture. This film does things to reach out to these people, but it won't be enough. It's more ALIEN than Aliens/Predator/Colonial Marines/Dark Horse Comics/whatever.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2012 06:14PM by leMel42.
leMel42 Wrote:
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> Case in point: Predators DO NOT exist in the
> universe of ALIEN, but for some inane
> fanboinerdragesex reason, they somehow got added
> to the universe of Aliens and EVERYONE JUST
> ACCEPTS THIS AS GIVEN. There are even those who
> insist that Batman and Darth Maul be added to this
> nuttiness.

What's wrong with any of the iconic 80's 20th Century Fox monsters (Alien, Predator, and Terminator) inhabiting the same universe? What's so great or distinct about the Alien mythos that its too good to be associated with the others? Its all a money-making enterprise anyway with putatively "artistic" expression being a distant priority.

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hillsy Wrote:
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> <>
>
> I'm seeing it Saturday. Thankfully, my suspension
> of disbelief filter is in proper working order
> when it comes to sci-fi. You all come off as
> joyless fucks.


This. I literally just got back from seeing Prometheus, and this is the thread I come back to. You are all the worst (except Hill).

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
Gcrush Wrote:
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> But doesn’t it strike you as odd for a corpsman to carry a flamethrower?
>


Yo Joe, Mr. Crush!

Spoilers ahead…











First--yeah, I liked the flick. It was all right. It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday night, and if nothing else, it gave me a scene involving a self-administered penis-worm Caesarean section, complete with staples.

On a visceral and visual level, it satisfies, but that satisfaction was mitigated by the highly derivative nature of the movie. It’s odd that Scott/the screenwriters hewed so close to Alien. The entire first act is practically an update of those two movies (the difference being the really nice sequence of David killing time, which I would have loved to see more of). But you get the hangar scene after the cryo wake-up with the protagonist lady talking to a skeptical crew about what’s to come, and I started to miss Hudson and Apone. When I heard the line, “We are leaving, David!” I thought I was hearing, “Marines, we are leaving!”

When it comes to all the technical inaccuracies of this movie and Aliens, I wasn’t really bothered by them, though Mr. Crush is right to say that a bit more effort could have been made to get basic facts right. That said, those errors weren’t really on my mind when I was watching the movie.

Someone said that the movie lacked horror—this is a bigger issue for me, and it’s not really about the horror so much as it is about how derivative and predictable the movie is. When Scott’s way of approaching suspense with this film is supersizing the original facehug-agina dentata by ten, then yeah, horror and suspense go out the window. Also, the original Alien benefitted from creative narrative decisions that evoked a genuine sense of mystery (Weaver was an unknown actor who many would have assumed would have been one of the first to be devoured). And Aliens benefitted from a quickly sketched, but still very memorable cast. (I once saw Vasquez in real life--she's a short, redheaded Caucasoid who looks nothing like Vasquez, and at the time that fact seemed pretty amazing to me.) Anyway, this movie lacks originality with both plot and characters, which is okay because I wasn't really expecting much, to be honest..

Someone else mentioned that Alien is a bit overrated, and, yeah, Scott did truly benefit from the collaborations he had with gifted designers and visual artists. That movie and Blade Runner succeeded on ambience alone.

When it comes to sci-fi fantasy, I’m okay if the story plays fast and loose with real-world rules (since Star Trek: TNG, I’ve long given up the notion of speed/distance/time being portrayed in a real-world way). And yeah, Aliens got a lot of military things wrong, as mentioned, but it’s not historical fiction, I often tell myself. (Also, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.)

With factual details, I mean, eight times out of ten, in a movie or TV show involving firearms, the actor is holding the gun the wrong way or calling a magazine a clip. But it's futile to get annoyed by things like that. You just say to yourself--the writer/actor obviously was really lazy about doing basic research, and you let it go. (And you promise yourself that if you were in that position, you wouldn't make the same mistakes.)

Plot/logic issues concern me more. The one thing I couldn’t get over was why a species as advanced as the Engineers didn’t already destroy the Earth. So they had a mishap on this planet. What’s the holdup? Clearly, they had other ships they could have sent. And in the original Alien we saw that they'd already refined the xenomorph weapon they'd been developing all these years. Maybe, as some have speculated, the Engineers themselves were in the middle of a war and they ended up losing (or at least the warlike/destructive elements of the species lost).

The plot, as cliched as it is, is okay. But at the end, we get a blue, bald, Schwarzenegger-type ripping heads off and stomping people. This is the most advanced species we’ve ever encountered, the species that created ours?

The “twist” about xenomorphs being WMDs would have been much cooler if it had been a new idea I didn’t see coming (didn’t Dark Horse Comics do this storyline years ago? Didn’t Scott himself throw this idea out years ago?). The “twist” about the cave being a giant spaceship would have been much cooler if I hadn’t seen the trailer, which gave it away (I need to stop watching trailers). The “twist” about the Space Jockey’s “face” not being a “face” was cool, though. The reason I mention these things is that the movie is predicated on discoveries and twists, and when most of them don't work, it's kind of like drinking flat cola. You still want it, but it's not what you think it could/should be. Probably I just need to stop using the Internet. I'll probably enjoy movies more that way.

I really liked the movie when I left the theaters last night, but am a bit less satisfied today. The ending felt like an invitation to a sequel, and I don’t like that. I also don’t like how most of it felt like a lesser version of Aliens.

As what is essentially a big-budget B-movie, though, it’s pretty good. Keep the expectations low.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2012 05:52PM by gingaio.
Attachments:
open | download - Medics Need Guns Too.JPG (84.3 KB)


-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
gingaio Wrote:
>
> and if nothing else, it gave me a
> scene involving a self-administered penis-worm
> Caesarean section, complete with staples.

It was totally a giant sperm cell. The thing in the black liquid was more of a hermaphroditic genitalia worm.

> Someone said that the movie lacked horror—this is
> a bigger issue for me, and it’s not really about
> the horror so much as it is about how derivative
> and predictable the movie is.

I appreciated that Scott didn't go for the sudden shock with almost any of the creature scenes. He gave the audience a clear view of what they're about to see, then just let us watch plainly what was happening. The problem is, with the exception of the surgery sequence, it was all a little too obvious... too familiar, not really genuinely alien. There were only a few parts where the sensation of "what in the world are we seeing here?" really set in, and most of those were in the earliest parts of the movie.

> Plot/logic issues concern me more. The one thing I
> couldn’t get over was why a species as advanced as
> the Engineers didn’t already destroy the Earth.

Were they really trying to destroy anything? Was it really a weapon? Throughout the whole film, I had the impression that the black liquid was merely a tool - a catalyst for rapid evolution - and that what we saw in the opening scene was the creation of life on Earth. None of the characters' talk about how it was a weapon that got out of their control convinced me otherwise.

> The plot, as cliched as it is, is okay. But at the
> end, we get a blue, bald, Schwarzenegger-type
> ripping heads off and stomping people. This is the
> most advanced species we’ve ever encountered, the
> species that created ours?

That was exceptionally frustrating. The whole film sets up this question about an intelligent creation's relationship to its creator, and when it finally presents the opportunity to have a conversation about that, one that won't be entirely speculative within the film's own teleology, it punks out. It says, nope, you can't have that conversation - you get an action movie finale instead. It didn't even give us any idea of why the big dude was so angry at David. I guess it's because he's inorganic life? Or because he's a lesser creature speaking their language? Or because he just woke up and he's cranky? I'd like a little bit of something here, even just an explanation of why the space guy is mad.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It didn't even give us any idea of
> why the big dude was so angry at David.

Because of Leviticus 22:3. LV-223. Fuck sci-fi.

--------------------------
I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> gingaio Wrote:
> >
> > and if nothing else, it gave me a
> > scene involving a self-administered penis-worm
> > Caesarean section, complete with staples.
>
> It was totally a giant sperm cell. The thing in
> the black liquid was more of a hermaphroditic
> genitalia worm.
>
After a point, everything started looking like genitalia to me in the film, and my brain kind of coasted. Good for you for keeping an eye out on jizz cell vs. dick...I guess.

> Were they really trying to destroy anything? Was
> it really a weapon? Throughout the whole film, I
> had the impression that the black liquid was
> merely a tool - a catalyst for rapid evolution -
> and that what we saw in the opening scene was the
> creation of life on Earth. None of the characters'
> talk about how it was a weapon that got out of
> their control convinced me otherwise.
>
That prologue scene is pretty mysterious. We don't know if this Engineer was being forced to commit suicide (which is weird because he seemed so suprised by his death). We don't know if he willingly or secretly sacrificed himself, or if it was part of a ritual sacrifice, to seed life on Earth. (Was it even Earth for sure? There's really no confirmation of that...) The black stuff unraveled his DNA, and I think a lot of people are assuming that this is the Genesis story. Maybe, maybe not. We're not really given enough information, though. Too much in the movie forces us to presume, and I'm not sure if it's lazy writing or writing with too much of an eye toward a sequel.

As to whether this black stuff is a scientific tool...I don't know. It destroys life, literally, at the cellular level. And are the worms a result of the goo or were they preexisting creatures/tools/weapons altered by the goo?

I mean, the design and arrangement of the gooey vessels is reminiscent of stockpiles of ordinance, and Buff-Baldy-Blue's actions suggests something malevolent. I think it was David who said that the ship was headed to Earth to destroy it. Certainly, he's an unreliable character, but what motive would he have to set the humans against the Engineers? (Not like he needed to, from what we saw.)

David's interpretation of the Engineers' intent can be taken with a grain of salt, I suppose, but I don't see why it's an unacceptable interpretation compared to any other, given all the stuff we don't know and are forced to guess at.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2012 09:37PM by gingaio.
All of these movies feature FTL drives because the audience still needs to be able to relate to the characters in the story. A society that sent people with finite life spans on space voyages at relativistic speeds would be completely unlike ours, with the priorities of the voyagers themselves being the most different. So, it's a crutch.

Honestly, the first time I saw "Alien," I was more concerned with where the creature's mass came from. When it's "born," it's cat-sized. Next scene, it's "as big as a man." Unless there were many unseen Nostromo crew members who were eaten off-camera, what did it eat to get so big.

MILD SPOILERS, I suppose: I found myself thinking the same thing at the end of "Prometheus."

Best, Ken-A
Ken-A Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> All of these movies feature FTL drives because the
> audience still needs to be able to relate to the
> characters in the story. A society that sent
> people with finite life spans on space voyages at
> relativistic speeds would be completely unlike
> ours, with the priorities of the voyagers
> themselves being the most different.

[en.wikipedia.org]

(had to mention it)
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