Sam Strange Remembers: PROMETHEUS

Sam Strange ate a block of gold and shat out a beautiful turd. (spoilers)


Once upon a time, there was a show called Lost. The show was really popular because it allowed people to enjoy hokey sci-fi conventions without feeling like nerds. Everything supposedly serviced a very human story elevated high above geeky crap like that. It pulled this off simply by averring that it was pulling it off. It also kept things vague enough that people would invent the show's integrity all by themselves. By the time characters were time traveling and drinking magic water right and left without abandon, it was far too late for people to call bullshit and walk away. Brilliant.

So I hired that Lost guy to write Prometheus. I figured it would go the same way. We'd get people to buy tickets on false promises of thrilling intellectual storytelling and then kind of abandon all that halfway through. It's too much work to make a great movie. But a great trailer is child's play. The masterstroke was calling it an Alien prequel and letting that pedigree do all the work for us. Again, brilliant.

Prometheus is about a ship called "Prometheus" that goes looking for sort of a literal Prometheus. In a really cool looking prologue, we see a muscular Space Albino drink Space Acid so that he falls apart into Earth's water supply, therefore creating humans. But not Chimps.

We cut to several thousand years later as two archaeologists, Tom Hardy and Missy Opossum, discover a cave drawing where a cave person is pointing to five balls in the air. Since there are a bunch of other cave drawings with cave people pointing to five balls in the air, they think it's an invitation to find a place in space where the planets look like five balls in the air.

It's hard for them to get funding though, because it will cost over a trillion dollars and who really gives a shit, anyway? It's just some balls in the air. But then they discover a cave hologram of the Space Albino drinking that stuff and creating humans like we saw at the beginning of the film and the question becomes, "Why would the creation of humans be so important that the one Space Albino will kill himself to make it happen?" This question proves large and interesting enough to both win the archaeologists funding and not answer in this film.

Now the two archaeologists are on a ship along with a lot of other people: There's bitchy blonde lady, cool captain guy, his two lackeys (one Asian, one not), one punk rock geologist, one nerd, a lesbian, a bunch of technicians or something and one android named David.

Like all movie Androids, David is supposed to be soulless but totally isn't. For instance, he likes Lawrence of Arabia more than Spaceballs, and a truly soulless being wouldn't be able to tell the difference. He even cosplays as Peter O'Toole. It's the kind of thing where a character will ask David, "What do you want?" and he'll say, "I'm a robot. I don't want anything," then lean in and add, "But if I had the capacity to want something, I would want this Coca-Cola, and it just so happens that I want this Coco-Cola," and then he drinks the Colo-Cola and winks at the camera.

In the same way David from A.I. was programmed to love without actually understanding it, David from Prometheus was designed to be a shithead without understanding exactly how being a shithead works. He's sort of a scientifically curious Dennis the Menace. During the journey everyone has to sleep for two years, but David gets to roam around the ship playing basketball, voyeuristically watching the crew's dreams, and learning enough languages that he might be able to speak to the Space Albinos should they contact any and should they speak an Earth-based language and should the film ever accidentally turn into a more interesting film.

When the crew does wake up, they land on the planet that seems most likely to the be most primary of the five balls in the air. Just ahead of them on the planet surface, they find a massive cave that seems most likely to be the most primary of all the massive caves around. The cave is mysterious and empty and highly dangerous because it emits a gas that makes movie characters really stupid. Normally these scientists would be okay because they have space helmets on, but once they learn that air is breathable in the cave, they take their helmets off. After that all bets are off. They're touching everything, putting random soft things in their mouth and running with scissors.

As all the people act like high infants, David goes around pushing every button he can find. The gas doesn't affect him; he's just an asshole. Eventually, he pushes enough buttons that he accidentally turns on a hologram of the day all the Space Albinos died. Following the hologram leads everyone to a big room with a big Space Albino head and a bunch of metal canisters. It's all pretty amazing. Then a storm hits and everyone has to run back to the ship.

Everyone except for the nerd and the punk rock geologist, that is, because they get lost and must stay overnight in the cave. Unfortunately, they don't make it that long. One of them finds a really cute snake with a toothy vagina for a head and decides he really wants to pet it and maybe teach it to sit and roll-over, but it goes down his throat instead.

The other guy falls into black ooze that makes his helmet suck into his face and then makes his face suck into his neck and than makes his arms suck into his chest and so on and so on and only idiots go to movies expecting filmmakers to hold their hands explaining everything.

Things are pretty bad on the ship, too. David actually brought back one of those metal canisters. Inside, he finds four or five gooey lava lamps. He takes a little substance from one and sneaks it into Tom Hardy's drink. Since we saw the Space Albino drink weird stuff at the beginning of the film, you're supposed to momentarily think David is going to turn Tom Hardy into some super human, but nope. The cocktail first puts a worm in his eye. Then makes skin weird. Then makes him a really strong zombie. That's it.

Before Tom Hardy turned into a zombie, he had sex with Missy Opossum and it makes her three months pregnant with a Worm Eye Zombie Body Baby, which just so happens to look like a gigantic Face-Hugger from Alien. Meanwhile, David is watching through security cameras thinking, "Hot damn. I didn't know what to expect, but I sure as shit didn't expect all that. Fuckin wow."

Zombie Tom Hardy kills all the nameless technicians, but it's cool. Missy Opossum has her alien fetus aborted by a surgery machine, but it's cool. Idris Elba has sex with Charlize Theron and we don't get to see it, but it's cool.

Soon enough, all the questions you're thinking about asking are quickly distracted by the presence of Tom Cruise in old-guy makeup. Apparently, the guy who paid for the trip decided to tag along, and now he wants to talk to one of these Space Albinos on the off-chance they know anything about living forever. Hey, when Tom Cruise comes to you looking for an all-old-man-makeup role, you just say yes and don't bother with questions.

While he plans this trip, recently shamed with abortion Missy Opossum shows up and decides to come too, despite her recent physical and emotional trauma. Around the same time, Idris Elba repels down from a ventilation shaft to quickly tell everyone all the stuff the movie didn't have time to make clear: The Space Albinos were actually working on a weapon to kill all the humans on Earth for some reason. Each metal canister is sort of a nuclear weapon. They either turn you into Zombies, impregnate you with big Facehuggers, suck helmets onto people's faces, or shoot out snakes with vaginas for heads. I and that Lost writer knew the big money was in not defining things, so it's up to you. Pick your poison.

Everyone goes into the Space Albino spaceship because David thinks one of them is still alive. Turns out he's right. There's one resting in hyper-sleep. Waking him up is a bad idea, however. This Space Albino went to sleep thinking when he woke up he'd be in planet Big Tit in the Free Nachos quadrant. Instead he opens his eyes to see a fucking robot, and a fucking old fart who kind of looks like Tom Cruise. There are a couple chicks, sure. But one is clearly a second wave feminist and the other looks like an Opossum and immediately starts screaming at him in a language he doesn't give a shit about.

He does what any of us would do: Rip the head off the robot and throw it at the old dude's noggin. That works as far as killing shit goes. He then throws the lesbian into a wall. Now only the Opossum remains. But she runs away. "Oh well," he thinks, and sets a course to go kill Earth. Why? Hey man. As a child, when did you find your closet most interesting? When you thought there was a monster inside or when you turned the light on and saw everything for what it was? People who love movies do not scrutinize them on this level, so back off.

Missy Opossum tells Idris Elba and the two guys he hangs out with that the Space Albino spaceship is lifting off, and if it gets to Earth everyone on the planet will die. So Idris Elba crashes Prometheus into the Space Albino ship, destroying Prometheus and denting the Space Albino ship a tad. Charlize Theron gets out via an escape pod before the crash, but the whole Albino Spaceship falls on her. I mention it because she was sort of my favorite character.

Missy Opossum is still alive, though. And there's a space pod she can take home if she wants. The only problem is her giant Face-Hugger baby happens to be onboard. This problem sorts itself out when the bloodthirsty Space Albino comes to kill her and finds the giant Face-Hugger instead. He puts up a good fight, but in the end the Giant Face-Hugger fucks him in the mouth to death. A few hours later an Alien alien bursts from his chest. It looks much smaller and humanoid than what we're used to. But rest assured it will evolve into the Alien we're all want despite existing on a completely barren planet and having only 29 years until the "Nostromo" makes her ill-fated voyage home.

Missy Opossum picks up David's still functional head and the two find a separate Albino Spaceship. Their plan is to track down every Space Albino in the cosmos and ask them "Why did you make us, and why did you later decide to kill us?" If any of them answer with, "I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about," Missy Opossum plans to shoot David supplied giant Face-Huggers from her womb at their faces.

So as you can see, this is a deeply intellectual film. Most philosophers spend their whole lives on "Why are we here?" Prometheus goes one step further by asking, "Who gives a shit why we're here. Why are super-buff Powder men trying to kill us with black ooze that does ill-defined awful shit?" Deep, deep stuff. Trust me, it'll all make sense when me make Prometheus 2. And if it doesn't, it will when we make Prometheus 3. And if it doesn't, you were never going to be satisfied in the first place, I guess. Shame on you.

(three stars)