(WARNING! Massive spoilers for Prometheus and all six seasons of Lost. Contains inessential footnotes that can be ignored if you want to leave this page with your sanity intact.)
It took about thirty seconds from the end of the first public screening of Sir Ridley Scott’s Prometheus before co-writer Damon Lindelof shared this tweet from an Alien fan:
And there were many more to come, which he “kindly” RTd to his followers. Those quote marks are there because Mr. Lindelof’s Twitter behaviour often feels like a self-flagellatory performance piece, as he attempts to engage with the many aggrieved fanboys who despise him for Lost, the Star Trek reboot and now this. With Lost at least he created his own accusatory and gallumphing anti-fanbase, but by working on the other two franchises he’s surely leaping into the path of endless butt-hurty bullets. I can’t help but respect that kind of courage. It’s testament to his inner nerd, that he would risk the barbs and complaints of the most easily-irked subcultures on Earth just to work on the things he loves. 
Going into Prometheus last Friday, days after it had aired for many of the critics I follow, as well as in some European countries, there were already rumblings that it was a failure, or a partial failure, or a “waste”, as Mr. Beaks from AICN bluntly put it on Twitter. I didn’t look any closer as I didn’t want to spoil the movie any more than the obscenely spoilery trailers had already done (wanna give a fuck you shout-out to Fox’s promotional campaign which effectively stripped every bit of mystery from this movie in a way even Robert Zemeckis would have considered extreme), but my concern was that even if there were legitimate concerns about the quality of Prometheus, some of the criticisms were evidence that the boring old rift between Alien and Aliens fans was being reopened.
There are many nerd debates that will never be resolved. Marvel vs. DC, Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Hunger Games vs. Twilight; none of them are as boring as the Alien wars. There are factions within the Alien fanbase who prefer the long, slow takes and exquisitely-paced suspense of the first Alien movie to the bombastic, militaristic rollercoaster of James Cameron’s sequel, and there are vicey-versa types who think Cameron’s beautifully structured sexy machine of kill is better than Ridley’s hesitant original. There are those who think David Fincher got close with his mangled but bold third installment, and there are even those who think Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s French sensibilities reinstalled some of the original’s perversity back into the series. I’d like to think no one believes the two Alien Vs. Predator movies are on the same level as even the fourth movie. 
So was the initial burst of grumbling about Prometheus borne of the scars caused by this war, one that should have been ditched the moment Paul W.S. Anderson stepped behind a camera on the AVP set? Because seriously, fighting over the deckchairs on the Titanic while the iceberg that is PWSA’s monolithic ineptitude, crossed with the desperate short-sightedness of Fox, gets us nowhere. Alien and Aliens are different approaches to similar material; the very simple template for this series – space monster terrorises humans – is blank enough to be used as a canvas for experiments in differing tone and narrative approach. AVP, on the other hand, was a blunt knife that stabbed right through the canvas so nothing could ever be painted there again.
Even if this would end up fueling a new round of arguing about which approach was better, it would at least mean an objective viewer might enjoy Prometheus; the alternative was that the complaints were justified. Sadly, as the fans said, Prometheus has problems, mostly caused by its attempts to connect to the franchise, but there is still much to like in it, most significantly that it definitively removes the AVP movies from the canon. Even if Prometheus isn’t as innovative and beautifully-wrought as the original Alien, fan predictions that Scott would restore dignity to the Alien universe have proved true, just by excising the banal AVP and idiotic fratboy b-movie AVP: Requiem like a surgeon removing a tumour. For that alone, Prometheus should be lauded.
What else is there to love? Certainly some of the lead performances, especially Noomi Rapace as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, the most resilient human being since John McClane, who spends much of the movie in either extreme emotional or physical turmoil. It’s arguable that her character is sidelined too often to act as a real centre, and her relationship with atheist Logan Marshall-Green isn’t as developed as it could have been; surely some room could have been found for it. This is a shame as her damaged faith, shredded by ill fortune and nauseating, psyche-shattering body horror is meant to be one of the central planks of the movie’s structure, but even if she’s not given enough screentime, she’s still good enough to be memorable.
Michael Fassbender is arguably even better as David, the Weyland Corporation android who tends to the crew of the Prometheus. As with Ash and Bishop in the other movies, David’s agenda is mysterious, setting up many of the movie’s most interesting moments and calling back to one of Lindelof’s finest creations, Ben Linus, as well as the infamous AI Hal 9000. Is David malevolent? Mischievous? Innocent? Vengeful? Badly programmed? It’s likely that much of the forthcoming debate about Prometheus will focus on his motives. Lindelof has a real talent for creating such ambiguous characters and situations which, if the tenor of his treatment online and elsewhere is anything to go by, annoys many who want certainty from their fiction.
The rest of the cast are fine enough, though many of them have little to do. Nice to see Red Road‘s Kate Dickie here, though she generally just imparts exposition, while Rafe Spall plays another eccentric. His reliability is a bit of a coin-toss, and for this movie we sadly got the “tails” that gave us his excruciating performance in One Day, and not the “heads” of The Shadow Line. Fans of DJ Big Driis will likely enjoy his performance as Captain Janek, with his accordion, scamp-like charm and fine habit of standing on the bridge, legs akimbo, like a big sexy legend; classic Elba typecasting. Guy Pearce is also in it, buried under so much latex I wasn’t sure what he was up to. I think I found him amusing? Certainly incongruous. A perpetual snarl on Charlize Theron’s face is also in it. Make of that what you will.
On a technical level the movie is astounding, as you’d expect from the infamous stylist and detail-obsessive Sir Ridley, though the creatures in the movie are a mite disappointing, looking like waxy and unimaginative first drafts; passable in any other movie but unacceptable when sharing a universe with HR Giger’s nightmarish vision. One particularly annoying design failure has Noomi’s disgusting squid baby connected to her by an umbilical cord that juts out of the side of its head. The lengthy sequence in which Shaw gives herself a grisly automated abortion is unarguably the highlight of the movie, but I couldn’t stop looking at that stupid dangling umbilical cord. Who signed off on that distracting touch?
That said, the horror is already undercut by the confusing threat. Is the crew of the Prometheus threatened by a deadly virus? Zombies? A Lovecraftian Old God? A mutated version of the Trash Compactor monster from Star Wars? All of those things are upsetting on their own, but by not settling on any one thing it dissipates some of the tension as the viewer tries to match them up. Here’s where the Alien comparisons do the most damage. The elegant and rigorously thought-through reproductive cycle in Alien is now muddled, evolving from some ill-defined matter to become the Apexiest of Apex Predators, though it’s perversely pleasing to think that at some point in the evolutionary timeline of the Xenomorph, one of the most diabolical and primally terrifying creatures ever imagined, is a devout human woman struggling to hold onto her faith in the face of indescribable horrors.
There’s also the fact that this movie feels so familiar; something noted by Daisyhellcakes as we left the IMAX.  That’s mostly due to the central conceit regarding our origins that’s been used in other movies or books; At The Mountains of Madness, Chariots of the Gods, Stargate etc. have dealt with the same idea in differing ways. Additionally, David’s impenetrable behaviour evokes memories of 2001; not just his HAL-like unreliability but early scenes with him puttering around the ship and busying himself with chores resemble Dave Bowman’s relaxed moments on Discovery One. The weird alien special sauce that dooms the crew is, of all things, reminiscent of the organic meteor matter in Ivan Reitman’s Evolution. Its purpose is the biggest mystery of all. It accelerates evolution? It breaks down DNA?
Further muddying the waters, the Alien movies are overtly referenced throughout, thus making it hard to separate this from the previous films no matter how hard we’re told not to. The look of the movie directly reflects the other films, with the (remarkable) production design by Arthur Max evoking memories of Syd Mead’s work, but the script is where the main resemblances occur. Lindelof has peppered familiar scenarios and lines of dialogue from the previous Alien movies throughout Prometheus; so much so that Sir Ridley’s comments that the movie “shares Alien‘s DNA” is a wry comment on the DNA / RNA manipulations in the plot as well as an acknowledgement that this often feels like a rehash. The structure, apart from some significant diversions, is identical to the other movies:
Discovery of message > waking from cryo-sleep > introduction of characters > arrival on planet > visit alien object > find unpleasant things > attempt to return during storm > things go wrong on the ship involving unpleasant births > android / corporate stooge has shady agenda > chaos ensues > lifepod ejects in which a showdown with the antagonist occurs.
It’s worth noting that Prometheus also borrows thematic material from Blade Runner, to such a degree that for a confusing moment I wondered if Blade Runner also occurred in the Alien universe, and Weyland Corporation’s androids were merely following in the footsteps of Tyrell Corporation’s replicants. Prometheus feels more like the third part of a thematically-connected series a la Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance trilogy than the fifth/first part of a franchise, thanks to these concerns. The main characters are searching for answers to questions about their origins, and Weyland is also looking for extended longevity, just like the replicants in Scott’s other sci-fi favourite. The showdown with the Engineer is as disastrous as Roy Batty’s encounter with Eldon Tyrell, with a popped-off android head and some vanilla butt-kicking replacing Tyrell’s crushed noggin.
And what answers do the team find? Nothing satisfying, of course, because nothing can truly satiate the whole audience, even if the movie ended falling either on the side of Shaw (faith) or Holloway (science). Those of us who forgave Lost its “trespasses” will recognise Lindelof’s approach. Prometheus asks the question, “who made us, and who made the race that made us?”, but instead of God or benevolent celestial beings we’re given the possibility that we might be the subject of an experiment, the organic components of a long-played terraforming operation, or the accidental biological waste product of a botched suicide by an alien trapped on Earth after missing his ride. That Carl Sagan line, “We are all made of star stuff,” is only half right here. We’re also just clever human-shaped sludge. (In fact Prometheus is the anti-Contact. They’d make an interesting double bill.)
Viewers of Lost were led to believe that its central mystery – what the hell is going on with this crazy island, and what has it got to do with these chosen ones – would be answered by one of the regularly introduced characters who seemed to have the answers. This was not to be. The Oceanic survivors, especially poor Locke, expected answers from the leader of the Others – Ben Linus – but he too was in the dark. So the audience waited for his mentor Richard Alpert to provide answers, but he had none either. In fact, as a result of a time-travel accident he thinks it’s Locke who has answers; a brilliant joke played by Lindelof and co-showrunner Carlton Cuse, highlighting the point that we make fools of ourselves for looking to others — Messiahs — for answers.
After Richard we expect Jacob has the answers, or the Man in Black, or their “Mother”, but none of them had a clue. They only had their own humanity, for better or worse. The layers could be peeled back forever, and all we would ever find were more confused, stupid people bringing their own baggage to the mysterious island, which contained a glowing thingy that was basically a magical Maltese Falcon. Over the course of six seasons Lindelof and Cuse could fully explore this idea, and some people even seemed to get it, though most complained that with no answers the show was a failure, instead of the slyly subversive success it actually was. Prometheus, with a running time of only two hours and a lot of info to get through, can only suffer in comparison.
So why ask these questions if you have no interest in answering them? Because there are other things you can dramatise with these questions, and the late-movie revelation that the Engineers were actually on their way back to Earth to eradicate our species using toxic goop wrong-foots the audience in a way that is reminiscent of Lost‘s games with expectations, as well as being a nicely mundane counterpoint to the grandiose first half of the movie. This resembles the way Lost teased epic and supernatural answers to its mysteries that were almost always caused by trivial but recognisably human things like confusion, venality, greed, delusion and the hilariously panicky reactions of characters who feared that they would soon lose their tiny allotment of power. 
The juxtaposition of the importance of the questions and the triviality of the human drama was one of the most pleasurable aspects of Lost, creating an unexpected frisson that transformed what could have been a simple mystery show into a Vonnegut-inspired treatise on the absurdity and arrogance of the human quest for knowledge it cannot handle. Prometheus does a similar thing, but that comment on the futility of our quest for truth is wrapped up in the tropes of a horror movie, which threatens to overpower the cosmic joke. Perhaps there’s another story they could tell that fits squarely into the sci-fi genre without the need to adopt Alien‘s horrific genetics, giving that commentary on our hubris more room to breathe and/or be recognised.
That said, the thought that humanity is a mistake that needs to be eradicated by beings more powerful than us is a chilling one, and the atmosphere of existential dread experienced by the Prometheus crew as they realise they have have been rejected by their creator is its own reward. It even thematically matches the responses of David, daily reminded of — and seemingly disgusted by — the flawed nature of his creators. Does he poison Holloway because he wants to punish his creators, as Shaw does re: the Engineers in the film’s final moments, or is David hurt by Holloway’s dismissal of his sentience? The fact that he invades Shaw’s dreams suggests Holloway’s racist behaviour arrived too late to affect David’s actions. David may have been broken all along.
Is this a consequence of his programming by Weyland or Vickers, a flaw in his construction (as suggested by Burke in Aliens), or that he has manifested a dark soul of his own accord?  These questions are as interesting now as they were when first asked in Blade Runner, and are given extra power by Fassbender’s brilliant work and Lindelof’s commendable restraint in explaining things away. I’d expect nothing else from the man who created Ben Linus and Charles Widmore, though I wonder if pointing out that Prometheus is yet another tale of children struggling to understand, placate, or wreak vengeance upon their fathers will make former Lost fans turn against this as fiercely as they turned against the island show.
It can be argued that Prometheus strengthens Lost and vice versa. It’s easy to assume that Lindelof truly is the bad writer of popular myth, a man smart enough to ask big questions but too stupid to answer them. Some ugly exposition and leaden dialogue does little to dispel that argument, though this could be down to necessary editing choices. There are other complaints ready to be levelled at the filmmakers that don’t fit within my forgiving parameters, and my defence is not meant to be a blanket dismissal of reasonable, non-trolling complaints, or an excuse for the film’s flaws. But what if Lindelof’s actually smart enough to know there’s no satisfactory way to settle the science / faith debate, to understand that drama that aspires to profundity demands that these questions be asked despite the inevitable disappointment that follows when the answer given falls short of expectation?
The drama here isn’t resolving “Why?” It’s in showing how people react when given a chance to find the answers. Lindelof’s done this twice now. Why is it beyond the realms of possibility that he’s not just some idiot who doesn’t know how to end a story, but is making a point about the ineffable mysteries of the world, and the possibility that matters of great significance are actually mistakes or trivial events that show up the absurd randomness of existence?  Vonnegut and Philip K Dick would enjoy the cosmic jokes of Lindelof’s worldview, and how he uses the gulf between our expectations and the truth to illuminate the failings of humans when they believe that they are in the position to acquire the greatest commodity of them all — truth — showing us up as cowards, fools, villains or, occasionally, noble heroes willing to sacrifice themselves to prevent the extinction of what they love.
Most other creators would be given a break at this point but ill feeling towards him for not ending Lost the way people wanted  will probably follow him forever now (check out this terrific, revelatory interview where Lindelof reveals he suggested to Scott that they make the ending clearer as he was “still eating shit a year on from the end of Lost“). As a result Prometheus is viewed as a mistake, with him taking all of the blame; convenient that he gets all the flak when Sir Ridley is notorious for changing the direction of projects and, if that interview is anything to go by, was developed with much input from the great director who was, never forget, considered for the longest time to be the only one who could save a franchise sullied by pretenders to his crown.
What a shame that this couldn’t be a blank slate, to be approached with open minds , instead of being a failure for not being an Alien movie, a failure for being as inconclusive as Lost, a failure for appropriating beloved sci-fi tropes and treating them with a populist’s unsubtle touch, a failure for lacking the beautifully judged stillness and artistic tableaux of Blade Runner, a failure for not being as classically-wrought – or as gloriously obscure – as 2001; I’m not dismissing these points as automatically wrong or worthless but I don’t think they qualify as sufficient reason to reject a movie which should be considered on its own terms. It doesn’t matter. Fans love a big raging debate, and given years of practice arguing over the merit (or lack thereof) of each Alien film many will launch themselves at Prometheus with great hunger. New flesh to tear apart! Why isn’t this Alien? How dare they? Sellout Ridley! All movies suck now! I hate 3D! At least it’s better than Robin Hood I suppose! Etc. etc. ad infinitum.
Hopefully this will all settle down and people will eventually engage with it without baggage. Maybe further editions of it – and maybe even sequels, if its apparent success inspires Fox to fund more – will provide a clearer idea of Lindelof and Scott’s vision, and improve what even I, a fledgling defender of Prometheus, think of as an imperfect project that nevertheless doesn’t deserve to be thrown out of an airlock. The breathtakingly spoilery trailer also shows a moment in which Shaw prays after her grisly abortion scene. The film is already ill-served by the conflict between its lofty thematic goals and the need for distracting, grotesque horror; perhaps that scene – or other scenes about religion / science – would have unbalanced the film further, and maybe for the better.
But these possibilities, and the new battles over Prometheus‘ worth, are at least an evolution of those long-running skirmishes mentioned earlier. The fighting over the previous movies feels like quibbling over the individual threads in the tapestry of this surprisingly diverse franchise; Alien is classy/cold, Aliens is tacky/exhilarating, Alien 3 is uncompromising/cruel, Alien: Resurrection is inept/stupid, Alien 3 should’ve been the William Gibson version, Aliens should’ve been made by Ridley, Newt should’ve lived, Ripley should’ve stayed dead, Jean-Pierre Jeunet should not be allowed to direct movies ever again… The arguments are only about the movies as cinematic artefacts and not as narratives with metaphorical purpose, spats that are only of interest to cineastes, to be futilely rinsed-and-repeated forever, accomplishing nothing, changing no minds.
Prometheus, on the other hand, offers up a text that can be interpreted and debated on its own. Sure, fans of the franchise are raging about it, whether it should’ve been made or not, whether to build a guillotine for Lindelof, whether the design is a failure as HR Giger was not asked to participate, whether it’s just total shit and a shallow insult to the ambitious speculative ambitions of genuine hard sci-fi, etc. But, as with Lost, there are mysteries within the film that can be discussed by even those who don’t agonise about that loathsome fantasy, the “childhood raped by the uncaring creator”. Dear God/Grouchy Space Engineer, how do we impose a moratorium on that insensitive and ridiculous sense of entitlement?
Whether even those mysteries are worthy of discussion is another debate to be had, though as someone who greatly enjoyed thrashing out theories about Lost with fellow fans I think my mind about Prometheus is already made up, but it’s worth noting that Scott and Lindelof have intentionally given us something different than The Greatest Space Monster Series Of All Time; a puzzle box that may or may not become more complex and more interesting as time goes by. As Mr. Lindelof himself has said…
Dude, have a rest. You’ve earned it.
Return 1. Who knows what Sir Ridley thinks, as he doesn’t have a Twitter account, shockingly. I assume his response to the kind of abuse Lindelof is getting would be a pithy, “Go fuck yourselves”. I believe he doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Return 2. And yes, I admit that these paragraphs, were they to appear on Wikipedia, would be covered in “Citation needed” warnings, but these wars are fought as much in pubs and nerd gatherings and comment sections and forums etc. as they are in scholarly publications or blogs. Stick two nerds in a room together and there will come a moment when this debate begins and immediately descends into acrimony and deeply-held opinion blurted out as fact. This paragraph, which asks you, the reader, to just go with me on it, is my tribute to that ephemeral dark cloud that hovers over fandom. 
Return 3. Warning: never sit in the front row for a 3D IMAX performance; the miserable trailer for The Amazing Reboot Of The Spider-Man was a black and red blob wiped across my eyeball, and the ickiest bits of Prometheus were thrust aggressively right into my face as if I was being assaulted by a cross between a drunken football fan and Yog-Sothoth itself.
Return 4. There are other aspects of Prometheus that seem familiar to a Lost fan. The black toxic sludge, when seen within its ampoule, floats within a green fluid; when tipped up it floats down like a black cloud. This substance must never reach Earth, much as the Man in Black, aka The Smoke Monster, must never escape the island or he/it would cause an event that would signal “the end of everything good”. Jack sacrifices himself to prevent this, as Holloway, Janek and, to a lesser extent Shaw, also do. Meredith is obviously horrified to think her father, Weyland, considers his mechanical son David to be more of an heir than she does, much as The Man in Black is jealous of Mother’s love of Jacob. Holloway and Shaw are a man of science and a woman of faith; Lindelof choosing to make them lovers here may be his way of getting some unpleasant Jack/Locke slash out of his system. I’m sure there are dozens of other parallels between the two tales.
Return 5. And does this evolution within David echo our own development beyond that which the Engineers had planned, thus prompting their decision to destroy us? What does the Engineer’s reaction to David mean? Is his burst of violence triggered by David’s use of his language, proving that we have the potential to become a threat to them?
Return 6. On this point, I’d like to stress that yes, it could be argued that this assumption — that Lindelof has no idea what he’s doing and is bluffing his way through these stories like a faker — is valid if you consider Lost‘s finale on its own, but the show made this point over and over again throughout its six season run, so we have enough evidence for this theory to at least consider it, instead of dismissing it because of Occam’s Razor or something. We’re talking about one of the main themes of the show, not just a couple of incidents. Who knows, perhaps if we look back through his other TV shows we might find further evidence for this theory, though somehow I can’t see Nash Bridges being a treatise on the unknowability of the great questions pondered by philosophers and scientists of times past, no matter how potent the chemistry between Don Johnson and Cheech Marin.
Return 7. Here’s yet another fantastic interview with Lindelof, who seems to be one of the most approachable and friendly of creators despite the torrent of bullshit that keeps getting poured over his head. Lots of good stuff there, but the comments made by the interviewer, asking why all the characters in Lost had been dead all along , and his hypothetical argument that a concrete answer at the end of the show along the lines of, “they were being experimented on by aliens all that time,” would have been more satisfying gives a depressing insight into the extent to which many of the show’s naysayers were prepared to engage with it. Seeing the interviewer talking about gadgets on a recent edition of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon made me so pathetically angry I pitched an undignified shitfit and nearly threw one of our cats through the TV.
Return 8. Note that Jon Spaihts, who was the original writer on the project, is also free from opprobrium, at least as far as I can see, even though he’s already been treated like a mound of bear scat by sci-fi fans for making the not-well-liked alien-invasion movie The Darkest Hour. That’s how much people hated Lost. Seriously, admitting that I love that show in public often makes me fear that it’ll trigger a flurry of movement and then suddenly everyone will be pointing a gun at my face like they do in the movies.
Return 9. I include myself in this assessment. Watching Prometheus was a horribly confusing experience as my own expectations kept getting in the way. Much as I’m frothing away throughout this epic post about the — as I see it — unfair criticism Prometheus is receiving, I can’t honestly justify my anger at fans for judging this movie in relation to the others, as the promotional material and the unconvincing statements by Scott and Lindelof did little to prevent the growth of these assumptions. There are no words for how inept the marketing onslaught of the past few months has been, though I can’t figure out a way they could have promoted this without making the same mistakes.
Return 10. Funny that Scott includes footage from Laurence of Arabia, in what is one of the movie’s most endearing moments. For a while it might have seemed that a filmmaker with such a feel for composition and epic scale, indeed a man who made Kingdom of Heaven (which is heavily indebted to David Lean’s movie), might be the next in line to claim Lean’s crown as King of Classical British Cinema, even despite beginning his days as a lowly commercial director, but that seems far less likely now, and some of the criticism of Prometheus is that it’s not as restrained as Alien. Perhaps not, but it’s made with commendable skill, and now he has more money that he can use fill the original movie’s money-saving suspenseful longueurs with cacophony and event, for better or worse. I guess once Jerry Bruckheimer’s had his claws in you, you can never go home.
Return 11. Three months after Lost finished, once I had recovered from the dehydration caused by my uncontrollable sobbing, and removed my black armband, I wrote these three posts — part 1, part 2 and part 3 — which outlined my theories about the show’s ultimate meaning (i.e. as a primer for atheists about what it is to experience faith in something for which there is no proof). In the midst of that was my rather pompous, meta-fanwanky description of the show’s “plotholes” as “interactive plot gaps” (yes I did, and I’m very serious about this being a real and good thing), which are basically intentionally positioned blank spaces within a story which can be filled in by the audience with theories and / or non-meta-fanwank. Prometheus has plenty of these holes, which have this week been the focus of much of the ire of those viewers in my Twitter timeline who were appalled at the movie’s “mistakes”. As I said earlier, there are plenty of things wrong with the movie that deserve censure, and I wouldn’t accuse anyone of being wrong for holding a negative opinion, but I do think what some see as errors or first-draft fuck-ups might be something more interesting and justifiable on second viewing.
Return 12. How about this for another take on the film. Is it also a sly commentary on the inevitable sense of dismay felt by the fanbase, as humanity / Alien fans return to the source of their existence and find something there that doesn’t live up to expectation, causing all kinds of aberrant behaviour? Maybe this is all just Lindelof’s response to the long-running anger directed at him over Lost, and his experience with being verbally assaulted by the angry former fans is akin to wrestling with a Lovecraftian proto-Facehugger and then getting an inseminating tentacle shoved down your throat, leading to the birth of a proto-Chestburster, which in the case of this strained metaphor would be Prometheus.
Return 13. I also appreciate that this post reads like a very direct assault on pretty much anyone who has ever held an opinion on the Alien movies, and might even seem like a declaration of war against anyone who didn’t like Prometheus, making my concerns about the creation of a new front in the Alien Wars seem rather cheeky. That’s not my intention at all, especially as I have spent literally years of my life arguing the toss over the first two movies. The inspiration for this post, the thing that has compelled me to write over 6000 words (my God!), is not so much the criticism of Prometheus, much of which I agree with to some extent or another, but the increasingly hostile attacks on the filmmakers for daring to sully something as perfect as Alien. We fans all bring baggage to this movie no matter what we say, and anyone else’s reactions are not necessarily invalid even if they dare to be different to my perfect opinion, obvs (joke). What galls me is that we are now in a post-”wow Internet” period, where the use of the net has become such a familiar way of life that we can finally settle down and inspect our behaviour. Unfortunately this means we’ve found that many people here are so badly brought-up that they feel it’s acceptable to direct untold splenetic rage and disgusting hatred upon others for putting their hearts and minds into creative endeavours. What’s most upsetting is that many of the worst offenders are those I would ordinarily consider my Nerd Brethren, people whose passion I can understand on some level, but whose love of these cultural objects and events has mutated until they become compelled to bombard a guy with cruel messages when all he did was, at worst, write a movie that isn’t as good as another movie. He didn’t rape any childhoods (yuk), he didn’t erase all copies of Alien, he didn’t mock the fanbase or set out to diminish the originals in any way. He just wrote something, with the input of some other people, that he thought was cool. He doesn’t deserve to be hunted across the Internet like a rat, for fuck’s sake. And that goes for George Lucas too. I don’t like the Star Wars prequels either but they didn’t ruin my life in any way.
Return 14. I mean really? There was a VERY CLEARLY EXPRESSED SPEECH by Christian that made it VERY CLEAR that the events on the island, everything we had seen outside of the season 6 afterlife HAD HAPPENED exactly the way we saw it, that they had NOT been dead all along, that nothing we had experienced as viewers was rendered meaningless by some moronic final St. Elsewhere-esque twist. This is why I’m continually spouting off about Lost, and why I decided to write this ridiculously long review of Prometheus, that will most probably only be read by about 12 people, many of whom will think I should just get over this and move on instead of having a serious of life-threatening embolisms over something that almost everybody has forgotten about by now, because if fans such as myself don’t take the time and effort to restate facts about stories that are rushed past by storytellers who don’t want to belabour a point for fear of burdening their work with extraneous explanations that would take more attentive audience members out of the story-experiencing spell they have worked so hard to create, then we end up with the “official” take on something being, “You haven’t seen Lost? Oh man, don’t bother. They were dead all along. How lame is that?” or, “You haven’t seen Prometheus? Oh man, don’t bother. They don’t really explain how the Xenomorphs were created. There’s just a bunch of plotholes and then it ends on this weird inconclusive note because the writer is some kind of idiot who doesn’t understand how to tell stories.” When did it become unfashionable to surrender yourself to a work of art? To have faith that maybe the creator has a greater awareness of his or her work than someone experiencing it for the first time? To just go with the flow and stop with the, “Well, I’d have done it differently because I know these things more deeply,” thoughts until the work is over and you’ve had time to process it? Jesus Christ, sometimes it feels like we have to retrain audiences to just shut the fuck up and absorb something in one go without thinking that any plot event that isn’t identical to a million other plot events from a million other stories is a mistake or evidence of “ignorance of storytelling rules” (my own personal bugbear), instead of an intentional choice to tell a story that’s different to all the carbon copy stories cluttering up the world. [/crazy rant over]
Return 15. For the record, just so you, the reader, can better frame my feelings about this franchise, my favourite of the two is Aliens, but the difference in preference between the two is infinitesimally small, like, a micron thick, and the only reason I argue so vehemently for Aliens against the literally psyche-changing cinema-shaking brilliance of the original is because many of the arguments against the sequel — it’s garish and manipulative and stupid — are arguments used to dismiss many of my favourite films, and I just happen to like movies like Aliens that wear their heart on their sleeves, especially as I honestly believe that those criticisms are wrong. Aliens is as hard as nails. It has a beautiful structure used in other notable action movies such as Assault on Precinct 13, 13 Assassins, and even future beloved classic The Avengers. It is also very loud, but it has an emotional charge more powerful than about 99.999999% of movies made to date. Loving something that makes me sit on the edge of my seat screaming at characters to move faster even though I’ve seen it 100 times is not a problem for me. I also don’t think James Cameron is the enemy of cinema that many others do, mostly because Aliens is perfect so there INFINITY no comebacks. #Iwin