Monday, 11 June 2012

Why the Prometheus plot holes don't bother me

There has been a lot of chatter on my timeline on twitter over the past week or so regarding the merits of the Prometheus movie. A staggering amount of vitriol and claims of 'Don't go see it dude, its full of plot holes' has echoed across my feed.

I have mostly kept my mouth shut on the topic, mainly because I felt it would be difficult to fully illustrate my feelings in 140 characters without being misunderstood. Silly me - I slipped up this morning by joining in on a conversation, and was  IMMEDIATELY misunderstood.

I just can't say what I want to say in 140 character, and personally, I hate it when people do 4 or 5 tweets in a row. If you cant say what you want to say in 1 or 2 tweets (3 max), then perhaps twitter isn't the forum for it - so here I am - doing one of my extremely rare blog posts.

Some accusations I have seen laid against the film are thus (may contain spoilers): 

Two crew members get lost in the alien tunnels despite having locators and a 3D map. But, if I remember correctly, there was a storm at the time, which is why the ship could not go rescue their colleagues, and interfered with the signal so explains why the technology did not work to get them out.  Flimsy, maybe, but the two crew members needed to get lost in order to move the story forward, so get over it!

Why do the flamethrowers work outside the ship when fire needs oxygen? When they land, someone says that the atmosphere has 20% oxygen - so it isn't oxygen free. Again, maybe flimsy, but big jets of flame look pretty on screen. Get over it!

How does the wee alien removed from Liz grow to the size of a giant? Where has the extra mass come from? These creatures don't actually exist, and if they did, they are aliens so applying our own logic to their growth rate is ridiculous. Remember this thing went from sperm to baby in less than 2 days - its accelerated growth rate was already implied. GET OVER IT!

There are many other criticisms (maybe some over zealous fan boy will write them in the comments for us), mainly centred around the technology. Prometheus has superior technology than the Nostromo clearly, while in the Alien franchise it is much earlier in the timeline. This has not sat well with some fans. I think that Scott was in a no-win-situation with this. The original movie was made over 30 years ago, and film special effects (and technology) has moved on since then. What was he supposed to do? Create a film with the same or less technology? This too would have received as much, if not more, criticism.

I am not saying there was not things in the movie that niggled a little, but movies to me are all about escapism. Its about spending a couple of hours outside your own head, and living in a world someone else has created. It is not about examining every detail of a film to the nth degree looking for the minutia of flaws.

Perhaps that is why I was one of the few people that actually enjoyed it.

One thing I have noticed, and I am not sure if this is a coincidence or not - most of the films greatest critics are authors, or writers. Perhaps it is their creative natures that won't allow them to sit back and just enjoy the ride. It is their natural ability to create their own plot devices that perhaps means that they cannot just accept the story for what it is and not look too closely at the finer points.

I am not saying that Sci-fi movies don't have to be well written, I am just saying that in a genre like this where there are no rules, where logic has to be suspended, we should perhaps be more forgiving. My greatest concern is that studio executives will one day threw up their hands and say "if we can't sell this shit to the fan boys, why are we even making it? Let's make another film about a talking animal."

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