Prometheus vs. Avatar

The planet Pandora has nothing — and I mean nothing — on the little moon SC-223. This place scared the (R-rated expletives) out of me; it was unnerving, frightening, dreadful, in all the ways that Pandora was not.

PrometheusI’m referring to the hostile alien environments from the movies Avatar and Prometheus.  Both have certain distinct built-in audiences. The former requires that one be a fan of action-packed, light-on-originality, effects-heavy, exhilarating sci-fi.  The latter requires that one prefer their sci-fi with a cold, clinical, and nightmarish pessimism.  I happen to be a member of both audiences; I can see the value of each, but I don’t blame you for not appreciating one or the other.  Avatar asks that you just have fun with your 3D goggles and not worry too much about borrowed storylines from a dozen other sources.  Prometheus asks you to witness something you’ve truly never seen before, while borrowing a lot from the horror end of the genre spectrum.

Avatar is of course James Cameron’s brilliant trend-setting 3D film.  It was big, dumb, and fun — the perfect popcorn picture.  Cameron knows how to stage action and make it thrilling.  Curiously, he also did the first Alien sequel, the property started by Ridley Scott.  Scott’s Prometheus is a pseudo-prequel {1} to Alien, so the links here are multi-threaded.

As such, Scott is really dangerous to falling into Lucas’ reinventionism by going back to his previous films and making their history “more cool.”  I’m equally looking forward to Praetorian (a Gladiator pseudo-prequel) and Thelma & Louise & Gretchen.  The possibilities are endless.

And as otherworldly as Prometheus is, it suffers from a lot of plot holes and missteps.  What follows is a series of lulz culled from the interwebs that tell the story better than I could.  Assume heavy spoiler alert from here forward…

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Penny Arcade take on Prometheus
Penny Arcade’s hilarious take on Prometheus

 

Prometheus Infographics
An infographic on the convoluted infection process depicted in Prometheus.
David's character arc in Prometheus
David’s character arc in Prometheus

 

Finally, a really funny How It Should Have Ended cartoon:

Here’s an interesting response/rebuttal by Prometheus writer Damon Lindelof.

Side Note

When I was a kid, I was completely enthralled with the Alien series.  My earliest memory of its existence was a fellow school classmate named Jake.  Jake brought an Aliens (the Cameron sequel) production book full of illustrations, schematics, photographs to school one day.  It was so fantastic and scary and amazing.  I was mad that I couldn’t see it because it was rated R.

Fast forward a few years later.  Mom and my sister were out of town for some reason so Dad and I were home alone for about a week.  He took me down to the local VHS movie rental store (long before Blockbuster and Netflix) to rent a VCR and some tapes.  I was in heaven!  And he didn’t do much in the way of censoring my choices.  I didn’t go crazy, but I did take advantage.  I remember getting The Final Countdown, a cheesy story about a modern aircraft carrier caught in a storm that threw it back to WWII.  I bet it’s terrible now, but it was awesome then!  And secondly I rented Alien & Aliens.  They were ground-breaking to me.  The stories was utterly incredible — the horror, the coolness, the guns, the spaceships!

Soon after, I got my hands on some comics that were written after the Aliens sequel.  They were really cool too, because they took the story further with Ripley, Newt, et al.  However, a few years after came the release of Alien 3, which completely broke the continuity of those comics.

I recently found reference those comics here.  Ah, the sci-fi memories.

Footnotes:

  1. Although, really Prometheus‘s storyline exists in tandem with that of the Alien films.  So perhaps “simul-equel” would be more appropriate? []

6 Replies to “Prometheus vs. Avatar”

  1. Oh to the days of renting the VHS player and a couple of tapes!

    Remember renting Krull? I sure do!

    I keep seeing Final Countdown on Netflix streaming. Maybe I should try to watch some of it!

    I wanted to see Prometheus in the theater but just couldn’t manage it. You can bet I’ll catch it on DVD!

    I loved Avatar and was willing to look past the rotten and re-used story line. Every other 3D movie I have seen since Avatar has paled in comparison. I was in visual awe throughout the film. I would go see it this weekend again in 3D if it was possible.

    Man, all my best memories of growing up in the 80’s are you and me renting video players and tapes.

    1. Oh man, do I ever remember Krull! Wow, that remains one of my favorite fantasy films of all time. Great, great memories with you, Jimmy!

      I own Avatar and convinced Sarah to watch it with me. She liked it a lot too!

  2. I recently re-watched Aliens 2 Rob and I swear the ship found by the colonists is of Engineer design. I wonder if Prometheus’ female lead crashed it following her jolly with David’s head…

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