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.

Summary

Prometheus (2012)

Release Date: May 30, 2012
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure, Mystery
Runtime: 124 min
Original Title: Prometheus
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Dune Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Brandywine Productions, 20th Century Fox
A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

Cast Prometheus

  • Noomi Rapace
  • Role: Dr. Elizabeth Shaw
  • Michael Fassbender
  • Role: David
  • Charlize Theron
  • Role: Meredith Vickers
  • Guy Pearce
  • Role: Peter Weyland
  • Idris Elba
  • Role: Janek
  • Logan Marshall-Green
  • Role: Charlie Holloway
  • Lucy Hutchinson
  • Role: Young Shaw
  • Sean Harris
  • Role: Fifield
  • Rafe Spall
  • Role: Millburn
  • Kate Dickie
  • Role: Ford
  • Emun Elliott
  • Role: Chance
  • Benedict Wong
  • Role: Ravel
  • Patrick Wilson
  • Role: Shaw's Father
  • Ian Whyte
  • Role: Last Engineer
  • Branwell Donaghey
  • Role: Mercenary 1
  • Vladimir Furdik
  • Role: Mercenary 2
  • C.C. Smiff
  • Role: Mercenary 3
  • Shane Steyn
  • Role: Mercenary 4
  • John Lebar
  • Role: Ghost Engineer
  • Anil Biltoo
  • Role: Linguist Teacher
  • Giannina Facio
  • Role: Shaw's Mother
  • James Embree
  • Role: Mechanic
  • Robin Atkin Downes
  • Role: Ship Computer Voice (voice)
  • Louisa Staples
  • Role: Greeting Message Violinist
  • Annie Penn
  • Role: Ship Computer Voice (voice)
  • Daniel James
  • Role: Sacrifice Engineer

Trailer Prometheus

I’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.

Summary

Avatar (2009)

Release Date: December 10, 2009
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Runtime: 162 min
Original Title: Avatar
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Ingenious Film Partners, Dune Entertainment, Lightstorm Entertainment, 20th Century Fox
In the 22nd century, a paraplegic Marine is dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission, but becomes torn between following orders and protecting an alien civilization.

Cast Avatar

  • Sam Worthington
  • Role: Jake Sully
  • Zoe Saldana
  • Role: Princess Neytiri
  • Stephen Lang
  • Role: Col. Quaritch
  • Sigourney Weaver
  • Role: Dr. Grace Augustine
  • Joel David Moore
  • Role: Norm Spellman
  • Giovanni Ribisi
  • Role: Selfridge
  • Michelle Rodriguez
  • Role: Trudy Chacon
  • Dileep Rao
  • Role: Dr. Max Patel
  • Laz Alonso
  • Role: Tsu'Tey
  • Wes Studi
  • Role: Eytukan
  • CCH Pounder
  • Role: Moat
  • Matt Gerald
  • Role: Lyle Wainfleet
  • Sean Anthony Moran
  • Role: Private Fike
  • Jason Whyte
  • Role: Cryo Vault Med Tech
  • Scott Lawrence
  • Role: Venture Star Crew Chief
  • Kelly Kilgour
  • Role: Lock Up Trooper
  • James Patrick Pitt
  • Role: Shuttle Pilot
  • Sean Patrick Murphy
  • Role: Shuttle Co-Pilot
  • Peter Dillon
  • Role: Shuttle Crew Chief
  • Kevin Dorman
  • Role: Tractor Operator / Troupe
  • Kelson Henderson
  • Role: Dragon Gunship Pilot
  • David Van Horn
  • Role: Dragon Gunship Gunner
  • Jacob Tomuri
  • Role: Dragon Gunship Navigator
  • Michael Blain-Rozgay
  • Role: Suit #1
  • Jon Curry
  • Role: Suit #2
  • Luke Hawker
  • Role: Ambient Room Tech
  • Woody Schultz
  • Role: Ambient Room Tech / Troupe
  • Julene Renee
  • Role: Ambient Room Tech / Troupe
  • Peter Mensah
  • Role: Horse Clan Leader
  • Sonia Yee
  • Role: Link Room Tech
  • Jahnel Curfman
  • Role: Basketball Avatar / Troupe
  • Ilram Choi
  • Role: Basketball Avatar
  • Kyla Warren
  • Role: Na'vi Child
  • Lisa Roumain
  • Role: Troupe
  • Debra Wilson
  • Role: Troupe
  • Chris Mala
  • Role: Troupe
  • Taylor Kibby
  • Role: Troupe
  • Jodie Landau
  • Role: Troupe
  • Julie Lamm
  • Role: Troupe
  • Cullen B. Madden
  • Role: Troupe
  • Joseph Brady Madden
  • Role: Troupe
  • Frankie Torres
  • Role: Troupe
  • Austin Wilson
  • Role: Troupe
  • Sara Wilson
  • Role: Troupe
  • Tamica Washington-Miller
  • Role: Troupe
  • Lucy Briant
  • Role: Op Center Staff
  • Nathan Meister
  • Role: Op Center Staff
  • Gerry Blair
  • Role: Op Center Staff
  • Matthew Chamberlain
  • Role: Op Center Staff
  • Paul Yates
  • Role: Op Center Staff
  • Wray Wilson
  • Role: Op Center Duty Officer
  • James Gaylyn
  • Role: Op Center Staff
  • Melvin Leno Clark III
  • Role: Dancer
  • Carvon Futrell
  • Role: Dancer
  • Brandon Jelkes
  • Role: Dancer
  • Micah Moch
  • Role: Dancer
  • Hanniyah Muhammad
  • Role: Dancer
  • Christopher Nolen
  • Role: Dancer
  • Christa Oliver
  • Role: Dancer
  • April Marie Thomas
  • Role: Dancer
  • Bravita A. Threatt
  • Role: Dancer
  • Colin Bleasdale
  • Role: Mining Chief (uncredited)
  • Mike Bodnar
  • Role: Veteran Miner (uncredited)
  • Matt Clayton
  • Role: Richard (uncredited)
  • Nicole Dionne
  • Role: Nav'i (uncredited)
  • Jamie Harrison
  • Role: Trooper (uncredited)
  • Allan Henry
  • Role: Trooper (uncredited)
  • Anthony Ingruber
  • Role: Ground Technician (uncredited)
  • Ashley Jeffery
  • Role: Flight Crew Mechanic (uncredited)
  • Dean Knowsley
  • Role: Samson Pilot
  • Joseph Mika-Hunt
  • Role: Trooper (uncredited)
  • Terry Notary
  • Role: Banshee (uncredited)
  • Kai Pantano
  • Role: Soldier (uncredited)
  • Logan Pithyou
  • Role: Blast Technician (uncredited)
  • Stuart Pollock
  • Role: Vindum Raah (uncredited)
  • Raja
  • Role: Hero (uncredited)
  • Gareth Ruck
  • Role: Ops Centreworker (uncredited)
  • Rhian Sheehan
  • Role: Engineer (uncredited)
  • T. J. Storm
  • Role: Col. Quaritch's Mech Suit (uncredited)
  • Jodie Taylor
  • Role: Female Marine (uncredited)
  • Alicia Vela-Bailey
  • Role: Ikran Clan Leader (uncredited)
  • Richard Whiteside
  • Role: Geologist (uncredited)
  • Nikie Zambo
  • Role: Na'vi (uncredited)

Trailer Avatar

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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