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Review: Prometheus

Prometheus
Jun. 4, 2012by:
8 10

PLOT: When scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a series of ancient cave paintings that seem to be an interstellar map, theyre whisked away on a trillion-dollar journey aboard the spaceship Prometheus, to discover what they hope may be the truth behind humanitys very existence. Theyre accompanied by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) a cold-blooded employee of the corporation sponsoring the trip, a brilliant android named David (Michael Fassbender), and the ships crew- led by Captain Janek (Idris Elba).

REVIEW: PROMETHEUS is a film thats expectations have been set so high, that even if it were some kind of masterpiece, people would still be disappointed. Granted, its hard not to get excited about Ridley Scotts return to sci-fi, as his only other two entries into the genre, ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, are among the very best sci-fi movies ever made. But heres something to consider- neither of those films was universally acclaimed when they first came out. ALIEN was a smash, and while it was received warmly, many critics said it was just a high-tech B-movie, and it took a while for it to build up the rep it so richly deserved. And BLADE RUNNER? It was a financial flop that was trashed by the majority of critics- although its worth noting that it came out in a severely compromised version.


As such, take any review of PROMETHEUS with a grain of salt- including this one. Theres enough going on here that Scotts game may not be entirely clear to the first-time viewer, and I admittedly walked out with a lot of unanswered questions as to what I had just seen. But, like a lot of good films, the more I reflected on it, the clearer it got and maybe this is the one time Ive been grateful for an embargo, as it gave me a chance to reflect on the film a bit.

So, is all this just a prelude to me telling you that I didnt care for PROMETHEUS? No. Throughout, I was stirred and sensationally entertained. Scotts film is a more elegant, thoughtful attempt at sci-fi than weve seen in many a year, and like ALIEN- this is a chiller thats without a doubt a classy, A-level film.

But did it live up to my expectations? No- it didnt, although that probably would have been impossible on a first viewing. I find it incredible to think that the first time I saw BLADE RUNNER I despised it, and that after forcing myself to sit through it again and again, its gotten to the point where its one of my all-time favorite films (Ive easily seen it twenty times- including once every week it played my local theater during the 25th anniversary re-release).

Considering that I REALLY liked PROMETHEUS on the first viewing, Im excited to see how it holds up- especially if Scott puts out an extended version at some point. As it is, PROMETHEUS is a lean, taut thriller. It exists on that middle ground between art and commerce, as it feels for most of the running time that Scott was trying to make something profound, but occasionally forced to supply some spectacle that was maybe more of a commercial addition than one that was needed for the plot. Theres one action beat in particular that, while good, didnt make a lick of sense to me, and could have been cut without anyone missing it.


But, having a film that tries to be great and mostly succeeds is something to be happy about. A lot of the reviews have complained about cardboard characters and stiff performances, which makes me wonder if I even saw the same film they did. For a sci-fi action film, the characters are remarkably three-dimensional, and without exception, the performances are terrific.

Noomi Rapace is the marginal lead, although its an ensemble, and she lives up to the hype of the Swedish version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO after a stiff turn in SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS. Her character, Shaw, is haunted by the fact that her faith in a creator maybe be disproven by the science she embraces- with her lover, the more skeptical, pragmatic Holloway. Shaw is a far more idealistic character than Sigourney Weavers pragmatic, cynical Ripley, and its nice that Scott resisted the temptation to make her another Ripley. Ripley was a heroine, but here, Shaws victimized in a way that Ripley would never have allowed, but rather than make her seem weak, it makes her relatable.

But, Rapace is just one piece of the puzzle here, and Michael Fassbenders David is just as essential- if ultimately unknowable. As a prototype of the model of android that eventually led to Ash in ALIEN, and Bishop in ALIENS, he lacks the malice of the first and the heroism of the second- but also has his moments of innocence, such as when he styles his hair and patterns his speech to imitate Peter OToole in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Fassbenders incredible, and plays the part in a neutral way that constantly makes us re-evaluate Davids role in what were seeing on screen.

Theron probably has the most one-dimensional part, with ice-cold bitch probably being the only way to describe her, but as the face of Weyland-Yutani, the corporation which has emerged as the true villain of the ALIEN franchise (more than the xenomorphs), its firmly in the tradition of the franchise.

And yes, PROMETHEUS is part of the ALIEN franchise. Scotts been downplaying that in interviews, but its clearly set in the same universe, with the interiors of the Prometheus being nearly identical to the Nostromo. The disparity between the corporate suits of Weyland Yutani and the blue-collar types, such as the crew of Nostromo or the colonial marines of ALIENS is also very much a part of PROMETHEUS, with Idris Elbas Captain Janek being cut from the same cloth as Tom Skerritt in the first film, or Michael Biehn in ALIENS. Its also worth noting that Marc Streitenfelds score has many elements of Jerry Goldsmiths ALIEN in its DNA- so theres continuity there (not to mention that its an excellent score in its own right). Theres also enough gooey, bio-horror here to justify its inclusion in the franchise- but, PROMETHEUS is noticeable tamer. Other than one gory operating sequence (my favorite set piece of the film), it feels like it could have been PG-13, and the R-rating here is obviously due to intensity rather than gore.


But, PROMETHEUS also stands on its own, and you could walk into it with no knowledge of the franchise, and never know that you were missing something. In that regard, hopefully itll connect with audiences. Certainly theres enough action to satisfy the masses, and its probably the one 3D film since HUGO to actually justify the technique. Its not perfect, as it still feels a bit streamlined compared to what Scott might have pulled off if hed been allowed to work without worrying about appealing to a mainstream audience- BUT, this same audience got him a budget that allowed the film to look spectacular, so its probably a necessary evil. Overall, I thought PROMETHEUS was excellent, and borders on brilliance at times. And who knows, maybe theres a version out there thats even better.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:06AM on 06/04/2012
glad to hear It's as good as I hoped it would be. I don't usually watch films in 3D unless I feel it needs to be seen in 3D. Is this one of those films? I also don't like going to the theaters by myself, but since my friends aren't interested in it (who knows why?) I'll be watching it by myself if I have to!
glad to hear It's as good as I hoped it would be. I don't usually watch films in 3D unless I feel it needs to be seen in 3D. Is this one of those films? I also don't like going to the theaters by myself, but since my friends aren't interested in it (who knows why?) I'll be watching it by myself if I have to!
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1:48AM on 06/04/2012
My word of advice: screw them! Just go see it if you want to! Hell, I find going to the movies yourself better than going with a group =).
My word of advice: screw them! Just go see it if you want to! Hell, I find going to the movies yourself better than going with a group =).
1:41AM on 06/04/2012

Good review

I was more impressed with Noomi Rapace than you were: I really thought she did really well against Theron and Fassbender. That's some heavy competition right there, especially Fassbender.
I was more impressed with Noomi Rapace than you were: I really thought she did really well against Theron and Fassbender. That's some heavy competition right there, especially Fassbender.
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2:06AM on 06/04/2012

The Sheeple will be disappointed

The previews all make it look as if this movie will be action packed. I miss sci-fi like this that makes you think and ask questions. I can't what to see it.
The previews all make it look as if this movie will be action packed. I miss sci-fi like this that makes you think and ask questions. I can't what to see it.
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12:19AM on 06/23/2012
The only question it had me asking was, "why are there so many plotholes?"
The only question it had me asking was, "why are there so many plotholes?"
9:42AM on 06/04/2012
People are sheep. They are swayed by whatever is thrown in front of them. Not everyone is intelligent either, culture for too long has taught people not to think from themselves but too blindly believe what is spoon fed to them.
People are sheep. They are swayed by whatever is thrown in front of them. Not everyone is intelligent either, culture for too long has taught people not to think from themselves but too blindly believe what is spoon fed to them.
2:16AM on 06/04/2012
I hate the term sheeple. It's disrespectful to everybody else's intelligence.
I hate the term sheeple. It's disrespectful to everybody else's intelligence.
2:14AM on 06/04/2012
Glad you dug it but I have no desire to see this film. And for the life of me cannot figure out why everyone else is so excited either; I thought Alien was good LOVED Aliens and don't really see the need for this story. I'm all about Blade Runner 2 so if this move makes that one possible then I guess I'm for it.
Glad you dug it but I have no desire to see this film. And for the life of me cannot figure out why everyone else is so excited either; I thought Alien was good LOVED Aliens and don't really see the need for this story. I'm all about Blade Runner 2 so if this move makes that one possible then I guess I'm for it.
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11:12AM on 06/04/2012
Ridley Scott + SciFi. That's "why."
Ridley Scott + SciFi. That's "why."
2:24AM on 06/04/2012
Was hesitant at first to read this review & once i saw the sentence "And yes, Prometheus is part of the Alien franchise", I stopped reading since it has already convinced me to see this movie. That was the one question in my eyes which needed to be answered & it was. Count me in this weekend on seeing this movie.
Was hesitant at first to read this review & once i saw the sentence "And yes, Prometheus is part of the Alien franchise", I stopped reading since it has already convinced me to see this movie. That was the one question in my eyes which needed to be answered & it was. Count me in this weekend on seeing this movie.
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2:29AM on 06/04/2012
From your review the movie seems it will be everything I expect. The trailer that was played during the Avengers gave me chills. Although it seems that there will be some action, I am really looking forward to the visual aspect of the film. It wasnt until Aliens that we received the total action aspect of the franchise. Alien was intense and visually appealing, that is what I expect Prometheus will be. I am not expecting to see another Aliens movie but more along the lines of the first Alien
From your review the movie seems it will be everything I expect. The trailer that was played during the Avengers gave me chills. Although it seems that there will be some action, I am really looking forward to the visual aspect of the film. It wasnt until Aliens that we received the total action aspect of the franchise. Alien was intense and visually appealing, that is what I expect Prometheus will be. I am not expecting to see another Aliens movie but more along the lines of the first Alien movie.
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2:57AM on 06/04/2012
I watched it last week (UK) and i loved it but as one poster noted its allready caused people to dislike it because its not "aliens" . Im looking forward to a directors cut as there were a number of things that were left unexplained (for sequels maybe) but it looked fantastic on screen
I watched it last week (UK) and i loved it but as one poster noted its allready caused people to dislike it because its not "aliens" . Im looking forward to a directors cut as there were a number of things that were left unexplained (for sequels maybe) but it looked fantastic on screen
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3:45AM on 06/04/2012
Saw it last night. It's a solid film with great effects, and fits into the Alien universe well without just being 'another Alien movie'. There's just enough body-horror nastiness to keep fans of Alien interested. Great to see some of Giger's original designs being revisited with a bigger budget too. I didn't really have a problem with the characters even if some are a little one-note and make some really stupid decisions. As for what turns out to be the main threat in the film - I still can't
Saw it last night. It's a solid film with great effects, and fits into the Alien universe well without just being 'another Alien movie'. There's just enough body-horror nastiness to keep fans of Alien interested. Great to see some of Giger's original designs being revisited with a bigger budget too. I didn't really have a problem with the characters even if some are a little one-note and make some really stupid decisions. As for what turns out to be the main threat in the film - I still can't decide whether I liked it or not, but won't discuss further to avoid spoilers.
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4:05AM on 06/04/2012

Temper your expectations.

I didn't like it, mostly due to a surprisingly shoddy script. FYI, Shaw isn't haunted by the fact that her faith in a creator maybe be disproven by the science she embraces. Not at all. Still, the effects are good and Fassbender is outstanding. All my own opinion of course. Happy to discuss it.
I didn't like it, mostly due to a surprisingly shoddy script. FYI, Shaw isn't haunted by the fact that her faith in a creator maybe be disproven by the science she embraces. Not at all. Still, the effects are good and Fassbender is outstanding. All my own opinion of course. Happy to discuss it.
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12:21AM on 06/23/2012
Exactly! She chooses to still have her faith ("Who made them?" etc.), and damn, these scientists were idiots!
Exactly! She chooses to still have her faith ("Who made them?" etc.), and damn, these scientists were idiots!
4:37AM on 06/04/2012
Finally, a review that matters! I'm so relieved you liked it, your words are like Vaporub or something :P
I don't get the negativity about the character development. "Alien" also has barely any secondary character development, besides "someone being afraid of something".
Finally, a review that matters! I'm so relieved you liked it, your words are like Vaporub or something :P
I don't get the negativity about the character development. "Alien" also has barely any secondary character development, besides "someone being afraid of something".
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12:23AM on 06/23/2012
The big problem is that A) I could tell you at least one thing about each Nostromo crew member, & B) the scientists (aside from Rapace's Shaw) are all blithering idiots, making it impossible to believe them as such.
The big problem is that A) I could tell you at least one thing about each Nostromo crew member, & B) the scientists (aside from Rapace's Shaw) are all blithering idiots, making it impossible to believe them as such.
7:17AM on 06/04/2012
Well, 8/10 is good enough for me.
Well, 8/10 is good enough for me.
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+10
9:15AM on 06/04/2012

Visually stunning

But lower your expectations somewhat. I saw it on Friday and there's a lot to recommend - after all it's Ridley Scott doing what he does best. But there are some niggling flaws that bother me the more I think about the film. Do your best to forget Alien and take Prometheus on its own merit
But lower your expectations somewhat. I saw it on Friday and there's a lot to recommend - after all it's Ridley Scott doing what he does best. But there are some niggling flaws that bother me the more I think about the film. Do your best to forget Alien and take Prometheus on its own merit
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9:43AM on 06/04/2012
A cerebral sci-fi movie?? That's great news!! I like to be visually as well as mentally stimulated when watching a movie.
A cerebral sci-fi movie?? That's great news!! I like to be visually as well as mentally stimulated when watching a movie.
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9:55AM on 06/04/2012
awesome review
awesome review
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10:24AM on 06/04/2012
A very brave movie I thought - it really is an out-and-out sci-fi conceptual movie; it put me in mind of some of the books I've read by Ian M Banks, which I can't really imagine casual movie-goers enjoying, especially if they're expecting horror/action in the same vein as Alien or Aliens.

I loved it; the more I thought about it and puzzled over it and endlessly hypothesised with my friends, the more I like it! Second viewing coming up for sure (will see if I can find a 2D showing as the 3D
A very brave movie I thought - it really is an out-and-out sci-fi conceptual movie; it put me in mind of some of the books I've read by Ian M Banks, which I can't really imagine casual movie-goers enjoying, especially if they're expecting horror/action in the same vein as Alien or Aliens.

I loved it; the more I thought about it and puzzled over it and endlessly hypothesised with my friends, the more I like it! Second viewing coming up for sure (will see if I can find a 2D showing as the 3D did nothing for me).
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7:01AM on 06/23/2012
I agree Conrad, as for filmguy, the only dumb one was the bio dude, geo dude was incredibly smart..."ship!".
I agree Conrad, as for filmguy, the only dumb one was the bio dude, geo dude was incredibly smart..."ship!".
12:25AM on 06/23/2012
Please explain to me how each scientist is so dumb? Why is their stupidity suppose to interest me?
Please explain to me how each scientist is so dumb? Why is their stupidity suppose to interest me?
-8
4:05PM on 06/04/2012

Alien 5

Ok.. now make a part 5 that sees ripley back on earth and bring back Hicks and newt.
Ok.. now make a part 5 that sees ripley back on earth and bring back Hicks and newt.
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5:46PM on 06/04/2012
Very glad to see Prometheus get some love. There's way too much negativity about this flick. I saw this today and agree completely with the 8/10. Flawed but still a fantastic piece of entertainment.
Very glad to see Prometheus get some love. There's way too much negativity about this flick. I saw this today and agree completely with the 8/10. Flawed but still a fantastic piece of entertainment.
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+3
7:20PM on 06/05/2012
I am actually quite surprised to see that this film isn't being reviewed as well as everyone expected, but at the very least it's a good movie, and that's good enough for me. I really have no expectations from this film, so I am sure I will be quite pleased. I'm just happy to see Scott back in the Sci-Fi genre.
I am actually quite surprised to see that this film isn't being reviewed as well as everyone expected, but at the very least it's a good movie, and that's good enough for me. I really have no expectations from this film, so I am sure I will be quite pleased. I'm just happy to see Scott back in the Sci-Fi genre.
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+1
6:45PM on 06/07/2012
I think it's a very well-made film, and Fassbender was perfect as the android, but I was left with so many unanswered questions, like I would have just watched only the 1st season of Lost (Damon Lindelof co-wrote both).
I think it's a very well-made film, and Fassbender was perfect as the android, but I was left with so many unanswered questions, like I would have just watched only the 1st season of Lost (Damon Lindelof co-wrote both).
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+1
4:11PM on 06/11/2012

awesome movie

Elizabeth Shaw IS/becomes the Space Jockey found in the Alien movie. (she was still having cramps and holding her chest/torso, she was flying the ship, and in order to do that you need to be in the jockey suit).
Elizabeth Shaw IS/becomes the Space Jockey found in the Alien movie. (she was still having cramps and holding her chest/torso, she was flying the ship, and in order to do that you need to be in the jockey suit).
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6:55AM on 06/23/2012
i dont know film guy, the suit closes around the engineer, for him to be up and about it has to be open, the 'space jockey' in alien clearly is closed...not saying that i agree with inc here, but it is plausible.
i dont know film guy, the suit closes around the engineer, for him to be up and about it has to be open, the 'space jockey' in alien clearly is closed...not saying that i agree with inc here, but it is plausible.
12:43AM on 06/23/2012
You are 100% dead wrong. The entire ending with the blowing up of the spaceship, etc., that is the "Space Jockey" from 'Alien', that's it's entire point. How did you miss that?
You are 100% dead wrong. The entire ending with the blowing up of the spaceship, etc., that is the "Space Jockey" from 'Alien', that's it's entire point. How did you miss that?
12:41AM on 06/23/2012

Waited To See It To Read This Review

I waited to see the movie to read this review, thus the late commenting- sorry! I am amazed at all the love this is getting. From an objective standpoint, the movie has far too many plotholes, and I don't mean the movie not answering all of it's questions. I mean things that should have been brought up or explained so the story flows organically, but are completely ignored instead (ie- the very beginning with the alien... committing suicide? Maybe? I'm really not too sure there, which is my
I waited to see the movie to read this review, thus the late commenting- sorry! I am amazed at all the love this is getting. From an objective standpoint, the movie has far too many plotholes, and I don't mean the movie not answering all of it's questions. I mean things that should have been brought up or explained so the story flows organically, but are completely ignored instead (ie- the very beginning with the alien... committing suicide? Maybe? I'm really not too sure there, which is my point exactly; one more huge plothole that made me hate the movie- if the 'away team' is streaming live video feed of their excursion, with 2 cameras to choose from, how does everyone miss David doing the exact opposite of what he was just told to do and mess with the vase-like container? Than, how in fuck did he get it back onboard and hide it without anyone noticing?! WTF? How are such huge plotholes so easily acceptable nowaways?) More importantly for the "characterization" of the crew members and scientists- 2 of them solely exist to make a bet with each other, I am not sure they even had names. That's some great characterization there indeed! Worst of all though is how utterly retarded (as in mentally handicapped) all the scientists (but Shaw) are. "Hey, I've never seen this before in my life,and I know it's alien, but let me pet it!" That guy is a scientist! What a douche-nozzle. I have more issues, but none as big as these, and this has been a longer than intended rant. Please keep in mind that I have seen this movie only once, and neither read nor watched any form of review for until after I had seen it. Neither did I talk to anyone about it, until after as well. As such, going in (mostly) blind, and I was able to find all these plotholes is a huge issue!

Sidenote for the review itself- Shaw never questions her faith at all, and in fact, clings to throughout.
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7:20AM on 06/23/2012
Some easily explained than others. David and Vickers had a separate agenda, the video feed could have been redirected at any time. The bag David carried was hidden in the commotion in the storm. The biologist was painted as an idiot from the start. The alien "committing suicide" was actually doing something which i think his race was against (think anti-cloning laws) and the subsequent response is the "installation" where wmds were made and shit hit the fan. All in all i think the events took
Some easily explained than others. David and Vickers had a separate agenda, the video feed could have been redirected at any time. The bag David carried was hidden in the commotion in the storm. The biologist was painted as an idiot from the start. The alien "committing suicide" was actually doing something which i think his race was against (think anti-cloning laws) and the subsequent response is the "installation" where wmds were made and shit hit the fan. All in all i think the events took place over a 48-72 hr period, i guess the subterfuge would have been discovered post-opp, or maybe not, it was a privately funded expedition, maybe no senate oversight. Or Weyland Group ran the world.
-2
1:48PM on 06/27/2012
It's been a while since I've actually hated a movie, but I hated this movie. It was awful.
Spoilers:
David was shady from the beginning
Why are smart people always so dumb? I know you don't want insult a peaceful alien race when making first contact, but how about a little caution. Especially, with a giant snake that looks alarmingly like a boa constrictor.
Father/daughter; how original.
Shaw running around the ship bloody and half naked with staples across her abdomen and no one
It's been a while since I've actually hated a movie, but I hated this movie. It was awful.
Spoilers:
David was shady from the beginning
Why are smart people always so dumb? I know you don't want insult a peaceful alien race when making first contact, but how about a little caution. Especially, with a giant snake that looks alarmingly like a boa constrictor.
Father/daughter; how original.
Shaw running around the ship bloody and half naked with staples across her abdomen and no one thinks to ask her what happened??
David's movitives

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+0
1:51PM on 06/27/2012
It's been a while since I've actually hated a movie, but I hated this movie. It was awful.
Spoilers:
David was shady from the beginning
Why are smart people always so dumb? I know you don't want insult a peaceful alien race when making first contact, but how about a little caution. Especially, with a giant snake that looks alarmingly like a boa constrictor.
Father/daughter; how original.
Shaw running around the ship bloody and half naked with staples across her abdomen and no one
It's been a while since I've actually hated a movie, but I hated this movie. It was awful.
Spoilers:
David was shady from the beginning
Why are smart people always so dumb? I know you don't want insult a peaceful alien race when making first contact, but how about a little caution. Especially, with a giant snake that looks alarmingly like a boa constrictor.
Father/daughter; how original.
Shaw running around the ship bloody and half naked with staples across her abdomen and no one thinks to ask her what happened??
David's motives and his infatuation with Shaw is never explained. Plus, how th hell can he open ever door on an alien ship. And he conveniently learns an alien language.

Yeah, this movie sucked.

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10:55PM on 06/27/2012

I don't know how...

people could say this is a stupid movie. Not all movies spell everything out, Shaw is the most interesting character to David, the dichotomy of faith and science. Over two years of analyzing all known languages on earth would probably make a robot have a very educated guess. I agree, David's actions were sinister to the audience, but well hidden from the crew, storm etc. The point is not all plots are spoon fed, and as an origin story this and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' are probably the
people could say this is a stupid movie. Not all movies spell everything out, Shaw is the most interesting character to David, the dichotomy of faith and science. Over two years of analyzing all known languages on earth would probably make a robot have a very educated guess. I agree, David's actions were sinister to the audience, but well hidden from the crew, storm etc. The point is not all plots are spoon fed, and as an origin story this and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' are probably the best I've seen in a while.
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5:08AM on 01/17/2013

Best movie of 2012

For my tastes at least.
For my tastes at least.
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