The Red Letter Media guys talk Prometheus plotholes

For people who don’t know who these guys are, they really should check the site out. Not only do they give Prometheus’ plot holes a pretty visceral (yet fair) treatment, they also mock Lucas like nobody’s business! I still can’t get over their long (very long) reviews of the prequel movies and why they sucked.

Having just watched their extended review of Prometheus, I know for a fact that these guys didn’t hate the movie; in fact, they actively mocked people who denounced it as “the worst thing since the Phantom Menace“. So really, they aren’t that harsh, just plain spoken in noticing the kinds of things that made many of us go “huh?”

Worth watching, if for no other reason than to make you laugh:

Back from seeing Prometheus!

As Stewie said when he learned that Child Services would be taking him away, “Finallllly!” Yes, that’s how I felt when we hopped in the car and were on our way to the theater. And though I am a week late in getting this review done, because last weekend we were diverted to see The Avengers, I think the wait was worth it!

And I should get some bonus points for doing it today. Because, as often proves the case with me, the cold has doubled back and reinfected me. You could say I was extra sympathetic to some of the characters in the this movie! But I don’t want to give anything away, I promised myself in advance that I would rate this movie without giving anything crucial away. So here goes…

First impressions:
The movie was pretty damn cool! The premise of ancient astronauts, which I knew they were employing here, is one I think pretty highly of. And the fact that they were going back to the Alien universe in such a way that they really wanted to capture the feel of the original was also pretty pleasing. And just about everyone I’ve heard speak on the subject has said that the visuals and effects were state of the art. They weren’t wrong.

That being said, I think they could have done the whole “Engineers” thing a bit better. In fact, what they had to say about their coming to Earth and what they looked like (which I shan’t get into for fear of spoilers) kind of called to mind how Stargate and AVP tackled the whole “aliens tampered with our history”. Still, Scott is nothing if not a master of crafting worlds and believable settings, so it was by no means in the same category. While I felt it could be better, it was still pretty damn good!

The Big Questions:
What’s more, this movie also filled in a great deal of details from the Alien franchises back story. Questions like what are the Xenomorphs, where did they come from, do their hosts and environments influence their appearance, why were they found aboard the Space Jockeys (“Engineers”) ship, and just who are the Jockeys anyway? All of these questions were addressed in this film and answered in one way or another. And of course, they left just enough mystery to keep the option open for further explorations in the Alien universe.

And I was pretty pleased with how they went about answering them, mainly because I’ve been studying them for some time now and heard quite a few theories. And sure, covering all this stuff did generate a certain “prequel duty” feel here and there, but Scott’s handling of all that seemed far superior to most others efforts. For one, I never really felt like they were wrapping things up in a neat little package, which is an annoying tendency to be found in most prequels. Take the Star Wars prequels, did those not feel like they were simply trying to connect the threads irrespective of plot? Yeah, well that wasn’t the case here.

Overall:
And that, I think, is what is best about this movie. Though it is technically a prequel, Scott and the makers seemed determined that it feel like a standalone story. I recall him saying as much in the course of an interview, and I truly felt like they succeeded. Granted, there were some flaws and some holes here and there, but these were hardly fatal and didn’t leave me thinking, “holy crap, that movie made no sense and was totally pointless and stupid!” Expectations and hopes were certainly high for this film, leading some to come away disappointed. But what can be said about them?

Sure, this movie wasn’t Alien, but there’s a reason for that! Scott already made that movie thirty-three years ago, and several directors have since taken the franchise in many different (and some would say wrong) directions. Going back to the before the beginning was the only option left really, reopening the franchise at a point before the original to answer all the tough, enduring questions that have fans have raised over the years. And that was no easy task and I could see beforehand how it would be riddled with potential pitfalls.

But in the end, I came away pretty pleased. Not only was this movie pretty good viewing, it was also a faithful return to the Alien universe… Frankly, I’d like to see what they come up with next!

Off to see Prometheus!

Finaaaaally! Today the wife and I will finally be making our trip to see the latest installment in Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise. I say in his franchise because it is really is his baby. Sure, Cameron did a good job with the sequel, a really good job in fact. But those who’ve followed, especially those who filmed the fresh hell known as AVP and AVPR, pretty much pissed it away!

Mr. Scott pretty much said so, when interviewed he stated that part of his reasons for making this film was to ensure that he wanted his old franchise to be remembered for something other than all the abortive sequels other people made. I really don’t blame him! If I were Scott, I’d be looking for the bastards with blood lust in my heart and a shiv in my hand!

Despite my best efforts, I have heard some things about this movie. I’ve avoided reading the details wherever possible, but it’s hard not to notice when people rave or complain about something. Hell, they say so right in the title lines! But I’m still going in with a relatively open mind and so real expectations. I hope it’s good, naturally; but even if it’s only mediocre, it will be light years ahead of AVPR.

Review to follow, not to mention some themed posts that delve into various aspects of the movie. In fact, I think I’ll revisit the Ancient Aliens post I did awhile back, where the concept of ancient astronauts came up. I know it’s a thematic element of this film, can’t wait to see what they do with it! Did I mention it will be in Imax 3D? Woohoo!

 

Cool Ships (volume XI)

Armageddon:
armageddonBack once more to the Eve universe, thank you Mr. Zidar for suggesting it in the first place! Here we have the Armageddon Battleship, the main heavy warship of the Amarr Empire. Packing a lot of firepower into its long, heavy frame, command of one of these is considered the greatest honor an Amarrian Captain can acheive within the Empire.

In terms of armaments, the Armageddon is studded with heavy turret batteries. Its forward section is also heavily reinforced, giving it the ability to ram into enemy ships while pulverizing them with weapon’s fire. It is also heavily shielded in addition to its armor, making it virtually impregnable to all but the most heavily armed cruisers.

Battle Galaxy Carrier:
battlegalaxy-carrierMuch like the SDF-1 from the Macross universe, the Galaxy Carrier is massive transforming ship that comes in two modes. In carrier mode, it is a massive ship that is capable of space flight and sea faring. In its battle mode, it takes the form of a massive mecha which is capable of kicking some very serious ass!

Build in the early-mid 21st century by the New United Nations government, its primary purpose was to act as a colonization vessel for the Macross fleet. And unlike previous colonization vessels, it boasted many new technologies – such as cybernetics and implants – which were meant to continually evolve as the ship traveled through space. On top of all that, it possesses cutting edge stealth technologies that make it capable of slipping past Zentraedi forces and blockades.

battlegalaxy-attackIn terms of armaments, the Battle Galaxy lives up to its name! In addition to an advanced Gunship Type Macross Cannon, which converts into its main firearm when in battle mode, it also has 12 heavy beam cannons (also available in battle mode), multiple phalanx beam cannons and missile launchers, and a compliment short range micro-missile batteries for point-defense.

Firstborn Monolith:
monolithIt would be an understatement to call this one a classic. Taken from the Arthur C. Clarke novel and the movie of the same name, the Monolith was the mysterious aliens means of transport in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Known as the Firstborn, this race was basically the first species to achieve sentience in the galaxy, making them many millions of years old. After eons of evolution and space exploration, these beings had basically evolved to the point where they were no longer flesh and blood.

So really, these monoliths were not so much ships as chariots to carry their uploaded consciousness to the stars. Composed of unknown material and impenetrable to everything from scanners to nuclear detonators, they were a mystery to humanity of the 21st century. It also didn’t help that the only man get within spitting distance of an operational one disappeared, his last words being “My God, it’s full of stars!”

GTF Ulysses:
gtf_UlyssesThis ship, taken once again from the Freespace gaming universe, was one of the fastest and most maneuverable ships in the known universe. A collaborative effort between Terran and Vasudan scientists, it possessed the best design features and technologies they could muster. The Ulysses was designed for service in the Great War, but because of its assets, it saw service with GTVA forces long after the Lucifer was destroyed and the last of the Shivans routed.

In terms of armaments, it was lightly armed compared to other fighters, with four gun mounts, but only two ordinance bays. In the end, its greatest assets were its speed and maneuverability which made it highly effective against faster Shivan ships. In a dog fight, few things could catch it, or get around fast enough to hit it!

Inhibitor Square:
black_cube_world-1024x768These are the mysterious, dark and malevolent machines from the Revelation Space universe. Also known as “The Wolves”, they are a semi-sentient race of machinery that is designed to locate sentient star-faring cultures and exterminate them. However, the Inhibitors didn’t do this using lasers or photon weapons.

Much like the Firstborn from Clarke’s Space Odyssey series, they relied on a series of natural processes. The only real difference was they did it for destruction purposes. For example, when they became alerted to the presence of humanity on Resurgam, they chose to disassemble the planet’s gas giant bit by bit in order to create a massive trumpet like device in space. This was basically a gravitational weapon which they began using to shake the system’s sun to pieces.

Megathron:
megathronAnother Eve warship, the Megathron is the battleship of choice for the Gallente faction. It accelerates quickly, has a high armor capacity, and is very versatile due to its seven turret slots and two launcher hardpoints. This last feature is rare in Gallente ships, which tend to focus on energy weapons.

Because of its many weapons slots, the Megathron can be adapted to long range fire, known as the “Sniperthron”. This vessel is capable of engaging enemies at a distance of 150 km, but leaves it vulnerable to close range attacks and strips of the ability to heal. Another common build is the “Blasterthron” where the weapons of choice or short-range blasters, making it one of the toughest battleships around.

NTF Iceni:
ntf_iceniOnce more onto the Freespace franchise, dear friends. Here we have the one-of-kind prototype vessel known as the Iceni, the brainchild of the Neo-Terran Federation’s commander, Admiral Aken Bosch. Designed to be a command ship and mobile research platform, the Iceni was also a highly capable attack vessel, boasting mutiple turrets, beam mounts and missile batteries.

As part of project ETAK, the Iceni was the only vessel capable of communicating with the Shivans. After being mistaken for a command facility in an asteroid belt, Bosch was forced to deploy this ship prematurely. After shedding it’s housing asteroid, it set course for Gamma Draconis, where it used an Ancient jump gate to flee into unknown space. After making contact with the Shivans, the ship was boarded and most of the crew killed. Once the survivors were rescued, the ship engaged its self-destruct sequence and was lost.

In addition to being faster and more maneuverable than most ships its size, the Iceni also packed as much firepower as a Deimos-class frigate. These included 3 large beam emitters, 7 heavy turrets, 9 defenses turrets, 2 flak batteries, and 4 defensive missile batters. As such, it was capable of standing toe-to-toe with any comparable ship in the Terran or Vasudan armadas, and outrunning anything larger.

Prometheus:
prometheus_shipJust to be clear, I haven’t seen the movie… yet! I wanted to, but I dragged into seeing another film last night which also rocked (see below)! Luckily, I have seen enough trailers and promotional videos to know a few things about the eponymously named vessel. So here she is, just one day (finger crossed) before I see her on the silver screen! As an exploration vessel, the USCSS Prometheus was a designed for deep-space expeditions to alien worlds.

As a full-service space taxi, it was designed for both atmospheric and space flight and could therefore forgo the need for landing pods and shuttles. This was all made possible thanks to its reinforced hull, four multi-vector thrusters that allowed for verticle take off and landing, and an observation deck that allowed the crew a panoramic view of space and whatever landscapes they were surveying. During takeoff and atmospheric entry, these are enclosed by a series of protective shields.

Prometheus_ship_rearOn top of all that, it was packed with amenities for its crew. These included a large bay for heavy equipment and expedition vehicles, a full-service mess hall, a medical bay, recreational facilities, a built-in basketball court, long-range communications systems, crew quarters, cryogenic chambers, and holographic display windows. And of course, the ship’s own laboratory which served as its main research center. No doubt about it, ships like this, courtesy of the Weyland Corporation, ensured that crews could travel in style and comfort before being horribly killed by extra-terrestrials!

Special Mention: The Avenger Helicarrier!
Yes, I managed to get out last night to the movie theater. But instead of catching Prometheus as I originally hoped, I was coaxed into seeing the Avengers instead. It-was-awesome! Tons of cool action, a respectable, multi-layered plot, and lots and lots of cool shit! Kudos to Joss Whedon, I think he just became my hero!

And one of the things I liked best about this movie was S.H.I.E.L.D.’s own big-ass helicarrier! When they hinted that it was both a carrier and a sub, I was like “Whoaaaa! Like something out of Robotech!” But then, out came those massive turbofans and it took off! I just sat and stared for several, sustained minutes. My wife laughed at me. At that point, I said, “Okay, maybe you were right to want to see this.”

Anyhoo, much like something out of Robotech, this carrier was a massive machine that came in two modes. In its standard mode, it was your basic aircraft carrier similar in appearance to a Nimitz-class carrier. In its other mode, it is a freaking hovercraft, where four massive turbofans and two sets of jet engine clusters allow it to fly! It also has a comprehensive camouflage system where a series of reflector panels obscure it from sight, similar to adaptive camouflage.

And of course, as an aircraft carrier, it also has the usual amenities, which include several squadrons of F-22 and F-35 fighters and quinjets. And though armament didn’t come up in the movie, we can also assume that it has a full compliment of Phalanx point-defense cannons and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. But knowing S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m sure the list doesn’t end there. Most likely, they also got some cool stuff like an EMP, some rail guns, or laser devices in there too!

More Prometheus Trailers: Quiet Eye and Space Travel Part I

So… here we find ourselves just two days shy of the official release date of the movie Prometheus. And wouldn’t you know it, these people still aren’t finished toying with us yet! Seems they got more trailers, which I just happened to snag! Let’s be honest, sci-fi and Aliens fans everywhere are hungry as hell at this point, and these are just more tiny snacks to tease us with! But what can we do? Any snippets that come out, we gotta gobble em up! So here they are… Bon appetit!

The first video is entitled “Quiet Eye”, where an interview camera takes archeologist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s statement to Mr. Weyland (head of Weyland Industies). Basically, she is stating why she should be allowed to lead the Prometheus mission and speaks about its potential benefits to the company. You know, Alien-type stuff!


Second, there is this clip I dug up over at Verizon’s Facebook page (they are apparently a big sponsor. This particular one is an interview with Prometheus’ conceptual artists who talk about the eponymously named ship, its design and layout, and how all of this was intrinsic to setting the tone and feel of the movie.


Jeez… When is this damn movie coming out?!

Prometheus Landing, New Trailer!

Yes, you read that right. Ridley Scott and his production team have released yet another preview for their upcoming summer blockbuster hit, Prometheus. Now how many does that make now? Three video clips of the actual movie, plus those two viral videos they released as promotional side-shows? That would make five clips in total now, yes?

All I can say is, this movie better be epic! After this kind of build-up, nothing less will do!

‘Prometheus’ writer Jon Spaihts on science fiction worldbuilding

Recently, iO9 – the online technology magazine – caught up with Jon Spaihts, one of the writers for the upcoming Prometheus movie. In the course of their interview, they discussed what it takes to build sci-fi worlds and the challenges facing sci-fi writers. Of particular interest was Spaihts inclusion of hard science in his sci-fi scripts, the nature of the movie, the Alien universe, and what it was like to work with Ridley Scott. Interesting reading, follow the link below to read about the whole interview:

Prometheus Writer Jon Spaihts Interview