Cavalorn (cavalorn) wrote,
Cavalorn
cavalorn

The biggest Sigourney Weaver shoutout in Prometheus



In filmmaking, when something is ‘on the nose’ it means it’s conveying the idea way too directly and obviously. It’s most commonly used to refer to badly written dialogue in which a character says exactly what he or she is thinking.

'On the nose' writing allows for no depth, because depth is created by the contrast between what's said and what's thought (or felt). This applies whether we're talking about character dialogue or whole scenes.

So when Ridley Scott refers to the explicit inclusion of Space Jesus as 'too on the nose', what he's saying is that actually stating it outright would have been too unambiguous. It does not mean that the idea has been discarded altogether, just that he opted for greater subtlety in conveying it. (Feel free to disagree, of course. I am not the Space Pope.)

By the way, I totally missed that David washes Weyland's feet at one point of the movie. And that Janek sacrifices his life with two other guys on either side of him, slightly lower down. Thanks to those of you who pointed that out. I can't THINK what it reminds me of.

Anyway. Like many of you, I had issues with the script. The moment in Prometheus that had me muttering 'oh, for God's sake' in the cinema was during the scene where the crew are scanning the Engineer head. It went like this (and pardon me if I haven't got it exactly right, I'm reconstructing from memory):

Computer screen reads: SCAN COMPLETE. NO CONTAMINANT DETECTED.
Ford: 'Scan complete. No contaminant detected.'

No inflection. No additional value whatsoever. She simply repeats what's on the screen.

That is not just 'on the nose' dialogue. That's 'embedded in the sinal cavity' dialogue.

But it's okay! We can just put on our Pretentious Film Critic hats and read this as a tribute to Sigourney Weaver's character, Gwen DeMarco, in Galaxy Quest!

Voice of Computer: Negative, there is no replacement Beryllium Sphere on board.
Gwen DeMarco: [to crew] No, there is no replacement Beryllium Sphere on board.
Tommy Webber: You know, that is really getting annoying!
Gwen DeMarco: [shouts] Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it's *stupid*, but I'm gonna do it! Okay?

The Prometheus blogging continues here. It never ends, I tell you.
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 41 comments
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →
Ha! That line reading is like a microcosm of Kate Dickie's entire performance - "No inflection. No . . . value whatsoever". Not sure what happened - I very much enjoyed her (probably comparable) screen time in Game of Thrones. Let's blame Ridley.
Not sure if you have pointed this out elsewhere, but in terms of Sigourney Weaver connections in Prometheus (and on a more serious note), I thought it interesting that Vickis insisted on quarantine behaviour and avoiding contamination aboard the ship...and she is the bad guy in Prometheus, while in Alien Sigourney Weaver does the same thing and is the good guy.


also, did you get my twitter comments yesterday about John the Baptist. Thoughts?
Was Vicki the bad guy really? I'm not so convinced.

Asides from lying (on the orders of her father, the head of the company), I don't think she really does anything wrong.

jubilantia

6 years ago

alex_s9

6 years ago

jubilantia

6 years ago

alex_s9

6 years ago

morbid_curious

6 years ago

I agree, let's pretend that the whole scene was a shout out to Sigourney Weaver!

I don't see how Vicky was the "bad guy" in this movie at all. She was a representative of the "company" and in the Alien-verse this has been synonymous with Bad Buy. But all she did was run the ship and maintain the interests of Weyland Corp who spent a trillion credits on the venture so it's an "expensive ship". She is cold and distant and maintains an aloofness throughout the entire movie. And her lack of goodness is established when she does not participate in self sacrifice, and is promptly squashed by the ship.
But I would challenge the idea of her being bad. She's not going home, she can only survive on a barren planet for 2 years in an escape pod. She would add no value to the steering of the ship, and she does not actively try and stop them. What would you do? Your choices are to die needlessly (your sacrifice will not add any value to the destruction of the ships) or buy yourself two more years in which you MAY be able to get a communication out to the all mighty company and get saved.

I would totally jump onto that escape pod.

I also thought that the quarantine scene was a good parallel. If Ash had not overridden quarantine procedure it would have been a short boring movie. But it's fun to imagine how it would have all gone down.
And that Janek sacrifices his life with two other guys on either side of him, slightly lower down. Thanks to those of you who pointed that out. I can't THINK what it reminds me of.

Did you notice how they all stretched their arms out, like crosses, at the moment of their sacrifice?

Could it remind you of the three crosses of the Baptist church, that can be seen all over the place in the South?

Would saying so be too "on the nose"?
It's rather less "on the nose" than in 'Superman Returns' where it has a loud voiceover saying: "You are my son who I have given to save the humans!"

Also "The Man From Earth" where the protagonist starts saying how easy it would be for him to fake his own crucifixion. (What???)

Also, they didn't call any of the characters "Trinity" either.

I'm a little worried about how "on the nose" this will all get if they start doing sequels.

evxanadu

6 years ago

I had the EXACT SAME THOUGHT when watching!
I thought the larger shout out to Ripley was David's one-handed basketball shot scene. Ripley did the same thing in Resurrection.
Galaxy Quest was awesome. My most favorite Sigourney line was about the chompy crushy things:

What is this thing? I mean, it serves no useful purpose for there to be a bunch of chompy, crushy things in the middle of a hallway. No, I mean we shouldn't have to do this, it makes no logical sense, why is it here?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0177789/quotes?qt=qt0424449

--
Furry cows moo and decompress.
These comments are having the unfortunate effect of making me realize that Galaxy Quest is actually... a better movie than Prometheus.


It was hilarious, it had no major flaws that I can recall, the aliens who ran the ship knew what they were doing even if the actors didn't, and I could easily rewatch it several times without getting bored.

HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN.
From Cavalorn.
"That suggests that the event that turned them against us and led to the huge piles of dead Engineers lying about was one and the same event. We did something very, very bad, and somehow the consequences of that dreadful act accompanied the Engineers back to LV-223 and massacred them."

I think Scott has treated the Jesus symbolism quite defty. His take on Jesus actually does not necessarily clash with the conventional orthodox Christian rendering of Jesus. Jesus here, might indeed have been a spaceman made to look human or a human coached by the engineers, but he might also be the Christ that Christians hold to be divine. The engineers, could very well be Christians themselves ,or at least also creations of the Christian God, who became so outraged by the crucifxion that they felt compelled to vent their wrath on, in their opinion, the beyond-salvage human race that they created, out of deference to the God they worship.
still trippin on prometheus

=== ===

One of the co-pilots was CHANCE.

Given that God does not play dice, leaving nothing to Chance ((likes to minimize RISK MANAGEMENT)) and so does Peter Weyland, and by extension Lindelof and Scott,

why you think there was a copilit named CHANCE?

=== ===

"Oh my God, a Yutani Medi-pod!" Noomi is very excited.

They have just met Meredith Vickers in the two-year Lifeboat section of the ship.

But later, we find out that the Medi-pod is only calibrated for male patients. D'oh !!

So, whose lifeboat was it, then? It was for Peter Weyland and David!! Meredith wasn't even supposed to be on board, and probably didn't even have a seat on that lifeboat!!

=== ===

On a logical level I began to sympathize with Fifield the geologist --- brought to a distant planet ostensibly to analyze rocks ore and minerals --- but in the job interview for this guy, they probably did not ask him how he felt about his fear of aliens, much less piles upon piles of dead alien bodies whose chests had burst open from the inside.

So when he starts to be afraid, even though he does so in a brash jerk jackass way, I can believe that his fear is real. He doesn't "know that he's a redshirt in an Alien movie", he's possibly a rocks and geology expert with a very real fear of huge alien corpses.

And so when pilot Janek tells him that one of the "pups" has picked up a lifeform, I can envision Fifield becoming twice as scared. Because the dead remains he's seen so far are these gigantic spooky alien corpses --- now man on the radio is telling him there's a LIVE one coming!!

=== ===

And as to h8rs who say "the map expert is lost, does not compute!" how about a conspiracy theory in which the electromagnetic plotstorm prevents his suit from having access to any of the maps?

=== ===
h8r sez: Millburn confirms their position using his suit, after the plotstorm has begun. RELATED: A scene or two after Fifield's hissy fit about "loving rocks", he remarks to Millburn that the caves "all look the same to me". GEOLOGY.

unwholesome_fen

6 years ago

dissembly

6 years ago

jameswheeler

6 years ago

jaredrawk

6 years ago

How many are on board the Prometheus? Twelve, by any chance?
CREW: 17
I enjoyed your article on Prometheus very much.
One thing I thought was interesting is that the theory sets up an Armageddon event. One that humans have been predicting from afar.
I would say though that when the life of Jesus appears in the bible, the crucifixion is pre-paved in the "Old Testament" as a salvation event. This I think would make the idea of annoyed aliens a bit shallow in comparison.
More PROMETHEUS nutballin... ..... there is no OFF position on the genius switch... .....

Well we see a lot of these hunky male Engineers, but where are the females!? Surely they have killer racks and wide child-bearing hips. But they are nowhere to be found on LV223.

WHAT IF, like xenomorphs, there is only ONE QUEEN ENGINEER, the only female. And she lays eggs like our friendly H.R.Giger alien queen, eggs which turn into those hunky white milky Engineers that we've been seeing?

Just a thought. Note that baby ants have the same translucent, subsurface scattering (SIGGRAPH 2001) look and appearance as the engineers we've been seeing.
HOLY CRAP. I can't believe I didn't think about this until just now when reading your comment. I should turn in my feminist card, if I had one. (when do we get those, universe?) I guess when watching the movie I

A) was too distracted by the gooey things and alien-ness
B) am too used to male-normative imagery in fiction, science, and medicine that it just slipped by me.

rashaka

6 years ago

evxanadu

6 years ago

evxanadu

6 years ago

Exactly the point I was trying to make in a comment on the other thread. That's really is the back story he had in mind, he just didn't want to be to on the nose with it in the actual text of the film. Some would argue the '2000 years ago' line was STILL too on the nose.
There's been so much said about how the characters in the film do so many weird or stupid or out of character things, I think I might know why. I think that the thematic coherence was more important to Ridley that every bit of the story being plausible. Whenever you find yourself saying, "why would Charlie act like such a dick for no apparent reason? or, Why would a biologist reach out to touch a wild animal from another planet? Why would a geologist whose mapping the place get lost? Why would anyone ever take their helmet off?" ask yourself if it makes sense thematically. Obviously there's this whole tie in with Prometheus and humans being given technology, and Ridley also said this,

“It’s interesting to do a sequel because this leaves the door so open to some huge questions. The real question to me is – the more mankind discovers in science the more clear and helpful everything becomes, yet we’re very bad at managing ourselves.”

which leads me to think that there is definitely a whole technos/logos thing going on. If you over rely on technology it will be perilous: the cartographer will get lost, the biologist will get eaten by a wild animal (err.. facehugged,) and the robot will do things that cause everyone to die because robots have no empathy. They didn't have to make it the geologist (really serving more as a cartographer) who got lost, they could have had Kate Dickie or any of the other lesser redshirt characters be the one who freaked out and went back to the ship and got lost. But they they deliberately made it the guy who runs the freakin' mapping technology. I think Ridley is using implausibility to draw attention to the thematic elements. Or maybe its just shoddy filmmaking, hard for me to see through my fanboy tinted glasses. I like to believe its the former.

Charlie is the skeptic, and Elizabeth is the believer, so some of their odd behavior is in service of that theme.

I'm not sure thematically why anyone would take off their helmet. Maybe just so we could see the performances on the actors faces better in the important scenes, like when they meet the Engineer. I like to think there's a better reason though.
Any one of these movies where human actors take off their helmets, try to imagine every scene of the film if they kept their helmets on. Would we tire of seeing helmets? There is an undeniable pleasure in going into a dark movie theater and gazine up at Noomi's cute face and perky red hair, looking at Woo-Hoo frat boy's handsome profile. Charlize Theron --- NO COMMENT. To cut an audience off from this pleasure by nonstop helmet-wearing, audience members leave the cinema whining "Eh, just a bunch of dorks wearing helmets and screaming, that's all I remember."

=== ===

I just saw the scene of Julianne Moore in CHLOE pouring sugar onto her chair.

jameswheeler

6 years ago

jameswheeler

6 years ago

dissembly

6 years ago

morbid_curious

6 years ago

I giggled very hard because it reminded me entirely of the bit in Galaxy Quest.

And then I thought "Let's get out of here, before one of those things kills Guy!"
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →