By Deborah Sharp
Like a good film nerd, I rushed to see Prometheus over
the weekend, as soon as it opened in theaters. I've loved the director,
Ridley Scott, since 1979 when I cheered for Sigourney Weaver kicking
extraterrestrial butt in Alien. (See, children, there was a
spaceship named Nostromo, and Sigourney/Ripley was on board in her
underwear, suspended in a deep state of sleep . . . )
Scott has directed a long list of hits since Alien, including Blade Runner in 1982; Thelma and Louise in 1991; and Gladiator in 2000. Prometheus is
likely to be another boffo blockbuster. I absolutely enjoyed the film.
Spectacular effects. Scary thrills. The acting was good, verging on
great. Standouts were Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, the original ''Girl
with the Dragon Tattoo,'' as the scientist Elizabeth Shaw, and Michael
Fassbender as David, the very best thing in the movie. See him pictured
what was the problem? The story. In making this movie, Scott got away
with things that even a writing-class novice would know not to do: Plot
holes so gaping you could launch a spaceship through them. Big
questions, but no answers. Characters without motives. A one-dimensional
villain (Yeah, yeah, I know it was filmed in 3-D). I shudder to think
what my editor or critique group members would say if I turned in a
manuscript like this movie. I'd see a sea of question marks on my pages:
Why is this character doing this?
Did I miss something? Has the plot addressed THIS???
think we're more forgiving of movie makers than we are of novelists.
The action and visual elements carry so much weight in films, that the
story often gets short shrift. Sitting there in the darkened theater,
eating popcorn and hiding my eyes at the scary scenes, I loved the show.
(In brief, a team of earthlings take the spaceship Prometheus into
space to try to discover how human life came to be. Very bad things
It was only after the credits rolled that I
felt cheated, when my husband and I tried to figure out what the heck
happened -- and why. For me, that wtf? moment occurs a lot more frequently at the end of a movie than it does when I close a book.
How about you? Do you find flawed (or absent) plots more common in movies or books? Have you seen Prometheus? What did you think?