Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Prometheus

Go To

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • David and exactly how much emotion and free will he really has. Fan opinions seems to range from him being entirely emotionless and simply following Weyland's orders to being entirely sentient and deliberately seeking out loopholes in his programming. Sound familiar?
      • Did he infect Holloway because Holloway was the most convenient target, or because he was the human who had been the biggest jerk to David? Also, since Word of God confirmed David had something of a crush on Elizabeth, there is a third potential motivation.
  • Advertisement:
  • Applicability: This movie was designed for Wild Mass Guessing. One moment of Idiot Ball could mean an hour of theorizing behind why it is so.
  • Cliché Storm: But arguably, many of this movie's clichés are ones for which Alien was the Trope Maker / Trope Codifier, so they qualify as Call Backs.
  • Contested Sequel: If you believe the Internet, this movie is either a misunderstood masterpiece or a total disaster.
  • Critical Research Failure: One of the scientists on the bridge of the ship claims that 3% atmospheric carbon dioxide will kill you. It won't. Carbon monoxide, however, will.
  • Designated Villain: Downplayed. Meredith Vickers is presented as an antagonist and technically is related to the villain's scheme. But she really has nothing to do with anything bad that happens throughout the film, tries to talk Weyland out of his plan and is one of the only people making rational calls throughout.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Deacon, a proto-xenomorph that only shows up in the last scene.
  • Epileptic Trees: Oh where do we begin? However, one should have expected nothing less from the Trope Namer, Damon Lindelof (though not so much as believed - see Misblamed below).
  • Fan Discontinuity: A very considerable portion of the fanbase has come to see both Prometheus and Covenant as just below Alien 3 as films they do not want to acknowledge as part of the Alien franchise, in large part due to the fact that the Xenomorphs origin as a bioweapon is recent, or that it ignores the fan favorite acceptance that at least some Xenomorphs are natural species living on different worlds.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Many fans did not like this answer to the question raised by the Space Jockey. One of the main points was the reveal that they look like humans and not the elephantine alien beasts thought until then, despite the fact Ridley Scott had stated endlessly (back since The '90s, actually) it was their suit which gave them that shape. Even fans familiar with that bit of Word of God were still rather miffed at the Human Aliens reveal, since they had preferred the appearance to stay a mystery.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fanon: People tend to believe Fifield is supposed to be Irish, as his actor is English and he generally looks an awful lot like Sheamus. However, nothing about his background has been officially released.
  • Genius Bonus: One of David's scenes prior to the arrival of Prometheus at LV-223 shows him studying Schleicher's fable, an artificial story written in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language in 1868 (and updated over the decades as our best guess as to the vocabulary of PIE evolved). David's (presumably virtual) instructor was an actual linguistics professor hired by Ridley Scott to create the Engineers' language and teach it to the actors.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • David mentioning that Ellie's father was killed by Ebola back when the film was originally released in 2012 may have made it seem like a distant, exotic disease to most people around the world. Then in 2014 an Ebola outbreak flares up again in West Africa, infecting several US caregivers and doctors in the region, killing one man who had visited relatives there and didn't get treated in time, and infecting one of the nurses who was looking after said man that died of the disease. Suddenly Ebola doesn't seem so remote any longer for those in the West that normally only saw news statistics about deaths in Africa from this disease.
    • In a less significant but still worth noting thing to mention, a lot of David's friendly interactions with Shaw becomes this considering that he kills her in Alien: Covenant.
  • He's Just Hiding!: With all the Fridge Logic about how Vickers could have gotten out of the way it’s not completely out of the question that she actually did, off-screen.
  • Ho Yay:
    • The crewmen who have a running bet with each other throughout the movie, Ravel and Chance. While they are more likely just friends or at least on familiar terms with one another, the duo did have an awful lot of significant glances and nearly all of their screen time was with the other.
    • Also Millburn toward Fifield. He seems to be laughing at his comment early in the film in a way to gain his approval.
  • Idiot Plot:
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: A major weakness of Prometheus is how similiar it is to Alien. In particular, Alien was revolutionary for having its protagonists be Space Truckers, but here, when the characters are well-financed and highly motivated elite scientists, they still act like unprofessional dabblers and look like they have never been in a field research (or even a field trip, for the inconvenience).
  • Jerkass Woobie: Vickers is kind of icy and a bit self-motivated, but doesn't seem to be bad person beneath it all, and was dragged onto the crazy mission to find immortality, is traumatized after being forced to kill Holloway., and by the time things are over wants badly to go home, but can't due to the threat the Engineer ship poses, but is forced to abandon ship (seeming both frustrated about this and concerned for the others), then run for her life to keep from being crushed to death but doesn't move fast enough.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "What was that black goo?"
    • A lot of images have been made comparing the Engineer to Handsome Squidward.
    • Vickers' death became popularized by CinemaSins, who claimed Vickers graduated from "The Prometheus School of Running Away From Things". Though, this creates a case of Critical Research Failure, as in that scene, you can clearly see that there is falling rubble blocking her way, therefore she can only in a straight line.
  • Misblamed: Subverted. Damon Lindelof used to bear the brunt of the hate for this film by people who didn't like it, as now it's known that he turned the script from what was originally known as Aliens: Engineers into the first draft of Prometheus, so the blaming does have a basis. However, his treatment didn't end up being the final product either: as it was revealed when the script became available online, Ridley Scott actually cut tons of scenes that were instrumental to understand the film, therefore opening plot holes and ambiguities left and right (and causing the Idiot Plot mentioned above), all while Lindelof futilely tried to caution him against leaving so much unexplained precisely because of the bad reaction to the finale of Lost. With Scott's decision to turn the sequel into Alien: Covenant, the weight of the duology's impopularity has switchd mostly from Lindelof to Scott.
  • One-Scene Wonder: A proto-xenomorph shows up only for the last minute of the film, and was a huge hit with the fanbase.
  • Paranoia Fuel: David can access the memories of the crew whilst they are in stasis. They've been in stasis for over two years. Furthermore entrusting your life to an amoral synthetic for that length of time is unnerving.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Signature Scene: Shaw's infamous improvised c-section to remove the monstrosity she's pregnant with.
  • Special Effects Failure: In a film that is by and large astonishing to look at, Guy Pearce's terrible aged make-up really stands out, the result of prepping a design on the fly during a then-tighter schedule. One could explain it in-universe as side-effects of Weyland trying to extend his age, but it can still be jarring or even creepy.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
  • Squick: A completely uncensored emergency c-section, anyone?
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • When the original script for the film, Alien: Engineers, became available online and was confirmed as authentic, series fans were outraged over how superior it was to the rewrite, which removed all of the overt connections to the original film and introduced a lot of plot holes in the progress. Also counted towards as They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot.
    • Even the complete script of Prometheus was much better received than the film's cut when it became available on the Internet, as it contains many explanations and clarifications (among them, the intentions, history and works of the Engineers) which would have helped things make sense in the film. Those scenes and lines were either cut from the movie itself or never filmed.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Fifield's Screw This, I'm Outta Here! being undermined by his getting lost, when the plot wouldn't have been suffered if he had made it back, and Milburn had just lingered behind on his own to inspect the body or something.
    • Vickers. Whether she ultimately lived or died it would have been interesting to see her encounter the Neomorph and/or the engineer in the aftermath of the Heroic Sacrifice instead of just being crushed by a wheel.
    • While their sacrifice was handled well, Chance and Ravel making it to the surface for the final act could have been interesting.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Heavily invoked by the "Happy Birthday, David" viral clip. David is shown making several odd gestures, including what appears to be a slight moment of processing when the narrator asks what he can do (tilting his head slightly with a glossy look in his eyes), and his speech about how war and poverty make him sad, complete with thorough waterworks, then (without missing a beat or changing expression) describing how he does not feel even the remotest emotion but can replicate them perfectly. He also "smiles" (note Sarcasm Mode) whilst claiming he can perfectly replicate emotion and fit in with humans.
    • Brought up when Holloway asks David why he's wearing an environment suit when he doesn't need to breathe. David responds by saying that he was designed to be as human as possible to put humans at ease when dealing with him. Not wearing the suit would put him squarely into Uncanny Valley territory.
    • The Engineers, first seen in the movie's intro. They look almost human, but are over ten feet tall, and even if the DNA is mostly the same, they genuinely seem to have about as much in common with us as we have with David.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: It seems odd to cast Noomi Rapace as an English scientist considering she uses her own Swedish voice. The real 'WTH' moment comes with casting an obviously English child actress to play the young Elizabeth. The character being English isn't necessarily vital to the plot, so it would have been less jarring to just have Elizabeth be Swedish like her actress.
  • Vocal Minority: While certainly not perfect, this movie scored a respectable 73% ("Certified Fresh") critical rating on Rotten Tomatoesfar higher than Alien³, Alien: Resurrection or either of the two Alien vs. Predator movies—and its audience rating was almost as high. Still, to hear some longtime Alien fans talk about it, you'd think this film was a complete disgrace to the franchise with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Save for Guy Pearce's faulty makeup (which, as mentioned, can be explained in-universe), even those with a negative opinion on the film can agree that it looks incredible, especially in 3D. Some examples include but not limited to would be the opening shots of the waterfall and the world, The Engineer's sacrifice, and the Starmap.
  • What an Idiot!: Also enough for its own page.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: