Fictional Science: 100 Glaring Logical Issues With Prometheus
Part 1: The Engineer’s Sacrifice (0:00:00 – 0:05:12)
1. What is the planet in the opening sequence? We never find out, and while ambiguity is fine in theory, what few conclusions the viewer can make given subsequent evidence make absolutely no sense. For instance, if we assume that the planet is Earth, major logical issues arise, because…
2. This cannot be the origin of life on Earth. It is what we are led to believe later on as we learn more about the Engineers, but science tells us that life began hundreds of millions of years ago, and the terrain we see in the opening sequence – mountains, rivers, snow, etc. – is consistent with the modern geological era. When life originated on Earth, the planet would look almost entirely different. Even if we just traced humanity back to primates, we would be in a different geological era.
3. If it is not Earth, what is the point of this scene? The only way this sequence actually serves Prometheus in context is if it depicts the creation event characters discuss later on. But if it’s not Earth – and it cannot, by simple math, be Earth – then it serves no point in the narrative.
4. If we share a perfect DNA match with the Engineers, why does the sacrificial Engineer’s DNA have to reconstitute itself? We see the DNA break up and reform before starting cellular mitosis, but this is not scientifically possible or necessary since Elizabeth Shaw later discovers humans and Engineers share the exact same DNA strands, indicating simple sexual reproduction and environment-based evolution, not complex DNA reconstitution.
5. There are no thrusters on the Engineers’ ship. When the Engineers’ spaceship leaves the mysterious planet, we see no propulsion system of any sort that would allow it to fly. Even in futuristic science fiction, the laws of physics should be obeyed.
Part 2 – The Beginning of the Voyage (0:05:12 – 0:15:00)
6. “I think they want us to come and find them.” Why? This is a logical issue that plagues all of Prometheus, but it begins here. Dr. Shaw and Dr. Holloway see a cave painting where a large figure points at a series of circles. Dr. Shaw says the above piece of dialogue. Even if they had a way to know for sure what those circles meant, and who the people in the paintings were, what about the picture indicates humans are meant to go on an epic voyage? Dr. Shaw’s reasoning is never provided.
7. Unit of Measurement Issue: 3.27 x 1024 km is the distance given for how far Prometheus has travelled from Earth. Using kilometers is ridiculous. Cosmic distances are not measured that way, but through special cosmic measurements, like parsecs and light-years, that were created so every scientist or observer could be on the same page about celestial distances.
8. Why are Dr. Shaw’s dreams fully edited with multiple angles and crossfades when David watches them?
9. Who is the little girl with the violin seen in dreams and other ship images over and over again? Again, ambiguity isn’t an inherent problem, but when there is no interpretive context, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
10. Why does the Prometheus begin flashing red warning lights, having other lights flicker in and out, and start tipping from side to side when it nears its destination? We see no evidence of any outer interference that would cause these issues.
11. Why does the Prometheus have glass panels for viewing windows? Unless it’s made of some hyper-strong futuristic material, even the strongest of glasses would not stand up to interstellar speeds or the vacuum of space. It would make much more sense to have cameras and a large view screen, a la Star Trek. See update on the previous page for more information.
12. Why does David not know what ‘casualties’ are when Meredith Vickers asks him? As a hyper-intelligent android, shouldn’t David have a dictionary in his memory banks?
13. The geologist tells the biologist “I’m here to make money.” Why would Weyland hire someone motivated solely by greed for this crucial mission? Seriously. Over a trillion dollars were spent preparing the voyage, and the mission is to seek out the single biggest scientific discovery in human history. I understand that the scientists were not briefed beforehand for security reasons, but wouldn’t you try finding someone a little bit more…eager?
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