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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Initial Impressions: 6th Edition

Hey there Chaos fans! Woo Boy! We do live in exciting times for 40K, don't we? New models, new paints, and a brand spanking new rule book- 6th Edition is here. The book is huge- a might tome indeed. It is a whopping 432 pages long. Though it is $75, my wife who works in the publishing biz, says that 75 isn't outrageous for a book this size in today's market. She would know. Flipping through the book at a glance, you can see that this book has everything. There's a ton of model pics, amazing artwork, gate fold pics/art, the rules, the storyline, appendices, and a ton more. The book is simply crammed with stuff.

The Mighty Tome
Now, I have only fully read from basic rules through to the 6 Eternal War missions- I can read the fluff parts at my own pace. I really wanted to get to the gaming rules first. It will take several read-throughs to take in the whole thing. However, I can tell you that the game is going to be a bit more complicated, but not cumbersome. Basically, the structure of play is the same, but there are a few tweeks, options, rules, etc. that make the game more complex than 5th (I remember people complaining that 4th/5th made it too simple). I won't say it harkens back to earlier editions, but it certainly adds depth to things. Without having played yet mind you, I think the game is going to be fun, and the player will have to think a bit more carefully about things. There is also going to be a bit more randomness- not so much that the game is just a matter of dice rolls- no. There is a ton of strategy and tactics to be used (more than before). However, there will be moments when you may try a desperate move, which is a dice roll and bam! Either you succeed in something crazy/brave/daring, or you fail miserably, ashamed and exposed to danger. I think it will make for some rather wild moments, dramatic, intense and fun.

Yes, I'm weak... I caved and bought it. Wanna make something out of it?

As I said, this will take several read-throughs (and practice games) to get everything, but here are some of the things that first jumped out at me that are of big importance:

1) 2D6 charge length: at first glance, I know people will dislike this, I welcome it. I think this is going to make for some exciting charges. Some charges will fail, others will be 12"- a huge, desperate charge. I think it reflects the chatoic nature of war. Sometimes they can charge straight in, other times the explosions and such will stop them. I think it'll be a great game mechanic. It will frustrate sometimes, but be exhilirating at other times. (Fleet allows you to re-roll this).

2) Overwatch/Snap Fire: again, another mechanic that makes realistic sense- If I'm being charged at from 6" away, I'll probably try to open fire, to stop 'em from getting to me. Shooting at BS1 (6) is a perfect way to represent this. I think this will make CC a bit more challenging, but in no way will it prevent CC (as some doomsayers have whined). It will just make it more realistic and more desperate.

3) Allies: certainly, this is GW's way to get people to buy more models. Their very text suggests reasons why Imperial Guard might work with Ork mercinaries... Yes, they want you to buy. However, long time players already have a ton of models. This is a nice way to incorporate them into games. I'm looking at this and saying "Yes! I can do a Plague Marine army with Chaos Daemons!" or "I can use a Traitor Guard army with a detachment of Plague Marines"... I don't know how this will impact "army balances", however this looks like it can be fun, and certainly good for storylines and such. This is no longer relegated to just an Apocalypse thing.

Wonderful artwork throughout
 4) Universal Special Rules: Many of the rules here have been tweaked, some are the same, and their are a ton of new ones. I can already see where the new Chaos Codex may be headed here... things like "Concussive", "Fleshbane", "Fear" and more... intriguing. Fearless is more like what it was in earlier editions. FNP has gone from 4 to 5+, but I'm OK with that. And wait till you see what flying monstrous creatures are capable of.

5) Challenges/Look Out Sir/ Focused Fire: here's some smaller, additional rules that will make things a bit more complex, but also making the game more strategic. With Challenge, your squad leader actually matters beyond simply a higher leadership. Look Out Sir takes a "heroic" idea straight out of war story sacrifices. Focused Fire allows you to fire at those outside of cover, meaning ypu have a greater chance at kiling the enemy without a ton of cover saves.

6) The Eternal War Missions: 5th edition sucked when it game to missions, with only 3 types; so limiting. 6th gives you 6 missions, with primary and secondary objectives. There's enough variety here, which is a vast improvement over 5th. I can't wait to try The Relic mission, which sounds alot like "Capture the Flag" from video games. There are other scenarios/missions later in the book, though I haven't gotten to them yet.

7) Vehicles/Flyers: On the one hand, vehicles are in danger because of hull points. However, I have not read anywhere in the book (again, I need more read-throughs) that "2 stunned = wrecked" as some had suggested. The hull points issue may mean that vehicles can be killed off a bit more easily. Yet, tanks can move 12", and then move an additional 6" for Flat Out (no shooting at all). That should help get tanks behind some obscuring cover. As for Fast Skimmers- oooohhh boy! My Dark Eldar are going to be very happy, I think. Finally, Flyers do indeed add some complication, as they are treated far, far differently from skimmers (flight modes, vector attacks, etc.). However, I am interested to try it with my Dark Eldar Razorwing... it may turn out to be something that shakes up the game a bit more. 

I'll stop at 7, as that is Nurgle's number... There's a ton of other stuff, but these seven are the big ones for me at the moment. I am really looking forward to trying out these new rules. Just reading it got me excited about trying out new ideas and seeing how they'll play out. I've read elsewhere that people were apprehensive about 6th, they didn't want to change from 5th, or they want a complete and total change to be in line with other tabletop games. They are entitled to their views, though I don't share them. As of now, I think that 6th is going to be really, really good. It changes the game just enough to make it interesting and different, without changing it so much that it would be unrecognizable. I'm content so far, and I can't wait to play my first game of 6th. Should I play as my old Plague Marines? The Dark Eldar? Chaos Daemons? Should I use allies right away, or save that for a later occassion?

I'll post again after I have read more of the massive tome... Still to come is the Dark Millennium fluff and the Campaigns/Scenarios section, plus the Psykers appendix. Until next time...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Maximizing Your Gaming Dollar The The Chaos Way: Ur-Ghuls

Welcome back to this abode most accursed. It is I, you maestro of Chaos! Your epitome of evil! I'm back with another edition of Corners of Chaos. As I posted previously, I have been working on several projects- it keeps me engaged in my modeling, but it also means that I finish stuff slower, since my attention continuously shifts around. However, I have finished my latest project... the Ur-Ghuls!

Now, this post is another in a series of articles in the "Maximizing Your Gaming Dollar The Chaos Way". As longtime lurkers know, I love Warhammer 40K- the game, the mythology, and the painting/modeling aspect. However, I can readily admit that GW, as a company, sometimes goes too far. Now, I don't begrudge them a profit, as many posters do. They seem to think that GW owes all players something- no. They are a company. They want to make money. When a video game company charges $60 a game- well, some are worth it and others aren't. No one seriously suggests that XBox games should be only $39.99- and if they don't drop we'll boycott. Ridiculous. GW wants profit, just like any other business.

Yes, GW wants to make money... that's why they are a business

With that in mind, I "understand" why the new rulebook will be $75. I'm not thrilled with the price tag, but, I know I'll buy it, as I love the game and am fairly certain that it will be good to shake up the rules and keep the game fresh. It is the "cost of doing business", and I understand that I'm in a hobby that does cost money. I'm willing to pay for the quality of the product.

On the other hand, there are things that I simply believe are way too overpriced. When that happens, I find a cost effective way to make my own whatever-it-is. As a Chaos player, I do conversions already; thus, I am always looking for more effective ways to make models that are otherwise too costly/not worth it. Case in point is the Ur-Ghuls. Now, these critters are part of the Court of the Archon. They are monsters or hunters if you will. They simply chase down their prey at the behest of the Archon. A Dark Eldar lord can bring up to five of these horrors with him. The model itself is nice- matching the description quite well. However.... the price! Wow! $16!! That's as much dough as the Archon model itself. Now, I don't mind paying that for a leader/ single model, but when you can have 5 of these creatures- that adds up to an astonishing $80!! That's way too much money for something that is essentially a small bodyguard. Like I said, I'd buy 1 or 2... but 5? No freakin' way!

It's a nice model, but... not worth $16.00, so let's try the Chaos Way!

So, I did what all good Chaos players know how to do. I looked for inspiration elsewhere. I had, a while ago, bought Vampire Counts Crypt Ghouls. I had initially planned to use them for my Nurgle forces. However, that project got lost in the myriad of other things I was working on, and I had left the box in my basement, forgotten. Then, of course, I found it again... I had already seen some guys on BoLS working on a similar conversion. So, why not?

The Court of the Archon
The truth is, I did nothing to them with putty or anything. They're my Ur-Ghuls, so if I want them to have two eyes, so what? They are the Crypt Ghouls right out of the box, except for the round bases. Presto. Painting-wise, I started with a coat of Incubi Darkness (one of my favorite new colors). Then, I used a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade (love the new paints, but the names will take me some time to adjust to). Once dried, I layered various blues and greys, with the results you can see. I used Etherium Blue Dry to highlight, and Praxeti White for the bones. The fingernails/teeth were Tallarn Sand. Finally, to tie them into the Court of the Archon, I painted their small loincloths with the old Scab Red and then Nuln Oil (just as I had on the Court). I also applied Nuln Oil to the joints/crevasses of the Ur-Ghuls, which quickly game them more depth.

I did the cloth the same as the other servants of the Court
 So, to recap: if I bought the finecast Ur-Ghuls, I'd spend $80 on 5. The Chaos way, using the Crypt Ghouls, I spent $24.75 for 10... $2.48. Now, I only used 5, with bits left over for future projects. If you want to say only 5, then that translates into $4.95. Still, a third of the price of one finecast model!! You can't go wrong...

Notice the Nuln Oil shading
The result is just fine, in my opinion. They look close enough to the "real" Ur-Ghul, and cost far less. Plus, they are hardly "centerpiece" models to begin with- try the Incubi or something if you want to have that effect. Why spend $16 on one Ur-Ghul when you can get 10 for just a few bucks more.

I will find out if the Court of the Archon is an effective option soon enough...
Anyways, that's all for now. I'll be back later on when I finish more stuff. I am also hoping to review both of Nolan's Batman films (to get ready for The Dark Knight Rises) and continue my Star Trek movie reviews. Until next time...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Just Completed: The Mandrakes

Hey there Chaos people! I'm back with a painting update. I have been a busy guy, currently working on several projects at once. Now, this keeps me excited and energized, but it also means that I have a lot of stuff that is being worked on, but not finished. I have my super-duper big secret project, but I've decided to wait on that until I've cleared the rest of the stuff I currently have on my work table. Then, I have  other top secret projects going too, in fact these next few photos reveal hints of them (just look carefully).

With the new 6th edition coming upon us, and hopefully a new, improved, and awesome Chaos Codex following thereafter, it is exciting times for 40K players and the Chaos Corner. I can't wait to get my hands on the new rules and Chaos goodies. However, I still have a ton of Dark Eldar models to complete. So, before the new Chaos book is unleashed, I decided to really go after the Dark Eldar. I may not finish every sing one (who can really finish an army, after all? My friend Pete says that there is a Warhammer myth/ability- one cannot die if they have models they're working on, so I should be good for quite a while).

In any case, I have just completed a set of 5 Mandrakes. Now, of all the finecast I bought these past few months, these were of the poorest quality. The rest of my finecast purchases have pleased me with their sharp looks and excellent model-ability. They just go together so much better than the metals. However, the Mandrakes I got (an initial batch, as I bought them when they first came out as finecast. They were warped, damaged, their slotters either broke or were hopelessly deformed. I think finecast is a good product overall, but these Mandrakes were exhibit "A" for the problems of finecast.

I had been so discouraged after putting them together that I simply put them away and forgot about them. I have painted a ton in the meantime. Then, I recently saw the Mandrakes in my army tray, and I said to myself- "If you're going to make more headway on the Dark Eldar, these should be tackled".

So, I began to think about color schemes. My old, old, old metal Mandrakes looked like this (bottom right corner of the pic):

My painting has come a long way since 2001
So, I wanted to pay homage to my old scheme, while also reflecting my current scheme. That, and I love the new background of the Mandrakes as beings of cold shadow, "unlight given life". With that as my inspiration, I decided to make the skin of the Mandrakes black (used Abbadon Black) and off-white hair as contrast (Longbeard dry).

Too bad that Khorne Bezerker can't see in the shadows- he is being stalked!

The flames and runes I decided to do with Khorne Red, followed by a wash of Charrbourg Crimson. Then, I used Wazdakka Red and Kindleflame as highlights for their flames. It is fire, but a cold, icy fire; totally unnatural Balefire. Looking at their bodies, the black and red go with the rest of my Dark Eldar, but in a nasty, unreal way.

"Mandrakes exist both in reality and a cursed otherworld..."

Their cloaks I painted Macharius Standard Grey, which was then washed in Nuln Oil. I followed that with a few highlights of Stormvermin Fur. Thus, the cloaks look dingy, dirty grey. Yes, the Codex describes their cloaks as being the skin of those that betrayed the Mandrakes, but I figure, after going in and out of shadows for so long, the flesh has long since degraded, taking on the aspect of shadows themselves.

" fight them is to fight living shadow"

Finally, basing the Mandrakes I decided to go a different route- I used Astrogranite Texture and again Longbeard Dry as the highlight. Why the change? I wanted to show that the Mandrakes had drained all color from their surroundings- sucking it dry. The base rim I did Steel Legion Drab in order to keep them tied into my DE base scheme somehow.

The warped blades add to the unreality of the models

But, what of the warped weapons, you ask? I left them that way. I decided that I would use the finecast problem to my advantage. Since these things are coming through shadows and all, it would be fitting if they AND their weapons seemed to be here but not here all at the same time- flickering in and out of the light/reality. So, the bent/warped weapons actually give them that appearance. I used Khorne Red again for the handles, and did a very light Necron Compound over the black blades, again aiding the appearance of a shadow becoming real.

So, that's about it for the Mandrakes. I have never used them before, so I'll let you know if they are effective. I'll be back soon with another posting of stuff that I am completing. Until next time...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Movie Review: Prometheus

Hey there Chaos fans. I know its been a while since I posted, but frankly, it's been a bit busy here in the Eye of Terror, with the forces of Chaos building mighty war machines and making sacrifices to the gods and... OK. Well, I've been busy doing work, family, and house-related stuff. On the 40K front I am working on some more Wyches and a few other surprises that I won't get into just now. However, I have also gotten a chance to see Prometheus. So, is it a grand return to the Alien universe? Or is it just a continual slide into mediocre sequels? Let's take a look...

You knew right off the bat that this movie would be unique since Ridley Scott was coming back to direct. He directed the original, groundbreaking Alien, so if anyone could/should do a sequel, its him. But, as a director, he is very, very hit or miss. When he hits, its huge- Alien, Blade Runner, Legend, and Gladiator redefined their respective genres, changing the very discourse of movie-making. Others have been solid, entertaining movies but not at all revolutionary, such as American Gangster and Hannibal. Others still have been misfires- I look at the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven, and I see the potential but it doesn't quite work. Then, there are the absolute failures- Robin Hood, G.I. Jane, 1492, and Black Hawk Down (yes, I view it as a failure). Now, some might say that this "inconsistency" make Scott a bad director- I say that's what makes him a modern great- you never quite know what you'll get from him, but you know that he has and does continue to push boundaries.

First thing first- this is NOT Alien. While it IS a prequel, it is not 100% connected either. It is indeed the same universe, and the "Space Jockey" is prominent, it simply isn't like Alien in terms of horror, tension, nor as a movie structure. It is quite different and unique, for good and ill. Ultimately, Alien was a slasher movie- the Alien could have been Leatherface or Michael Myers chasing down people... We have this unknowable thing that seems to exist just to kill. Now, of course, its a xenomorph and it implants in people and all that- but, at the end of the day, it is stalking people and killing them, a good, old-fashioned slasher movie.  Its a great piece of sci-fi, but at its heart it is a genre blending of sci-fi and slasher-horror, which is simply a brilliant conceit, and of course it is handled so well, with no moments of being meta or self-referential.  And for the record, Aliens, equally good as a movie, is simply a Romero zombie movie, but now with Aliens. Check it out- the "marines" have guns, but there's just too many Aliens, so they hunker down and barricade themselves in for protection- and you know how well that works out in zombie movies. Cameron did a great job on Aliens- he understood the genre-blending, and took it to the next logical step. (The rest of the Alien franchise doesn't exist to me- sorry). But that begs the question- what is Prometheus, then?

On the face of it, it is not really a horror movie at all. It is more sci-fi than either of the other two. The movie asks serious sci-fi questions: was the human race created by another race? What is our purpose in the universe? Can we control our own destiny? Does a "higher power" care about us, as children or kindred? Now, nearly every sci-fi venture has tried at least a cursory look at these questions at some point or another- Star Trek, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Battlestar Galactica (yes, both series), and more have all looked at these questions. Usually, the answers are either totally ambiguous or positively re-affirming- Kirk doesn't find God in STV, but believes he exists, for example. Now, this is where the "horror" comes in: there may be no solid answers, and those answers that are there are not in the least bit positive. Indeed, one can interpret the events of Prometheus as quite damning- we were created, but... our "creators" don't care for us, and indeed may well hate our very existence.

I don't want to hit too many spoilers at this point, because I think that all sci-fans should see this in theaters- love it or hate it (and there's arguments for both) it deserves to be seen and critiqued. So, let me boil down the basic plot outline, give a few pros and cons, and then my rating. Then, I'll delve into some spoilers, if you wish to have a look.

In several pre-historic cave paintings, the same painting of a large being (godlike) is shown pointing to 5 stars- each cave painting is separated over distance and thousands of years- the scientists investigating, Elizabeth Shaw and her boyfriend Charlie Holloway believe that aliens (Shaw calls them engineers) must be responsible for this, and perhaps they hold the answers of humanity's origins. Although it is not shown, the scientists convince the wealthy Peter Weyland that they can find these beings (imagine the director of 1492 doing a riff on Columbus asking Isabella for cash to find a new route to Asia). Weyalnd builds the state of the art Prometheus space vessel to bring the group of scientists to the source of these paintings. After 2 years in cryo-sleep, the crew finds LV-223, they land and begin to explore. They find ruins, dead "engineers", and of course... something terrible. Something that is so unpredictable, lethal, and terrifying that even the "engineers" had reason to fear. The crew must then fight for their lives- not only from without but also from within as several crew members begin to act on shadowy motives. Can they uncover the secrets of the "engineers"? Can they escape with their lives? Will their discovery threaten all of Earth?

The Good:

The movie has great ideas, no doubt there. As I mentioned above, it is asking big questions, and the answers that are given or hinted at are not at all re-assuring. Indeed, this is existential horror- all of our lives are insignificant, as nothing, in a hostile universe. At best a mistake, at worst- a crime to be expunged. Hehe- a bit of 40K Gothic horror right there, I think. I appreciated the darkness of the movie. There seems to be little hope by the end- for the crew, for us as individuals, and for us as a race. The lessons of the movie are bleak, and not all questions have clear answers, and faith may not be enough. I don't mind my movies being this murky, and as Scott has proved with Alien and Blade Runner, bleakness can be effective. It certainly is here. If Alien's tag line was "In space, no one can hear you scream", Promethus' could be: "Don't even bother screaming; the universe doesn't care".

The main actors all do a great job with their roles. Noomi Rapace is solid as Elizabeth Shaw. She is not in any way like Ripley- she's a scientist who has deep religious sentiments and is hopeful that she may be on the way to finding a wonderful, spiritual truth for mankind. Of course, it turns into a decent into hell, and she does a great job of showing the spiritual and physical strain this journey hits her with. If her warm and compassionate character is the yin, Michael Fassbender's David is the cold, calculating and truly inhuman yang. David is the requisite android on board, who is supposed to advance the mission- however, he has several agendas all his own, and he pursues them without any real moral compunction. He is neither good or evil- he is amoral, and Fassbender knocks it out of the park- just as he did when playing Magneto in X-Men First Class. The main cast is rounded out by Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Logan Marshall-Green. All three do a fine job, though Fassbender and Rapace are the highlights.

The special effects and the score are both absolutely top notch. Scott has outdone himself visually here- and we're talking about the director who did Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator here- all of which have stirring images and camera-work. Scott does an amazing job of making us feel as if we are seeing a real alien planet landscape- it is so striking, so otherworldly, and yet something we can relate to. Of course, then there's the "engineers'"... uh... dwelling (don't want to give too much away here), which is equally stunning. The designs of Geiger are felt here in these dark, labyrinthine corridors. Finally, the ship Prometheus itself is a wonderful ship inside and out- hearkening to the Nostromo but being far sleeker (and smaller). The movie is visually stunning. The score is great too- while Alien was minimalist (appropriately so), Prometheus' score is bombastic- fitting, considering what these scientists are looking for (and what they find).

The Bad:

The actual script/dialogue could use some work, as far as the secondary characters go. They are quite annoying and distracting from the high-minded dialogue of Fassbender et al. Some of the lines just fall flat, and the actors saying them just aren't convincing. There were certain bits of banter that just pulled me out of it- I was surprised at that from Scott. Then, there's the actions of several of these guys that don't make sense. I mean downright stupid- such as the Captain leaving things unattended at a critical point. Now, I cant tell if that is poor scripting, or if Scott is being so cynical about humanity that they are selfish and constantly mess up (which, if you read the movie that way, may certainly be the case).

Second is the pacing. Now look, I'm the guy who has sat through all three LotR movies in a row. I love movies that are given time to breathe and explore. I also love quick action too. Prometheus tries to do both, and suffers from this several times. The action scenes go by so quick, and then there's longer stretches in between that are occasionally too slow as compared to the rest of the movie. This makes the movie a bit haphazard. It needed to be one or the other- not both. Some characters, like Captain Janek, are good characters, but they don't get enough time to be built up (which hurts when Janek pieces a clue together, without the audience even knowing he knew to ask the question to begin with).  Finally, big questions are asked, themes hinted at, but they fall quickly by the wayside in a rush of action, and then decompression. Intentional? Challenging? A mistake? I don't know if this can be remedied by a "director's cut" or what, but the pacing is off, no doubt about it.

The ending- now, I don't mean the end of the story of the Prometheus. It's after that. Something happens- something is thrown in at the last minute to firmly tie Alien and Prometheus together- and it was handled poorly. Indeed, it was almost insulting. It was so unnecessary- it was almost as if Scott was told by the studio- you had better put this in so people will KNOW it is an Alien prequel. Let me put it this way- it could have been an after the credits wink wink to the audience... for a crappy B-movie. It should NOT be here, and it ruined the power of the ending a strong sci-fi movie.

So, I can't get into more without spoilers, so it is here that I bid you adieu, unless you want to read a few spoilers, which I place below... As for the movie, I give it three out of four Marks of Chaos. It's a thought provoking movie, with great effects, strong main characters, and solid suspense. Its not fantastic though, due to some pacing issues and some questionable dialog and actions that don't seem to fit in with the rest of the movie- making for an occasional jarring experience. Perhaps a director's cut can alleviate this? Regardless, if you are a sci-fi fan, you owe it to yourself to see this- even if you come away not liking it, it will cause some thought and discussion, which so many movies can't be bothered with on ANY level. I think the movie succeeds, but even if you view it as failure, it tries hard to push the boundaries of what s sci-fi/horror film can be.

Still there? OK. I don't want to go into every single thing, but I want to hit the big points/spoilers:

1- One Engineer created mankind. That is the implication of the opening scene. Now, was this directed by the engineers as a whole? Or... was he a rouge? Did he kick start human life on his own accord? If so, that would give a new meaning to the title Prometheus. So, was mankind a planned event? Or the act of a renegade? Or was it an experiment not meant to get this far? Which leads us to...

2- Why are the engineers now hostile to humanity? They seem to be mad at humanity, and its apparent that the "black mutagen" was meant to wipe us out. Is it to erase the mistake? Or has  humanity grown too powerful and/or wicked? Or weak, if it comes to that. Of course, the "black mutagen" was too much for the engineers to handle, and the engineers on LV-223 are wiped out. Now, why other engineers on other planets didn't act against Earth, I'm not sure, yet. So, the "mutagen" is a bio-weapon, as Captain Janek suggests (how he comes to this conclusion, I'm not sure- as I cited earlier- he just come out of the blue with this- he needed more screen time).

3-  One of the themes seems to be that man is wicked/imperfect/sinful. While Shaw is a good person, the same can't be said for... Weyland himself. He is hiding on board. He wants to meet the engineers, thinking they might cure him / give him the boon of immortality. Now, he is not a "nice" man- he has been instructing David to lie to the crew, and is only looking to benefit himself. However, Weyland himself is a creator too- he created David. He has "created", but has not taught David anything of morality, respect, compassion. Weyland has rejected this responsibility- he uses David, and that's all. Oh, and Vickers is an android too. The evidence is right there all the time. She may or may not know it, but she is. Look closely for those clues.

4- As for David, he is amoral. The things he does puts everyone at risk, as he seeks answers to what is happening on the planet. Ostensibly, he is doing Weyland's bidding. However, I think its more complicated than that. David simply wants to be his own being. Interestingly, Holloway wonders to David about how Weyland is seeking his maker while ignoring that which Weyland himself has created. Later, David says that all children want to see their parents dead. If one is looking to judge humanity, just look at their works. If David is an example of man's work, you can see how the Engineers might judge humanity as lacking. Indeed, what does David tell the cryogenically frozen engineer when he is reawakened? That brings me to the last point...

5- The only living engineer becomes very hostile, attacks the humans, and then begins to prep the ship to fly- apparently for Earth. Did the engineer not know what happened while he was in stasis? Was there a malfunction, or was it that there was no engineer left alive to wake him? As for David, I suspect he tells him that the humans have invaded (duh- they are standing right in front of him) and killed his brethren, which leads him to attack. To stop the ship from heading to Earth with the "black mutagen",  Captain Janek heroically flies the Prometheus into the ship, wrecking both- one of the most thrilling moments in the movie. However, Shaw knows there are other Engineers out there... and she still wants to know WHY things are like this with the Engineers.

Now, this all adds up to a bleak tale, in which humanity is weak and sinful, and the Engineers seem to be quite hostile toward us- whether we were created by accident or not. I haven't even touched on Shaw being "impregnated"...My views you have read, but I have seen other views- people have plenty of theories on all of this, touching on things I haven't even considered yet. Some have a more positive take on the events here, though I look at them as an existential crisis. That is what I like about the movie- there's lots of angles you can look at the movie from. I really need to see this again, so I can dissect it further...

Anyways, that's my 2 cents. Until next time...