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Was Prometheus a good film? Will Alien Covenant be a good film?

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MattM6R

Dec-27-2016 10:16 AM

Short answer: no and I doubt it.

I expect some people will be angry that I am criticising the first film, and others may be angry that I'm casting doubt on the second.  All I can say to those who have considered the many criticisms of Prometheus and dismissed them, is that we have different views.  To those who are excited about Covenant, I share that excitement, but the bitter experience of Prometheus combined with the gestation of Covenant makes me fear the worst.

I won't rehash all the arguments against Prometheus here, but will just flag one small element that I think was symptomatic of many of the film's problems: Stephen Stills's squeezebox. Why was it introduced? A vain attempt to give the captain's character depth, which was otherwise entirely absent. What did it add to the film? Nothing. Where did it lead? Precisely nowhere. How did it fit into the narrative? It didn't - it was entirely pointless. What did it tell us about the mission? That the crew were a vacuous bunch of archetypes who would not have been let near such a momentous mission in a month of Sundays.  In itself it was insignificant and if it was the film's main failing it would be irrelevant. Sadly it was just one of very many similar inanities.

So what is wrong with Covenant? Hopefully no more than the promotion so far and the trailer suggest. As for the promotion, the addition of the 'Alien:' in the title is a tacit acknowledgement of Prometheus's failings (which, incidentally, goes equally for the hoopla made in the promotion about the horror and the adult rating). I sincerely doubt that a film will be any good when the producers seem most focused on informing us why it is so much better than its predecessor. As for the trailer - hmm. Would there have been a shower sex scene in Alien (the 1979 original)? No, because the film was driven by character and mood rather than cliche and "aren't the actors hot?" And right there is the next problem. Covenant will apparently be crewed by a bunch of models. The Nostromo, in comparison, was crewed by normal people. I appreciate the premise is that the Covenant crew are largely (though not entirely) couples of child-bearing age, but next time you see parents dropping their kids off at school, ask yourself whether they look like the crew of Covenant. And what about the backburster? The original alien appearance was, of course, designed to be shocking. And it is highly questionable that a creature of that size could have co-habited for any time in a man's chest, let alone grown so rapidly. But with a little suspension of disbelief it was plausible. And it was shocking. And it presented the central narrative of what was, lets face it, an otherwise pretty corny film (great though it was in execution). The backburster appears to simply be a nonsensical new way of mangling the human body for the sake of column inches.

Crikey, I hope I'm wrong. But I felt good before and after paying to see Alien. I new the aim of the producers was to make money, but they also seemed intent on producing good entertainment and art. The producers of Prometheus (including Scott) only seemed interested in exploiting the franchise. Nothing else. I appreciate much of my disappointment with the latter film stemmed from the anticipation of seeing an Alien prequel (though to be fair, Scott vacillated between whether it was truly a prequel or not - in itself an obvious warning sign). But I've never felt so angry about a film's failings.

With the benefit of the hindsight gained from the Prometheus experience I have very bad vibes about Covenant. Hope I'm wrong, but I may have to wait for a home release before finding out. I'm not sure I can bring myself to hand the producers their share of the cinema admission price this time.

22 Responses to Was Prometheus a good film? Will Alien Covenant be a good film?

Starlogger

Dec-27-2016 2:46 PM

Hmm. Cynical much?

 

I was a bit disappointed by Prometheus, but I think it was still a very good film that asked more questions than it answered. The Box office showed that people liked it considerably. It wasn't "Alien"...it was to be the "big thing from the small beginning" that David alluded to. I.e., it wasn't supposed to give the answers. RS has said from the beginning this is to be a prequel trilogy. 

The trailer has me very excited. I think A:C has GREAT potential. And the one after that should be even better. 

Just chill, and enjoy. I'm just thankful that RS wrestled this thing back from the "Corporation" and is now steering it. We should all be thankful. 

Aorta

Dec-27-2016 2:55 PM

Just remind yourself that this is a movie, nothing more, and if it doesn't satisfy, maybe Blomkamps offering will. 

Shasta cyclone

Dec-27-2016 3:24 PM

Prometheus was good imo but they should have left in all the deleted scenes. It would have given a better understanding as to what was going on. It also left me wanting more which I like because I knew another follow up would be coming.

i think A:C will be good too

itll be mostly horror/sci-fi blood and guts with just enough back story to the engineers to satisfy us while leaving a little bit more to be answered.

Stan Winston (deceased)

Dec-27-2016 6:10 PM

Kudos for sticking your head above the parapet, MattM6R. Your critique of Prometheus' shortcomings resonate with me, be that may perhaps incendiary on this forum.

The example symptom you used was (I think) Janek's accordian, which reminded me of another unnecessary -- and in fact preposterous -- part of the story: that of Janek and Vickers deciding to 'make the beast with two backs', as Shakespeare would write.

In any case, and to keep on topic, I will just close by also agreeing that I was not moved by the trailer either, because in my dirt-cheap opinion, it was not as good as the first Prometheus trailer, which I've already made clear was suboptimal as a story. So that doesn't bode well I'm afraid. That said, I'd love to be made to eat my own hat.

BigDave

Dec-27-2016 6:23 PM

"Just remind yourself that this is a movie, nothing more, and if it doesn't satisfy, maybe Blomkamps offering will. "

Oh dear God NO ;) 

They are giving into Fans who wanted to see Xenos in Alien, how was it made, why was there no Xeno running around killing the crew... Why did we not get to know what happened to the Space Jockey...... and what... they are Bald Big Grey Humans.... NOOOOO!  and No Ripley NOOOO!

the fans who was disapointed as above, may look at AC as giving them there wish... i spoken in person to some people about the Trailer and they talking about great there is not Engineers, great we see Ripleys Mom, Great to see Xenomorphs...

Think they been eating to many of these...

One of these people was disappointed Rogue One never had Solo and Luke LOL

So even if Covenant does not do the trick for these guys.... then Alien 5 will happen and will be the biggest Fanboy Project going.... If that sells.. more than AC... then expect Alien 6 and Alien 7... and by then CGI be so good that we can retcon Prometheus to Alien with CGI Ripleys...

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

BigDave

Dec-27-2016 6:33 PM

But MattM6R

You dont really seem to be one of those.. Fanboys...

And so yes Prometheus was flawed....  it was a visual feast... apart from Scale... (should used LOTR/Hobbit Trickery).

*The Plot.. Bold... If not a Can of Worms (backed themselves into a corner).

*The clever way to give Xeno clues, but no Xenos.... only it was done too Vague... Spaights draft was more straight up Aliens and no thanks.... Lindeloffs went to vague.... we needed a Balance...

*A more Xeno Fifield..... more time spent on the Mural and Frescos with the odd clue.

*Bringing back the Body of Milburn only to have Vickers not let it on board....  then after Fifield attack and Shaws.. Scan..  have David Scan the Body and see something growing in it... but then Janek orders it to be Torched with the Bodies of those attacked by Fifield.

Few other changes that could have gave more clues...

But then there was the poor writting in places, the poor use of Characters and some who are not fleshed out....

The Silly mistakes and moments (Fifield and Milburn) getting lost and Space Cobra Petting...

But alas..... AC could have the same kinds of Faults as i have Highlighted above and also by somehow bypassing the events that effected the Engineers, their Culture, what happened to them on Paradise and LV-223 Prior to David and Shaws arrival...   and what happens post David and Shaws arrival..

Simply ignoring these would be more a Cop Out than the lack of Xeno and clues in Prometheus.... so they have to be covered vaguely...

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Thoughts_Dreams

Dec-28-2016 9:27 AM

It was OK in general but it had too many bad things going on. Bad characters (mostly), a dumb lead character (Shaw), people that made no sense (Ford), petting a space cobra, and so on. Weyland's character wasn't an idiot but his intentions weren't clear which was a huge mistake because his idea of the Engineers were the foundation of the movie (he paid for it). David saved the movie, and I also liked how the captain (Idris Elba) was portrayed. The landscapes in Prometheus were great and I still think that is a good thing about the movie.

 

Hopefully they have learned from their mistakes and have better characters this time. Daniels is a character that I wonder how she is portrayed. I hope that they haven’t made David too evil in this movie although his wish to play God makes sense (remember his “doesn’t everybody want their parents dead?”).

 

Unfortunately, it will be difficult to cut the memory of Prometheus away from this because it is a continuation of a movie that wasn’t very good (I give it 2 out of 5). Hopefully they will be able to fix this. One good thing is that Lindelof isn’t involved in it which isn’t to say that he was the only one to blame for what became of Prometheus.

 

I will not have huge expectations on this one because that will reduce the likelihood that I will be disappointed.

Hicks/Hudson

Dec-28-2016 10:35 AM

Prometheus COULD have been good. Instead, it was filled with nods to the original, little character depth outside of Shaw and David, and a plot that was too bold for itself. Mixing religion with science and mythology only made it more complex, so complex that the characters in the story did things outside their normal boundaries. Also, stupid things in the movie:

Holloway. Anything and everything with his character. He basically wasn't even that good of a foil to Shaw's character as he just came off like a child ("It's Christmas, and I want to open my presents"...jackass).

Fifield and Milburn. Second rate Brett and Parker. Tried way too hard, came off as dum dums doing dum dum things (I'm a trained biologist and I'm going to reach out and touch a NEVER BEFORE SEEN creature that is making hissing sounds like it wants to rip my head off).

The flute. Thanks Lindelof for having the Engineers, with their highly advanced technology, fire up their ship's navigation system with a damn flute. Get out of here.

Shaw's birth. I get it. They needed a chestbursting scene that would make the audience cringe, but the scene involved the main character. Can't have her die, so let's just have her give herself a C-section, rip her innards out, pump a few morphine shots, and run all about the rest of the movie, including grappling a short time with the Engineer who BTW laid waste to 4 other people like they were cardboard.

The whole mythology behind it. Was Jesus an engineer, or a product of the engineers? Is that why when humanity crucified him that they decided to go all Apocalypse Now 2000 years prior and lay waste to us? Millions of clues. Not even the vaguest idea where they were going when writing this.

Sorry for the rant. I did enjoy the movie contrary to the above anger, I just felt it could've been better, a lot better. I am hoping AC will be that answer. Not because there are Xeno's, but because I hope it does the history of Alien justice and makes it fit within the continuity of it all.

ninXeno426

Dec-28-2016 1:04 PM

I wonder why all these cynics are on this site if all your going to do is bitch and wine

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

ninXeno426

Dec-28-2016 1:10 PM

Prometheus may not be perfect but at least they tried.I felt as far prequels it was pulled of better than star wars.

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

ninXeno426

Dec-28-2016 1:21 PM

Plus its already been said Covenant will uplift prometheus.I will also admit Covenant's trailer has left me with some mixed feelings(could have gone without the shower scene.Kinda hope it doesn't make the final cut.)but i also feel that the trailer has purposely held alot back considering things previously known.I also agree that i hope they haven't made david too evil

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

ninXeno426

Dec-28-2016 1:26 PM

Also as far as Blomkamp goes how much can we trust him.He's made 3 movies and 2 of suck.Not my idea of the guy who will liberate the franchise.Especially if Michael Biehn got his and they get Jennifer Lawrence for Newt.At that rate i would rather not have it.

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

Batchpool

Dec-28-2016 1:57 PM

How would you like to sit down to a Xmas meal, to have a plate shoved in front of you with just some vegetables slapped on ? It does’nt matter how well you present this, but you know there is something missing. You know that the vegetables are properly cooked and prepared and presented well, but still there is something missing. This is what Prometheus was. It does not really make it a bad or a good film, because you know it is incomplete and part of a bigger picture. Some meat is required and I think this is what Alien Covenant will deliver. Fans are screaming for the meat and we now have a trailer that delivers a sense of anticipation. For now the meal is incomplete and we will have to wait until the full dish is served. Only at that point will I be happy to say if either are good or bad films. Up to now everything would appear to be falling into place. Just a little more patience required.

Aorta

Dec-28-2016 2:41 PM

I'm actually more openly against Blomkamp's film than most, I think his is the crass money grab, not Ridley's, but I do see that it will fill the void in some people's hearts left by that awful, greedy Ridley Scott. 

BigDave

Dec-28-2016 5:05 PM

some very valid comments...

Prometheus Biggest Flaw really..... was it was trying to cover too much in such a small time frame...  some elements could have been fleshed out more.. some scenes expanded on... if you read Lindeloffs draft you will see so many of Prometheus Flaws do not rest on his shoulders...

The Final Product was more ambigious, and butchered than the drafts... they should have taken Lindeloffs draft... added a few Spaights elements (just a few like 10-20%) Tidied it all together to make a new draft and then put that to screen.

With more time and dialog clues to the Mural and Fresco.. different Fifield...  Well i had a lot of ideas to add to Prometheus and change and i was going to re-write Lindeloffs draft (about 10% of it) add about 15% ideas from Spaights and add about 10% my own to tidy it up and make the Prometheus movie draft that should have been...

I never got round to it though lol

But if i did... then my draft to be put to screen would have been a 2hr 30 min movie... 

Sadly Prometheus only had a limited run time, and so cuts and changes had to be made... these effected the movie..

Go and read Lindeloffs draft and imagine this on screen, with however you wanted to modify the look on screen (i.e if you was Ridley Scott) so say you add what Fifield and Deacon design you preferred... you could add more detail to the Mural and Fresco or spend that few more seconds on them.

And you would then be able to imagine a Final Product that was good..

As for AC its early yet, but looking at the Trailers.. i worry there is going to be a number of things that people would pull up as Dumb.... unexplained and Plot Holes... just you wait ;)

Also Alien they did some really silly stuff.... too..

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

ninXeno426

Dec-28-2016 5:32 PM

What about Alien did you think was silly

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

ninXeno426

Dec-28-2016 5:36 PM

Not looking for a fight just curious

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

Lone

Dec-28-2016 5:43 PM

Some hated Prometheus whilst others loved it, and no doubt Covenant will split viewer opinion in a similar manner. I do understand both camps.

Prometheus wasn't what I was expecting. I had little concept of the direction it would take, and I was rather stunned by that. Now, I feel that it was very clever, and very wise not to give people another lacklustre, predictable story. 

I'm just glad that our beloved Alien series has been given another chance. Just because a director is old doesn't mean that he cannot breathe new life and freshness into a tired franchise, or be deprived of the chance to do so.

I'm not claiming that Prometheus was without flaws, but I found it exciting because of the breadth of scope and the possibilities it opened up. It should also be acknowleged that it is the first of the A L I EN prequels, so should not be fully judged on it's own, even though it could be taken as a stand alone.

Patience and some time will hopefully result in at least another Prometheus sequel/Alien prequel, perhaps two and Blomkamps addition to the series, when he has his chance, all fitting together nicely. 

THE LONE GUNWOMAN

"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

dk

Dec-28-2016 9:02 PM

I agree with Big Dave that Prometheus tried to cover too much. I also disliked most except for David 8- who carried the film.  Prometheus seemed polarizing to fans, and seeing where RS was taking it and changed course when Bloomkamp proposed Alien 5, it seems AC should be a pretty good film.

dk

Dec-29-2016 2:14 AM

I just watched Prometheus again. David was great and Vickers was pretty good but underdeveloped. Shaw was a wishy washy character who was supposedly scientific but relied too much on faith and Holloway was just a d()k. The rest were forgettable if they were introduced at all. Nowhere to go but up with AC.

Hicks/Hudson

Dec-29-2016 4:50 AM

I'm not trying to tear down Prometheus. As I said I did enjoy it overall, it was just as Big Dave said...tried to cover to much in a small span.

I'm just nervous for AC. I re-watched the trailer, and the I watched the trailer for Prometheus. The Prometheus trailer got me excited, it was visually there, it didn't really give any plot points away. I can honestly say it was one of the more re-watchable trailers I've ever seen. I just didn't get that feeling with AC's trailer. Hopefully the 2nd trailer will be better. I just want it to be good is all.

 

Durp004

Dec-29-2016 4:55 AM

I don't hate Prometheus, but I don't by any means love it. I've probably watched the film 3 times since its release, and if I never saw it again I wouldn't really mind. The film just had so many things it wanted to talk about that it got lost trying to keep track of them. It kind of reminds me of the Star Wars prequels in that aspect. A lot of good ideas that could go somewhere, but so smashed and forced together that we didn't get a lot of info we wanted, and got too much info we didn't care about or went nowhere.

 

I don't know about A:C I won't really talk too much based on 1 trailer, as we've all seen trailers that look horrible and have great movies, and great trailers that make crap movies.

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