Alien and the religious angle
Posted Feb-12-2017 2:31 PM
Since Alien the series has gotten progressively more religious.Alien was simple,The Nostromo's refinery towers resembled cathedrals,plus Ridley described the film as having gothic terror.Aliens didn't seem to have any really(if there's something I'm missing feel free to point it out.)Alien 3 made the first big steps starting with Vincent Ward's Wooden planet.In it he described a group of monks who had been excommunicated from earth centuries ago,and lived on a space station covered completely with wood.They believed themselves to be the last remnants of mankind.The also believed the xenomorph to be the devil.They even forcibly remove Ripley's queen out through her throat in what they describe as an excorsism.The religious order is still echoed in the final film with Dillon leading the prisoners in a bizarre apocalyptic order.Alien Resurrection went one step further with its title being an almost literal nod to the Resurrection of Christ.Early sketches of the Auriga even had it shaped in the form of a crucifix to match the theme.Prometheus even more so than that as it literally deals with our creation.We have Shaw who is driven by her faith(a major point of contention with fans as far as The character goes)to meet our makers,our Gods if you will.There are some possible links from what transpired on LV-223 to the crucifixion of Christ.It's possible he may have been an engineer.We even have Shaw give a virgin birth of sorts,she cannot create life but does through being infected by the black goo.The film takes place on Christmas,that's no coincidence says Ridley Scott.Even at the end of the film Shaw keeps her faith.Now we have Alien Covenant.This one places Shaw and David(i forgot to point out the biblical themes behind his name)on the world of our creators.While its unclear what happened to the engineers,it is clear that David and Shaw become an Adam and Eve for this world Paradise which can be looked at as the garden of Eden .Not only Does David play Adam,but also the snake in the garden of Eden.David also seems to play the role of both God and the Devil,both creator and deceiver.There's also The Covenant itself.Aside from the religious implications with the name of the ship,it Also appears to take on the role of Noah's Ark,carrying only couples two and two.I think there's a lot more to point out,of course if I've missed something feel free the point it out.Is it possible with all the heavy handed religious themes to get an idea on Where the series might go next?Would David literally turn the Covenant into the Ark of the Covenant?Something that holds a terrifying and deadly power?Were the engineers a victim to an event similar to that of the flood?Between Prometheus and Alien Covenant,there are a lot of biblical apocalypse themes at work,so it does seem possible.
Posted Feb-15-2017 8:46 AM
The only Alien movie except for Prometheus that dealt a lot with religion was Alien 3 and there they managed to get it right because they were not fanatics or dumb about it. Some of the prisoners even questioned the religious thing.
Shaw just came off as stupid about her religious beliefs. Not even after all she went through does she question her beliefs (which is another issue that I have about the character). Believing in God and mix it with religion doesn’t always need to be a contradiction, it depends how you do it but they didn’t get it right with Shaw.
I don’t see where it fits with Alien but I agree that there isn’t any in Aliens. As far as the religious thing in covenant I hope that they focus on other things but to put some questions about religion and our roots is alright if it is done in an interesting way. They got to get it better this time around.
Hopefully Alien Covenant won’t be as much about religion as Prometheus was. I agree with Stan Winston about this.
Posted Feb-16-2017 10:25 AM
Michelle: You have a point about David having plenty of information. But could he foresee how the engineer would react when awoken after about 2000 years in cryosleep - and the sole survivor of the engineers on LV-223 (perhaps the only one still alive at all)? Would he still stubbornly carry on with the plan of destroying mankind or would he reconsider? One thing David obviously didn’t foresee was that he would get his head torn off. :)
Posted Feb-16-2017 2:55 PM
@Chli. My way of looking at this is that David was driven principally by curiosity. He had nothing to fear for himself. "The trick is Mr Potter for me its does not hurt". The second driver was his passive aggressive role as servant to Sir Peter Weyland. He had none of the thinking that drove Janek/Meredith or Janek/ Shaw. They were curious as to the effect of the wakeup but there were a series of other sophisticated emotionally responses to what had happened informing them. Its clear to me the audience did not have that communicated as effectively to them as it should have been otherwise they would have seen that scene as the single most tension filled moment of these sequence of films. 6 billion souls future hung on that wake up and what happened, and the threat the Engineer posed should have been seen to be far greater than the sub created bio weapon of the nostromo. Sir Peter this pathetic wizened old man was in that moment the most dangerous member of his species and in terms of the overall arching story his gift to the story is to bequeath that theme of unbridled self absorption and self interested acquisitiveness to the future which without Ripley would have given the mutagenised outcome a second chance.
The other gift that emerges out of this story telling is the question of how David "feels" about having his head ripped of by the Engineers and how that informs his future decisions.
As humans when making decisions we prioritise our needs and then make a judgement of how to act. Often risk management is consciously or subconsciously influencing those judgements. David at that point did not appear to have the latter algorithm it was literally unbridled curiosity pursued for Sir Peter's mad delusional ambitions.
Posted Feb-16-2017 4:59 PM
ali81 - I have the books but I won't ruin your future reading experience. :) I think the visual characteristics of the movie 2010 are brilliant. Read and watch simultaneously, that would be an exciting reading-spree.
Hungarian edition of 2061 - the cover was painted by Gábor Szikszai and Zoltán Boros:
Other (Alien/Predator) paintings by them:
Posted Feb-17-2017 11:44 AM
Michelle: I agree that it is a very important moment and it could have been made into a Hollywood climax scene in the likeness of Armageddon but I suppose that is one of Scott’s characteristics that he wants to tone down and leave things more ambiguous and in the eye of the beholder (e.g. not showing too much of the alien)?
It might also be the case that Lindelof didn’t make the best of what was possible (as compared to Spaihts) when it comes to creating suspense? On the other hand, Prometheus has with its ambiguity, and maybe even flaws, perhaps made it one of the most discussed movies in the Alien franchise? It is really interesting in very many ways (e.g. picking Zeta Reticuli as the setting which was in the center of the UFO discussion in the 60s, etc.)?
Was David really passive-aggressive by the way? Wasn’t he very active in bringing things about and not a “person” sitting sulking in a corner and obstructing things? He sets things in motion but in a delicate way? I agree with you that he could be looked upon as a curious boy, like a very intelligent child without experience.
I don’t necessarily see Sir Peter as a “pathetic wizened old man”. You simply can’t be all of these things at the same time. Or can you? Peter might be seen as an egoistic person seeking knowledge, power, money, eternal life (only to himself?). But isn’t this a bit of a cliché of the capitalist being the bad guy (We have Schindler’s List e.g.)? But was he the most “dangerous member of his species”? Was Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot really better (perhaps seen as caricatures in a movie)? Would they have given a reason for the engineers not to wipe out mankind?
Posted Feb-18-2017 2:46 AM
@Chi His performance was based on the servant played by one of the Fox brothers and like all servants they get their way by subterfuge rather than head on confrontation. For me he was definitely passive aggressive in his relationship with Weyland and indeed others. A direct honest person would have told Charlie what was in the drink and ask him if he wants to take the risk but no he asks the open question and then spikes his drink. That is classic passive aggressive behaviour. The aggression is cloaked in an unctuous agreeable light demeanour put simply veiled hostility .
As for Weyland where was the thought through analysis of what had happened to date. The Engineers had suffered a holocaust, Elizabeth had birthed a dreadful mutation and all he could do was shamble down to the Juggernaut seeking eternal life amongst the carnage. Right at the moment for me he was a pathetic old man whom David wanted dead, channelling grown up children who want there parents inheritance! That entire sequence when looked at from a risk management point of view was highly dangerous and frankly stupid, no for me he was pathetic.
Posted Feb-18-2017 7:24 PM
NIN, it's just for you, it's an image from a flashback scene from Alien: Covenant. It shows the time thousands years ago when people, engineers, and aliens lived in peace and harmony on LV-629.
Just kiddin', the images show a painting by Boros-Szikszai.
But Jonesy and BigChap are doing something in the bottom right hand corner. :)
Posted Feb-19-2017 9:32 AM
Michelle: Yes, I suppose Peter could be looked upon as being pathetic. On the other hand, seeking a way of cheating death was his purpose with Prometheus from the beginning. About the risk of waking up the engineer, what did he have to lose? His days were numbered anyway? Did Peter know about the intended holocaust of humanity, the mutagen and Shaw’s birth, by the way? Also, Shaw is still curious about what the engineer has to say. She also wants to speak with him in the hopes of getting her answers. She still wants this (even though she knows more than Peter). Janek is perhaps the most realistic person of them all? He understands what the facility on LV-223 was all about (and why the engineers wouldn’t do these kind of experiments on their own home world). Probably this epidemic somehow spread to their own home world long ago or David and Shaw brings it there? In May we will probably find this out? :)
You might be right about the passive-aggressiveness by the way . . .
Posted Feb-19-2017 4:13 PM
With regards to Weyland being Pathetic... i think he was more Desperate than anything and he did play a Fool.... but i would assume had it not been for him having just Days to Live and this being his last HOPE of gaining some sense of Immortality from the Gods..
Is why he was foolish indeed as you described.
If i continue with a Religious theme i dont think Weyland was a Believer, and he had only chosen to have somewhat some faith in Shaws findings in the hope that indeed She was RIGHT and they find Mankinds creators and that when they do, they would be able to Grant Weyland his WISH
I think Weylands Ambition and Agenda with David was the hope that someday when Weyland could advance Technology as far as to be able to Transfer a Humans Mind and Memories into a Computer then Weyland would have gained Immortality (so kind of like how they managed in the movie 6th Day) but Weyland for all his advancements could not find a way to accomplish this. He may had been able to Transfer each David Prototypes Memories to the next Prototype and this i feel is the relation between David 8 and the opening Scene of AC between David 1 and Peter Weyland.
Ridley said its a tale of Mortality and Immortality, and i think this theme through David will play a key role, and i think ultimately David was Weylands hope at trying to become Immortal.
I would think the Dream Visor Tech was Weylands someway point to try and indeed capture memories and dreams.
It will be interesting to see the subtle Religious themes that Alien Covenant will expand upon....
I do like Apple Pie, hope to share some on my Birthday in May!
Posted Feb-19-2017 4:14 PM
@Chli The dynamic at this point in the story is David is the one person who has both the temperament and the knowledge to make the right decision. Elizabeth is traumatised, Meredith driven by compliance and protocols unable to think round the issue is out of her depth and this leads to her death. Janek is watchful and at the controls which leads to the resolution of the issue. Sir Peter is delusional and single minded ignoring the facts or not even listening, a little like Hitlers last few days in the bunker or any other megalomanic just before the denouement. But David the obsequious. "supportive", servant allowed the matter to proceed with full knowledge and only once Sir Peter was dieing taunted him with his knowledge.
We will see much more of this scheming manipulative David in Covenant. He lost his independence in Prometheus and he will be careful not to see that compromised in anyway again. Walter will be a personal threat to him and then there will be the entire element which is missing from us what further discoveries he has made and executed with the Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 and the broader opportunity to study The Engineers own technology as well as their uncovenanted achievements. Ironically these may echo Sir Peter, having been granted Valhalla and seeded it, they broke their Covenant and attempted to cheat death for which they suffered terrible retribution .. at the hands of......
Posted Feb-19-2017 4:18 PM
As far as how David felt.... i agree with you Michelle there, while he was doing what Weyland wanted, he did seem to have his own motives and seemed he just wanted to be free and with Weyland dead he now can be.
You raise a good question about how he feels now with regards to after the Engineer ripped his Head off... would he want to seek Revenge?
Who knows... but i am sure he values his own survival and agenda and he would know maybe Shaw would be a thorn to his plans.. and indeed if thats how One Engineer Reacted.. how would many more?
He would have little chance...
Unless he can make a COVENANT or indeed he decides its easier to just Unleash Hell for David it does not matter where WE came from or how the Engineers connected. When he asked Shaw, why it mattered... She claimed he would not know because he was a Robot.
In reality it would not matter to David, as he could gather information he needs for his Agenda from the ASH's of a Gone Engineer Civilization.
I do like Apple Pie, hope to share some on my Birthday in May!
Posted Feb-19-2017 4:24 PM
@BD I think you touch upon one of the connected themes between P & C, the Dream Visor could/will be one of those elements that Wayne Haag was referring to and that it will take on a more significant meaning than was intended by JS/DL in their scripts. It is a notable artistic accident that David had mind intimacy with both Weyland and Shaw and BOTH actors along with MF have a role in Covenant.
Posted Feb-20-2017 1:43 AM
Michelle: I think that you can look upon Miss Vickers as just as egoistic as Sir Peter? She is only interested in her career in Weyland-Yutani Corp. She thinks she loses about five years of beauty and success within the company by going on a trip involving higher achievements which she is not interested in (being very superficial). She is also most like the cowardly lion with bodyguards and wanting to leave as soon as possible (she doesn’t even care that humanity will be wiped out or understand that there won’t be a home to go back to).
I agree that David will probably be the most interesting character in AC. Daniels will just be another Ripley (perhaps evolving from a rather clumsy, timid terraformer to a resolute fighter and survivor). David says it straight out to Shaw that he is disappointed in his creator and that everybody wants to see their parents dead (Shaw doesn’t). His agenda might be to kill Sir Peter (or have the engineer do it for him). Shaw also asks him what happens when Weyland isn’t around to program him anymore. He then answers: “I suppose I’ll be free”. I guess we’ll find out what David does with his freedom in AC? :)
Posted Feb-20-2017 3:45 AM
a desperate man is a foolish man, not necessarily a pathic one. his actions, fuelled by desperation can often lead to bad choices with dire consequences, but pathetic? what alson needs to be given consideration is the amount of knowledge david allowed him to have. had he been given all the facts, that there was nothing here for him, by the one individual he may listen to, would he accept his fate? probably not. he was a dying man and nothing to lose after all so why not take those final steps. david is very much a curious child but one held back by the existence of his father, weyland. he is very much acting like the child on the playground who stirs things, starts rumours and sits back and views the results without being in the firing line themselves, but with asperations for what he can do once free from his fathers watchful eye. he must have been so disappointed when the time came he was free, he had been beheaded and now incapable of furthering his own ambitions.
Posted Feb-20-2017 5:37 AM
she has no way off the planet and we all have that primal instinct to stay alive. she also saw an opportunity to further her quest for answers. with david in the condition he was in, shaw must have felt she was in a good enough position to take him up on his offer. he didn't have to try that hard and persuade her
Posted Feb-20-2017 7:46 AM
No, but she knows he can't be trusted. But I suppose she is a bit naive, wants to be kind and get her philosophical/religious answers? They probably get into bargaining? David helps her with the juggernaut in exchange for what - perhaps putting the head on the torso and giving him one arm so that he can steer the ship? I think that as soon as he gets control over the ship she is doomed (even if she doesn't need to be in hypersleep). When he gets access to the high tech of the ship he can probably do almost anything - open doors (to the cargo hold, to airlocks), control temperature, control oxygen level etc?
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