I'm a life-long diehard Alien lunatic and this is the first time I'm posting something here even though I've frequently visited this site when Prometheus was still in pre-production. I just love the debates here and how committed you people are towards your favourite franchises.
I just wanted to give you all my two cents for Alien: Covenant since I keep blabbering about it at home and my family is getting fed up with it. I'll try to avoid spoilers for those of you who haven't seen it yet.
First off, I cannot stress enough how pleased I am with Alien: Covenant! I saw it yesterday and left the theatre feeling quite positive overall, even though I still had some doubts.
Now that I slept on it I can put my hand on my heart and say that this imho is the best movie since Alien 3.
And That's saying a lot when you consider how much this franchise has veered off course during the past decade.
Before I get to the actual review I first want to say some things about Prometheus and why I didn't like it...at all.
I have never in my life looked forward so much to seeing a movie as I did with Prometheus. The countdown during the last few months before release seemed like years.
I took my entire family (well, the ones who actually wanted to see it) to the local cinema and when the credits eventually rolled I felt totally underwhelmed and frustrated.
Never, not even in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that it could have turned out the way it did. The premise about the untold story of the Space Jockey and expansion of the mythos sent shivers down my spine.
But I was blinded by the hype and honestly believed that this movie couldn't fail no matter what. I was so wrong...
Even though Prometheus looked terrific, it just couldn't be saved because the characters did the most retarded things ever and it was constant and non-stop (eg. trying to pet an alien snake even though it hissed violently, getting drunk after making
the most important discovery in the history of mankind, crew members having sex when others are stranded in the temple, crew members that have zero f**ks to give when a person walks in the room all covered in blood, helmet bongs etc.)
This movie was so full of itself and tackled such a variety of big ideas and important questions but answered none! All this and the fact that the Space Jockey in all his epicness was reduced to a bald smurf on steroids made me dislike and even hate it. It was so full of promise but missed all the important marks such as good story-telling, emotional characters we can relate to and worst of all: the connection to the
source material was superficial and felt like it was shoe-horned in. It clearly wanted to distantiate itself from 'the simple' Alien and be the better, more grandiose and thought-provoking film. Most of the Alien-fanbase raged and rightfully so!
I believe it wasn't because the movie lacked xenomorphs, but because the movie felt disjointed and rushed. The plot was all over the place
and wasn't going anywhere. Afterwards I wasn't surprised at all with a writer like Lindeloff on board. It seemed like Ridley and co didn't even have a finished script when the movie was halfway post-production.
With Alien: Covenant Scott played it safe but even though this is kind of true, he still pulled out all the stops and went straight for the jugular. This is without doubt the most brutal and savage Alien-film so far imo.
But before I get into why, I want to get the obvious things out of the way.
I'll start with the visuals and the score. Ridley stated once that he 'comes from the visual side of things' and credit must be given where it's due. AC looks stunning and is jaw-droppingly beautiful to say the least.The art-direction is spot on and something to admire. A lot of other directors can learn a thing or two from the man. The covenant ship looks very real and it's amazing what a director can achieve with a good combination of practical sets and cgi. Likewise, the planet the crew lands on is lush and vibrant and just breathes atmosphere.
It's a welcome change to the overall greyish tone of the barren rocks in the previous movies. So when it comes to visuals, Scott has earned his stripes once again. Every frame looks like a painting and everything is exactly where it needs to be. Imo this movie is a prime candidate for the oscar for 'best cinematography'.
I also think they did a fantastic job with the music and sound effects. I caught myself multiple times grinning at the screen feeling extremely satisfied. It's like an updated/reinvented version of the original scrore from Alien and it just filled me with nostalgia.
In summary, your eyes and ears will be in for a real treat if you're going to watch it.
As for the story and characters I'll be brief. Unlike Prometheus, Covenant's story is pretty simple and straight-forward and
it's not ashamed about it nor tries to hide what it essentially is: more of the same. You can easily sum it up in one sentence: People land on an alien planet where they all die. Period. But don't be fooled into thinking this is another dumb B-flick.
There are several intriguing scenes and thought-provoking dialogue scattered throughout the film. Especially the prologue is brilliant and a masterpiece.The first hour of this film is executed almost perfectly.
The movie slowly builds up so we get to spend some time with the characters and learn what their motivations and emotions are.
I believe this is crucial to making a good horror film so we actually care when one of the them meets his/her demise.
But when they eventually land, Scott doesn't waste any time and everything goes wrong very quickly.
When the crew finally gets to the engineer temple, I admit things get a little awkward at times but it's not like you will cringe in your seat. Some of the character's decisions are questionable, yes, but Ridley needs to move the plot along wherever he can, so all can be forgiven imo.
Sure the story has some minor flaws but hell, nearly all movies suffer in that department nowadays. In Covenant they are easily overlooked. Alas, those looking for answers to the questions raised in Prometheus, I have to disappoint. You won't find any of them here
or very few. At best we get a pretty solid explanation from David what the black goo actually is, but other than that, don't count on getting your answers. It'll be for the next movie...maybe.
Oh btw...spoiler-alert! Fassbender steals the show. Didn't see that one coming huh. lol
Now, on to the reason why I desperately wanted to see this movie. What about the creatures? The aliens? Did Ridley deliver? Short answer: hell yes! Being the most modern episode in the franchise with a veteran director at the helm, Covenant shows us the most frightening
and realistic Xenomorphs/neomorphs yet. The Alien stands up proudly in this film and looks more humanoid than ever. Ridley obviously wanted to avoid the cliche of Covenant being another mere bug hunt and imo he pulled it off.
The aliens portrayed in this movie are vicious and from the minute they are born, their purpose in life is to kill you ASAP without being even remotely sorry. They will stop at nothing and are not afraid to attack groups of enemies.
Scott has made of it a terrifying creature again, so to all who say that the beast is cooked, I choose to think otherwise. Also, because we already know what it looks like, Ridley shows it to us in all it's glory. Furthermore, the death-scenes look agonizing and gruesome. Honest to God, the backburster-scene is easily just as good or even surpasses the scene with John Hurt.
Also, because the victim for once isn't wearing any shirt ( I believe this is the first time ever for any Alien film) you can see the guy's muscles tear and bones break and what not. Gallons of blood are spilled and even though most of it was cgi, it was executed so perfectly that it felt more real than ever. It was truly shocking and disturbing to watch, exactly what I craved for in the past...10 years?
The mouthburster was cool as well, but the lighting was much darker so it was more difficult to see clearly.
I have to say: some creature designs were a bold choice, as others have stated.
But apart from that specific, almost comical scene (you'll know what I'm talking about when you go see it), there's very little to complain about.
That's pretty much all I wanted to say, so I hope I didn't bore you guys to death and you had fun reading this (lenghty) review. To sum it all up:
Alien: Covenant feels more like a remake of the original film than anything else, but at least it's a very good and solid one. To all Alien-fans out there I can say this:
Scott has finally given us what we had to miss for too long: A GOOD ALIEN-FILM! An updated/crisp take on the original and to be honest,
if Alien (1979) didn't exist and Covenant would tie into it better, this would without a doubt be the best episode in the series.
If I had to award it points, i'd give it 8.5 or 9/10. I will definitely go see it a second time and buy the blu-ray the moment it's released.
Sir Ridley Scott, you have restored my faith in you as a filmmaker and I hope you can keep up the excellent work.
Hats fucking off to Sir Ridley!
"This mighty city shows the wonders of my hand."
Snake: Totally agree with you. I know Mark Kermode reviewed it and was disappointed as it revealed too much of the smoke of mirrors of the original Alien. I thought it was truly brilliant - it delivered by the bucket load. It continues the Lovecraftian comicism, the AI (be careful what we create, etc., etc.) threat! David is Prometheus (in his mind), a kind of psychotic renegade who has broken from the master, taken the black goo and on his Island of Dr Moreau mastered his skills with his now evolved Renaissance Man intent.
Snake- welcome. I skipped most of the AC review since I have yet to watch it but am in agreement with your assessment of Prometheus.
Too be honest, the only answers that really needed to be answered in this one is what the black goo is. Save the Engineers for the finale
The way I deal with PROMETHEUS is I just take it on it's own, no more and no less. I will admit, yes, it is underwhelming, but it has it's merits.
Given your review of ALIEN: Covenant, I'm looking fwd to it even more now!
*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*
What I thought was great about Covenant is that David's evolution seemed to be the true hook of the film. David's Classical education (via Weyland) began in Prometheus to the point that the Classical looking Engineer looked at David with marvel as if David was the Alien to him. The Engineer also studied David's features first as if he was judging mankind's (Weyland's) creative engineering powers - something that, historically, started in Western European pursuits of perfection in art and vitruvian concepts of Renaissance physical perfection. Furthermore, the engineer destroys this European history/tradition in Prometheus when he rips David's head off and destroys his creator (Weyland) with it - with anger like a fury. In Covenant is David then, from designing to making and destroying (Engineer city) like a fury, just manifesting his classical education. He is no longer the school 'boy' of Prometheus but now an educated man of experience in Covenant. I guess he just wants to show off his learning in Covenant, but with absolute psychopathic intent - drunk on his imaginative powers and his Absolute sense of self. The Covenant are merciless in his presence!
As I've already said, I too think the movie is great. I also score it as you do, Snake. This is it's own film and not a repeat/rehash of others before it. As I said yesterday, go in with an open mind not expecting it to be the next A L I E N / Prometheus etc.
It is it's own film.
I glad you enjoyed it... i dont want to Poop on anyone's parade though and every one has their own opinions, but when you first describe Prometheus, i can almost image the same being said with Alien Covenant... Prometheus was a thought provoking movie that was too ambiguous and really takes mulitple viewings and in depth analysis to understand and enjoy... this was a MISTAKE because not every one will be prepared to invest such time into multiple re-watches... There should have been more Xenomorph links.. we did not need the Xenomorph in Prometheus just more links.. i also think AC did not need the Xenomorph, apart from the Money Shot.. but then it would have been like Prometheus ending if they left the last scene as a Chest Buster. Prometheus also had some silly things, and the acting was not serious enough, it was more a Alien Resurrection and Marvel Super Hero kind of Acting... where as Alien Covenant was more like say Alien 3... so it never quite was as real as Alien, apart from Daniels Role... and Trauma
ONTO YOUR REVIEW..
It reads like my one when i post it, as far as a Tale of TWO Halves but while you see positive in the movie i find flaws in half of it... but the first part about Visuals and Sound i 100% agree.. I think some Xenomorph shots seemed rushed though, some however was very good.. same can be said with the Neomorph apart from how its Mouth Worked... i think if this was done Practical it may looked better.
Its a shame really because in order to try and engage us with Characters better, they had a Slow Burn Start which was needed to try and make us have a connection to the Characters... I think this worked... while a Slow Buildup... i think everything right to when David takes them into his Hide Out... worked very good.
After that it was rushed, because well they needed so much time to build the Characters, which the Prologue and TV Spots also helped but not everyone would see them and so the Slow Pace was needed.... but this left not much time within a 2 hour movie to try and Tidy up Prometheus parts... because indeed they cant 100% ignore Prometheus... they cant just turn up find a Robot and not mention what he was doing there... So they had to try and cover Prometheus a little and in a way that basically brushed that movie under the carpet... a Disservice, but it seems FOX think most of the fanbase enjoy a Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection kind of flick more than what Prometheus was doing. (Not Mentioned Alien as i think all Franchise Fans will agree this was a Masterpiece).
so having to rush Prometheus parts is not the only Problem, because they also had to rush and Shoe-horn the Alien Xeno connection to... this just seemed to rushed... as well as some conflicting parts to Alien Lore.
The movie needed maybe 5-10 minutes to cover Prometheus a bit.. give more details to those beings David killed and why and what they found in Prometheus... Then it needed a good 15-20 Minutes towards the Xenomorph Scenes.
Sadly they could not do all that with in the constraints of the movie, i do think there could be extra footage that maybe could make a DVD Extended Cut... but its the case of will they, as Prometheus had extra material and quite a bit that has not even been shown yet... that may have improved that movie a fair bit.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
"It seemed like Ridley and co didn't even have a finished script when the movie was halfway post-production."
They had a Finished one for Prometheus.. they was indeed also starting Production on this before Ridley/FOX had a U-turn as far as Xenomorph and Alien movie connections. Here is one version of Spaights Alien Prequel drafts... i think Snake you may find this one interesting.
Then they got Lindeloff to redo the drafts.... But the same thing has happened with Alien Covenant they had trouble getting a Good Draft due to the Complex Nature of the Themes Prometheus was exploring that a Sequel that would step further from Alien would have given.... very complicated... then when seeing Antiispation for Alien 5, Ridley decided that well "they want Aliens, i will give them Aliens" And so John Logan came in actually during Production on Prometheus 2 to again do a Re-write and make a more Shoe-horned simple Plot to connect to Alien.
"Some of the character's decisions are questionable, yes, but Ridley needs to move the plot along wherever he can, so all can be forgiven imo."
The same applies to Prometheus, some of its scenes had to be done to drive the Plot... the Space Cobra Petting... this was explained better in earlier drafts.... as Fifield did not have Tobacco he had Pot and was Stoned and he picked the Hammerpede up and tried to make Milburn Kiss it... Again while this improved the Scene it was still a bit of a strange thing to do.. But then Oram having seen infections by a Alien Spore, having seen Davids Lab of Horrors and the death of crew at the hands of these... was ultimately just as Stupid to stick his head in a Egg... but i guess he may have trusted David... this in part though shows Orams Character simply was not up to the Job if being Captain as he was prone to a number of Mistakes.. which Daniels was questioning before they even went down to the surface.
"All this and the fact that the Space Jockey in all his epicness was reduced to a bald smurf on steroids made me dislike and even hate it"
With all due Respect a lot of people did not like the Space Jockey was no longer a Giant Alien being but Smaller Bald Humanoid wanna be Gods...
However people need to now realize what we are getting now is a even Smaller, either Synthetic or Human that will be the Space Jockey and the Derelict only being on LV-426 for like 15 years.
As well as Xenomorphs with more rapid growth than Pred-alien Off Spring, and that can be Controlled by David.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Long time no seen... I'm gonna be honest with you guys. I'm not at all a first time poster here. I had a previous account under the name 'gimm-e'...
But I got banned and the staff had every right to do so. Prometheus brought out the worst in me and I was a real asshole at the time. Looking back at it I am myself baffled that I let that movie get to me as it did. As if the world was coming to an end...
But it was my first forum-experience and I have learned a lot since then. I'll refrain from insulting other people when their opinion differs from mine. That's why I stayed away from this place for nearly 4 years, because I knew that I wouldn't be able to control myself if Covenant would be a failure (to my mind).
So to all that I have insulted in the past, I'm deeply sorry.
Oh and please don't ban me again. I'll be good and act my age.
@snake lol...i remember the "old" you...wow! Glad you're rehabilitated, heh!
Big Dave: what are your thoughts on the crucial philosophical and renaissance man angle that Scott seems to be building with the David arc in terms of his character's evolution? Furthermore, and I have begun to refer to it else where with uploaded replies (as I am new to this forum) here, the absolutely dominant nature of Lovecratian cosmicism (definition: H P Lovecraft, stating that there is no recognisable divine presence, such as God, in the universe, and that humans are particularly insignificant in the larger scheme of intergalactic existence) that is visually and narrative driven in Scott's film. H.R Giger was obsessed by Lovecraft and Scott appears to be respecting this lineage - particular as it is becoming more and more in the foreground of Covenant. Any thoughts?
prometheus is a beautiful film to look at. a:c is too although less so in my opinion.
now prometheus had its flaws - we know about the dumbness in supposedly very clever people and at crucial times but thats not what prometheus was about to some of us.
we overlooked the plot holes, dumb decisions and what have you.... yes there is quite a list.
but like i said, prometheus fans overlooked them for the greater good. because what was on offer here was so much more than an alien film.
we had an expanding universe to think of
new beings. not one but potentially 2 types: the elders and engineers 223
with them came great technology, a bio weapon and most importantly a mythology.
it was this mythology and the potential way this could open up a franchise we love and take it to the next level.
thats what prometheus was to me.
i spent hours and hours decoding texts and theorising potential histories, storyline and the bigger picture of a version of gods and creation. i was totally invested in it going forward. it ditched the alien tag and we were on our way. we will tighten the story next time.....
next time is here now. i watched a:c today. yesterday i watched avp.
if i exclude canon i will say i got a similar feeling from both of them. a decent enough film for the casual fan.
as a:c approached i saw Fassbender had 2 roles. i expected that they would swap roles.
awakening was said to be a prequel, i said it was a mis quote after a long day and awakening was actually after.
alien awakening (from cryo)
then the tracklisting hit and i realised there was only maybe 3 opportunities for reveals
however i thought i know the story i wanted to try and piece it together and i have.
dont worry there will be a few reveals.
but a:c came and revealed nothing.
we didnt even get the city in detail.
david - i learned of their ways. really? cos i didnt even hear him say that nevermind tell us anything.
oh well not to worry. next one shooting in 14 months "they say"
Take This.... This is the blood of our lord
Yeah Prometheus was a story asking questions about creation, but for some strange reason, found itself in the backdrop of the Alien universe!?
If I may be so bold: self-proclaimed Alien fanboys like moi, ain't interested in conflating a thing like Kane's Son to the creation of Man. Self-proclaimed fanboys like myself, are interested to learn what Kane's Son was, and what the Space Jockey was. None of this 'Engineer' horse manure.
So to that end, Alien: Covenant has indeed serviced fanboys very well, albeit not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination.
More and more as I read the various understandings of Alien Lore in this forum, the more I have begun to realise that very little here scratches beneath the surface of Alien and the original narrative and visual inspirations which later fed into Prometheus and, most recently, Alien Covenant. This is a shame, as I feel a majority here - so called 'fanboys' - are missing the plot/point and rewriting assumptions here that have absolutely no basis in Scott's, Giger's, O'Shannon's and Walter Hill's driven focus on: AI, Lovecraft, Joseph Conrad, alienation, etc. I guess this kind of angers a little as I feel many here need to know their stuff more, rather than make up theories if you want to get to what they are doing with the new direction of this franchise.
Fuck you man.
Only kidding, but I wish I enjoyed it. I couldn't get the "WHERE ARE THE ENGINEERS!?!?!" out of mind!!!
Glad you liked it Snake! I watched it today and I did very much enjoy it throughout as opposed to Prometheus.
Sure there were some minor issues in A:C but all in all it's a powerful experience kept alive by fantastic acting and an even more interesting David.
This is without doubt the most brutal and savage Alien-film so far imo.
Definitely, it's pretty darn dark and sadistic, even the ending. I'm already looking forward to the sequel!
Quit griping about the darn 'engineers'. The alien is far more interesting.
Happy you liked it aswell, dude!I'm going to see it again this friday and I also can't wait for the sequel! God I love this movie. So far it seems to blow Guardians of the Galaxy 2 out of the water in terms of box office revenue... Very proud of Ridley and his work.
@Snake and @Neomorph:
You're both on point - loved AC too. I feel my tone previously - as I am new to this forum - might have been a little whiny. AC is damn dark like a good Guinness and a hint of asphalt
I liked covenant. Two thumbs up. I don't want to get into a prometheus discussion. That movie is over it's done. I will say though that covenant helps make prometheus a better movie. I feel david's actions and motives are better explained from covenant, especially the flute scene.
What I really want when all these movies are done is a box set of all the scott movies and those only. The other alien films I can do without to be honest.
Sign in to add a reply to this topic!