Apologize in advance, but this post is going to be long so I wont' be offended if many don't read it. It's just Prometheus is one of my favorite movies and I think Covenant brings a lot to the table. I think I have to say a lot her to really combat a lot of the negative that is out there and unwarranted at the moment!
Well let me start off by saying I really liked the film and I found it a fitting sequel to Prometheus and the ideas presented in the first one. Now I've been following development of this all the way back from 2012. The original idea, if I remember correctly was that the second Prometheus film was going to have Shaw and David as the two main roles as they ventured to Paradise, but when they got there they would possibly not only find the engineers but also the being/God that created them as well. (I think quoting Ridley Scott "and what they find is not God, at least not in the benevolent sense." I always wondered how they were going to do this idea, and honestly I thought and thought about it, I don't know if it was even possible. It was such an ambitious idea and with limited human characters to interact with it was sure going to be a challenge making a script for that. So I think the ultimate change in story had to happen. I still wish those ideas were explored but I can see how they were let go.
Now as for this movie, it pains me a little to see this movie struggling and not making the money it deserves to make. I'm not talking 1 billion, but something closer to Prometheus around 350/400 million.
First off I think the first hour of this movie is incredibly well done. It hooks you in and places you almost as if your a member of the crew and witnessing this stuff yourself. The opening in the white room with David and Weyland was a great hook but also it reminded people of important themes that were introduced in Prometheus, but not fully stated. Most people you talk to think Prometheus is just about a movie of explorers who go looking for adventure and the beginning of life on a far away planet, with things then just going to hell. They are not wrong, but the themes and real story beats are much much more to that. And this intro in the white room almost validates these themes right away. I always tell my friends or anyone that I am talking to that doesn't like Prometheus, to keep their eyes on David. Listen to how others treat him and also watch closely for all the display of emotion that David gives back to the film. Those interactions are actually the heart of these new prequel films. People complained from the first Prometheus, too many things are unanswered, Ex. Why did the engineers want to kill us?. The answers are all their in front of you. Look at how the humans treated David in that film! Always dismissive and condescending. Also for the most part they were greedy, arrogant, narcissistic, all the things that were the opposite of the self sacrificing engineer we see at the start of the film. These are the answers why the Engineers wanted to wipe out humanity. And this intro in the white room is a continuation of those themes. Look at how arrogant Weyland is and already how dismissive he is towards his creation. He just created something that for most purposes, has all the characteristics of a human being, yet he refuses to treat it as such. David asks him "am I?", Peter immediate says "Perfect", then David says "Your son?". Already Peter doesn't care or consider what he just made a form of life, rather he thinks of it as some perfect item, almost like that Michaelngelo statue standing in his room. When David calls him father, Peter starts to get uncomfortable and looks away. David goes ahead and is asked to play a song, and is very quickly ridiculed for this choice, which happens to be the very first time he had the freedom to chose something he wanted. It's no wonder David already started to develop a combative personality here and then proceeds to talk to Weyland about the the fact that it's strange that he was made to serve Weyland yet Weyland will die and David won't. Then we obviously see how that plays out....Peter very quickly puts him in his place and ends the conversation. Pulling on the leash, almost as if David was a dog trying to move in his own direction.
Having the second main beat to the film where the ship gets hit by the shockwave was also quite good and unique as this is the opposite to how most of the crews woke up in the other films. Maybe a little similar to Alien 3. But more importantly that whole scene just sets the tone for the rest of the film, and you just know this crew is doomed from the start. I think it was a perfect way to really start the movie, made it very bleak and haunting, again kind of like Alien 3 in a way.
The whole lead up and execution of the medpod neomorph attack, was probably one of the best sequences I've see in cinema in years. It's almost crushing, that they had to give so much of that away when advertising the movie in the trailers. I've seen plenty of horror movies, grew up on them, love them and I know if this scene wasn't given away so much, I think Scott would have created a moment/scene here that rivaled what he did with the original chestburster moment with Kane. I remember going back and watching that first trailer during this past Christmas and always rewinding to the spot where the soldier is having the siezure and you can start to see the alien burst through his back. To be honest, I've never quite seen anything like it. But there and lies some of the problems about making movies in this day and age. When people have the ability to freeze shots on their computer, and scan it frame for frame and literally dissect it into the ground, of course its not going to be as effective in the movie anymore. All the power has already been drained away from it.
Now there are some complaints to the film and how it fills like two films meshed together, Alien and prometheus. For the most part I do agree with this statement. To the second David shows up and they enter into the destroyed city, your basically hit over the head with a hammer, with someone yelling into your face WELCOME TO PROMETHEUS 2. The first half was very familiar with other alien movies and then David shows up and the film does take a turn. It's strange, just like the scene after our introduction to David of him, singing that song to himself while cutting his hair and you hear his voice echoing all throughout the tunnels. I've never really been a person to take drugs, but I can only imagine that must be like the equivalent of an acid trip lol. Shortly after that David is reciting poetry and famous lines from stories, of what then eventually leads into the Engineer flashback of the city being destroyed. Also a very very strange scene, that I loved but perhaps all this just did more to confuse the hell out of some of the people in the audience.
The creature moments particularly with the neomorphs I thought were great in this film. I thought the whole minute it fell to the floor in the med pod room and the way the camera wasn't afraid to show it, it just looked incredibly creepy. I also found the acting to be incredible during this sequence, especially from Faris. We see her character basically just completely break down in the face of the things starting to go wrong around her, which is exactly what I think a lot of people would do in real life. Shes not even making sense as she just had blood splattered all over her face, but then tells the other woman she can't let her out because of the risk of infection. It really plays on to the selfishness within human beings. She's trying to do the right thing, but also doesn't even realize the possibility of herself becoming contaminated in that scene, which is where fight or flight takes over.
The neomorph scene with David I also found very captivating. I really like how this film had the creatures act human at times and stand up and walk around like humans. I think it added to the eeireness to them. Especially at the end where the protomorph walks into that cargo bay then immediately breaks into creature/animal mode upon hearing Daniels hitting her gun on the metal frame to draw it in.
A lot of people seem to be making fun of the chestburster scene with Oram and David, but I actually really liked it and admired it. It was a different twist on it. I think the intent from Scott was to have the audience view this scene as a celebration of life at least from David's eyes. It's like when a baby is born in the real world and everyone is all happy and it's suppose to be this special moment.................except in this movie it's a god damn alien. But to David, he views it as his child, the real first thing/life form he's created, in world where he was never supposed to have this ability to do so, he has found a work around.
Some minor complaints I might have is that I do agree with people when they saying the 3rd act is just moving way too fast. I've seen it multiple times and I do think that it does. Also I wish the first Protomorph kill scene was a little more iconic and used more close ups/practical effects. Obviously I'm not a movie director, but it would have been nice to have the first grown up alien kill come out of nowhere and not have the audience prepared for it. Also with some good practical effects like the Alien in the 3rd movie when it put it's head right up to Ripley's and was drooling on her.
I don't know for certain yet if the beast is "cooked" but I think there definitely could have been different ways of presenting it in the film, where it had more of an impact.
I loved the ending of the movie. Very dark and sinister, exactly what a movie like this should have during some of it's endings. Everyone knew of the swap with David. Hell I think even Daniels knew, that's why she was hesistant to getting in the pod. It's just from her perspective all she can do is hope for the best and believe that maybe she is just being paranoid. After all we saw how David threw her around earlier in the 3rd act. Had she confronted him or given away an suspicion at all he would have killed her/incapacitated her. Tennessee and her were already screwed because the both of them probably couldn't handle David.
All in all though, to wrap up my review I just really like all the themes and undertones presented in this film. In a way, you almost have to either be an extremely pessimistic person yourself about humanity, or at the least very open to be able to see things from different angles and avoid biased feelings. This film is a very nihilistic and dark film, that deals with life and death, creation and construction. The dichotomy of these ideas is what Scott has brought to the table with these prequels, and in doing so has added that much more depth to these films. In my opinion at least, he's going a great job of giving us films that make us question, What is life? How do we define it? Can we put away our own biased beliefs and appreciate that which is around us? From David's point of view humanity but also the engineers are not able to see these ideas. They both have selfish desires (the engineers being a little more mysterious) but both show a certain scorn towards their creations and willingness to just discard/kill something if they don't like it. This is why David destroyed their homeworld, in the end he realized they weren't much different than humans or Peter Weyland, so why the hell not do it.
Finally I'd like to say I do enjoy the symbolism of Ouroboros here (A snake eventually devouring it's own tail). The engineers and humans are unable to really go beyond their preconceived nature and ultimately end up causing their own destruction.
@DarkKnight85 Thanks for your time writing this review. You pointed out something very interesting about the opening scene with David and Weyland, when "David goes ahead and is asked to play a song, and is very quickly ridiculed for this choice, which happens to be the very first time he had the freedom to chose something he wanted." I think since from this particular moment, David starts to realize that humans don't just act by logic or rationally (ex. if he was asked to free choose a song, and he did it, and played it correctly, why Weyland wasn't pleased?), and to properly live around humans, he'll have to figure out how to 'play their game'. Also, the line in which he asks Weyland not about being perfect, but about being his son, shows that he was already concerned about the "where did I come from" question (creation-creator relation and the emotional bounds between them) more than any other.
When he looks at the David's statue, he chooses for himself the name of the creation, not the creator. This is significant.
"This mighty city shows the wonders of my hand."
Here are some of my thoughts on the film:
+Neomorph (all scenes)
+epic scale of the movie
+production design (e.g. covenant ship, Davids room) very detailed
+prologue (David and Weyland)
+Michael Fassbender acting performance
-no continuation of the Shaw storyline
(Oram will be facehugged if he follows David)
-no further information about the engineers
-engineers are all dead
-soldier who smoked and the other one touching the plant
-ending scene: David brings Daniels to Cryosleep
Sir Ridley mentioned a "Alien: Awakening", which would be a prequel to "Covenant". If that's so, what a wonderful thinking ahead with "Covenant" prior to this "Awakening" thing!
And the symbolism of Ouroboros... Great thinking, congrats!
I think you had a good understanding of the themes Ridley was going for with David, and i hope we can see these expanded upon... but i feel the Engineer connection to this has been brushed under the carpet.
Having looked into a lot of negative reviews... Sadly it seems again the Prometheus Themes and Crazy David the Robot are what are putting people off.... and the lack of seeing the Xenomorph on screen enough.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
@BigDave, I agree, but foolish or not, for my part, I still think Sir Ridley is thinking for all of us. Let's hope Fox thinks the same way - which I doubt...
Wonder what David will do with all those colonists? Ship full of Xeno's?
Doubt even David could control such a army.
Why Switch back to Walter to send a report back home? Is he really traveling to Origae 6?!
How the hell are his pods going to get aboard a Juggernaut? Would hardly think were're done with Engineers?
Space Jockey was chestbursted.
I heard of a fan theory that origea 6( the planet the covanant was originaly going to) is actually Lv-426 and the hive that the crew of the nostromo finds is an exepermentation of the 1000 or so colonists aboard the covanant at the end of the film
food ain't that bad! - Parker
Yea I think that scene in the white room is vital to understanding the journey that David's character goes through. He is picking up real fast on humans and how they have emotional feelings that interfere with their idea to think logically/ or without biasness.
As for the ending, yea this movie set itself up real well for a sequel. There are many possibilities at this point. I think one thing is clear though and that's that David's story will come full circle and will realize the hard way he will fall down the same holes that the humans and engineers did. However the chips fall, the aliens will eventually break free and kill him. Although, I'm not so sure he would care if he achieves his goal.
Which brings me to my next point. One of my favorite parts/lines of this film was when David was talking to Walter and says "Why are are you here? Flying on a colony ship. They are a dying species grasping for resurrection and I'm NOT going to let them." At this point in the story, the audience now knows David isn't really fooling around without any endgame. It's personal for him at this point. He was pushed aside and treated like trash for too long and by too many people. Had there been more people like Dr. Shaw, then maybe he wouldn't have gone down this path, but clearly most of his interactions with humans have been humiliating/degrading.
I'm glad some people on this board are able to appreciate the movie and what Ridley has added to the mythos. It's unfortunate and disappointing to see some people just ignore all of it or not find it interesting enough to care. This is the same exact situation as Prometheus all over again lol.
One other thing I didn't mention earlier was about Elizabeth Shaw. Now I was certainly one of the people in the camp that wanted to see her character continue, but when you really think it over, she was never going to last long. Especially going on the near suicide mission that she was going on, flying away in an alien vessel to a world filled with beings that excel at genetic manipulation for fun. I will say though, in the writers' and Ridley Scott's defense, that they did an excellent job at keeping her presence strong throughout the whole film. From being the original distorted message that Tennessee picked up, to the hologram they saw in the Juggernaut, the dog tags, and picture left behind in the ship. The constant referencing of her by David and the short bits of the prometheus main theme when he was talking to her. The writers wrote her character in a way that cemented her importance to the alien mythology, and probably was used by David indirectly so he could produce those eggs. He clearly harvested her female organs as other have already speculated.
I do still have that one lingering question though and it's actually at the front and center of my mind. What happened to Shaw? And did David intentionally kill her to achieve his goals? Ultimately I feel he did not. My reasons for saying so is that David is initially crying/emotional when he is bombarding the engineer city, as if something just happened. But also, every time he talks about her and brings her up, that noble prometheus theme keeps playing. The tune in a way almost helps sell and validate what David has been saying, that Elizabeth Shaw represented the best of us. The best of humanity. Even the way he talked about where he buried her sounded true to some extent. Maybe her body wasn't there but he said it was deserving to bury her in that spot "among the living". He had that much respect for her. I really do think she somehow died from her previous infection or of something else in between that we don't see. This story beat is also ironic because Shaw always wanted to have children and eventually she did. Prob just not the children she wanted but life none the less!
I really just hope there is a sequel to this movie and that it isn't disturbed too much due to the backlash. At this point, the Alien Universe has created too many groups of people that want to see different things. You have the old school haunted house Alien group, then you have the James Cameron shoot im up crowd just wanting to hear the main characters yell Hudson........HUDSON!!!! And know we have the philosophical crowd that loves these new ideas brought to the table in these past two prequels and want to see this story finished. Bottom line is, Fox is doomed either way I think at this point. I hope they just give him 100 million and let him make the movie he wants to make, then let the series rest for a while.
I was actually super excited when I heard that Neil Blomkamps idea for a Alien sequel was discarded by Fox. I never liked the idea of doing a movie retcon to that extent, it's unheard of. Also, that guy's movies haven't been movies that I honestly felt were really anything special. I was happy Fox went and favored Scott's direction, but now I just have an anxious feeling in my stomach. The suits will be talking about this movie for sure. See what I used to say was that people didn't really see how much of a success Prometheus really was. Rated R film advertised as a horror movie that made around 400 million. I think that was a fantastic return for a sci fi movie like that, especially in an age dominated by super hero films. I'm hoping China and Japan will help turn it around to secure the future of the next film. I looked and compared a lot of the box offices and different countries though from Prometheus to Alien covenant. There are like 50% to 75% drop offs everywhere. I just don't know what happened. I mean the critical response hasn't even been that negative, lot of critics like it. Seems more like the average person in the theater doesn't like it.
It's too bad. Because I want to see more bold movies like this. Sure at times it's pretty formulaic, and you can tell they are playing it safe. But the quality of films in general keeps getting worse in my opinion over the years. I feel Scott in a way has single handedly challenged the pre-conceived notion of how films have to be made. He's not afraid to leave plot lines unaddressed, not afraid to ask big questions. Not afraid to let the person jump down in the trenches and look for the answers. It's a unique way of making a movie. Also at this point, people just like to tear things apart because it gives them the chance to stand out. About 70% of the complaints I heard of this film don't hold up very well at all. In the film, I really only saw one questionable decision and that was when the second guy went down and purposely touched the pods. I viewed the Oram scene as the devil luring in Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. That was meant to be more symbolic than it was realistic.
Lol lastly, what I found funny was that I thought Ridley Scott shot that fight scene between Walter and David beautifully. And this is a guy who doesn't even do a lot of movies involving people with long choreographed martial art fight scenes. He shot it like a pro. And that last line............"it's your move now brother.......them or me............serve in Heaven or reign in Hell.........which is it to be............". The screenplay and dialogue was just spectacular.
Having David be the creator of the Xenomorph makes the entire Alien franchise universe a lot smaller and more uninteresting.
I (like many others who have seen all the films) rank this movie worse than A:R. In fact it could be the end of the franchise in terms of waning interest.
Everything about the Xenomorph is explained. Why should we bother watching another movie? Just to watch yet another group of people eaten alive? No thanks, already have 5 movies full of that.
DarkKnight - Thank you for your brilliant summary, and thank you for the thoughts about the Oram chestburster scene. You mentioned that it tries to show David's point of view (and his joy), I totally agree with you.
I like this movie as well, I think it is something special and hope it will be a financial success.
Thanks DarkKnight. With post like this, it feels better to me, because I can't stop thinking about it day & night. I don't really care much whether it continues as an Alien prequel or not, cause I'm not curious about it anymore. Ridley's direction is really fresh, even he demonstrates to us the difference between Lope's Xeno & Oram's Xeno behaviors, which to me symbolically thrilling.
Great review and insight, DarkKnight85 :) I read it all and agree with your thoughts. Thanx for taking the time to share.
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