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The death of the captain...

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Curly Curmudgeon

Jun-12-2017 10:01 AM

I have been a long time fan of sci-fi and have enjoyed the Alien franchise for the most part.

I am thrilled that Ridley Scott has revisited his old themes from Alien and Blade Runner and is taking them over again and doing a great job in what I have interpreted as the central point of them; artificial intelligence (AI).

So I will not make this a long diatribe of my opinions and neither will I critique every detail regarding plot(s) of the either franchise or any other sci-fi movies (or non sci-fi) movies Mr. Scott has directed or produced but just a simple "nod" of acceptance and to enjoy his view of things while I observe.

With that said, my take on the current Alien movie (and most of the previous one's from the franchise) is that the central theme has always been AI and the AI creations from Weyland Industries and the "what if?" scenario's contained in the central plot. Technology is not perfect and neither are humans and we humans are supposed to learn from our mistakes, however, with the advent of AI and how "technology" is supposed to be faster and better than a human and with AI, that computers and androids (i.e. robots, synthetics, drones, etc) will become conscious and self-aware and correct their own mistakes based on human values and protect humans at all costs.

Those of us who enjoy the genre of science fiction have seen many other movies or have read books or short stories on the recurring theme of AI breakdown. I see this also in Mr. Scott's "Blade Runner" franchise.

Having the experience of growing up with computer scientists and then eventually becoming one myself, this human fascination of "AI breakdown" is older than when the first computer was created (reference to the movie Metropolis) and was brought into existence from the forefathers of computer science (Charles Babbage, Alan Turing, John von Neumann just to name a few).

Mr. Scott does a wonderful job using the "AI breakdown" premise to be intertwined with the surface plot (i.e. deadly alien life forms, future corporate espionage) and taps into that old, sub-conscious fear of the dependence of technology to protect us even up to the point of when we humans think we have perfected AI consciousness in the future.

In the movie, Walter uses the "backdoor" key to check David by making sure that he still retains the code of the author/poet Shelley of the poet "Ozymandias" and that it is not Byron (a nod to the great comic book movie "The Watchmen").

This leads to my question regarding a very intelligent actor who appeared in the film as "Branson"; the original Captain of the ship Covenant. However this actor is not credited with a cameo in Alien Covenant but is very capable in handling a script for any type of character. This actor is Dr. James Franco.

Dr. James Franco holds dual Masters and Doctorates from prestigious universities, and true to form, he is very humble about his achievements. He is only seen in Alien Covenant for a brief time before his character is engulfed in flame and tragically dies while in "hypersleep". He is also the husband to the main female protagonist "Daniels" and she reflects on their time together when she reviews a video that he sent her while rock climbing.

I have my own opinions of why Dr. Franco chose this role with Mr. Scotts blessing but my question is what was the significance of his sacrifice (the death of the original captain) to the story line if the fate of the crew was still going to end up the way they did? And what was so appealing to Dr. Franco that made him take on such a role?

Thank you in kind if I do hear anything back but for also creating a forum and allowing me the chance to post something out there to these two great professionals.

9 Responses to The death of the captain...

BigDave

Jun-12-2017 4:47 PM

Well RS had approached Franco and asked him if he would be interesting in apearing in his Alien Movie and Franco was thrilled and even though it was a small Role, Franco told Ridley count me in.

He had made those short appearances but also did the Last Supper Prologue but he also shot another Scene with Waterston where they was both in their New York Apartment disguising their future of what they will do when they reach Origae-6 which is to Build a Cabin on a Lake.

I have not seen many of his movies as the kinds of movies he has appeared in maybe are not my Cup of Tea but i have seen a few others and i dont see why some give him so much Hate.

As for the AI... Indeed i think RS is going the whole Blade-runner, Terminator kind of Plot.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Ati

Jun-12-2017 5:03 PM

Ok, the simple answer is that I wanted to see Franco in an Alien movie and I asked Scott two years ago on the net to cast him. My dream came true, it's awesome. But I did not want him to die in the second scene! So... how to say... be careful with your dreams! :(

Thank you for your post.

drucea

Jun-12-2017 9:33 PM

Danny McBride and Franco are buddies and do movies together with Seth Rogan and others. McBride probably asked Scott to give him a small part for fun. I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up in anyone's interview, unless it has.

Roger55

Jun-12-2017 11:07 PM

@Curly

but my question is what was the significance of his sacrifice (the death of the original captain)

My answer to this question, Walter touchs first the hypersleep pod of Daniels and after this following Branson's pod, just curious and I wondered why this particular scene, reading of vital signs of them or searching something else?, and why only them and no others. I think MU/TH/UR blocks Branson's hypersleep pod for some unknown reason.

esther85

Jun-13-2017 12:13 AM

Somebody here wrote about a conspiracy between David, MU/TH/UR and Weyland corp. Thats why the original captain is dead, because it's sure, he leads the ship to Origae, and he won't stop on Planet 4. If I remember well to this theory... I don't know.

Your question is focusing also the James Franco problem... Why did such a famous actor die in the second minute? :D Because it's shocking... I think, he made this role just for fun.

Roger55

Jun-13-2017 9:15 AM

@esther85

Does the official novel say something about it?

ali81

Jun-13-2017 9:36 AM

I love the AI plot to the weyland story. iv believed for a long time that the synthetics r running the company but never sure as of what stage they gained power. im thinking sometime between Prometheus and AC now and im def convinced their running things as of the end of AC which makes where they go from here more interesting. plus this could be an answer for the negativity surrounding synthetics come resurrection. but tbh I wasn't really wanting this prequel saga to be about that. maybe introduced towards the end of the saga to tie in with the reasoning behind the nostromos course change in alien but to me, these movies were about the engineers and their connection to the xeno and how humanity fits into it all

R35

Jun-13-2017 10:54 AM

I think he asked his buddy Danny McBride to get him a role, lol

esther85

Jun-13-2017 1:02 PM

#Roger55

I read this theory here, on the forum. It's not in the novelization, as I know. I haven't read it anyways.

Unfortunately I don't know, who wrote about it, sorry. If I remember well, this theory based on the alternate ending of the film: Daniels couldn't figure out, David is on board, they fall asleep in the pods and then David make the contact with the Weyland Corp. So according to this Branson's dead wasn't an accident, MU/TH/UR and the corp. made it. Based on the interviews they knew, Branson is a strong minded character but Oram not. So for visiting the Planet 4 they needed Oram, not Branson.And this member (who wrote about  this theory) also mentioned, that MU/TH/UR isn't so effective, when it have to detect an alien lifeform on board. The xenomorph is absolutely formed out, when MU/TH/UR warn the crew.A bit late...  So this is the base of this consp. theory. Who knows, too much theories  sometimes...  :-)

So it's not in the novelization. 

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