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Several helpings of Alien Covenant and a little time to digest (review of sorts)...

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Merlinamagus

Jul-11-2017 7:15 PM

I'd say it's fair to say that some movies work best with repeat viewings - Prometheus being a fine example of this, as is Coherence, which justs gets more convoluted and complex with each watch (recommended - it's like 'Friends' meets The Twilight Zone). This is not a slate on the actual movie making, but rather a case of there being too much to take in and absorb in a single viewing and oft the need of time between views to digest and ponder the storyline/experience and re-watch with new insight(s) in place. Have you seen Alien Covenant multiple times and what are your thoughts on it now if so?

I'm currently at around seven times viewing since its theatrical release, and feel I'm at the point now where I know how I feel about it. Initial viewing I found entertaining, though found the flute scene agonisingly slow and the xeno scenes felt like they had been done by a director who'd had waay to much Columbian marching powder - blink and they were over, which felt disappointing. But overall I enjoyed it, unlike Prometheus which on initial viewing I didn't like at all, though with repeat viewing I have came to love it despite its many (well known and voiced) flaws, more so the fan-edit Agent 9 cut which in my humble opinion should have been how Ridders & Co cut & released the film as it makes more sense and flows better.

AC on the other hand, as mentioned, I enjoyed from the start. So several views in, and a couple of months digestion down the line, what's the aftertaste like? Well... I still like it. A lot. It's number two in the Alien charts so to speak, with Alien being at number one, Prometheus at three, and Alien3 at four. But back to AC... What's changed since the initial viewing? Well the flute scene no longer seems anywhere near as long, but the xeno scenes sadly feel just as rushed as they did on first view. The characters have grown on me - Farris in particular who seems natural and fun, a shame she exited so early. I wasn't swayed by Fassbender's performance initially - a tad over the top and 'hammy'. But on repeat viewing I have came to find him mesmerising and now think he does his job perfectly, especially in the mad-as-a-bat "the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo" David scene and the smirk-raising "Was that a question captain?" Walter scene. Superb stuff.

Repeat viewings of AC have left one impression that is very distinct. A true and real sense of excitement, connection, and the feeling of watching a proper 'Alien' film from the very opening scene right up to the point of Oram's chestburst, where it all rapidly falls apart into something that resembles and feels like the dreaded one (Ressurection if I even need say it), and seems to continue in this vibe until we get back onboard the Covenant, where it redeems itself briefly with the excellent and very 79-Alienesque shower scene and the subsequent chase to the Terraforming Bay (much of which I thought looked and felt like watching someone play Alien Isolation what with the xeno in-your-face camera attack and Daniels banging loudly to attract its attention).

So to sum up. Familiarity with the movie has for me improved it. But only by a little. Initial impatience with the character build-up and a desire to see the xenos has been replaced with a deep enjoyment of the character build up and no real desire to see the xenos at all, unless they are lurking, being ruthlessly smart, and as far away from cgi as possible. It is definitely a film of peaks and troughs. As a Prometheus sequel it is terrible. But as an Alien prequel, now that it is settled in I'd say it's pretty darn good.

I'd be interested to hear how AC has changed for others after repeated viewings and time. Any opinions changed?

"Is that a question Sir?"

9 Responses to Several helpings of Alien Covenant and a little time to digest (review of sorts)...

sherris

Jul-12-2017 1:51 PM

My thoughts after A:C were that it was a terrible prometheus sequel but it made a decent action flick which was set in a universe i love.

If they hadnt billed it as a Prometheus sequel it would of sat better for me. Initially i was gutted.

Then i watched it most days for about 2 weeks but i  havent watched it for about a month or so now. Im going wait for the BR.

My feelings about it are the same. Im still annoyed Prometheus wasnt followed properly but if i take that away then the movie which it is still remains "a decent action flick" which just happens to be set in a universe i love.

Now thats too bad actually!

Take This.... This is the blood of our lord

I Raptus

Jul-12-2017 2:24 PM

sherries funny, I saw a listing on Ebay selling a Prometheus Blue-ray DVD listed as "the prequel to Alien Covenant".  

I agree though, Prometheus to Alien Covenant doesn't flow well. FOX really needed to back Riddlers and let him follow his vision. All this ad hoc change along the way to appease critics, fans and the $$$ Bottom dollar is affecting the storytelling  

 

 

sherris

Jul-12-2017 2:46 PM

IRaptus - Exactly! Thats the message Fox put out there 

Thankfully it wasnt a disaster and the Franchise survives to maybe go again. 

My issue is that with a few pieces of small dialogue added to explain some of the surroundings (City,Hall Heads etc..) and giving us some info on the mythos it would of been so much more and viewed in a far better light.

Most negative reviews are about the lack of reveals. Minor changes fix that. We not asking for the world. Or classic after classic. Just a continuation of the story you have began telling us. We dont expect ALL the answers just MORE than the nothing we got.

Never mind !! i will still be pausing the blue ray and looking for scraps of information to lead us into A:A the day it is released. 

Thats how we roll ;)

 

Take This.... This is the blood of our lord

I Raptus

Jul-12-2017 3:01 PM

Really, Prometheus set-up such a fresh and captivating premise to drive a really expansive prequel into Alien.

I liked A:C, especially the addition of the Neomorph's as a meso-predator to the ultimate Xenomorph BUT A:C did little to build on the lore and scope of Prometheus, opting to focus on an angry android and his experiments instead.

Hopefully Covenant is setting us up for something great in the next instalment, and in hindsight we will be able to applaud and appreciate it for a master-stroke. time will tell.

 

BigDave

Jul-12-2017 4:22 PM

Totally agree with the OP...

I also felt the movie seemed quite good until the point of Oram and the Egg Scene, it was just rushed after this. I actually also feel that between when David rescued the Crew until the Chest Buster Scene needed a extra like 8-12 Minutes of extra footage.

I also think the Covenant scenes at the end needed a extra few minutes and the Xenomorph Scenes needed to be about twice as long.

Having watched the movie 3 times, i came to understand why it had its Flaws...   it was trying to cover a number of different elements... from showing us more about David, and some parts about his Prometheus Mission and Engineers as they could not completely leave this BLANK.. but it seemed like a Brush under the Carpet Job.

They had to introduce the Xenomorph, Twice.. which i felt was not needed... One would have done.. and so the last Act with the Xenomorph on the ship i felt was rushed.. but they had to bring the Xenomorph into it and give us a kind of Alien movie vibe which the last Scene tried to do.

Then they had to introduce something New... the Neomorphs which again i feel needed a bit more time spent on them.

And then they had the build up that was slow and used to explain what this Covenant Ship was, and how they ended up going to Planet 4.... which was done as a more slow build so that we can get to grips with the Characters more, than we did with Prometheus.

And all of this was too much to be fitted into a 2 hr movie and have it done justice... and thus only the Start of the Movie until when David arrives after the Neomorph attack was done to any Justice.

They then had not enough time to fit the rest in and give it the same level of detail and attention.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Merlinamagus

Jul-12-2017 4:44 PM

IRaptus  "and in hindsight we will be able to applaud and appreciate it for a master-stroke. time will tell"   <--- Indeed. We musn't forget that Alien itself, Bladerunner also, along with many others also weren't immediate classics. Like a fine wine some things need a little time - brandy also; so it's little wonder anything coming from Brandywine Productions will need time to settle and mature in the psyche.

BigDave  It's a crying shame isn't it that directors and production teams care so much about theatrical running times, especially considering how many classics and oscar winners are effectively epics (Saving Private Ryan, Gone with the Wind, Titanic, etc). I'm only hoping that Ridley, well known as he is for completely changing his mind about things, is in fact going to cut together directors cuts of both Prometheus and Alien Covenant, or indeed already has done given respectful consideration for his age, and that these may be eventually released in years to come. I know he has firmly stated that no directors cuts will be coming due to him saying the theatrical cuts are the cuts he originally intended, but we know what he's like for a bit of misinfo. Here's hoping anyway.

"Is that a question Sir?"

BigDave

Jul-12-2017 5:39 PM

I think the main reason is making $$$$ Sci-Fi in general is not as appealing to the higher % of Population, and so when they release a Movie they have to try and do things so it can cater to a wider Audience...   Why Prometheus was a PG-13 or abouts... having a Truly X Rated Horror, where the Age Restrictions would be 18+ does limit the Potential Viewers.

Making AC a Cert 15 means it opens the Box Office up to those aged 15-17, and the same applies for Run Time.

Prometheus was not well received by many, casual Sci-Fi fans may not have seen its connections to Alien, general population would not have and also not understood the movie, and Alien Fans.. well the Franchise was Split as far as Fans.. some liked it, some hated it etc.

So FOX wanted to make some $$$$ on this one and do better than Prometheus, and so it comes down to THIS they are making a Movie to try and please Prometheus Fans and those who did not like that movie.. so Every Single Passionate Alien Franchise Fan... which all have varied likes or dislikes, such as Queen and Cameron's haters and lovers, etc

The case was making Alien Covenant and then trying to gauge how many of the Hardcore Fanbase would go and see the movie?  Some may think "oh no not a Prometheus 2" and so would not want to sit through 3 HOURS of that.  Some may not want to sit through 3 Hours for other reasons.

And so its the Gamble... do they make a 3 Hour Movie that tries to please everyone?  Then who would go and see it?

Sadly they would feel that only the Die-Hard would Sit through a longer movie, and some fans who are not 100% sure about the movie would maybe be tempted if its 2 hours but pass by if its 3 hours.

Then we come to the more casual General Public, and getting them to see a 3 hour movie that some may connect is a Prometheus sequel and some may not... well its a case of how many of these would go and watch a 3 hour Alien Movie... especially at how disappointing the Franchise became overall to many after Alien 3

So having a Lower Screen Time, opens the Door to get more not so Hard Core Fans into the Box Office.  Sad Really.

But every person on this Site, and others like it and anyone who was discussed the Franchise on Youtube, Sites like this or any other kind of Social Media... Sadly if everyone of these went to the Cinema... the Question is would that be enough to break Even on the Movie?

And making it a longer movie may reduce the potential of viewers, and lowering the Age Content would open it to more viewers.

So its all about what way can get more Bums on Seats... and Sadly it seems AC did not do as well as planned.

 

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

I Raptus

Jul-12-2017 6:38 PM

BigDave so in a nutshell do you think Alien Covenant is basically FOX's version a re-boot/re-hashed Prometheus, done retrospectively their way (based on the viewer/critics response, performance & survey data).

Eg. FOX made Covenant based on their finding for why Prometheus "failed" 5 years ago. This may mean that had Alien: Covenant been released in 2012 it would have been received better, but it is not necessarily what the general public of 2017 want. 

So in trying to fix the mistakes of Prometheus (a film made 5 years ago) they are perpetually behind with the social climate and popular culture of the general public today?

 

If so, the next instalment is likely to share a similar fate.

BigDave

Jul-13-2017 8:41 AM

I think so yes...

I think in Hindsight they would have felt that Prometheus did not give enough Xenomorph Clues, it did not also show any real Xenomorph type Encounters.

We had Zombie Fifield Attack,  The Hammerpede Attack both which was in Spaights Draft but had a more Xenomorph connection.

We got the Trillobite C-Section which in Spaights draft something similar had Chest Busted from Holloway but then grew into a Adult Organism that killed a few people...   We get to see TWO Face Hugger events, both different, first was Holloways Octopus like one and then Watts (Shaw) Xenomorph type one... which she removes the Chest Buster via C-Section.

Spaights draft we also have TWO different more closer to Xenomorphs that came from the Face Hugged bodies of TWO crew members.

We see the Deacon come from Engineer in Prometheus but all it does is Chest Bust.... Spaights we get the Ultramorph instead which then chases down Watts (Shaw) before she kills it.

Spaights had Eggs, Face Huggers and Multiple Xenomorph type Monsters.

I think FOX/RS in hindsight felt Prometheus really should have had some of these things, it appears Prometheus was criticized by Fans especially Aliens ones for not having enough Xenomorphs etc.

This is why RS had said "they want Xenomorphs, ill give them F-ing Xenomorphs" to me this seems its more a Forced Change brought on by FOX rather than RS direction.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

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