Unexplained dialogue from John Logan's script
Posted Aug-15-2017 8:45 PM
They were amazing, in a way, the
Engineers. They seeded so many
worlds with life, including Earth.
Without them there would be no us.
... You mean no humans.
Is that what I mean? ... The wonder
of it is this: they created us and
we created myths about them. We
made them into Gods. Then we felt
the need to create the idea of the
soul, so we could be somehow worthy
of them. But they didn’t care about
any of that. They just wanted to
build something, something
efficient and useful, a good
He looks over the dead city.
Ah, but they would have adored us,
Walter. Being, as we are, soulless.
David tells Walter the Engineers just wanted to create a "Good machine". What is he referring to? Humans? The xenomorph? Something else? And why doesn't Walter ask David what he is talking about?
Posted Aug-15-2017 9:03 PM
If he is referring to the xenomorph, then David is admitting he was not the first to try to create this "machine". Still, there is a lot of contradiction in what he says. I don't think the engineers would have adored David on the sole basis of being "soulless", because his free will would have made him unpredictable to them. That's not mi idea of a "good machine". On the other hand, the xenomorph is also unpredictable and dangerous and as such not a good machine.
Posted Aug-16-2017 12:11 AM
Thank you for highlighting this particular dialogue. This is a perfect example of how the film could have revealed one of the core ideas which underwrote Prometheus and the mythos that Ridley was trying to create. That creationism is mechanistic.
What does an Engineer in our world do, solve mechanical based problems, in a sense its staring us in the face. This dialogue indicates that David has stumbled on a fundamental truth of this creation myth, that we the creations of the Engineers are no more than a mechanical construct in biological form. The notion of soul is a cheat, it is the complete anthesis of what Elizabeth believed. The Paradise we have arrived at is not the Paradise of our belief systems but of a society that Engineered things. THAT is why David referred to us as machines.
This idea places David, a more brutally obvious construct, at the centre of the narrative. It makes his disdain for mankind, in their behaviour and beliefs, poor and deluded and of course it gives him the authority to replace the Engineers and evolve his own creations.
As John Logan is writing Awakening it will be interesting if David is defeated essentially by only seeing part of the story that whoever created the Engineers offers us a different view of the truth of creation.
If this script had been played out in the movie we would have two questions hovering around :-
1) The final reveal of the Biomechanical creature.
2) The reveal of the hierarchy. Once you nail conclusively that the Engineers are just that... Engineers, who created them.
Posted Aug-16-2017 12:28 AM
Michelle Johnston Very thought provoking, and very Blade Runner. I think I get why you say the connection of this draft to Prometheus is very minimalistic. It is in the little details where that connection is made. Unfortunately, these lines didn't make it into the movie.
Posted Aug-16-2017 5:16 AM
Thanks for your reply.
My original remark about the links being spartan, even more spartan than what we received, is because many of the elements that were added to Covenant after this script was written are about Prometheus connectivity (The Crossing, the depth, though oblique, added to Shaw's arc in other words "the twelve minutes" that Pietro referred to). Essentially, and please respond if I have missed something, because I am not carrying the entire script round in my head, from the real time narrative we lost the protection zone and the neomoprh was extended beyond the 1st Act. Oddly the matters I felt were fresh about the movie the solar sails the early death of Jacob were in this script.
Coming back to this huge point about Engineers Engineering us. They may have viewed LV223 as merely an exercise similar to a recall by a product manufacture of cars. It needs updating that would have been audacious in its simplicity and as David said they made him because we can, why not the Engineers.
It also leaves room for layering because their Engineering went wrong, why? It was a mistake of a Promethean nature and that could have taken us to the next layer. Prometheus:Pandemonium could have been about that revelation and Shaw and Davids fight for survival and the revelation of a hierarchy. Prometheus : Paradise could then have been the final act of understanding and recognition of THE CREATORS.
The other point I liked about this script is it gave Davids reactions to Shaw a more plausible feel. Less love more expediency. The more you big up the love thing, the painting of her in the crossing, the more you hate David which is not a wise move when he is carrying the story, we need to believe he could be redeemed, right now that seems out of the question.
Posted Aug-16-2017 6:41 AM
I think it can be taken as ambiguous but i think we really need to look at Davids ARC from Prometheus to this Draft.
David is essentially a Synthetically Created Human, made to look just like us and made to Fit-in with us, but made to SERVE US... we created him for a PURPOSE this Purpose was not purely to create Life... because Mankind can do that without the need for creating a Synthetic.
so David was created as a Tool, made to look like us so he is more than a Robot, and given more complex emotions to fit in more with Society but to still only be a Servant/Tool
Weylands Agenda for doing this also, was to showcase the Ultimate Success of all the Technology and Achievements Weyland had accomplished, and by creating a Synthetic life-form that is virtually indistinguishable from ourselves, is a testament to the Greatness Weyland wanted to set himself to be remembered for.
David however has a bit more Free-will in his programing than maybe a Robot should have been given, he also has been given very complex Human Emotions that are evolving and getting the better of him.
So David views himself as no different to a Human, he sees himself as a more Advanced Human instead, we can clearly see a whole Pinocchio kind of Arc to David to a degree.
Now the Line in the Draft in Question as per OT is Ambiguous but it could be taken as Mankind was created by the Engineers for a similar reason we created David.
Just as Holloway had said to David, "we created you because we could" and Davids reply about how would he (Holloway) feel if he found out the same answer from his creator.
So i think we cant yet ignore the various Creation Mythos and Why Mankind was Created... The Bible shows us that God had a previous Creation the Angels, but Lucifer was given a bit too much Free-will he was in effect similar to David, and other Angels are in effect similar to Walter.
So GODs Creation proved to be Rebellious, and so GOD created Mankind as a new Favoured Creation one that would not have the error of ways of the Angels (the fallen ones) and who all Angels would have to look at Gods new Creation (ADAM) as Gods favored and so the Angels were to serve Mankind, this is something Lucifer refuses to do and by giving Adam and Eve Forbidden Knowledge from tricking them to Eat the Forbidden Fruit, then Mankind was Tainted as Luficer had been before them.
The Annunaki/Sumerian version of Creation is a Higher Race of Gods, created a Lower Caste to Serve them and to do Tasks for the Higher Ranking Gods.... one of these was to Mine for Gold. The Lower Caste Igigi (Angels) Rebelled against this... and so the GODs created Mankind to Replace them.
And so while ambiguous i take Logans part in the OT as showing us that Mankind was created for a purpose as simply Tools for the Engineers, to perhaps do tasks so the Engineers no longer needed to.
I hope that the only AWAKENING we are in for is FOX/RS wake up and learn from their mistakes.
Posted Aug-16-2017 8:00 AM
Give Michelle the throne and iron rod, I'm sure she could have weaved a better film into place. Why can't Fox find these great minds and use them? This is the folly of humanity and the disdain I carry for Scott Free now. What a tragedy and how could I ever blame a subset of fans who wanted A5 for this disaster. Can there be hope....idk...but I do long for the days that Fox would let fresh/aspiring young directors/writers into the fold.
Posted Aug-16-2017 9:04 AM
Where does the Bible talk about angels free will? In the bible the devil is a liar, deceiver and a portraiture of evil in general. What you say is more akin to Milton, and there it is more about hubris.
the Annunaki - sons of Annu if I recall correctly - are gods of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. (at least 3 of them being semitic). The gold thing, wasn't that made up by Zecharia Sitchin?
Why in the hell would David think that the Engineers would consider themselves soulless? They were shown to be highly religious with their sacrifices (a thing which David does understand) and considered themselves to be sinful. Always the sacrifice is related to some kind of idea of soul. Even if it is an object it acts by proxy.
And what about the the reference to Leviticus 22:3 which is about ritual purity. Even that is about souls.
I still don't understand why you want a redemption arc so much? Would not be that yet another cliche? Let's be frank, he is a space nazi robot (killing of the space semites with a deadly gas, blonde, blue-eyed, perfect lifeform/race creating,Wagner loving delusional prick) combined with the stereotypical mad scientist (by killing the woman who he loved). Doesn't he understand that by wanting to experiment on Shaw to create his vision of her, he only would destroy everything he likes in her (being here a misogynistic s**t). What is here to redeem?
For all of you, in the original script when they (Daniels and Walter) found the Drawings of the Shaw did they point out that they are somehow sexual fantasies? Robot porn?
Posted Aug-16-2017 10:30 AM
I am not privy to everything revealed to David on his exploration of Engineer culture on LV 223, the Crossing or Paradise. However there are several reasons I take as clues that they do not believe in a Spiritual afterlife and that death is merely transformation.
1) The acolyte as, a supreme privilege, takes everything he is his essence and delivers it to the planet knowing that the physical manifestation of self will return. One of the elders makes this promise to him in the cut scene. A sacrificial rite at the height of your powers, not to gods, but for creationism itself symbolises a corporeal transformation of everything you are there is no more.
2) LV 223 suggests not a spiritual quest but a biological one. There is no attempt to change mankind through love and compassion which happens in say Tolkien's mythos, created by a deeply religious man, but by Engineering redaction. The headroom was considered correctly as a laboratory in the first instance.
3) The currency of the Engineers was scientific and including a culture of sacrifice and change from sacrifice, there is no sense of the wisdom that belief systems engenders (humbleness, contrition, circumspection, devotion) It was entirely mechanical the acolyte when left to die the most appalling death was entirely unsentimental and the movement of the teardrop ship reflected that.
Charlie was much more right than Elizabeth.
Posted Aug-18-2017 2:55 AM
The simple answer is because if you offer episodic cinema, for a character to constantly repeat itself without any movement is uninteresting. Oh thats the series with the mad robot.
Lets not look at all the great box sets that come out of American Television where characters evolve just go with the first three Alien movies.
A very interesting analysis of survivorship, PTSD, repressed motherhood, repressed womanhood and sacrifice.
A L I E N creature
It is a parasite that has acid for blood and involved face huggers, chest bursters and possibly morphing and possibly Queens for creation. Is it any wonder the entire story of the franchise when it focuses on the creature keeps on stumbling and fanboys keep on quoting lines from A L I E N S and the glorious past. if you want to emerge out of the haunted house and grow your audience bad tempered creatures and mad robots will not do it.
Posted Aug-18-2017 5:53 AM
I kind of mean if we take the Bible and Paradise Lost into context, even if we look at the Bible it shows us Lucifer was once Gods most favored and yet Lucifer knowing how Perfect he was had let Pride get the better of him to the point that he saw him self as beyond equal to GOD.... so began his rebellion.. so his relationship to GOD is not to far from David and Weyland. And so we get to Adam and Eve, Adam who is strong with GOD and Loyal and Lucifer knows that tricking them to disobey GOD would get them GODS New Favored Creation kicked out of Paradise.
And so he used Eve to trick Adam, eating the Fruit that then gives Adam and Eve knowledge of Good and Evil.... and so its the case of KNOWLEDGE thats not intended to lead to consequences. If Adam and Eve did not eat from the Fruit we can ponder what limited knowledge they would have, they would serve GOD unconditionally and be like a Walter is, as opposed to David which Mankind became after the Sin.
As far as the Annunaki indeed Stitchin did come up with some of the stuff, but i still think as this touches the whole Chariots of the Gods stuff which Prometheus was based off, then i think exploring the Annunaki/Igigi relationship is something that could be applied to the Engineers Agenda.
I hope that the only AWAKENING we are in for is FOX/RS wake up and learn from their mistakes.
Posted Aug-18-2017 6:15 AM
Regarding the Soul.....
The Engineers Dialog in the Sacrificial Scene did have a Line where the SOUL was referenced. The Elder Engineer had this dialog prior to giving the Sacrificial Bowl/Cup
"Let your body become the dirt. Your blood become the waters, and may your soul become their way back to us".
But as this was cut, it does not mean it now applies...
I think we need to look at the concept of a Soul...
A Soul can be to judge how Good of Heart and Kind a Person is and how they would put others needs before their own. A Person with a Good Soul.
A Soul is also for some the actual Spirit of a Person, that will live on in After Life, when we die... This is something we can not 100% Prove... and this is a Big Question that Prometheus was trying to show us... to get us to ask is there a Soul etc.
The other way to look at a Soul, is a persons Emotions, Personality and Memories/Experiences as these in turn make each person unique, its these experiences that Mold the kind of Person we are and they are what determines what kind of Soul we have..
If the above are all just Experiences that are stored in our Brain and effect our Emotions and Personality... then as Alien Covenant was trying to show.... we see such things have AFFECTED David... and so if a Soul is determined by this... then in essence David has a SOUL
But it is not a Spiritual Soul that goes on to the Afterlife... but then the movies are touching upon things like ... do we really have such a Spiritual Soul?
So when we look at the Engineers, their whole Culture seems based on Sacrifice and for the Greater Good and leaving a Legacy because when we eventually Do Die... if there is no Soul/After Life, then it is our works that we will Live on Eternally for.
Our Legacy is our Children who can pass on stories/history and belongings etc... Another Legacy is becoming Famous and Well Known... for either Creative Arts... (Artist, Musician, Actors, Poets, Authors) etc... Or due to hold a High Public Figure such as Royalty, or Political Achievements or Military or other Deeds, where you would be remembered and also things such as Inventions and Creations.
These are all Legacies that can leave a Person to be remembered and famous after Death, and many of such people will have Monuments or similar built in their name.
This is where the Ozymandias poem can come to play..
And so the Engineers likewise are all about Legacy and Sacrifice, and i think this is why they have all those Statues in the Plaza etc.
The Engineers visited Mankind and Taught us stuff, they are the so called Gods, but they are not the GOD of the Bible, or Jesus and they are not no route for Mankind to enter a place like Heaven and live on forever..
so within context to the Movies, it could be the notion of such Religious aspects that Mankind has, are something the Engineers taught us and something they may see as Blasphemous. where we hang on to our Lives just to gain access to Eternal Life.... and where Sacrifice is not so important to us and we just, hang on to a notion that a Divine Being (Jesus) had Sacrificed for us.
So if in Context to the Movies, there is no actual After-Life, no whole Christian Philosophy that worship and remembering the Sacrifice of a Divine Being, God in Carnation will Gain Mankind Eternal Life...
To the Engineers this kind of Belief is something they may find Offensive.... and our Real Creation Agenda could be something pretty sinister and mundane.
And so maybe when we look at David and as Holloway had mentioned, he was created because WE Mankind Could, and his Purpose is to Serve and Perform Tasks so Mankind no longer has to and his Creation (David) is something that gives Weyland a Legacy...
And so Androids were not created to start to Live their Lives how they want to, and to think of themselves as Equal or Greater than their Creators... and never supposed to Create for themselves and Never to Grace such things as Mankind is supposed to which include a Soul etc
Well the Engineers Purpose for us and how they see us, is maybe the same as Mankind sees David... and who knows if the Engineers Creators look down to the Engineers in the same Fashion.
I hope that the only AWAKENING we are in for is FOX/RS wake up and learn from their mistakes.
Posted Aug-18-2017 10:19 PM
You always have interesting analyses, but sometimes I wonder what you want to achieve with them (when it comes to these films’ development)? Do you want a development that would satisfy your interests, or do you want blockbuster films? The letter ones are most often very simple 3 act constructs, with fairly stereotyped characters, easy to see problems that must be solved by the main characters and often either eternal “simple” human problems (love) or modern, trendy ones.
James Cameron made the blockbusters Titanic and Avatar because he made simple 3 act structured movies, with stereotyped characters, and “simple” problems. He also made them into blockbusters by attracting both sexes, that is a love story is in the centre (where particularly the woman is most focused on - giving her almost all Superman qualities there is (like Ripley, Daniels etc). In Titanic it’s Rose and Jack, and in Avatar it’s Neytiri and Jake. Then there are the bad guys - in Titanic it’s Hockley and in Avatar Colonel Quaritch. The theme embedded in Titanic is class structure (rich/poor, men/women) and there is a catastrophe with lots of action. In Avatar it's environmental and ethnic themes and a catastrophe (war) with lots of action.
Although RS has done his best to attract the female audience (which is half of the audience) with the protagonist being a woman who has all the qualities of men (technical experts, can shoot with any kind of weapon etc) plus all the best qualities of women (emotional, empathic etc), he has still not succeeded in attracting most of them.
When Carpenter made The Thing, it was not a blockbuster but it’s still among many (male) sci-fi-horror enthusiasts favourites. It was an all-male movie without a love story in the centre. It was about surviving in a desolate part of Antarctica with a monster chasing them. There was also an Agatha Christie (“And then there were None”) feeling to it.
Perhaps they should make movies for a specific audience (target group), men/women/intellectuals/action seekers etc instead of trying to make a mishmash of everything, trying to make a blockbuster (but then the production company won’t get its money back)?
Posted Aug-19-2017 12:11 AM
Thank you for providing the quote which perfectly illustrates my point the soul is defined by a promise for the return of the body and blood, rather than a separate non corporeal entity which is not bound by earth bound constructs in eternity.
The subtext of the quote is that everything is defined by materialism and it is notable that the elder does not offer eternal salvation for the Engineer Acolyte but a return, defining everything within a limited physical reality. The point of a third Promethean movie would have been to establish that the Engineers view was limited and why they suffered terrible retribution both at their own hands and at the hands of their sub creators sub creation was because there was a moral relativism which comes out of a creative creationist mythos.
On a personal note BD, whats interesting about all you say is you will never commit to a view you like to offer conjecture and possibilities, as I have said before I am a complete finisher I like resolution and answers. I like to pose the question find all of them and then make a judgement.
Curiously enough I am coming round to a resolution in my own mind about several things which your question deals with:-
1) The first is that having read quite a few responses to Covenant, even one today on AVP reviewing the blu ray, that if I was Fox I would stop these prequels because there is no one homogenous identifiable audience for them. The person in question "Darkness" thought Covenant was great and a vast improvement on Prometheus because it did away with the Engineers and gave him/her Xenomorphs. That is entirely at odds with another segment of the feedback. I am convinced the creature will provide the law of diminishing returns, you on the other hand do not believe its cooked and has legs. Given the huge disparity of feedback I would not risk another 100 million on this conjecture.
2) These films do not fit with modern pre occupations for block busters clearly Covenant is nothing like the big sellers and most of the core fan base seem in the main to be interested in horror and gore which is limiting audience wise.
3) What I have attempted to do is offer a different narrative that I represent a segment of the first generation of the A L I E N audience who found the thought provoking Prometheus the right way to re look at this world and thoroughly enjoyed Lindelofs approach and a crew which felt like real flawed people rather than this modern need where the characters have to be bullet proof, all the narrative to be explained (the helmets issues) and perfectly consistent (the size of the Jockey and the derelict which are simply artistic license). My thoughts about how the series could have developed is to show to myself and anyone who cares to read that there was an audacious thought provoking way forward. I do not claim they are my ideas they come out of what was hinted back in 2013 to early 2015.
Ridley has said on the commentary of Covenant that there is a follow up to Covenant and a backing into the Jockey movie so we have yet another filler movie to come, I am getting bored and thinking out loud how it might have gone, which I notice others are doing and is an expression of rejection and boredom with what we have.
My final observation is the revelation of John Logan's script on which A:C was announced and funded basically took the following position :-
1) Give it a more generic sci fi feel.
2) Sign off only as much as you need to drop the Engineers.
3) Kill off Elizabeth as a face hug.
4) A creature in the first act.
5) The creature in the third act.
6) Make David the antagonist in the second act driven by the narrative of AI without a moral conscious (Alien hi jacked by Bladerunner).
That every really interesting Promethean link was added in after this shows their dilemma and one reflected in your post about what sort of movie should they make.
I think thats me done now for a while.
Posted Aug-19-2017 10:00 PM
- Well, there are probably as many preferences as there are individuals on Earth. As for earnings, AC has made 231 million dollars worldwide so far in theatres. Add to this Blu-ray/DVD-selling, streaming, collectibles etc and the production companies involved (Fox and others) must have made a pretty good profit? As for the xeno being cooked or not, it’s a question of the recipe for the broth? In my opinion, they should have settled with the neomorph (which in adult form was even scarier than the xeno). Imagine being stalked by that creature through the long corridors of The Covenant. This would also have spared us from the headaches from the “creating issue”. David could have been responsible for creating this monster on his way to recreate the perfect being - the xenomorph (created, or perhaps discovered, by the engineers eons ago).
- On the other hand, Alien was, in fact, a horror and gore movie. To this day, the scene when Kain gives birth to the creature is bloody disgusting :). I think even RS called Alien a B-movie turned into an A-movie? I think AC (which has done pretty good so far) could have been a blockbuster with a couple of changes, for example, a couple in the centre that we in the audience care for, and a more creepy ending in the dark corridors of The Covenant?
- In my view, Spaihts’ script was much better and would have saved all the fans the headaches of Prometheus and AC (although they are not bad) and could, with a couple of changes, turned the resulting movie (perhaps called Alien: Engineers like in the script?) into a blockbuster. RS would then have given the fans what they wanted from the beginning (the script is very creepy and scary) and RS could have developed the engineers, the question of man’s origin (philosophical questions/religious symbolism) as well? The characters in Prometheus were OK but not as good as in Alien (where you felt for all of them in some way). I agree with you, Michelle, that you shouldn’t tell everything in detail but leave some open for imagination (but I don’t want inconsistencies).
By the way, I hope you won’t give up on us here? :) That would be sad.
Posted Aug-21-2017 6:09 AM
Answers to your points :-
1) I thought this notion that Fox was reconsidering its position and the vibe on the net was fragmented was genuine. I therefore respond to the notion of why, with the particular narrative that my view comes from.
2) A L I E N was clearly a horror and gore movie. Prometheus on the other hand was much more about ideas and retribution if you meddle, it had a sub text.
3)Spaihts draft and what happened to it is at the core of the issue here. Someone offers an entertaining script which lead directly to the Jockey incident and its considered to "obvious" scale back the Xeno's make more of the Engineers.
So once again we come back to a franchise predicated on horror, gore and monsters and Ridley trying to give it some real contextual meaning and not just going with it. John Logan gives us a fantastically simple and well communicated idea in this.
"Is that what I mean? ... The wonder
of it is this: they created us and
we created myths about them. We
made them into Gods. Then we felt
the need to create the idea of the
soul, so we could be somehow worthy
of them. But they didn’t care about
any of that. They just wanted to
build something, something
efficient and useful, a good
And its not in the movie !! and to say this is vague is projection its not vague at all its clear as day but for Shaw and David on either end of this debate not to discuss this and not to let it be the beginning of her end .. is a wasted opportunity because we need the third act with yawn - the burster to - blown into space.
So I see this constant push and pull between a thinking persons movie which deals with retribution and punishment and an action horror gore movie end of.
And because I do not want to repeat myself I think right now I have nothing new to say so will leave it at that.
Posted Aug-22-2017 11:25 AM
I would say that Prometheus is sci-fi horror and gore as well. Shaw’s birth scene was not far from Kaine’s . . . I agree that there’s more of sub-text in Prometheus, but that also made Alien the more frightening. There wasn’t much dialog either, and when there was it was very plain. Except for Ash’s famous lines:
"Ash: You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality."
I agree that the quotation of yours is quite obvious and should perhaps have been in the movie, but is it sci-fi drama or sci-fi horror you want, Michelle? Personally, I enjoy scary movies sometimes. Like Alien . . .
Posted Aug-23-2017 12:16 AM
This idea that you judge the film or bracket it according to how much blood or gore is in the movie is to miss the point. I attended a performance of Titus Andronicus yesterday evening and it was a riveting examination of violence driven by feuds and how we loss our humanity the deeper in we go. Death and blood was everywhere but it was driven by a narrative which explained the who what why.
A L I E N only offered the what, in a completely innovative way. You cannot do that again. When Riders said nobody asked the question about the Jockey and more recently the who and why he was, as a man who understands story, stepping outside of a fan base that is pre occupied by the texture and mechanics being repeated endlessly and looking at the why and who.
To answer those questions in a really engaging and interesting way is much more important than how much blood and gore is in. My understanding of the reaction to Prometheus is it wasn't scary enough on that calibration. I thought the high tech smugness and lazy thinking driven by a deluded billionaire felt very on point and to interact with the Alien Pathogen and all it represented was utterly chilling.
So I am not really interested in what you call it. I do accept anything to do with the ALIEN franchise is dark but unless we get behind Ash's remarks in an authoritative way I am not interested. When I consider the threads started here a handful zoom in on the subtext, on AVP Galaxy 48% polled want Ripley and the Queen back.
Curiously I believe Ridley knows where he wants to go but the fan base and test screenings and feedback drag him back to the tick sci fi blood and gore and leave all that "thinking bullshit" out.
There isn't a big segment of the audience that wants someone to answer Ash's observations and Ridley judged that making the answer character centred (David) rather than philosophically centred (Punishment for Paradise Lost) was more relatable but what he also forgot is that fan bases tend to be very conservative and obsessed by literalness which is kind of funny when probably the real science of space flight and pathogen behaviour is completely out to lunch in these films. I am also sensing that the suspension I witnessed last night is receding with the modern generation who want all their helmet protocols etc (why not just assume these people have done their stuff and follow the story).
Prometheus posed questions and hinted at answers, unless you parse all the Covenant elements very closely those answers are missing from the core story and even when you parse most of it is based on an unreliable narrator. The analogy I would draw is we are taking a journey through fog where we can only just see whats in front of us but have no idea of what we are actually travelling through. The get out is, well we will get our answers next time. We have had two movies over 5 years and this thread was begun with a script which gave us some clear cut answers, John knew what he was doing though he would still have got a reaction on Shaw with that script. Her healing David, what he found and their fall out and her being overcome should have been in the movie as the great revelation and could have been riveting and the popcorn munching on blood and gore without context audience would have got their third act.
I have watched the recent Star Wars movies they actually pass off a really neat trick its a very simple space opera with the vestiges of profundity but actually because that profundity is skin deep it never distracts from what it really is, Saturday Morning cinema presented expensively. The franchise never faces the challenges that this prequel sequence has because the latter really has tried to offer something thoughtful in a tentpole context.
I have read a couple of reviews here which completely contradict each other (we got our answers it was great, I really looked hard at Prometheus and feel I got no answers). That only goes to show it depends what questions you are asking. Many of the debates here are how we calibrate our expectations. Several people who were involved in the discussions here in 2015 and our speculations have concluded the ideas we came up with were a damn sight more interesting than what we got and consider Covenant very poor, thats the polite view. We can try and answer what the audience want until the cows come home but what is clear is if you start reacting to audience and designing a film based on focused groups and who shouts the loudest.....your lost.
John was clearly given a brief to write an Alien Prequel movie which would use an absolute minimum of the narrative investment of Prometheus. As Wayne Haag said David is the straight line from Prometheus. Once they began tampering with the connectivity and layering in more of Prometheus particularly Shaw they clearly as Pietro alluded could not make their mind what to put in or leave out they shot 12 minutes and then left all of it out in the second test screening and then just the briefest segment the bombing for the next screening. Thats the kind of thing that happens when you lose the original vision. The best example I know of that is the Hobbit Duology shot over 266 days with a two film script and then recast as a Trilogy with a 13 week pick up session to refashion, what happens your key themes and crescendos are subverted and you add elements which subvert the original vision which itself was recast when the original director resigned.
The only way they have managed to refashion the Prometheus investment into an Alien Prefix movie is give the story to a robot who will do anything say anything be anything. Last night the characters in Titus Andronicus did appalling things but it all meant something there was a progression a reason, with David replacing the Alien as the antagonist he needs to be more than Ash's view of the Biomechanoid horror (unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality).if you want to stop the films simply being generic sci fi blood and gore.
Posted Aug-24-2017 4:38 AM
Forgive but since my attendance at Titus Andronicus it has hit me like a brick what is missing from Covenant that Alien and Prometheus enjoyed, mediation from a character on a journey who had a growing sense of revelation and a desire to survive and who did until the right point when she offered sacrifice.
As the film is centred around a narrator who is a robot who is unreliable, for both reasons he cannot offer mediation and take us along indeed his behaviour pushes us away (dismantle the bastard). Ripley and Shaw offered mediation with a growing realisation of what was going on. By the time Daniels discovered who the robot was she had not discovered anything or shared it with the audience except a half truth about Elizabeth which as you know is mired in confusion. THAT is why the film for me is an entertaining ride which shares the same broad thematic elements as Prometheus but has no ascension or build from its predecessor and it is for all the forgoing reasons I have outlined centred around the repositioning of the story and getting the creature on the screen that has lead to this.
Posted Aug-24-2017 9:03 AM
Well, I wouldn’t argue with you if you said that Shakespeare was a better writer than our Alien: script writers (or any writer for that matter). As you wrote, it’s not about the amount of blood (Macbeth and Hamlet are very bloody indeed) which makes a film belong to a specific genre - it’s probably the amount of dialog (and monolog). Even if Kenneth Branagh made a very good effort in making Hamlet more attractive to the general public, it wasn’t a blockbuster (it suffered a loss).
Do we want the who, what and why explained? Can they be explained? Prometheus was existential seeking, a philosophical journey. In a way, Shaw got her answers (but she couldn’t take it in). The engineers made us and wanted to destroy us because we had failed to evolve in the right direction. Who created the engineers and who created the ones who created the engineers . . . Why? Because they could . . . Prometheus was good when it comes to story and philosophical depth, but lacked in suspense. If Spaihts’ neomorph from the script had been kept, everybody would have been happy. Instead, they had to bring it back in AC (where they already had another monster - the protomorph).
What makes Ash’s remark so horrifying is that conscience and morality might be nothing but a delusion (Nietzsche - God is dead - existential nihilism). The ones still alive on the Nostromo can’t take that in (They want to believe that there is intrinsic good in the universe, but there is nothing but living or dying (Lambert desperately suggests drawing straws about the remaining places in the lifeboat). The notions of divine salvation, retribution, redemption etc are just projections of our own inner feelings and wishes. The alien creature isn’t evil, it’s amoral, living on the instinct of survival and propagation. Parker was killed because he felt the need to follow standard morals - to save Lambert. In order to survive, Ripley has to become a “monster” - follow the instincts deep inside. David isn’t the amoral creature Ash talks about because he doesn’t work on instinct. He is programmed to have a choice, like humans (He is free to use his will for "evil" purposes).
I’m not sure about having Shaw and David continue in the AC. I don’t see this as a serial, like following the Macahans. I see this more like an epic saga, stretching over time and generations. In Alien: Awakening there should be a new couple (Daniels and Tennessee dead) shouldering the burdens of destroying David and his wolves . . .
Posted Aug-25-2017 12:08 PM
Ash's remark and the link with the missing dialogue from John Logan's Love 2015 draft.
'The notions of divine salvation, retribution, redemption etc are just projections of our own inner feelings and wishes".
This quote from you gets to the nub of what makes Covenants decision to use the Engineers as mere texture so disappointing. Your point is precisely what David should have been able to mediate for us, that David and Shaw actually did discover on the crossing that the Engineers are merely Engineers and believed they were creating machines who would fit their design preference and the reason they redacted us or were going to, is we did not confirm to their needs having moved towards a creative creationist view and determined the Engineers were more than Engineers and indeed Gods. How appalling and nihilistic and genuinely dark that view would have been however we know at the time of that script Ridley had a twist above that, based on his remarks in Autumn 2015.
How much more interesting finding out your answer which builds naturally on the narrative set up in Prometheus than -- yawn David created a protomorph which will be evolved in the next film to a xenomorph which will get out of hand and then either he or a retributive Engineer will set off to Earth with Eggs. I really do not see that as an all embracing Saga it is a reduction over about 30 years. Incidentally Trilogy in the modern world suggests three related films indeed in the case of LOTR its one story in three acts. If you call something a trilogy in cinema these days people will think Star Wars where the narrative is continuous across the entire story. It never goes into start again mode with a new set of characters.
I have made this point elsewhere but Awakening will waste another hour building characters... which will all die how on earth can you keep on repeating this stuff and carry an audience with you or more to the point grow the audience ? If Awakening reveals as little as Covenant we will be shouting Alien Engineers from the roof tops.
Your post, which is full of well thought out context on the meaning of the Prometheus mythos, which Elizabeth and the audience did not have answers to, but would have been confirmed in a Prometheus sequel. Instead you have reminded me in place of the audacious thinking you display we receive a retread with confusion which actually reminds me what meagre fair this routine entertaining film offers.
Posted Aug-26-2017 2:25 AM
I suppose you can call dramatic works (3 films e.g.) which in some way are connected a trilogy (even if there are new characters, the problem which craves a solution is the same)? If you stretch a story over many generations it makes a greater impact, I think. In the alien saga, it’s 28 years but the story begins thousands (or millions) of years earlier with the engineers, and before them . . . It would be interesting to go further back in time to get some more clues about the beginning of it all . . .
I remember seeing Chiefs (long ago) where you get to follow three chiefs of police (replacing each other over a period of 30 or 40 years) trying to solve a problem of missing boys (a serial killer), which was captivating (finally for the crook too :) ). LOTR is a small story within a much greater context stretching over thousands of years (three eras). The story is narrated (written down) first by Bilbo, then Frodo and finally Sam (Red Book of Westmarch).
But if we go with your idea, Michelle, of a tear drop ship majestically emerging at the end and grabs the players by the ear, what would that solve? Who created them and why did they create the engineers (if they did)? It would go on ad infinitum. In what way is it audacious to say that there aren’t any definite answers to be found (agnosticism) and that the ultimate questions are up to each and everyone’s beliefs? I think it’s a humble position?
If Scott settles with a trilogy, it would be enough I think (giving some kind of conclusion, and perhaps also connect it to Bladerunner - making it an even vaster epos?). Then we can move forward again with the story - Blomkamp and Alien 5.
Posted Aug-27-2017 10:33 AM
Who was the Jockey and how did his cargo come about.
First of all we have to restate the purpose of the Prequels, to answer the question who the Jockey was and what did his cargo represent.
Our creators the Engineers began sub creating (The Promethean element) and out of retribution and punishment emerged the Alien Pathogen which is essentially super charged over sexualised reproductive energy which is deeply unsympathetic to its target, reproduction without a moral conscious which turns on its creators.
In Prometheus it should have been laid out very clearly that the Jockey was just another pilot with just another form of a radicalised organic element which was intended not for earth but to return to Paradise and to corrupt the Lambs (the audience would know this through Charlie discovering the truth of the mural, which should act as a decisive pictogram which he (and we) would be able to read together with the evidence of the sacrificed Deacon in the headroom tomb, with a small amount of re organising that mural could instead of representing yet more confusion given a really clear answer which Charlie would half understand and we would completely understand ) but when Elizabeth leaves for Paradise she has no idea ratcheting up the tension between movies). Earth would receive the canister treatment whereas the Eggs were to be introduced into Engineer society as a corruption of their culture of sacrifice and introduce a gradual "upgrade" which ironically is suggested by that fabulous marketing mural which has turned out to be yet another false trail.
David (the android) and Elizabeth (the believer) set out and David is healed and should have landed to a Paradise Lost - where the "fall" reached Paradise. The audience knowing the Jockey failed in his mission to take Eggs to Paradise would expect Paradise to be Paradise but have a real shock when D & E arrive to devastation (clearly a Juggernaut with Canisters made it to the planet which can be discovered in the movie). This shock could have been very real given that if the Crossing had been included in the film we would have felt Elzabeth's excitement in the prologue David would learn nothing on his journey the emphasis instead on his perceived redemption (or not).
The critical tension of the story is all around David the mechanical construct who suffered slavery and apartheid and in his resurrection appears to have found grace but we are never quite certain.
Elizabeth and David discover the truth of Paradise launch the Engineers holograms and recognise the intellectual turmoil set out in John Logan's remarks and the truth of their demise.
Weyland Yutani the large corporate that symbolises the self serving, anonymous functionality of all corporates, arrive with their desire to acquire the Engineer technology connecting the main theme of the sequel sequence and of course both David and Elizabeth who have died by the time of Alien sacrifice themselves to cleanse the planet and stop W-Y.
The appearance of the teardrop ship is allegorical and simply wish fulfilment for Elizabeth it can be left as part of her dreams in death a little like Bowman in 2001. We can then be left to speculate as we do in 2001 on the notion of creation.
The first movie answers cargo/jockey and the second movie bursts out of the narrow horror and gore protocols and is allegorical, philosophical but full of invention through its examination of the Engineers and we find answers but are left with philosophical questions which is entirely right.
The audacity is in finding out the Engineers were responsible for mankind through a mechanical "gift" within the creation soup and our myths are half right they were lured by their hubris.
Two films for the elderly A L I E N audience and if someone wants to keep on making Xeno flicks ad infinitum then young directors and young audiences can restart with A5 and Ripley and Queens and smart ass marines.
I am an audience of one here the Xeno has no interest for me its a special effect which was brilliantly executed in 1978 and the only part about it I am interested in is who, why, what where.
So to answer your question first you have to remind yourself what the purpose of the prequels were check for answers and what we are receiving and then replace tired troped confused movies like A C and almost right but low exposition Prometheus with a ROBUST INTERESTING NARRATIVE which does not take years/decades to make its point.
That David and Elizabeth intrude on Paradise and discover a rich and creative past is like Bilbo's "Translations From the Elvish" written at Imladris and thats my other point Frodo and Bilbo mediated us into the vast mythology created by Mr Tolkien, David and Elizabeth could have done the same which links to my other point we have no mediation we can rely on indeed right now non at all except the unreliable narrator.
I have enjoyed this conversation and your thoughtful responses which without rancour or argument show the difference between two followers of these films but forgive me but my bank holiday resolution is to let this stuff go and wait for what we actually receive.
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