Okay first of all, everyone has his/her own view about which is better or worse and the reasons why. Here is my own personal view only. I would also like to hear your critique on comparing these films.
I think Scott's first idea and theme with Prometheus was actually quite good. It revolved around the ancient astronaut theory that has been a hot topic in the last decades. No SF movie has done anything on this theme at this level. It asks questions about religion, God, the origins of life and the human race. There is currently ongoing research about real anachronistic archeological evidences that cannot be explained by current historians (like Gobekli Tepe), and non-stream researchers are piling evidence upon evidence of historical anomaly. So I think the movie's theme and story was interesting and relevant.
I think the problem that happened with Prometheus was that Ridley was expected by fans to give homage to the xenomorph original alien, and to the original genre of the franchise which was SF gore. This cannot be helped as it was in the Alien franchise. Now this got it into a bad mix (add to that bad writing) and I think this is what caused this 'weird' direction that everyone's ranting about Prometheus. Now, despite this, it still earned a lot in the box office. It was like a half good half bad movie. What I personally think is the good half was Ridley's idea of the ancient astronauts and answering the big questions about life and existence. Prometheus didnt had the title 'Alien' in it. In fact it can go on as a separate movie in itself. The Engineers extinction weapon could be anything else and the story would still work. And I think that was what Ridley was initially going for. The bad half of it was the SF alien gore/xenomorph revival. I mean the market has already been tested with this ie. Aliens vs. Predator, Alien Resurrection, etc why go for it? Ridley said it himself 'the beast was cooked'.
Now Ridley was in a fork in the road for the sequel to Prometheus, will he follow his original idea about the ancient astronaut theme, or again follow what the original fans want more of (I mean they said, that was why Prometheus failed because it showed just a short scene of xenomorph or it lacked gore or some writing fluke therein). So, with additional pressure from the producers, Ridley choose to please the fans, leaving his original idea and theme, and creating more of Alien and less of his original idea. You get Alien Covenant. Earning less then half of Prometheus and scoring lower points in the reviews. Ridley knew this but he had no choice.
I'm also a big fan of Prometheus and how it expanded the mythos so much with a beautiful story of creation that I feel mimics the titular creatures life cycle while still maintaining that Lovecraftian story telling. I know some were expecting a different sequel to Prometheus and while Covenant was a compromise I feel it still continues the former's narrative quite well, if not better than Shaw's redundant quest for answers (which I'm not knocking but the answers she was looking for are answered in Prometheus through David. Even so, those questions are not meant to be answered, which highlights the nihilism that Ridley is going for). Here's a nice video that delves deeper than I can.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
Worth noting too is that Prometheus was originally conceived as a direct prequel but was decided to just be set in the same universe so Ridley wouldn't have to strictly adhere to a familiar formula, allowing him more room to experiment. He originally planned to re-introduce the Xenomorphs in the third installment but reconsidered and moved it up.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
Well, I love both. Neither is perfect, but this franchise consumes a LOT of my life. I just love the series.
Prometheus was a really fresh breath of air. I thought this prequel did a really good job at being it's own thing. They created that story without the immense pressure of the Alien-ness on it's shoulders. I LOVE the scope of the story. They did a a REALLY GREAT job with that aspect. Plus, the design was outstanding. Really different than Alien, but still almost as good. Love it.
Now, Covenant. Still pretty damn big in scope, but packaged and wrapped in a proper Alien movie. That is where they have trouble, because the writers were tasked with doing too much. The job was to continue Prometheus, sweep Prometheus under the carpet, re-invigorate the Alien franchise, remake Alien (the homages were a few too many and obvious), and do something new and fresh. Impossible. I do agree with Lawrence of Arabia, that Covenant does continue the story well, just differently than expected. They are two pretty different feeling movies, but both suffer from one thing for me: Plot. The straight forward, simple A to B plot. Ridley Scott really knows what he wants in terms of that large scope plot and those questions he is always asking and the writers meld that with historical stories to create something really great. But. But. They haven't cracked the code in how to deliver that concurrently with a storyline that works for most people. All being said, I do prefer Prometheus.
Not a map, an invitation
"Well, I love both. Neither is perfect, but this franchise consumes a LOT of my life. I just love the series."
Same here cuponator3000 lol :)
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
Good definition of what Prometheus was: A movie half good and half bad :-) Anyway, it planted the seeds for something great, and I think Ridley had a choice with Alien Covenant. Even with the pressure of having to add the xenomorph, the movie could have been better. In my opinion, the problem is the script: it was so flimsy that they decided to improvise on that second act and on David, which arguably ended up being the best part of the movie, even though it is at odds with the rest of the story and even with the rest of the franchise.
IMHO - Alien is the greatest SciFi horror movie ever. Alien is never going to be topped, just replicated & spun-off of. I loved Prometheus because of the concepts it presented for us all to debate over the last 5 years!! Alien Covenant gets better, the more we talk about it. I am hoping to get my mind blown away with the next films. Yes, I hope there are a few more films, not one!!
Strangely, having watched both I felt somewhat satisfied on all counts. It brought a beginning, an origin, to the original Alien heading towards the Nostromo via a cascade of revelations and changes in the 'players'. It also questions, as does much of archeology, the true nature of 'God'. In Covenant, similarities exist which tie David to a God like entity with a Noah's Flood type destruction of the 'engineer populace'. So much of what has gone on in Prometheus and Covenant are questioning our beliefs in a greater being and it's benevolent or malevolent machinations. Does humanity face it's own mortality by it's own hands or by those of another. David, here is a creation of man but also potentially it's greatest enemy. He is both the creator and the created. Chicken and egg syndrome here depending on where in time you happen to be as things unfold. I love it but wouldn't mind it finding it's way back to the original Alien or it's action packed successor Aliens. We have spent the past 30 years trying to make our way back to the quality of those but now with a huge upgrade in our knowledge of where the Alien has come from; there should be so many ways to reach 'crescendo' quality movies for the next generation of younger movie lovers. When all is said and done I will watch the next, then the next and eventually I hope that only the awful Alien 3 will left me bewildered as to why I wasted an hour or so of my life on that junk.
Lawrence of Arabia gets it! :D
joylitt, I definitely do agree that Ridley definitely ended up having a choice. At the very least, he could have gone about melding the Alien movie and the Prometheus movie together. That just made me wonder if they ever had a Covenant (not Paradise Lost) script that DIDN'T feature the crew on the ship for that first thirty minutes. I liked that, but if they could have condensed that (or addded runtime!) and spent more time on that planet, maybe David and the Alien encounters could have been less rushed and forced. Still love the final project we received!
Not a map, an invitation
Both of them are disappointments but in different ways. Prometheus had too many underdeveloped characters and some of them were really annoying (Vickers, Fifield, Milburn, Shaw's boyfriend). I don't have a problem with the lack of Xenos although the monsters could have been better. The Hammerpede, the squid, and the Deacon were alright. The Engineer was alright but could have had a bit more of a background. Prometheus gets a 2 out of 5 from me.
Alien Covenant had parts that I liked. Visually it was good, but so was Prometheus. As far as I can see there is not much CGI in AC and Prometheus, which is a good thing. They look much different compared to the Star Wars prequels if I say so. Unfortunately it had too many underdeveloped characters but they were at least not as annoying as in Prometheus so that was a plus. Scott or who ever decided to focus on AI which was a bad thing, I don't like how they developed David, he was more gray and interesting in Prometheus but he was not a disaster. David and Walter were given too much screen time which I didn't like that much since I am more interested in the humans and what they go through.
Solidus, I like how you put it like Prometheus was a half good and half bad movie, that is how I look at it. The movie is very mixed in that way. As far as life and existence well for that to work you got to have well done human characters otherwise it will be underwhelming, this is what Prometheus turned into.
“I mean they said, that was why Prometheus failed because it showed just a short scene of xenomorph or it lacked gore or some writing fluke therein...”
Maybe they said it but I think that they might have misunderstood it. My problem with Prometheus at least was that it had too many dumb or boring characters. It was only David and Janek that I found to be alright. Actually I have a lot more sympathy for Janek than for anyone else on that ship. While a lot of other people went on about their semi-weird ideas he was more down to earth, I like that. Unfortunately they had too little of Janek and too much from the annoying scientists. Partially it was bad writing and partially bad editing. There are cut scenes from Prometheus that would have made it better of they were left in for example they find a small worm before they find the Hammerpede and the worm is fine. Small things like that should have been left in that explains the characters more and make them more sympathetic.
Some people might say, oh the prequels are about androids. I don't care, give me good human characters that I can feel something for or else it is a bad movie.
Prometheus makes sense. RS himself stated his reasons for coming back and that was to answer the questions surrounding the space jokey and the connection to the eggs in the derelict. I, like most, was disappointed when the news came through he had changed his mind from direct prequel to it not being an 'alien' movie but I have to say he made the right call. hes right, the xeno has been done and it was time to explore more of the alien universe without being tied down to just the xeno itself. so we got Prometheus. for all its character flaws, it was an excellent jump off movie in a trilogy. it raised the questions for the following 2 movies to bring about the answers. many disliked it and fair enough but id put Prometheus up there with aliens and id watch it again.
I just cant say any of the same about AC. I was sooooo hyped for this movie after the endless possibilities and routes Prometheus opened up for it. then fox and/or RS listened to the haters and we got a film which imo is neither an 'alien' movie or a follow up to Prometheus. its a lets please the masses movie for me and it is the wrong call. they should have stuck with the Prometheus path. AC imo is the worst RS film. visually stunning as always, its full of too many holes and senseless plots that in some cases u even need to buy a book to fill in the gaps. characters badly written and no character building to some actors not right for their roles. I loved the neomorph and the protomorph designs but the human factor didn't live upto that level just like in Prometheus. david stole the show in both movies and unfortunately now its all about him which is such a cop out for me.
I rate Prometheus highly for many reasons but mainly for the path it was taking. it was original in the alien universe and is the first movie in the whole franchise to explore the expanded universe and not just the monster. AC is a film iv watched twice and that's enough tbh. for me, AC is, with the exception of the visuals and Fassbender, awful. so much potential wasted imo. shouldv been an epic but going by concept art coming out from people who worked on the movie its clear wer getting the cheap options. we sat through avp and avpr ffs and now we have to be sold short again.
hoping for the best from awakening, expecting nothing
I mostly agree with your description,but:
1. Foxbender did not steal anything in AC, every thing was made around him, everything else was expandable. Life imitating art ...
2.How can you think that a more misanthropic and gorier (I dare to say only the AVPs and 3 were as mean spirited as this - all 3 movies widely loved) movie will be bring in more people and bigger revenues?
How could Awakening be good? There is no time to develop a new human character to care about... Maybe they will keep the wannabe Ripley alive or CGI-in the original, both options sucking.
I meant Fassbender stole the show in a performance manner. his performance was the best in the movie with Tennessee a close second but after that, the rest were average imo and the wrong person cast to play daniels.
the bit I don't get is those at fox believing that there would be a risk of people going to see AC if they stuck with the Prometheus path. they could have stuck with that path and added a few creatures and it would have been a bigger success imo. u don't need gore. there was no gore in alien and that movie is one of the greatest horrors of all time.
the only way to introduce new characters is to bring a military expedition into the mix, sent by the company to stop david. pretty much all the colonists r fkd as are Tennessee and Daniels. their asleep. how can David mess up from the position he is in? if given the choice for one to some how survive mine would be Tennesse but ur right, having either of them survive sucks
I'd said that Foxbender was the only give something to do in the script, the others are only alien fodder, so how to expect anything from them.
David will mess up because he is just as an idiot as the Engineers and humans are. He thinks himself as Ozymandias? Really?
he believes himself to be perfect yet how can he be perfect when he was created by imperfect beings. he will lose in the end but I just think if the write into the movie that there r survivors from the covenant then that's pretty lame as even a moron couldn't lose from Davids position unless he lets some go. I feel they have to introduce more characters such as the marines sent to stop him to make it more believable.
"How could Awakening be good?"
Have you ever seen a movie with a horse that has machine guns coming out of it's mouth?
Alien: Awakening could give you that red0guy if it's close to the Alien: Covenant Origins. I believe the visions in the story are of Engineers chewed up by some type of xenomorph but it is unclear.
The story is mostly about Sergeant Lope and Rosenthal. The characters of Alien: Covenant are well developed in the novelization and the story does provide great background. Hideo Yutani's existence in the novel would be great on screen.
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