Alien: Covenant's Cold Open8,501 Views10 RepliesAdd A Reply
I've recently been thinking about the film's beginning scene but I have no one to spill my thoughts to. So i'll just set them here.
We first see David sitting on a "Carlo Bugatti Throne Chair." We usually occupy thrones with monarchs, kings, queens, religious figures. But what is David? A creation, and his supposed "king" is Peter Weyland who should be the one sitting on the throne. But he is not, David is. The scene quickly establishes who is superior.
We then go over to the Steinway piano. Wait, is an android playing the piano...with emotion? What a sight! What about the piece David plays? "Entry of the Gods into Valhalla" by Wagner. It's about soldiers who die in battle are taken to Valhalla, and those who die of old age or sickness are taken to the underworld. The Engineers leave a map to who ever is worthy of visiting them. If they're not worthy, they get the black goo treatment. Is there a reason why we hear this in the beginning scene as well as the ending? Weyland says "this piece without an orchestra is anemic." David gets the last laugh in the end when we hear Wagner's piece played with a full orchestra as David takes full control of the Covenant. He is the God entering Valhalla.
"Bring me the cup of tea David." But it's right there Peter, you get it yourself! This shows that David was only created to serve Weyland, in which David quickly disagrees. "You will die, I will not." Peter's work will live on, he will not. This lesson is explained in the poem Ozymandias, which David quotes throughout the film. The statue of David lives on, Michelangelo does not. The engineers were loosely designed to resemble the statue of David, and it is in this scene that we finally know how David got his name. He even gave himself the name(that is pretty badass).
We finally end the scene where we started: David sits back on the throne, maintaining his superiority. This is his movie. It always has been.
Completely agree.I think a lot of this goes over the casual fan or people who just wanted to see a "action flick."
The whole AI,Wagner,creationist,Shelley,Byron,even a little Third Reich connect the dots if you will I find fascinating.
Ridley has masterfully(IMO) turned prequels,sequels on their collective heads.In a good way.No stale rehash ,he essentially has made the character actor the star.
Brilliant IMO to do this.What a waste it would have been to not utilize Fassbender more.
What more can be done to focus solely on the ALIEN?Void of any emotion or communication,you really can't do much with it except kill.
Featuring Fassbender and the whole AI vs. Humanity and Gods is endless in possibilities.The actual ALIEN is and always has been a dead end street.
Using the ALIEN while also fleshing out the AI and all the layers is where it's at.
i can't wait to see where this takes us.........
Yes, there is a boatload of irony in that opening many missed.
Some of the contributors to the Western classical tradition juxtaposed against the science and tech of the future. Weyland understands one, but is only a 'collector' of the other.
I think you understood a lot of what the movie was showing thats for sure... as far as Valhalla as this Place is also Paradise in some Cultures.. where again only those deemed Worthy may Enter... and in a number of Cultures Paradise is where those who die in battle or in Gods name will enter.
Heaven is loosely connected as its a place that those who Worship God in the ways that God intends, will get entrance to.
The Biblical Paradise is however not Heaven, its the Place where Humanoid Creation had started... and so this can apply to the Movie and ultimately show those beings on Paradise are Worthy of this Place and Mankind are not.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Wagner's a "Entry of the Gods into Valhalla" is from the Play Das Rheingold
While the Theme of Valhalla applies as per OT, the Das Rheingold tale also plays a Key Role, about GOD's, Giants and the Pursuit of Gold... that could be Forged into a Ring of Great Power but only those who Forsake Love can obtain its Power.... but also that this Gold Ring will ultimately Curse its wearer.
This Theme seems to also fit if we replace the Rheingold with the Black Goo.
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
It's interesting also with the connection Wagner, Nietzsche and übermensch since David feels himself to be this übermensch - although he is no man . . .
I think David is aware of his 'short comings' as I call them as he fills the role of undermensch.
It's perfect @PickleBack the way you look at how David is setup.
Now, the Engineer's civilization is dead. Human civilization is dying.
All the efforts by Engineers to wipe-out human have failed, but they were wiped-out instead, by David.
Maybe, a new civilization will rise.
I agree with you, much was lost with Prometheus and Covenant on fans that just want xeno's, explosions and an action movie. While there is nothing wrong with a good action movie this film universe deserves and demands to be deeper, more intelligent. While Prometheus has some flaws (most of which revolve around the geologist and the dialog from him and his biologist friend)...Prometheus is a very good and re-watchable movie. Most of the questions that bug the general population were explained in the film if people cared to pay attention. Too many people rely on exposition in films to understand something, they dont want to or care to piece something together on their own by paying attention to detail and expressions, dialog etc. People that just want explosions, or colonial marines running amuck blowing up some Xenomorph homeworld like in the comic books are typically in the category. Its true style over substance. Explosions, deaths, cool set peieces but for no other purpose than to have them....Ridely tells stories visually, he leaves things open ended for a reason. Hell for almost 40 years there were so many questions left unanswered from the original 1979 Alien, and it has captivated us, our imagination, our fears. Not everything needs spelled out, some mysteries and unanswered questions are best left just that, a mystery left for the audience to ponder. This desire to have everything and i mean everything spelled out perhaps is due to the younger generation and the google generation wanting everything explained for them. The great thing about Ridley is that he treats his audience as they are intelligent, he drops clues or information in the most subtle of moments, just left there for the viewer to appreciate or use as information when they are piecing together the bigger picture.
Even though i know they are going to explain everything about how, who or whatever ended up in the derelict in 1979, and i will probably enjoy their doing so...a large part of me wishes they would have just left it some ancient cosmic mystery, just left there to terrify and spark our imaginations and fears.
I loved Alien Covenenat and i love that Ridley is using the Android David to propel the storyline forward. All the movies cant be basic shoot em ups with just people running up and down tunnels from xenomorphs. I also believe the engineers and perhaps an even higher power, possibly some type of cosmic demi-god race of beings will make an appearance. But even them as a character can not carry a film like a a true character can. These alien races are simply devices.
An example of this is, while Doomsday is one of the most iconic and recognizable comic book villians in the movie he was a side device used to propel the plot with the character of Luthor left to carry the story. Doomsday like the xenomporph characters are mindless killing machines, sure they can have history but they carry no depth. Film devices like this must be used sparingly and in a smart way. Being used as the main antagonist was done once in the Alien universe, as that was done in 1979, that was the setup-- now you have to tell a story, and you cant tell a story just using a xeno as the main one. They can not carry a film for a film's duration, they can be used by the main antagonist as a device to influence or manipulate or kill but they carry no depth past that.
The alien creature, while still the best creature design ever is not too scary anymore, even used sparingly we are all aware of it. Aware of it and its tendencies, behavior, biology..we have seen it in countless movies, pop culture, books, comics etc. This awareness has made it far less scary, the fear it originally introduced in 1979 is gone and it can never be captured using the xenomorph again. Its ironic that this monster created to be "Alien" in every sense of the word is something not very "alien" anymore, due to all the movies and countless appearances in other media.. and has thus lost its power over us and most viewers. The Alien is no longer alien essentially.....this is why Ridley is intelligently doing this the right way, he is using characters to drive the story forward, introduce new and imaginative creatures or familiar ones now and then to push the story along but using David to push the story forward is very smart, although i want more of the big Prometheus type questions explored and i would love if they opened up avenues into ancient cosmic horrors we are as of now unaware of yet.
My 2 cents
That's why I feel going forward, upcoming sequels will not go directly to Alien (LV-426) but a new direction/plot by Ridley to explore more possibilities for David. What happened at LV-426 are Engineers tried to wipe-out human more than 2000 years ago but ultimately failed. What we are watching now is David with his own Xeno version. Maybe...
@PickleBack Very interesting analysis - you point out the trully important themes and nuances into play. I think there's still too much to be taken into consideration, in many aspects - philosophical, religious, etc - it's all yet too recent.
There's an specific paradox that I see David to be involved, that catches my attention particularly - at the same time that he puts himself in the position of a god, by his creations and alleged superiority over his own creator and mankind as a whole, in the other hand he seems to be always trying to be "more human" - more expressive in his emotions (emotions?), capable of loving, artistic activities (drawings and compositions), and even trying to reproduce (or act) in a kind of an awkward way, the human relations and socializations, as we see in the kissing scene with Walter, the sudden question about Walter dreaming with him, that seems more like a sentence taken from a poem or book as well, the attempt of a sexual relation with Daniels (asking if "that is how you do it")... as if despite the fact of how "perfect" his creations can be, or how well he can achieve his ways of overcoming humans, he was trying to BE like them, feel like them, genuinely, spontaneously. If this "emotional development" of David (so to speak) that we see in AC is ever going to be properly explained, I can't say, but I think it's one of those things destined to remain a mistery. "No one understands the lonely perfection of my dreams."
"This mighty city shows the wonders of my hand."