In The Beginning...
Disclaimer: This is a work of pure opinion and features no knowledge or insight that isn’t readily available on the Internet. All statements are merely interpretations and speculation made by myself: a man of pure, impeccable taste.
It’s the hot and steamy summer in the great year of our lord, 2017 (like south Georgia, hate living here hot and steamy) and there was no better way to escape the heat and the steam than going to the movies and there was no better a movie to see than one Alien Covenant. Or so I thought.
Coming hot off the heels of the meh 2012 franchise prequel Prometheus, Alien Covenant seemed to be a return to form for the Alien franchise. All signs pointed to success and not the total train wreck that it would actually be.
I’ll admit, I may have been the one at fault here for having hope of this being a good film. I am a fan of the Alien films; I love the first one, love the second one, I’ve seen the third one and most of the fourth, but regardless I like the Xenomorph alien and the mystery behind it is cool. I’m not in the, “the Xenomorph is better if we don’t know where it came from” camp. I’m all for a cool explanation and backstory. That’s why the world (me) was excited for Prometheus, but it failed. But it kinda sorta seemed like they might have learned from their mistakes and that the next one, which was announced as a true Alien prequel, could be good! Oh boy, was I a sucker.
On To That One Thing Called, "The Plot”
So at the end of Prometheus, the A-Hole robot David (Played by the fantastic Michael Fassbender) and the wannabe Ripley: Shaw, are the last survivors of their film and are on an Engineer ship going to the Engineer’s planet to find out what the hell the point to any of that movie was.
We pick up its “sequel” Alien Covenant with a whole new crew, doing a whole new thing, with nothing to do with what happened in the last movie. Um okay? So now we are aboard the ship the Covenant (get it, it’s in the title). The Covenant is a colonizing ship of thousands of people traveling millions of light years away from Earth to start life on a new planet. Cool. The main working crew is made up of couples and another robot that looks just like David but with brown hair and is named Walter, oh and they fixed his evil settings so he’s a good robot now.
So the movie starts as they are forced awake by an emergency on the ship and blah blah the captain dies and blah blah lets go back to sleep and continue the mission. But first they pick up a radio frequency in the middle of space of a song from Earth, a song that shouldn’t be playing in space. Okay, cool, a mystery. They trace it and it’s coming from a nearby planet that no one’s ever discovered, with perfect living conditions for humans. They decide to go explore the planet (but don’t wear protective gear) and people start getting spores in their ears and white looking Xenomorph aliens start popping out and killing people (how scary!).
Now we find out that this is the Engineer’s planet and David made it here, but instead of asking the questions he had from Prometheus, he just killed everyone (but hey trust him anyway). Since then, he’s gone mad with power, creating weirder and weirder Alien shit until we see he created the first facehugger alien (How? Why? Who cares!). So the facehugger face hugs someone and tada out pops the Alien original Xenomorph we all know and love! So there it goes, off killing everyone.
There’s a bunch of stuff with David and Walter and stuff and there’s a twist where they have a robot fight and it appears that Walter won, but if you’ve seen any movie before you know that it’s just David pretending. Throw away Ripley and the comic relief make it off the planet alive and back up to the ship but surprise surprise the Alien made it up too so we get a rushed rehash of the very first Alien film where the Xenomorph is shot out into space and our heroes settle down for a nice winter’s nap but TWIST! Walter was actually David and he puts the characters in cryosleep and pulls a bunch of facehugger embryos out of his mouth and stores them with the sleeping humans. Oh boy what’s going to happen next?! Find out in the FIVE more sequels ole Sir Scott has planned!
Whew that was long.
So that’s the basics of the movie. If you’ve seen it, I hope that refreshed your memory and if you haven’t seen it, kudos to you for not giving this crap your money. Hopefully you understand the gist of the film, so you understand what I will be criticizing.
Also, let it be known that I will not be criticizing this film for the things that it’s easily criticized for, like the fact that no one cares to wear space helmets on a weird alien planet, trusting a weird robot murder man, slapstick scenes of sliding around in blood puddles and the totally mind blowing twist ending that anyone with a brain could have guessed! We’re not going to talk about that stuff because it’s too easy and there’s much, much more that is the cause of the film’s problems.
Oh God, Here We Go...
My biggest gripe with the film is that it’s just so damn lazy. When they set out to make Prometheus, Scott seemed to be energized and WANTED to make the film. He wanted to tell a new story in the Alien world and had a dramatic spark to tell a story of extraterrestrials helping create life on earth. Great. Cool. The first drafts of the story sounded like (I haven’t read them) it was a pretty good blend of a new story and a cool look at where the Xenomorph alien came from. Sure, it became muddled and bad along the way, but started out with a good direction.
With Covenant it feels like the most lazy, bare bones Alien schlock that they could throw on the screen. No spark or passion other than “Shit, you didn’t like our new take with Prometheus? Well here you go then, Xenomorph Alien, Alien, Alien, everywhere. Hey look at all these nothing characters we put in the film for the Alien to kill! Wow!” I guess there’s some creativity here since they brought back David from the first film but there’s no true satisfaction or follow up from what happened in Prometheus so they didn’t really need to bring him back. But he’s a good character so I guess it’s one good thing this movie did.
Quick aside: Did anyone else notice that there’s a trend in the Alien franchise of naming robots in Alphabetical order? In the first film the robot is Ash, in Aliens it’s Bishop, then in Alien Resurrection the robot is Cal and in Prometheus there’s David. ABCD. I think I remember even Ridley Scott mentions this and that’s the reason he’s named David but now in Covenant the robot is Walter. Why! Why not continue the trend? It doesn’t mean anything but it’s an interesting Easter egg and something fans would appreciate! It’s the little things this film forgets or doesn’t care about that points to just how lazy it really is.
So talking about characters: in Prometheus there was a story to each character (kind of). Even though all the characters were stupid they made sense in the film. You have the biologist and geologist and botanist and all these people with throw away lines about air and rocks and life on the planet, so it makes sense that they are there with a purpose other than to be killed. Covenant is just a list of people to kill. Oh that guy gets killed, oh that woman gets killed and then that guy and then that woman and on and on until we have knock off Ripley and the comic relief guy, because jokes. All the characters are just lazy throwaway Alien fodder.
David, who is as mentioned the only carry over from Prometheus (they killed the Ripley knock off from that film off screen but you see her dead body), is the only thing that makes this a “sequel”. He’s the best part of the film and the only interesting thing. His is a story of a robot created by man just because we could, leaving him feeling lost and angry and seeking out his own place in a world of creator and creation. David’s journey in Covenant is a path to create the perfect organism, which - if you didn’t know - was a mindless murder machine with a complicated birthing process, acid blood, that’s completely unruly and uncontrollable, but hey why not.
The only other main connection of Prometheus to this film is the black goo. In Prometheus the black goo is drank by a human, who then impregnates a woman, who then had the fetus (that’s an octopus or whatever) cut out of her, that then grew to a giant octopus or whatever, that then face hugged and impregnated an Engineer alien guy, and then out of him burst a weird kinda sorta Xenomorph looking thing? So okay I guess that makes sense (it doesn’t).
So after that baffling ending you’re coming into Covenant like, “Okay lets make sense of this crap,” but that doesn’t happen because now you have 12,534 different types of aliens that are running around just so there’s something to kill people. Also if you didn’t know, the white “Neomorph” alien is just an unused design from the better draft of Prometheus. See like I said, lazy.
We learn that when David comes to the Engineer’s planet and drops the goo on them it kills everyone but also kind of mutates some of them to look like Xenomorph things and Neomorph things pop out…but also then there’s spores in weird plants on the planet that when they get in your ear the Neomorph thing grows inside you and pops out just to kill people. But then, we see David has been doing experiments creating his own Alien creatures and see him make the original Xenomorph Alien!
Question! If David comes to the Engineer’s planet and kills all of them, then creates the Alien and the facehugger eggs and all of that. Then how come in the very first Alien movie they find an Engineer’s ship with an Engineer on it with a cargo hold full of face hugger eggs…? See how stupid this all is?
Why Is This All So Bad?
Ridley Scott wanted to return the franchise that he started in the 70’s, cool, and he wants to make a film about aliens helping create mankind cause he saw that on a rerun of Ancient Aliens and was like, “Awesome.” So we get Prometheus and everyone hated it. Then an up and coming, younger, Science Fiction filmmaker (Neil Blomkamp) releases online some concept art of an Alien franchise “sequel” that he was working on and the internet explodes, loving it and wanting him to make it. So Ridley Scott was obviously like “Nope. Ain’t no young kid gonna come in here and make a better movie than me! Here’s an Alien movie for you idiots!” and he makes Alien Covenant.
So in summation, Alien Covenant is Ridley Scott’s “Fuck you” to the world for not liking and accepting the dumb and pointless Prometheus and for wanting someone else to take a crack at the franchise that he started. As a fan of the Alien franchise and someone who wants to see another “good” installment in said franchise that has so much opportunity for something cool and unique, I don’t want these lazy, poor thought out, bloody, Alien-just-kills-everything movies that all amount to the same thing.
Prometheus promised something new, and while it wasn’t a good new, it was 100 times better than the rehash, lazy, bullshit that was Alien Covenant. And the worst part of all is how cheap and how much money Alien Covenant made! Scott will get to make his next 5 Alien films that will FINALLY tie them into the original Alien (spoilers: I doubt it will) and I honestly only have myself to blame because I paid to see the film. Now with that, I hoped I have shown you the light and truth of the worst movie I’ve ever seen: Alien Covenant.
Now that I’ve calmed down I want to thank you for reading my ranting and angry ode to a movie almost everyone has forgotten by now. I hope you at least found this funny or educational and learned something about the film world and why you shouldn’t like Alien Covenant, either!
Until next time, “I’ll do the fingering” (actual quote from Alien Covenant).
This article (rant) was written by Aaron Boyd, Filmmaker, Post Deduction Podcast host and a man of pure impeccable taste.
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