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ALIEN: COVENANT Post-Release Discussion

post #1 of 571
Thread Starter 

Get ready for ALIEN's greatest hits as directed by Rick Rosenthal.

 

Act 1 is ALIEN.

 

Act 2 is PROMETHEUS.

 

Act 3 is ALIENS.

 

And none of them are given time to breathe.  Scott only seems interested in the PROMETHEUS section (which is easily the most effective of the film), and everything else feels like obligation filmmaking.

 

Fassbender is fantastic.  Billy Crudup is nearly as good.  There are singular moments that work.

 

But then the xenomorph proper is born, and we're talking ALIEN VS. PREDATOR levels of disposable, weightless monster.

 

When the credits started, I thought this was a B-.  But the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am.  The inspiration is drowned out by the mundane and familiar.

 

It's not the worst ALIEN film, but it's easily the most wasteful of its parts.


Edited by The Dark Shape - 5/10/17 at 11:25pm
post #2 of 571

Is the David/Shaw Prologue scene in the film?

post #3 of 571
Thread Starter 

Just the moment where he drops the urns on the Engineer city, told in flashback midway into the film. 

post #4 of 571

Well, as I said before in the Pre-Release thread, I only recently discovered that one of the people in the set design team for this movie was living in my building for years. Not longer afterwards, he said he was moving to Los Angeles and before he left, he got rid of everything.

 

I got his brand new Nike shoes. Do you know how hard it is to find shoes for feet my size? Suffice to say, these fit perfectly.

 

So, this film already gets 5/5 from me just for that.

 

Godspeed Jimmy wherever you are, I hope it all works out for you.

 

post #5 of 571

The longest act being Prometheus inspired sounds like death to my interest.  Rental I think.  

post #6 of 571

So there's no covenant?  I wanted to see aliens signing documents, dammit!

post #7 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post
 

Just the moment where he drops the urns on the Engineer city, told in flashback midway into the film. 

Wait. So all that shit from the end of that terrible Prometheus movie about going to the Engineer homeworld and confronting them about everything turned into just a flashback of David dropping the alien bioweapon on them and wiping them out?! Seriously? 

post #8 of 571
Thread Starter 

Mm-hmm.

 

They never explain why, though.  Or

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
why he ends up killing Shaw, who he makes a grave for and cries over.  The closest the movie gets is Daniels asking, "What did you do to Shaw?" and David replying, "The same thing I'm going to do to you!"
post #9 of 571

Oh my god here we go.

 

So with all these grand themes as well as the promise of learning more about the Engineer civilization, we get another ten little indians+aliens movie?

post #10 of 571
post #11 of 571

That review reinforces my worst fear for the picture, that it's just plan dull. Hopefully all the talk of Scott doing future installments ends up as bunk.

post #12 of 571

This is one of those films that i feel no urgent desire to re-visit and will forget in just a few days.

 

The opening scene with Guy Pierce was a nice touch though. It indirectly explains some of David's moltivations in the film. 

post #13 of 571

Just out from this and it commits the worst sin a film can do.  It was boring.  Shots essentially reused from Prometheus but not as pretty.  

post #14 of 571
I'm going to choose to believe that the ooze basically turns into an Alien no matter what. David played around with it to experiment a bit but the Alien is its own thing.

I can't say how much I hate the idea that the eggs/facehuggers/Alien are a result of some fucking android.

And that the Engineers were exterminated by that same fucking android.

How does anyone think this makes the mythos better? How does this shit get approved?
post #15 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Olmos View Post

I'm going to choose to believe that the ooze basically turns into an Alien no matter what. David played around with it to experiment a bit but the Alien is its own thing.

I can't say how much I hate the idea that the eggs/facehuggers/Alien are a result of some fucking android.

And that the Engineers were exterminated by that same fucking android.

How does anyone think this makes the mythos better? How does this shit get approved?

It is ALL canon. Forever.
post #16 of 571
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Olmos View Post

How does anyone think this makes the mythos better?

 

Since we're in prequel territory and have to see an origin for the xeno, I'd much rather see it be the result of an android trying to create perfection than an alien race's genetically-engineered WMD.

post #17 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post

Since we're in prequel territory and have to see an origin for the xeno, I'd much rather see it be the result of an android trying to create perfection than an alien race's genetically-engineered WMD.

Why?

I always hated the WMD theory too, but at least that meant it was still something... you know... A L I E N.

If it's the result of human technology once removed, then theres barely anything Alien about it at all.
post #18 of 571

It should have been an alien android.

post #19 of 571
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Olmos View Post


Why?

I always hated the WMD theory too, but at least that meant it was still something... you know... A L I E N.

If it's the result of human technology once removed, then theres barely anything Alien about it at all.

 

It's the result of human technology taking alien technology and experimenting on other aliens.

 

We're grasping at straws here (and I don't think the creature should have ever been explained), but that's pretty alien.  And if it's a WMD, it isn't really a perfect lifeform.  It's just a hand grenade with teeth.

post #20 of 571
FYI, the Protomorph is actually the handsome gentleman in all the trailers who's banging on the windshield to the ship, trying to get at Danny McBride. He looks like a Xeno, but he's really a Proto. I'll be a monkey's uncle.
post #21 of 571
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

FYI, the Protomorph is actually the handsome gentleman in all the trailers who's banging on the windshield to the ship, trying to get at Danny McBride. He looks like a Xeno, but he's really a Proto. I'll be a monkey's uncle.


Then what's the distinction?  Because if that's the case, there isn't a single classic xenomorph in this film.

post #22 of 571
Uhhhhhhhh....
post #23 of 571
This sounds awful.
post #24 of 571

Just got back from seeing it, here are some incohesive ramblings:  I was cynical going in, but my immediate response is that I didn't mind this over all, but it's a mixed bag and there are a lot of points where it falls short.  I think I'll be more critical of this after a bit more time to digest it all and lament all the wasted opportunities. Much like Prometheus there are some interesting ideas in here, though they're not as developed as I'd like, but at least there weren't the same level of idiotic/illogical decisions made by the protagonists for the most part.

 

Some more spoilery specifics:

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

The Alien/Prometheus/Aliens comment up there was spot on, the opening is of course nothing new whatsoever, but I liked the middle act and that really left me wanting much more. The action-thriller turn it took at the end was my biggest disappointment. Especially when most of the beats felt so familiar.

 

The aliens also behaved too much like 80s slashers, too much posturing and monstering. It's meant to be an instinctive killing machine!

 

Was the reveal of David really meant to be a surprise at the end?  It seemed like Daniels suspected it so I don't know why she waited until it was too late before she tested him. Okay maybe that falls into illogical decisions made by protagonists.

 

If there are meant to be more in this prequel series leading up to Alien, then this feels rushed.  I wish there had been more time spent on David's experiments or exploring this new planet, or maybe even more of the story of him first arriving with Shaw and their conflicts. 

 

We've pretty much sped straight to the 'classic' xenomorph by the end so I worry that any more prequels will just be further re-hashing with a little more exposition jammed into the middle somewhere.  Though with the engineers section of the story pretty much skipped over here, what else has Scott really got to bring to this now?

 

 

The more I think about it the more I am disappointed again, though there are parts in the mid-section where this felt worthwhile.

post #25 of 571

Quite a few spoilers in this post, just to warn any naughty readers from places where this isn't out yet.

 

I quite dug it for the most part. I think a lot of people are taking their (misguided!!!) hate for Prometheus out on it quite unfairly.

 

I mean, I distinctly remember a lot of people cooing over the pre-Lindelof draft of that one, which from what I gather was about as much of an Alien remake as this could be accused of being. Generally coherent plotting, characters that display a bit of relatable humanity now and again, and still people aren't happy! Oh well.

 

The boilerplate Alien remake aspects of this are, as expected, the weakest. The first appearances of the mini aliens were pretty lame, mostly thanks to ropey, weightless CGI. But when the big daddy Xenomorph finally makes an appearance it's handled fairly well I think. I mean yes as a cinematic villain it's fundamentally played out, but it looks pretty good and is shown fairly sparingly, and the big action set piece on the escaping shuttle is legit.


As for the full-blown Prometheus 2 aspects, I thought it was all a hoot! It builds on the themes of the last film and brings things a full circle quite coherently. Why did the engineers suddenly turn on our heroes and try to destroy humanity after meeting David last time? Well that makes more sense when you realise they were looking at the face of their destroyer.

 

Scott's view of life in these two films seems to be that creation, improvement and propagation are the fundamental drives of being alive, but at the same time creations pose an existential threat to their creators. The engineers are destroyed by the creation (David) of their creations (humanity), just as the humans are destroyed by the creation (the Alien) of their creation (David). If Ridley ends up being murdered by his own grandchildren, we can't say he didn't try to warn us.

 

I also enjoyed how some of the more rote aspects of the story, especially the face hugger egg and birthing process, play out with a certain dark humour here. Anyone who can't enjoy the delirious spectacle of Fassbender regurgitating alien embryos to the sound of Wagner needs to live a little IMO.

 

As for whether developments in this movie ruin sacred mystery of the Alien, any mystique the creature has was squandered away long ago so I don't much care about that. If anything this restores a bit of depravity and perversion to the concept. I like how Ash's appreciation of the alien's perfection will now have an extra level to it, given our knowledge of how the xenomorph appeals to some sociopathic robotic idea of perfection. It also gives us a (probably unintentional) throw-forward to the rejects scene in Resurrection, aka the only great scene in that movie.

 

After this I can sort of see what Ridley might have in mind with his mid-quel and sequel idea, but whereas after Prometheus I felt like he really needed to make another one to do something with it, he could hang up his facehugger for good after this one and say he got his point across.

post #26 of 571
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post
 

The boilerplate Alien remake aspects of this are, as expected, the weakest. The first appearances of the mini aliens were pretty lame, mostly thanks to ropey, weightless CGI. But when the big daddy Xenomorph finally makes an appearance it's handled fairly well I think. I mean yes as a cinematic villain it's fundamentally played out, but it looks pretty good and is shown fairly sparingly, and the big action set piece on the escaping shuttle is legit.

 

It's literally a cartoon jumping around like Bugs Bunny in broad daylight.

 

The ALIEN moments were the weakest parts of PROMETHEUS, and they're the weakest parts of COVENANT; but they make up much more of the movie this time out.

post #27 of 571

Oh the thread will rip it to pieces, I have little doubt of that.

post #28 of 571

Spoiler post.

 

As a big fan of Prometheus, this was the prequel-sequel I was dreading. All the promo stuff, all of Scott's comments made me fear the worst. That feedback from his last effort had burned him and rather continue to push on, into new ground, he was panicking, back-pedalling furiously into fan-pleasing territory. In (a safe) space, no-one can hear you scream.

 

So let's walkback the previous film's wild, weird mythology. Let's cut short the potential expansion into an even bleaker and more awful universe.  Let's explicity show the who/what/why/when. Finally, every last mystery, or room for speculation in the franchise has been extinguished.

 

Forget the blasted, Lovecraftian hellscape of the 1979 film and its impossible, unknowable horrors. It turns out this nightmare creature was actually made in a cave, by recorder-playing, kung-fu-kicking Michael Fassbender. How can you reconcile that?

 

Nick's review is bang on. Like the other big franchises it's now just a mega-budget fan film with little idea what once made it great. It looks nice, sounds good, but it's a mishmash, with not enough restraint and too eager to please.

 

You want the proper alien, sorry, "Xenomorph"? Here he is! You like him, don't you? Look, here he is again! And again!  I know keeping it hidden and mysterious is passé, but at no point was it treated as anything more than a mindless slashing monster.

 

Now I quite liked the proto/neo/whatevs being so spastically ferocious, they looked foetal, incomplete. But then the final alien comes out and behaves exactly the same way. There was no sense it was smart, or had its own motives and life cycle -- no sense it was anything other than another ravenous beast.

 

And I'm not really a 'lol plot holes' guy, but I did wonder, if David killed all the Engineers, then spent years creating the alien creature. How come the derelict ship on LV-426 has a cargo of his eggs? Did the doomed Engineer come back and, uh, accidentally fill his cargo hold with the fruits of David's labour before flying off, or did he just happen to do the exact same experiments out in deep space before crashing on the moon?

 

You know what, it's not totally awful. There's a couple of super-tense sequences. From initial planetfall and infection it's just 25 minutes of quick-cut frenetic action horror. There's some really crunchy, bloody eviserations. Dual Fassbender is neat, and the oddball downbeat ending is kind of fun. And damnit if I didn't get a bit of a thrill, seeing the 100% real and proper facehugger and alien on the big screen again.

 

I'll watch it again. And yeah I'll probably watch Alien 7.

post #29 of 571

It's a movie destined to be hated by geeks by its very nature. Too much of a compromise for the Prometheus fans, rare and precious souls though they are, and too Prometheusy for the Alien purists, who tend to viscerally detest the idea of an Alien prequel in the first place.

 

I personally would've preferred a 'pure' Prometheus sequel as well, but in the absence of that I think the direction they take things here is a reasonably logical one. I don't really see what mysteries are ruined by this, given how the last movie already established that the goo can lead to Alien-like creatures.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ah, Alucard View Post

 

And I'm not really a 'lol plot holes' guy, but I did wonder, if David killed all the Engineers, then spent years creating the alien creature. How come the derelict ship on LV-426 has a cargo of his eggs? Did the doomed Engineer come back and, uh, accidentally fill his cargo hold with the fruits of David's labour before flying off, or did he just happen to do the exact same experiments out in deep space before crashing on the moon?

 

That is pretty much a plot hole right now. Maybe if Ridley does his inbetween movie they'll have it that one of the Engineers David is working on manages to escape, but took a load of eggs with it.

post #30 of 571
I'm going to be seeing it this week (cause I'm a glutton for punishment), but why do I get the feeling that Scott added the Xenos to the film as an excuse for the studio to axe Alien 5?
post #31 of 571
They're protos, not xenos, fool!
post #32 of 571

Was the name "Xenomorph" ever actually used in any of the movies?

post #33 of 571
Aliens:

Frost - A what?

Gorman - A xenomorph.

Hicks - Its a bug hunt.
post #34 of 571

So was it James Cameron who coined the name?

post #35 of 571
Unfortunately. It wasnt meant to 'name' the aliens . . . just BS jargon . . . but that shit stuck.
post #36 of 571
I think Scott and Co. have an interesting idea here with the cycle of Engineers creating humans, humans creating Androids, Androids creating the Alien and dooming both of their creators, as a cycle of technology moving from the artificial to the biological and so on....but their execution is flawed.
For one simple reason.
Fassbender.
His performance and character are the core of these new films and clearly the focus for Scott and co., and thus the Alien side suffers because of this.
I seriously think Scott wants to make a full circle with David creating the Alien to Ash's "I admire its purity", but the execution just doesn't work as it should.
post #37 of 571
Thread Starter 

It's absolutely clear that Scott has no interest in the creature other than as something David creates, and you can feel it watching the movie.  You can feel the director shrugging out an, "Ugh, fine" whenever a monster is onscreen.

post #38 of 571

There's an interview with Scott that was released today, I believe, where he explains that he had to fight the studio to just include the sole Engineer sequence.  They clearly wanted a clean break from Prometheus. 

post #39 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by User_32 View Post

So was it James Cameron who coined the name?

Yes and I'm Alien 3 Ripley tells 84 to relay the name to the Company (sarcastically too) to find out what their intentions are.
post #40 of 571

So is the Daniels - Ripley connection thing true? I need to know.

post #41 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

Yes and I'm Alien 3 Ripley tells 84 to relay the name to the Company (sarcastically too) to find out what their intentions are.

85.

Watched the kill list from the Quadrilogy and Ralph Browns death was number 85. Splendid.

Watching Prometheus again there's no way David created the alien.

Thr pile of engineers Fifield and Molburn stumble across exploded from inside. Shaws foetus was a facehugger. I hope in P3 that David realises that he's not been creating at all but just copying and his realisation is the discovery of the sncient crashed croissant, which he the sets a beacon up on.

Otherwise it makes ZERO sense as acvording to the timeline Alien is set something like 10 years after Covenant.
post #42 of 571

Oh boy, let's hope they retcon the retconned retcon.

 

I was fine with how Prometheus handled it; laying out that Engineer bio weapons tech meant invasive, agressive impregnation, rapid gestation and explosive, lethal birth. They didn't need to make it any more explicit than that.

 

But they did.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post
 

It's absolutely clear that Scott has no interest in the creature other than as something David creates, and you can feel it watching the movie.  You can feel the director shrugging out an, "Ugh, fine" whenever a monster is onscreen.

 

Heh, I wondered why I was getting Sam Raimi Venom vibes from the creatures in Covenant. :)

post #43 of 571

Well, as you probably all know by now, I got a free pair of brand new Nike shoes from someone who worked on this film.

 

I wore them out of the house for the first time ever to go see this film. I'm sure they'll mould even more to my feet as I wear them more but already, they seem a perfect fit. Exactly the right size and incredibly comfortable. I don't think I've ever had a brand new pairs of shoes that fit so well.

 

So for the first time since 1986, when I rated the movie Aliens 5/5, I also rate this pair of shoes which I got indirectly due to this film 5/5.

 

I suppose I should say something about this film too, should't I?

 

It's not easy to make a good film. If it was, everyone would be doing it. Most tend to fall into the band of quickly forgettable and mediocre.

 

It takes a special skill to make something as aggressively bad as this.

 

Awful, awful, awful.

 

Especially notable in how breathtaking it was in how it leapt from one ineptly staged set-piece to the next.

 

I'd say it was easily the worst film I saw at the cinema this year to date except I've also had the misfortune to see Life.

 

Everyone associated with this movie should be banned from film-making for life.

 

Except for Jimmy because he led to me getting a kick-ass pair of new shoes for nothing.

 

(edit: I should clarify: the earlier post where I gave a 5/5 rating for my new shoes was for a static test and trying them on for size. This post is a 5/5 rating for a dynamic test and also trying them out while in motion. Still perfect when I walk in them. Alien: Covenant remains utter shit, however.)


Edited by Shan - 5/16/17 at 6:20am
post #44 of 571
A mediocre mix of PROMETHEUS, ALIEN, ALIENS and DOUBLE IMPACT.

I suppose the beginning of ALIEN will be explained / retconned in ALIEN AWAKENINGS. Because it makes no fucking sense after this movie.
post #45 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Watching Prometheus again there's no way David created the alien.

Thr pile of engineers Fifield and Molburn stumble across exploded from inside. Shaws foetus was a facehugger. I hope in P3 that David realises that he's not been creating at all but just copying and his realisation is the discovery of the sncient crashed croissant, which he the sets a beacon up on.

Otherwise it makes ZERO sense as acvording to the timeline Alien is set something like 10 years after Covenant.

 

I don't see what the retcon or inconsistency is here? It's already established that the goo makes creatures that explode out from the inside, that's exactly what happens to the Engineers when they get bombed in this one. I think it's pretty clear that David's role in the final Alien's creation is closer to a dog breeder than a literal creator.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Macken View Post
 

There's an interview with Scott that was released today, I believe, where he explains that he had to fight the studio to just include the sole Engineer sequence.  They clearly wanted a clean break from Prometheus. 

 

I'd like to read this, do you have a link? It doesn't surprise me at all, it's pretty obvious from watching the movie where Scott's enthusiasms lie and where the studio's do. But Scott's enthusiasms do come through I think. These last two alien movies tie together themes from throughout his career.

post #46 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

I don't see what the retcon or inconsistency is here?

The eggs
post #47 of 571
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Otherwise it makes ZERO sense as acvording to the timeline Alien is set something like 10 years after Covenant.

 

Here's my issue with this: you want to take what is a genuine character arc for David and wipe it out to improve continuity with another movie.  For all of my problems with COVENANT, I don't subscribe to that sort of thinking.

post #48 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post
 

 

 

I'd like to read this, do you have a link? It doesn't surprise me at all, it's pretty obvious from watching the movie where Scott's enthusiasms lie and where the studio's do. But Scott's enthusiasms do come through I think. These last two alien movies tie together themes from throughout his career.

 

http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/alien/feature/a827734/alien-covenant-prometheus-apology/?utm_content=buffer7fd80&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=maintwitterpost

post #49 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post
 

 

Here's my issue with this: you want to take what is a genuine character arc for David and wipe it out to improve continuity with another movie.  For all of my problems with COVENANT, I don't subscribe to that sort of thinking.

 

Agreed. If they eventually throw in some explanation of how the eggs ended up on the ship (which they probably will if they do more) then fine, but I'm not terribly fussed about the finer points of continuity with the old movies.

 

The main reason I'm fairly positive about where they've taken things is that parts of Prometheus that seemed weirdly obtuse at the time make a lot more sense in the context of what David goes on to do here, to the extent that I suspect they did actually have something along these lines in mind all along. "Big things have small beginnings", "doesn't everyone want their parents dead?", the engineer freaking out and deciding to wipe out humanity after he looks David in the eye and so on.

 

The only part of his character journey that still feels a little sketchy is his relationship with Shaw. Even though he lies through a lot of the movie it still seemed like he had some sincere affection for her, and that came across in the prologue short as well. If that's true I'm not sure how that squares with what he ended up doing. Maybe that's what Ridley's inbetween movie idea will be about.

post #50 of 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post

Here's my issue with this: you want to take what is a genuine character arc for David and wipe it out to improve continuity with another movie.  For all of my problems with COVENANT, I don't subscribe to that sort of thinking.

Here's my issue with this, a truly great script could give you a great character arc and continuity. Not only are the two not mutually exclusive but it could give all the films an overall arc.
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