So for those of you who don’t know, Tiffany and I go to the movies almost every Monday and watch something new, and then when we’re driving home I spend about 15 minutes just ranting about my thoughts concerning whatever movie we watched. Every single week (for literally the past year) I always consider posting my rants and calling them reviews, mostly for my own benefit when I am trying to remember which movies I liked!
So here goes nothing!
This week we went and saw Alien: Covenant, obviously there’s gonna be spoilers ahead so if you care at all, stop reading now!
3/5 – I’d put this in my “meh” list of movies. Not unwatchable, but nothing memorable.
So as a precursor, I’ve only seen Alien and Alien 2 thus far in the Alien Anthology. I recognize that I’m potentially missing some context, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.
Opening Sequences: In the first scene the film makes it absolutely, unquestioningly obvious that David is the villain of the film. Maybe I’m just really good at sleuthing these things, but it seemed painfully stupidly obvious that this was going to follow the classic “creation recognizes that it’s superior to creator and devises plan to destroy it’s creator” (I like to refer to this as the Killing God story line)
I think this is a perfectly fine scene to open the film with, but only if you cut out the last bits of dialogue and paste them somewhere later in the film. By including the dialogue in which David makes it painfully clear that he doesn’t understand why he is serving an inferior master, you reveal the entire plot of the film.
Into The Main Story: Really Alien? Couldn’t come up with a reason to get the Covenant to land on the mysterious planet so we had to rip-off Passengers? Am I really supposed to believe that a ship designed to travel for 7+ years through space, with a repeated need to open fragile sails for recharging doesn’t have some kind of autonomous defense against the destruction of those sails?
And why exactly do the sleeping pods spontaneously combust internally if they aren’t opened fast enough? That seems like a significant flaw in the design of a device that’s supposed to house humans for a decade. Other than putting Pastor Uncertain in charge and establishing Girl who is simultaneously hysteric, but very strong as the main character – why does James Franco’s character exist? Why do we need to roast a character in the opening moments of the film? Other than placing characters where we need them, and giving some reason as to why they’d prefer not to go back in the pods, this seems like a waste of valuable time.
Note: is there really no protocol for if the Captain dies on an 7+ year long trip? The second in command is an ill-prepared buffoon with no faith in himself, who does nothing more than stutter, repeat phrases that seemingly have religious connotation, and repeat to his wife how ill-prepared he is for the position.
The plot thickens: Tennessee receives a transmission from the mysterious planet from 3 weeks worth of space travel away, but later in the film the Covenant can’t maintain contact from within orbit of that planet… That’s awfully convenient. And in what universe does a 7+ year long mission that has been meticulously planned and calculated just decide to alter that plan and do something else? That’s like me planning a trip to Hawaii, but when I am in Atlanta for my connecting flight, I decide to get on a plane to Toronto instead. There’s just no sense behind it. (which the strong female lead is quick to tell the buffoon captain, but he doesn’t listen of course)
The rising action begins: We’re on the planet. Badstuffs happen. The crew panics, abandons protocol, and gets thinned down because of it. This is a crew of people that seemingly was supposed to be leading a colony of 2000+ people to a new world. and at first distress they lose their cool and abandon whatever training they may have had. Also for those counting: We are now at 2 fiery burning deaths, 2 violent alien hatchings, 1 alien mauling, and 1 friendly fire headshot. This scene is also used to establish that Walter (the newer less evil model of David) is protective of our strong/hysterical female lead.
Enter David: Aliens, not afraid of bullets or exploding spaceships, totally spooked by flare guns. The humans return to the city of many dead people, this does not seem to concern them. David announces that the aliens, and the dead people are a result of he and a human cohort “accidentally” releasing a toxin designed to eradicate all biological life forms. The crew doesn’t seem to question why David and his cohort had a toxin designed to eradicate all biological life forms in the first place. David is generally creepy and off-putting, but again, no one really seems to mind.
The Aliens return: Random female crew member gets eaten/disemboweled by Alien, David responds by blowing on its face and becoming its friend. Captain Pastor Uncertain elects to shoot the alien to death, David is angry that he does this. Captain Pastor Uncertain agrees to follow David into his room filled with dissected aliens, and then further into his basement filled with Alien eggs. Captain Pastor Uncertain is comfortable touching the egg after David (who he just saw befriending an Alien) tells him it’s safe. When the egg opens, he also feels comfortable sticking his face directly over it (Also because David says it’s okay). RIP Captain Pastor Uncertain. David raises his arms, the new baby alien raises its arms: They are clearly allies. Walter now confronts David, David awkwardly kisses Walter (additionally awkward because both Walter and David are played by Michael Fassbender) and then rips something out of his throat, causing Walter to collapse to the ground, seemingly broken beyond repair.
Almost to the climax: Now Strong female lead goes looking for Captain Pastor Uncertain, who had left to go looking for random female crew member. She finds neither of them, and instead happens upon David’s library where he has very detailed images of aliens bursting out of his Human cohort cited earlier. When David arrives, he tosses her around a little and then tries to rape her? This bit was uncertain to me. Luckily, Walter arrives just in the nick of time to bash David away. Strong female lead runs away and the robot battle is on.
Robot Battle: The robots battle, Walter seemingly has a slight upperhand, but only slight. Meanwhile Random male crew member 1 and 2 find the dead Captain Pastor Uncertain. One is attacked by the face attaching alien, the other quickly learns the “these things bleed acid that cuts through rock” lesson. Member 1 ends up with a severely burned face due to acid blood, Member 2 gets immediately destroyed by the full sized Alien previously born inside Captain Pastor Uncertain. Member 1 runs away and finds strong female lead. They run outside to meet up with Southern Pilot guy, who is driving a cargo ship to pick them up. Back to the robot battle, Walter has David pinned down. David says something cryptic that causes Walter to pause, while this is happening we see David reach for a knife. The scene cuts away there
Race back to Space: Crew Member 1 and Strong Female lead race to get on Southern Pilot’s cargo ship, Walter is close on their heels and joins them on the ship. When asked about David, he says he has been “decommissioned” or something along those lines. But wait! The Alien is on the ship. Strong female lead runs back outside to fight it off, after some screwing around she manages to use the ship’s onboard crane to crush it. All is well and they escape back to their big ship out in Orbit.
One more Alien: The survivors are back on the Covenant, and all seems to be well! But wait! Crew Member 1 is now dead, and there’s an Alien somewhere on the ship. Covenant Pilot people are having sex in the shower so they don’t hear the warning and are easily picked off by the Alien. Strong Female Lead and Southern Pilot are the last men standing (with Walter at the helm of the ship) They get to “her turf” where they manage to purge the Alien from the ship. How nice.
M. Night Shamalamadingdong: All is back as it should be, Southern Pilot and Strong Female Lead are going back into cryo-sleep. But wait! As Strong female lead is back in her pod, she realizes that it’s not Walter! It’s David! But now she’s asleep. He coughs up 2 alien fetuses, and then the movie ends.
This whole movie is stupidly predictable, with absolutely no original content.
The strength of the original Alien comes from how well we connect with Ripley. When she’s scared, we’re scared. When she’s relaxed, we feel relaxed. When she kicks the alien’s ass, we feel triumphant.
I connected with absolutely no one in this film, I didn’t care who lived or died. In all honesty, it was obvious from halfway through that they were all going to die. David was a completely flat villain because his intent was clear from the first scene of the film. The main characters never developed or had any meaningful growth.
I think there are some simple tweaks that would have really improved the film for me. First and foremost, the opening scene needs split. I’m okay with introducing David in the opening scene, but I don’t feel I should know his intents until he’s revealed as the villain. I think if you’re going to have a strong female lead, she needs to be strong throughout. It’s nonsensical that someone can go from hysterical and non functional to being calm and composed in a matter of moments with no real catalyst for the change in persona. I don’t understand why we brought religion into Captain Pastor Uncertain’s character, it never really played any role at all.
So yea, this movie has some entertaining moments and some interesting (albeit recycled) story arcs, but overall it was predictable, and therefore extremely boring.
This was super long, apologies for the ramblings and rantings. I guess I just had a lot to say. Until next Monday!