'Alien: Covenant' just came out, and boy, do we need to talk about it.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/whats-your-favorite-alien-movie
'Alien: Covenant' just came out, and boy, do we need to talk about it.
Alien is my favourite. I recently rewatched it and it still holds up so well.
I have so, so many problems with Covenant. I thought it was great for 30-40 minutes and then dived to a 2 star film very very quickly. It would have benefited from having all ties to Prometheus cut. Also I know most people in horror films are dumb but the levels of dumb displayed by a team of supposedly Earth’s best and brightest sent to colonise a new world was pretty shocking
Alien is my favorite for the exact same reasons Danielle wrote for the post for this topic. To speak on Covenant for a minute, I’m just so divisive over the the “mythology” instilled in this movie about the xenomorph and now the xeomorph. Also, if there are more movies after this, Ridley needs to bring back the original alien design from 79 film as a segue way from the last sequel to Alien. Because the xenomorph in Covenant does not look like at all like the Alien in 79 film. It’s weird. The original design was cool.
Alien is the best just like Terminator 1 is the best. I know it, you know it, we all know it.
Also, shout out to the unintentionally funny line in the middle of the movie, Covenant, where we get to THAT place.
I haven’t seen COVENANT yet, and the original is the “best”, but I will always ride or die for ALIEN 3.
as a kid I loved Aliens, I thought it was like THE shit and that the first was just people dying in space- I think this is cos kids are way into action movies? But the original Alien is just like, so fantastic.
The aesthetics of the Nostromo are so carefully designed with clunky 70s-80s sensibilities with amazing eye for texture. Part of what I hated about Prometheus (as well as a lot of modern science fiction) is that the future is like a hyper glossy mac store? But yeah that’s how I’m feeling about this
I always flip flop between Alien and Aliens.
No doubt Alien is the better movie - a masterclass in horror. It’s not an understated movie in many ways but I love how slow burning some of the elements are, the way John Hurt wakes up out of cryosleep, the bickering between crew mates over appropriate pay, the little glance Ian Holm gives to John Hurt at the dinner table. All the human elements are so understated and it just adds to the realism which in turn enhances the horror.
Having said that, in my heart my favourite Alien movie is definitely Aliens and it’s all because of Ripley. She kind of rose out of Alien as the unsuspecting survivor, but it is her whole arc in Aliens that is so satisfying. It’s the way the movie starts with the events of Alien derailing her life and lead her to losing everything, her daughter, her flight status and her dreams. She selflessly goes back to face her fears, the marines don’t know what to make of her at first, she rises to become the only one to lead everyone. I love how she talks Hudson down as he goes out of his mind with fear. She’s just a badass.
The action and the drama just go hand in hand with her arc. It just has the most perfect action movie trajectory. Every minute the stakes are being raised, beloved characters are killed but you believe in Ripley constantly. It’s just more satisfying as a story. It ends with the reveal of the Alien Queen who is like this dark version of Ripley as this matriarchal figure.
I actually saw both on the big screen within the last year. I think Alien does hold up a hell of a lot better whilst Aliens certainly looks a little dated in places. But man, two great movies. I was burnt by Prometheus, but appreciated the more Star Trek dimension it was going down. Covenant just felt like a rehash of Alien. I was so annoyed that they used the original Jerry Goldsmith score! It reminded me of Force Awakens and Jurassic World where there is a lot of homage being paid, but the only difference was that it was Ridley Scott paying homage to himself. It almost felt like he’d forgotten what made the first Alien so great in the first place.
I watched Alien 3 on Sunday, I feel like there’s a good film buried under the development hell
Alien is my favourite but i think Aliens is the best, which is a weird distinction that i don’t think i can explain well.
My favorite is Prometheus. There are so many things that I love about that movie. What I probbly love the most are the questions it made me ask. The whole time I was going “ooh, what is that?” and at the end, I was dying to know what happened next. I’m ultimately disappointed by Covenant because of what we learn has happened to Shaw and the Engineers but I appreciate that all of that surprised me. I hate David even more now and I don’t know that I needed to dislike him any more than I already did. I enjoyed the film and but now I don’t think I want another film between Prometheus and Covenant but I am more curious about the Engineers now and would like to see a sequel that shows more of them as we get to Alien in the timeline.
I ended up liking Covenant quite a bit.
Being vague for the sake of not spoiling: Fassbender’s performance alone was worth the price of admission, it was uncomfortable in all the ways that an Alien movie should be, and the Creator/created themes worked better than I thought they might.
[spoiler] The ending was a bit too much of a downer for my taste, and while the David stuff in this movie all worked for me I don’t really see where else there is to go for him (another movie where hapless humans fall into his hands would be disappointing).
Also Danny McBride worked better than I was expecting, and if you had told me that he was going to make it to the end of the movie I would not have believed you.[/spoiler]
Alien. Not only is the set design second to none but it was the movie that got me into horror as a genre. Aliens is a fun movie but it’s mostly just that to me. I think Alien 3 is totally fine and not nearly as terrible as people say.
Firstly, I haven’t seen Covenant and I’ll probably check it out once it is out of theaters. Therefore I cannot take it into consideration or comparison against what I have seen of this franchise.
Frankly with how stark the shift feels to me between Alien and Aliens I don’t feel like setting them side by side and evaluating which one I like better.
However - gun to my head - favourite remains Alien. I think just because of the feeling I had seeing it for the first time. The glimpses at its universe and how lovingly garbage all of the technology really looked. To me, having seen it for the first time 10 years ago it kinda gave me a ‘oh that’s where this aesthetic comes from’ moment every time I saw any of the technology.
I feel like, to me at least, just getting an impression of that universe is more interesting than having it mapped out.
Also since I have always been kinda in the ‘I don’t care as long as the atmosphere is captivating’ corner, I don’t think the original’s atmosphere has been matched by any of the others in…captivatedness…sss or something.
I’m definitely a Prometheus apologist - after the two awful AVP movies they at least tried something different. Venturing instead into this place of mythology and big old questions about existence. I was annoyed that Covenant retconned most of Prometheus to become more of a straight Alien film. The way they handled Shaw really annoyed me. She represented all the big questions posed by Prometheus, she was a heroine in an Alien movie that didn’t just go down the Ripley route. Whilst Ripley was always inspired to survive, Shaw was inspired to ask why. Her being written out of Covenant felt like a severe case of franchise correction - it reminded me of how they so unceremoniously killed Newt and Hicks in Alien 3. I guess you can boil it down to people who get their hopes up in Alien films or have a degree of faith usually get killed.
Like Danielle, I think Alien is a damn near perfect film. It might be my favorite movie ever.
For anyone interested, here is an awesome article about the many typefaces used in the movie and the incredible attention to detail in the production design: https://typesetinthefuture.com/2014/12/01/alien/
Also, I count me among the few who really like Alien 3.
Alien by a wide margin. It’s one of the most tense experiences in all of cinema.
Haha I see you.
What I was going to write there, was that I largely liked Convenant as something that was building upon the tone and questions of Prometheus. Like many, I had a lot of issues with the latter’s plotting and script, but I appreciate its willingness to do some weird things and ask big questions.
Covenant keeps a lot of that, but moves toward more conventional horror tropes in how it handles aliens within it. All of that is certainly well-done, but I feel like the seams show a bit when it transitions between the two styles of movies.
On the ending, I’m of two minds. I think there’s an argument that the switch was supposed to be so broadly telegraphed for the audience to the point that it wasn’t really a reveal to the viewer. I think that makes a lot of sense, since it adds to the dread of knowing the reveal is coming. But I wish it would have been a little more obvious, so that we knew it wasn’t trying to trick us. Either way, it’s kind of impressive that such a mean-hearted, nihilistic movie got made as a blockbuster.
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I like Prometheus a lot, in a way it’s Galaxy of Terror with a bigger budget. If I had to compare it to a straight horror movie I’d compared it most to The Church where it has its own things going on but is also having a conversation with derivative ripoffs of classic sci-fi movies. That it does that while on top of it expanding the Alien setting without actually answering a whole lot and and being mostly about an android and how it deals rather than being more about the humans or the various creatures, like it’s ambitious as hell.
Covenant is less ambitious on the surface, but it’s still a movie with a lot of the big ideas of Prometheus about creation and the concept of having to live up to one’s father and one “having” to create a legacy to be a worthy person and how destructive and/or creative those drives can be, while being a slasher movie and a Hammer mad scientist film at the same time and also building the continuity of a 30 year old franchise without actually explaining too much about it so there’s still some mystery.
Like I’m just really glad these movies got made because it’s rare to see such super cynical anti-corporate, anti-patriarchy I guess. There’s a strong parallel drawn between glamorized destructive ideals of masculinity and glamorized destructive ideals of capitalism throughout the series. I love that these movies get this level of budget and marketing and have those themes played completely straight and have some brilliant horror moments in them. They all have an extremely nasty sense of humor too.
The polarizing reaction to the CG in Covenant has been interesting because Prometheus straight up looks flawless. Covenant less so but it has a way higher variety of stuff going on in it so I can cut it some slack. The only time the creature effects looked a bit weak to me was towards the very very end, and I was actually really impressed with points where some of the creatures are moving and running and fighting organically while also gradually growing in size at the same time. There’s also this moment where one of the creatures stands fully upright while another character briefly interacts with it that looked straight up amazing to me (the cast sells the fuck out of this in a few scenes which really helps). It’s interesting to see what stuff in Covenant people find good or bad looking because we see a few different creatures in like the full spectrum of being well lit on a ship, being in a dark room, caves, wooded areas, fields, full spectrum alien.
Something about Scott all of Scott’s movies is that he always likes to keep things movie. And with the exception of Kingdom of Heaven, the director’s cut of each of his movies is actually shorter than what we got in theaters.
Prometheus and Covenant both have a few really short bits of dialogue and scenes that aren’t there that add a lot, but what they also did for these movies was make stuff like that fake TED Talk and the advertisements for David, the Last Supper short scene for Covenant, etc. and never really planned on putting them in the movie. But for Covenant especially, those little extra things aren’t just marketing but are basically require viewing to add some more characterization to the film. I was really surprised that the Covenant stuff was cut/never intended to be in the final film.
I don’t really know what I think about that, like is it still just marketing if it genuinely adds to the thing it’s advertising beyond just having extraneous world building stuff? At the same time it’s like a movie that can’t stand fully on its own, and I can’t put the cat back in the bag and say because I can’t un-watch those extra clips to see if it can to me.
Regarding the downer twist at the end of Covenant, I liked how it was handled a lot because I was expecting it to be Walter, except David actually convinced him and Walter, being a new model killed him and took his place. It reminded me of Vickers in Prometheus and how at one point it’s asked if she’s a synthetic also, it doesn’t really matter because in both cases you have someone who is an asshole because they’ve been treated like this by their father for their entire lives. I read about test screenings for the movie and apparently there were a few versions of how that particular struggle played out to play with how much and how certain or not they would make it. They even had a way grimmer version where We/Daniels doesn’t find out at all and David doesn’t use a name while talking to MU/TH/ER, so we don’t know who decided to birth some embryos.
Even though I think Alien Resurrection is pretty stupid and love Alien, Aliens, and the work print of Alien 3 equally, I made this as a joke a while ago but over the past few days it’s actually been a great, like “it’s okay if the first two aren’t your favorite ones” conversation starter:
On an related note, I’d kill to have been a fly on the wall during Prometheus’ production.
Executives: This captain role, I mean do we even need this character? He barely does anything and-
Scott: furiously sketching storyboards of cuttlefish popping out of people
Executives: Okay we can keep the character but we got Idris Elba so you have to give him something more to d-
Scott: Awesome great name let’s canonically make his character’s first name Idris too.
Scott: The climax of the film is God getting facefucked by an aborted octopus.