Covenant with an Alien devil

Okay guys, you owe me an apology. All of you. Every last one of you owes me an apology and I’m not going to shut up about it until you deliver. Each and every one of you.

Engineers destroyed by xenomorphs

Paradise Lost

Alien Covenant has been collectively disparaged by critics new and old to the point I gave up on even bothering to watch it. You guys have to be more responsible when you write – you really do – because people listen to you when you write and, even though we are all responsible for our own decisions, one cannot help but be influenced by one’s peers in matters such as which movies to choose to view with one’s precious little free time. And collectively you have severely disappointed me by consistently casting Alien Covenant in such poor light. Review after review discussing what a dreadful disappointment it is. How it failed to live up to anyone’s expectations by trying to cater to everyone’s expectations. How it tried to be everything to everyone and failed to be anything to anyone and so on and so on. You guy (you know who you are) are nuts. You suck.

Alien Covenant, while it may not be the biggest, baddest, most epicest film in cinema history, is something like (arguably) the sixth film in a franchise that spans nearly forty years (yes, just shy of forty years!) of continuous science fiction joy and terror. How many franchises can boast this many successful films over such a span of time? I’m not trying to argue that Alien Covenant deserves praise or earns merit based only on its status as a member of a successful franchise. I’m saying think of franchises which boast more than two or three films. A lot of horror franchises come to mind. After the first few they descend into garbage, really, no? We might still like them. Hell, we might even love them for sentimental reasons. But the later additions to most of these families are films that, had they been stand alone original films, would, I suspect, have faired poorly compared to the original franchise originator. The Friday The 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street legacies come to mind as film franchises that also began almost forty years ago. But, at least to me, they’ve become self-deprecating parodies of their original selves. They’re a cliche, a joke almost. (Not that I don’t enjoy watching one of them around Halloween time, particularly the earlier members of the franchise.) My point, frankly, is that I think Ridley Scott and crew have done an amazing job of keeping the Alien franchise respectable and serious in tone, despite a few interlopers of alien origin ( pun intended – I refer of course to the admittedly fun AVP series).

I’ve written elsewhere about Prometheus and how I felt it was unfairly maligned, despite its legitimate flaws, but the treatment that excellent film received is nothing compared to the outright butchering this latest film has received from critics and “fans” (I use the word loosely). I cannot fathom how people who enjoyed Alien and Aliens refuse to find any joy in these latest manifestations of the Alien saga. I thought prequeling the series with a rich and epic backstory was genius and a great way to breathe life into the series that otherwise would surely devolve into the same sort of played out pattern those previously mentioned horror franchises degraded into. Maybe I’m just an Ancient Aliens junkie, but I am addicted to films and books that work upon the premise aliens of some kind crafted us in the distant past, so for this idea to form the basis of the xenomorph’s backstory to me is just perfection.

Now, is Alien Covenant a perfect film? No, but since its flaws, real and imagined, are so well documented already I won’t spend a word on them. Ridley, if you ever read this, thank you and stay strong. You’ve created a masterful world and we love you for it. Haters be damned. I’m waiting impatiently for the next installment in the saga. I hope I don’t have to wait too long!

A few words on the particulars of the film. I found the soundtrack to be a masterful blend of the original 1979 Alien soundtrack and the more recent Prometheus soundtrack. Perfect union of these two worlds which are colliding together to become one horrible future for mankind. I found the imagery of the film to be satisfying. Nothing chokingly epic, but everything suitably grand and appropriate to the story. This makes sense since trying to over-dazzle with visuals would only detract from the action. Prometheus is dazzling because it had to be as the introductory 21st century incarnation of a cherished classic film. Here now the world is reigned in a bit so as to get to business. I found the character’s actions as unrealistic as in Prometheus, but it’s something I can get passed, although I can see why some absolutely object to their incredible actions as plot destroying. They are also a bit underdeveloped, but not distractingly so. I actually think this film is a tad too short. Some long, slow character interaction might have fleshed them out a bit more in the beginning, although at the same time, these sorts of scenes are the scenes which drag in Prometheus so… Perhaps it will prove to be for the best that they were omitted afterall. Time will tell, if people can get past this current hatred and accept this movie for what it is – a worthy addition to the saga of man’s encounter with terrifying alien life. Oh, and there’s something in there about A(rtificial)I(ntelligence) and the absolute horror it presents. But who’s paying attention? 😉

Michael Fassbender as android

AI is good right? That’s what our Silicon Valley overlords keep telling us, right?

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