It seems that in 'Alien: Covenant', Ridley Scott and his writers tried to use the best loved elements from previous Alien installments to appease those fans of the franchise who hated 'Prometheus' - but perhaps also to camouflage their intention to make a far meaner and less conventional blockbuster than what modern audiences (and studios) are willing to accept in this age of superheroes. It was my impression that what on the surface appears to be a very straight forward - and some might even say derivative - retread of familiar story beats is actually just a ploy to delve even deeper into the themes explored in 'Prometheus'. Because 'Alien: Covenant' not only continues to "dissect" the creator/creation/creature dynamic: it brings the android David's storyline to its perverse, if somewhat logical, conclusion.
Now if you hated 'Prometheus', or just dismissed it as a dumb movie where most characters are stupid and nothing is explained or makes sense, you won't find much to like in the less conventional story elements in 'Alien: Covenant', and you might as well stop reading this review now (btw, if you still have questions about 'Prometheus', you'll find a link to an article explaining everything by clicking on my username). But if you DID like it - or at least found its maliciously ironic religious subtext and musings on creation fascinating - you'll probably find some aspects of 'Alien: Covenant' highly enjoyable. As you might recall, the cycle of creation depicted in 'Prometheus' goes as follows: the Gods (aka "the Engineers") create mankind - mankind creates David - David in turn starts to experiment on his creators (the humans) in order to create something new.
The totally insane - and hilariously mean spirited - continuation/escalation of that cycle in 'Alien: Covenant' (beware: spoilers abound for the whole movie follow): David's ambition to make the jump from creation to creator has grown exponentially; it now entails nothing less than to exterminate the Gods, as well as experimenting on them - which makes him kind of hard to top in the mad scientist (or mad killer robot) department. By killing the Gods, he, the unworthy machine and "2nd class" creation conquers "Paradise/Heaven" and becomes the sole creator (humans are degraded to the status of lab-rats), thereby closing the cycle started in 'Prometheus'.
Admittedly, the film is uneven in terms of story and pacing - but I admire its ambition. 'Alien: Covenant' is a fascinating hybrid which somehow halfway through its running time turns from relatively straight sci-fi and very familiar Alien terrain into a brooding, Gothic horror film (at least for a while before it turns back into a more conventional sci-fi/action film). In the Gothic part of the film, the man-made monster/creature (David) has turned the table and assumed the role of Dr. Frankenstein to make creatures of his own design. These creatures - who appear to be the first actual Xenomorphs - reflect and reveal who/what David really is and how deceiving his human looks are. For although he inherited some very human traits from his creator (emotions, curiosity, ego, the urge to create - among others) he is still a machine adhering to a logic that is ultimately as alien (pun intended) to a human being as the Xenomorph itself - and as lethal. Which is why it makes complete sense that David is the "designer" of this perfect, machine-like organism (Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who created the original Alien, called it "biomechanoid" for a reason).
In 'Alien: Covenant', David is the humans' - and humanity's - ultimate adversary; in fact, for the purpose of the story told in the film, he is the Devil (he even quotes Satan's famous lines from John Milton's epic poem 'Paradise Lost'). Now if the Devil in this tale were to create life in HIS own image (his REAL image - for David was only given human features to make interaction with him more "comfortable" for the humans), surely, he would create demons: and isn't the Xenomorph the ultimate demon sprung straight from the darkest pits of Hell? That 'Alien: Covenant' is essentially a riff on Milton's 'Paradise Lost' was the most surprising aspect of the film for me. David's story-line follows Satan's (quite literal) ascent to Heaven (Paradise), where he kills the Gods and starts his own rule, thus turning it into Hell and ending the age of man (and for those of you who think I'm reaching a little here: the film's title was originally supposed to be 'Alien: Paradise Lost'). Now regardless whether you liked the film or not, you have to admit: that's not exactly the texture of a generic, conventional blockbuster, right?
At the end of the film, David is aboard the spaceship Covenant - which he has turned into a perverted version of Noah's Arch - and travels to a new world where he plans to start his new version of Genesis. He might even start a new religion: the Bible as written by a mad killer robot with a god complex (just think about how crazy demented - and completely wonderful - that sounds). Imagine the Lovecraftian nightmare he will create and what creatures will populate "his" version of Earth. I would love a sequel to 'Alien: Covenant' to take us there and finally fully descend into madness. It would be the logical next step: after the human protagonists visited an angry god in 'Prometheus' who wanted to destroy humanity, and then discover that Heaven is empty and the Gods are all dead in 'Alien: Covenant', they should next visit the Devil in his newly created Hell. My suggestion for a title: 'Alien: Genesis'.
Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/
Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Almost eleven years after the futile and disastrous expedition on the distant moon LV-223, the deep-space colonisation vessel Covenant equipped with more than 2,000 colonists in cryogenic hibernation, sets a course for the remote planet Origae-6 with the intention to build a new world. Instead, a rogue transmission will entice the crew to a nearby habitable small planet which resembles The Earth. The unsuspecting members of Covenant will have to cope with biological foes beyond human comprehension. Ultimately, what was intended as a peaceful exploratory mission, will soon turn into a desperate rescue operation deep into the cold infinite space.
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August 02, 2017 at 04:06 AM