Monday, May 22, 2017

F This Movie! 387 - Alien: Covenant

In space, no one can hear Patrick and JB be disappointed.



Download this episode here. (30.3 MB)

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Also discussed this episode: Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017), A Dark Song (2017)

78 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Two things. First, the reason why the score for Covenant sounded like a classic movie score is because it was. Large portions were just rearrangements of Jerry Goldsmith's score for the original Alien. It was kind of distracted, really.

    Second, the term "fridging" comes from a Green Lantern comic from the '90s (i.e., when everything was grimdark) in which the title character comes home to discover that his girlfriend has been murdered by one of his enemies, her corpse stuffed inside a refrigerator.

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    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Refrigerators

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    2. Patrick: "I'm not sure where 'Fridging' comes from."

      Adam Thas: (Furiously typing on keyboard)

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  3. Roy Nearys peroxide bottleMay 22, 2017 at 10:21 AM

    Re Scott's preoccupation with making the alien series be about weighty topics like 'creation', few years before Prometheus huge amounts of praise was heaped (rightly) on to the release of Blade Runner the final cut which deals successfully with a number of profound themes,however the genesis of BRs was such a chaotic process that against all odds these profound themes emerged both by design and unintentionally (not least of which as JB points out being the death of Scott's brother) The main problem now seems to be Scott trying to make lightening strike twice and deal with these topics again but I really don't feel that such levels can be manufactured successfully at will

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    1. Michael GiammarinoMay 22, 2017 at 11:12 AM

      I think this may also be a case of Ridley recognizing, pushing 80, that his career is winding down and in a cumulative sense, he's tying certain themes of references from his entire career into a couple of final Alien movies. There are the reprised themes from Blade Runner. There's a bevy of unused H.R. Giger Concept art that turn up sporadically. In the Walter/David fight (or was it the David/Daniels fight), a shield is picked up, and it's Tom Cruise's shield from Legend. I've even heard (but haven't gone back to check) that one of David's philosophical speeches is a reprise of a Cameron Diaz speech in The Counselor.

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    2. Michael GiammarinoMay 22, 2017 at 11:13 AM

      * themes AND references (not themes OF references; sorry)

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  4. I was at Marcus yesterday for the 9am show of NORMAN! It was def a private screening. 9am shows might be pushing it for me. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep for seven seconds about a half dozen times. Also, I got popcorn but I really wanted pancakes and there wasn't a combo for that.

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  5. I thought the movie was certainly entertaining...but it didn't really feel like a movie?
    It felt like a pastiche of scorned son cliches and references to the first round of movies. It just felt really...basic. Like this whole movie was an ode to on the nose-ness.


    I laughed very very much out loud at this ep. thanks guys!

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  6. i want to see a battle between the thing and alien

    and no humans involved

    in my head, it will be awesome

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    1. It's always been a little unclear to me how the thing goes about its process of invasion. Does it subsume its victims, or does it just kill and replace them, dumping the victim's body behind a snowdrift? The Predator aliens are essentially like us, only with superior technology. Their interactions with the xenomorphs are straightforward: they treat them the way Dick Cheney treats quail, or his friend Harry Whittington.

      What happens when a xenomorph impregnates a thing? Let's say it's one* that has a human form; a Brimley, if you will. Isn't this exactly what the thing wants?

      I think the Alien aliens would just be playing into the thing alien's/aliens', um, hands. Or perhaps it would be beneficial for both species; the meaning of life from an evolutionary standpoint is to ensure the survival of one's genetic material unto the next generation.

      Speaking of that, what would happen if xenomorphs or the thing came up against the Borg?

      *Is there even one thing alien? Is this organism a species in and of itself, a bit like a fungus?

      My head hurts.

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  7. I guess I'm one of the weird people that enjoys Prometheus and grows increasingly frustrated with Covenant.

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    1. I'm right there with you. I very much love Prometheus, and have no problem putting it up next to Alien and Aliens as some of my favorite sci-fi films.

      But the more I sit with Covenant the more I feel like it was a direct insult to people who were invested and interested in what happened in Prometheus.

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  8. Michael GiammarinoMay 22, 2017 at 11:31 AM

    I think Matt Zoller Seitz may be on to something when he says the David is Walter thing isn't a twist.
    When David runs out of the temple dressed as Walter, the camera lingers on him a little too long before he begins to run out to Tennessee's rescue ship. Why he'd simply watch and play along, as Walter, helping Daniels and Tennessee take down the protomorph on the Covenant may just come down to a morbid fascination of watching the two humans deal with this problem, and having a moment to see what it's like to be in Walter's shoes for a little while.

    I must admit the vibe I got from a lot of the Walter/David stuff was from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Datalore." The fact that John Logan was a credited writer on this film, having already done something similar with Star Trek Nemesis hasn't escaped me, but I think it works better here. In Nemesis, introducing another Data android that isn't Lore, and then ignoring Lore entirely, was lazy and insulting.

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  9. The Alien franchise is in desperate need of new blood (creatively speaking, not new victims). Ridley Scott gave us THE best sci-fi horror film of all time. Now it's time to pass the torch.

    Needless to say, I couldn't agree more with everything said in this podcast. As a die hard xenomorph fan, I was incredibly disappointed. The CGI looked like absolute shit, the xeno life cycle makes no god damn sense (nor does its timing), and we had a mini alien do a curtsy.

    But on the plus side, we do get Fass to Fass.

    Oh, and in reference to the queen. Apparently Scott hated the idea of a queen and protested the idea in Aliens. Therefore, it makes sense that he's outright ignoring it.

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    1. The new blood was Neil Blompkamp for a while, but apparently Old Man Scott decided he'd do everything

      Scott made awesome movies, but it's tine he steps down

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    2. Based on his output, I'm not sure Blompkamp wouldn't turned in a different film. I think that maybe this shouldn't be a franchise at all.

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    3. @Brian Sager, Blomkamp's film would most likely have been very derivative of Aliens. I would have been curious to see if he would have taken any of the concepts from William Gibson's unproduced screenplay for Alien III.

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    4. The sketches that came out for Blomkamp's vision were incredible. I want to believe that Alien can be a franchise. But at its core, Alien is a very simple, yet effective, idea. It's like expanding Jaws or Halloween (which didn't work out for those franchises either). I think the right move is to set everything post Alien Resurrection.

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    5. Michael GiammarinoMay 22, 2017 at 2:56 PM

      @mrm1138 Wasn't the neomorph a concept from William Gibson's Alien III?

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    6. Yeah, the sketches were good. But there was something that bothered me about Blomkamp's idea, and it ties into Scott's feeling about the alien queen: There seems to be a feeling about sequels that if you don't like the movie before, you can just ignore it. Blomkamp didn't like Alien 3, and be just wanted to make Aliens 2. But, I like Alien 3. Scott doesn't like the Alien Queen, so the eggs are just all made by David (I guess?). But....i like the Alien Queen. It bothered me when Halloween H20 came out, and Steve Miner decided that he was somehow above the sequels. I don't like how the X-Men movies just decide to delete everything that isn't directed by Bryan Singer. It may sound like nitpicking, and it is, but I think part of the art of writing is building on what's previous, and not just discarding things you don't like.

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    7. The Queen works brilliantly because it expands on the Alien mythology in a creative way, and also in a way that fits in with one of that film's major themes: motherhood.

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    8. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 12:47 AM

      I felt the xeno life cycles were representative of each particular genetic iteration. The neomorph incubates almost instantaneously. The protomorph has what is closest to the classic Xenomorph life cycle. When Crudup gets facehugged, we cut to another scene, and when we cut back, the facehugger is gone and Crudup wakes up. So we know some time has passed.

      When the protomorph chestburster outstretched its arm, I was reminded of the xeno mural in the ampoule chamber in Prometheus. We know the ceiling mural showed a humanoid with an abdominal wound before it started to change because, as Shaw hypothesized, they changed the atmosphere in the room. Could the walls and ceilings in that chamber prophesize the future? It's left ambiguous, but it makes me wonder.

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    9. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 12:51 AM

      There always a possibility this will not pan out, but I'm thinking David won't have any need to genetically engineer a queen xeno until he felt his existence was threatened or in some way winding down. The only reason I could see for a queen xeno would be because David wouldn't be around to engineer the xenos anymore.

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  10. Spoilers here I guess, but after Amy Seimetz died, I found very little to like. It felt was a strange tonal mess, where slow dread and philosophical pondering was followed up by goofy GCI action. If anything, it's made me realize how not terrible Prometheus actually is. I mean, if you were to show me the first skirmish scene with Amy Seimetz, and the final action scene with Daniels, there's no way I would've guessed they were the same movie. It's like the difference between Alien and Alien Resurrection.

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  11. I was reminded of De Palma's Mission to Mars where they reason that married couples are better for space travel because they provide long term stability.

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    1. Michael GiammarinoMay 22, 2017 at 2:17 PM

      Whoa! I never even considered that. So this would be the third time Ridley may have paid homage to Mission to Mars -- the first time in Prometheus, the second time in The Martian, and now in Alien Covenant.

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  12. Patrick, I'm super happy you responded positively to "A Dark Song"! Such an interesting take on the genre. So well done!

    JB - Wow man! Thank you so much for listening to the record and for the kind words. I've got "Bloodlands" on the radar but don't see it as being released yet. I keep checking since you mentioned it so hopefully it will get distro and I can watch it.

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  13. The idea of using married couples in deep-space exploration is a thing; remember, these people are on a one-way mission. The people chosen to be the crew for this colonization mission would have been chosen precisely because they were married and carried complementary skill sets.


    Hated hated hated the scene showing David arriving at the Engineers' world and wiping them out. Prometheus, having wasted our time for 90 minutes with witless and boring characters, finally gets to the good stuff, with Shaw and David('s head) determined to go to the Engineers and demand: Why did you make us? What did we do wrong that you abandoned us? Why do you want us destroyed? The idea that humanity is not a random biological accident or the product of a benign Creator but instead another genetically engineered species is fascinating. But then a tidal wave of negative reaction to "Prometheus" rolled in. That flashback scene felt like Scott and Co. said to the audience, fine, you hated Prometheus? Okay, all those questions we raised? Never mind! See, the Engineers are dead, David's an asshole, now here's more monster stuff!

    Either that, or they didn't know where to go with the philosophical questions and so wrote them out in the easiest way they could imagine.

    In either case, J.B. and Patrick, you're dead right: what a fuck-you to the audience.

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    1. IMHO, anytime you hire John Logan as a writer is a "fuck you" to an audience

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    2. I will forgive John Logan for pretty much anything because I loved Penny Dreadful so much.

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  14. Really enjoyed your thorough deconstruction of this movie. I think you hit everything, story, script, acting, directing, score, visual effects...

    For me Fassbender's outstanding performance is worth at least a letter grade, and is probably what I'll remember most from this movie (aside from the fact that he looks indistinguishable from Julian Sands with the long wig). #RIPJB

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  15. This is the first I've heard about the little white alien "dancing"...was it dancing to "Mr. Blue Sky" with Groot?

    I said during my many rants about "Prometheus" way back when, as much as I hated that pretty but empty headed exercise that I wanted it to have a sequel because I DARED it to prove that any of the shit it was doing meant ANYTHING.

    Well, they proved my point exactly. So much so that they had to kill off the person looking for those answers and kill off the race that could have answered just so no one could call them on it!

    Our only answer is that the goo is that it's a weapon and a creator...and it's a floor polish AND a dessert topping!

    Imagine if they'd left the Xenomorph to be just a creature that evolved on it's own as something that birthed itself as a parasite...maybe the Space Jockeys thought they could export it as a weapon....and instead we got to see where it fell in the food chain on it's own planet?

    PS - JB's point about the acting captain and his religion...faith seems to be what's ended up fucking everything up in these two movies. Shaw "chooses to believe" the Engineers wanted us to find them, she convinces Weyland who believes they know the secret of immortality with no evidence, she then believes it's safe to reattach David's head even though (it appeared in the first film) she realized that he was the one who caused Holloway to mutate and I guess she believed him when he told her there was no black goo on the ship without bothering to look? Belief in the face of all evidence to the contrary seems to be the only constant...and the only constant is that this all sucks.

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    1. Our only answer is that the goo is... a dessert topping!

      Is the "goo" in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant an unbleached version of The Stuff?

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    2. The Stuff had better marketing.

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  16. Really fun podcast guys. For me, this movie really suffered from having too many characters. When people start dying, I was only really aware of maybe five of them as characters, and even that number feels high. So once the aliens show up and start knocking people off, I really don't care at all, and even when people I know start dying, I still don't care because I either don't like them all that much, or they are nothing but a set of cliches and not actual people. That wasn't my only problem with the movie, but it does feel like my biggest problem. I just wasn't invested in their peril because I didn't ever have a chance to understand these people and their individual stakes. And I completely see your guys' point about all of them being married, and I sort of think that they used that as a shortcut to try to make us care about everyone. It doesn't work, and it comes across as lazy and bad.

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    1. SPOILER!!!

      I remember seeing a brief shot of a person's jaw being ripped off by a neomorph's tail during the field attack sequence and thinking, "Who was that?" I never really figured it out later, either, since very little attention was paid to that particular death and everyone except for Oram, Daniels, and Walter was pretty interchangeable.

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    2. That is exactly the moment that this idea is crystallized for me. Until they start walking around the planet, I barely even knew that there were soldiers here, and I have no idea who the two who die early were.

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  17. Every movie is better with a shower scene, so ...

    I was enjoying Covenant for the first 60-70 minutes, I thought it was really good as a straight sci-fi movie. And then it turned into an action movie, became predictable, and didn't follow through on promises it made in the first half.

    spoilers

    I think the swinging-rope/crane fight on the outside of the ship should have been cut. At that point the story is not about fighting aliens, it's about what Walter/David is doing. The fight with the alien onboard the Covenant supplied that same beat, and would have been more effective if not preceded by the other fight.

    David's motivation isn't clear to me. He just wants to play God? That's pretty far from what Weyland told him they were doing, which was to find their creators. And wouldn't he be more interested in higher intelligence than in higher brutality? The aliens are not particularly intelligent, why would he be interested in enabling/furthering their existence?

    Even with all the questions and missed opportunities, I prefer these movies to a lot of other stuff that's been made in recent years. I've enjoyed these 2 movies and will definitely see the third.

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    1. I like the all-couples crew. Makes perfect sense for a colonization mission. When you get where you're going, procreate. So of course when people are dying, the spouses will be hit hardest by the deaths.

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    2. "Every movie is better with a shower scene..."

      Cocoon?

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    3. Your point on the all-couples crew is well taken, and honestly yes it makes sense, but it also feels like a narrative shortcut, just a way to get us to care more and for it to make sense when people get really upset about the deaths. But to me, it sort of cheapens any emotional attachment because I feel like I can see the strings there.

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  18. I wanted to be the guy to call this a masterpiece so bad. I saw it after all the blowback and divisiveness and I wanted to come to its defense. But no. I pretty agree with you guys across the board. I did not like this movie. I can forgive a lot of dumb crap if it's at least scary and intense. Nope. Never those things. And I laughed out loud at that shower scene! I felt like I suddenly wandered into the latest Friday the 13th. That stuff is fun in F13, but boy oh boy was it tone deaf in this.

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  19. I'm not sure if it's spiritual enlightenment or spiritual apathy but the whole "Where did we come from?" question hasn't really interested me since I was smoking weed in college which is about the level of philophosizing we've gotten in these past two Alien movies. Also, going back to Prometheus for a sec, am I the only one who doesn't really "choose to believe" things? Especially profound things? I either come to a state of belief or not - if I'm CHOOSING to believe it must be because I don't really believe. Anyway...

    Like Prometheus, Alien: Covenant is really easy to just bag on because there's so many baffling choices being made both within and without the movie. Like again with the fucking helmets! None of these people read "War of the Worlds"? And look I get that we don't want the actors in helmets the whole movie, but it would be a lot easier to forgive if the entire plot didn't revolve around them making a decision that no scientist would EVER make.

    A few good moments and a few good performances keep it from being a total loss but in the end it's mostly just another example of why we never really need prequels.

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    1. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 12:23 AM

      I've never understood why anyone has such a big deal with the helmets, in Prometheus or in Covenant. In Prometheus, Holloway's readings showed there was oxygen within the Engineer pyramid. David even confirms it. If David's confirming it, that's all the confirmation he needs. Even if the readings and David assured him, Shaw gives him hell for wanting to take off his helmet. If you think Holloway is an idiot for wanting to take his helmet off, then you'd be on Shaw's side here, but no one ever brings this up. Holloway's putting his faith in science here, and his faith pans out. So everyone follows suit. If there was a pathogen in the air, I'd concur with all the criticism over this scene, but there wasn't. No one who gets infected and mutates was infected by the air; it was only the accelerant.

      In Covenant, the ship's sensors read an oxygen atmosphere. It's no different than when the crew of the Enterprise take sensor readings of a planet and determine that it's Class M. And again, not one member of the Covenant crew was infected by something in the air. The spores are a separate problem. If no one had disturbed the spores, they'd be all right. Something similar happened to the Enterprise crew in the Original Trek episode "This Side of Paradise." I don't recall anyone complaining that the crew should have been wearing space suits and helmets.

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    2. If no one had disturbed the spores AND THEY WERE WEARING HELMETS they'd be alright. Michael, come on, there's no way real scientists would just be whipping off their helmets willy-nillily on ANOTHER PLANET. It is more forgivable in Prometheus I suppose (amidst all the other terrible decisions) where at least the place is ostensibly lifeless. On a planet with an obviously thriving biosphere there would be contamination protocols up the wazoo. NO ONE in their right mind would say, well, oxygen's good, I'm just going to assume that there aren't any microorganisms (e.g. pollen) in the air that might blow up my immune system on contact.

      Here's the problem I guess. In Alien, the concept of space-truckers is fucking awesome. This shit is so routine now practically anyone can do it. We don't even need fancy hibernation suits anymore, we just hop in in our skivvies. In Prometheus and Alien: Covenant these are supposed to be a cream-of-the-crop select few chosen for very, very important missions. The every-person, half-a-doofus types that they try to carry over from the original movie don't work (for me) anymore. Nor do their rookie mistakes. Again it comes down to not great writing. They've got some good ideas they want to bring together but the only way they can connect the dots is to have the characters do stupid things.

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    3. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 3:00 PM

      Scientists can make mistakes too, Sol. In the movies, and especially in real life. If scientists didn't make mistakes, Alexander Fleming wouldn't have discovered Penicillin. I Google searched “scientists can make mistakes too” and what I found was astonishing.

      On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research, Second Edition (1995)
      Chapter: Error and Negligence in Science

      “On Making Mistakes,” Scientific American, February 20, 2014

      “Honest mistakes by young scientists shouldn’t doom their careers,” Stat, MARCH 16, 2017

      “When Scientists screw up,” Slate, October 15, 2012

      “Good scientists make mistakes,” IDBS blog,
      23rd Apr 2013, which opens with the paragraph: “According to James Joyce, mistakes are the portals of discovery. Good science means making mistakes. I recently read a great article that encourages just that; researchers to be open and honest about their scientific mistakes. It recognizes that information borne from mistakes helps shape science.”

      “4 Biggest Mistakes Scientists Make During Multicolor Flow Cytometry Cell Sorting Experiments,” Excyte Expert Cytometry

      “Oops! The 5 Greatest Scientific Blunders,” LiveScience, May 16, 2013

      “Oops! Correcting scientific errors:
      A recent study reported finding deadly germs on a subway — except they weren’t really there,” Science News for Students, Eureka!Lab AUG 25, 2015

      “How Scientists, Too, Can Be Stubborn and Wrong,” Psychology Today, Sep 15, 2016

      “Good science and scientific error,” The Nuclear Green Revolution

      “What are the 3 common mistakes Data Scientist make?”, Quorra

      “The ethics of admitting you messed up,” Scientific American, October 14, 2013

      Nobody removed their helmets willy-nilly in Prometheus. When Holloway got an oxygen reading, he confirmed it with David. Shaw was uneasy about it at first, but went along with it, as did the rest of the team, putting their faith in science, as Holloway did. Shaw’s motivations may have been out of spite, or love and support for Holloway, or all of the above, but she definitely objected to it before he went through with it. (Just as many of the articles I cite go on to prove, no new discoveries ever occurred without scientists taking risks.) And nobody got infected by anything in the air. We know this because everyone who did get infected was infected by the accelerant. And they weren't stupid to put their helmets back on when they went back outside to the carbon dioxide environment of LV-223.

      Prometheus and Alien Covenant occur decades prior to Alien. If there were every- person, half-a-doofuses in Alien, you're not going to find a more evolved group of men and women by going backwards in time.

      In Alien Covenant, mistakes are made due to fear, cutting corners, hubris, complacency, stubbornness, surprise, misplaced trust, shock. All very human responses. That Ridley “doubled down” on his characters making mistakes, I'm left to think he's trying to make a point… perhaps making David's argument that much more succinct. To err is human… for David to wipe out a species he judges unworthy to ascend to the heights of gods is divine.

      In Alien, Dallas ignored quarantine protocol. When Ash, Ripley and Dallas searched the medlab for the facehugger, they left the door open. Sure, Ash would have loved it if the facehugger was alive and it had gotten free of the medlab and roamed the ship, just as the chestburster did, but what about Ripley and Dallas? I can accept that they were so nervously preoccupied for Kane and for looking for the facehugger, they overlooked that. But then, it could be the most basic of human fears, like going into the bathroom to kill a spider the size of my hand and leaving the door open just in case it lunges at me, I'll have an escape route.

      Kane was wearing a helmet and still got facehugged. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

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    4. Plus, there's the whole global warming and evolution things.

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    5. Well, you're taking me out of context a bit. I wasn't saying humans would be more "evolved", I was suggesting that for the early missions it would be absolute cream-of-the-crop BEST scientific minds, not Scooby and Shaggy and "I'm going to immediately assume that there are no Engineers alive anywhere nearby and be all fuckin mopey and disappointed and get drunk" (lo and behold they found a living one like 15 minutes later) from Prometheus and then a whole team of dummies who get themselves ALL killed (except for one chick who SPOILER-FOR-DUMMIES doesn't even take a second to think "I hope this isn't the identical evil robot" maybe I should at least try the classic "Wolfie" test and Kenny Powers who is actually the smartest person in the whole movie. Kenny. Powers.

      But, look, I'm mostly just funnin' with you, man. It is WAY easier to pick a movie apart than it is to defend it and, as is so often the case, you mount an admirable and convincing defense. You're a better movie lover than I! All I can really say is that when a movie is working for me - which happens at sort of instinctual level in a lot of ways - I can forgive all this stuff. Like, I don't not like the movie because I see these things as flaws; I see these things as flaws because I don't like the movie. And I wouldn't even say I don't like A:C, it just didn't really sink it's teeth into me.

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    6. "Well, you're taking me out of context a bit."

      It's the only way he can be constantly and consistently contrary to any comment anybody makes....which is all he seems to do here.

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    7. I don't like it when mommy and daddy fight.

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    8. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 8:39 PM

      @Sol Sorry if I seemed to come on too strong, man.

      @Kathy I don't come here just to disagree with people. I come here because I like this site, and I respect the people here. We're not always going to agree, but that doesn’t mean I respect anybody any less. Having a disagreement with someone's opinion on a movie doesn't mean I'm attacking anybody personally. I'm pretty sure Sol knows I'm not attacking his stance. He shared his point of view, I shared mine. There's no bad blood there. I thrive on different points of view. But how interesting of a conversation can you have with someone if you agree about **everything**? I don't come here just to disagree with people, either. I can't remember who it was, but up top someone made an observation about Alien Covenant and Mission to Mars that blew me away. Nothing contrary about that. Usually, if I don't comment, it's because I either agree or learned something from whoever has commented on something, and I don't have anything to add to the discussion. If your opinion is that consensus/popular opinion always rules, I'm sorry I can't comply with that. Hopefully we find some common ground on a movie in the future.

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    9. I didn't think you came on too strong at all, man, I just wanted to make sure you didn't think I was being a dick!

      Kathy - if I thought Michael was being contrary for the sake of contrariousness (bigly new word!) I wouldn't engage - Michael will plumb the depths (scale the heights?) of esotericism to make some sense of this stuff and I really do admire his ability to get more out of movies this way and defend his point of view to people who don't see it the same.

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    10. Michael GiammarinoMay 26, 2017 at 10:35 AM

      Sol -- I never thought you were being a dick, dude! You brought up some great points and it gave me a lot of food for thought. I'm sorry if I took one or more of those points out of context.

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  20. There's only one Alien movie for me and its Xtro. ;)


    This podcast was most likely more than than the film will be, I'll watch it with lowered expectations now

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  21. Listened to the show and wanted to run something by Patrick and JB. My thought on the Crudup faith being dropped is that it might not have been dropped. Rapace in Prometheus and Crudup in Covenant are religious and while (in dialogue) their arcs seems underserved, maybe the actions taken upon those characters (their faith gets them derided, leads to their doom) is a statement by the filmmakers unto itself. It's nihilistic but it's a viewpoint.

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    1. But their faith doesn't doom them any more than any characters' non-faith dooms/saves them. It ends up being a non-issue, which is my objection. It's another example of the movie using a buzzword ("Faither!" "Creation!" "Belief") to suggest that it's tackling big ideas when, for me, the exploration of those ideas hardly ever runs deeper than using those words.

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    2. Hmm...yeah, you're right.

      Do you think Yaphet Kotto, Veronica Cartwright and co. could have trained the xenopmorph in the original if they just raised their arms when they first made eye contact with the thing?

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    3. Yaphet your ass he could have!

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    4. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 12:05 AM

      I think Crudup's faith informed his character. He felt, because he was a man of faith, the crew didn't take him seriously. He gives an order for the crew not to disturb Francois body; they have a funeral and jettison Franco into space. It's a sore spot for Crudup and he vents to his wife about it. Mainly, he's frustrated with Daniels. When he decides to answer the distress signal and survey the Engineer planet as a possible replacement for Origae-6, Waterston objects. Crudup can't handle that. He wants to be able to give an order and have that order followed. So he puts a reprimand on her record. The crew of the Prometheus never took Rapace's faith seriously, but Crudup only thought his faith was a sore spot with the crew. Rapace was stable in her faith, while Crudup felt persecuted for being a person of faith, and it hampered every order he gave. That's the impression I got.

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    5. I agree with all of that, just as I said on this episode. But everything you mention takes place in the first 30-40 minutes, after which the issue of his "faith" is more or less dropped, minus some lip service.

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    6. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 12:30 AM

      It's a fair point, but although he never brought it up again, it was always in the back of my mind when he gave an order or had to make snap decisions.

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    7. Proving that if you have someone in charge who believes that if they make a wrong choice God will somehow save them from it (or it doesn't really matter because you'll just get to heaven faster), you've got the worst person you could possibly have in charge.

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    8. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 9:10 AM

      what happening here. Although clearly, they've got the worst person they could possibly have in charge. I think what we have here is a captain who feels no one takes him seriously because they don't take his faith seriously, whether it's true or not, and it's effecting the way he does his job. The crew could have just been thinking about the best way to honor Franco, for instance. But Oram's got a thin skin, and that's a problem.

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    9. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 2:12 PM

      Just noticed half my response was cut off. It was supposed to start:

      Though I agree having someone in a command position who believes if they make the wrong choice God will step in and save them from it is a bad idea, Kathy, I don't think that's what's happening here.

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  22. Okay....now that I've seen it, a few things. (in two parts because I'm over my character limit)

    Not so much a criticism, but the ship Covenant when we first see it is an uncomfortable combination of the USS Cygnus from Disney's "The Black Hole" and the light ship from "Tron".

    David's first moments of life weren't in a lab or some other research facility but Weyland's living room? And the two of them alone? What if David wasn't working right and he went for Weyland's throat? Skipping ahead...if everyone was SO freaked out about David's original programming, why keep making models that looked like him?

    Mother has Plot Related powers - it needs Walter to physically deploy solar wind sails but actually does the steering of the ship later for the pilot.

    Fucking dog tags and photographs??? I've gone back and looked at "Prometheus" and can't even find a shot where the Captain wore them. They didn't exist until this movie needed them. A plant by David for whoever found the ship? Possible. But then, why would the people from Covenant act like this is something normal - none of them are wearing them either! And where did all of these photos of Shaw come from? Did we miss something and she tucked her wallet in her spacesuit before leaving Prometheus? Maybe there's a pocket she kept one photo of her and Holloway...but then, where did the one David had come from? Don't think there were many Foto-Mats on the Engineers' planet. Meanwhile...

    Did anyone see Shaw's cross anywhere? Did I miss it in all of the CGI mandated darkness? I don't see it in stills from the "grave" on the planet and god knows it wouldn't fit Shaw's neck anymore. Seems to me that would have been cherished by David to the point that he'd be wearing it....he took it from her once (and had it on him when they left Prometheus? Maybe he was the one who took photos of Shaw off the ship but....?) In fact, Daniels seeing the cross around David's neck as she went into cryo would have been a good end reveal...

    Anyone else find the Engineers INCREDIBLY "Middle Ages" (the word I'm looking for escapes me)...or did David show up during the annual RenFest? They also seem oddly stoked to see what we're supposing is a warship in their reality show up. Everyone in town came out to greet it. And this is supposed to be a highly advanced race....
    So, there's only one city on this entire planet? I'm not going by Covenant's actions because they didn't even scan the place enough to find THAT one. But - according to David - he dropped the vases there and wiped out the whole race.....all living in one city, on one planet with no sign of anything we'd recognize as infrastructure to support their spaceships. Not the warship David arrived in but the big ass oval shaped one we see leaving just as the Engineer does his cup ceremony at the beginning of Prometheus. Where do they keep those ships if this is their home world?

    Scott sure liked that shot of the girl's head (face?) floating in the water for everyone to find...

    Why is David going on to the colonization planet after telling Walter that the humans are doing that because "they're dying out" and he obviously wants to help? Shouldn't he be wanting to head back to Earth to wipe out his creators? And why send back that message to Earth about the accident covering up what happened? If Earth was expecting to hear updates from the ship, they'd have already reported the real accident and - possibly - that they had changed course to check out the signal. All David's new message would do is give him away. Or was that just because all of the Scott Alien movies end with a character doing a log entry or broadcast at the end?

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    1. Michael GiammarinoMay 25, 2017 at 7:20 PM

      I'm not so sure Weyland was keeping David in a room in his house. Except for a chair, a table, a piano and various artwork placed there to aid in Weyland’s teaching lesson and indoctrination, the room is pretty bare.
      It resembled the den of the lifeboat Vickers had aboard the Prometheus. I don't even think that was a window they were looking out of, it was a large monitor like the one we see on Vickers’ lifeboat. It looked like a room specially dressed for Weyland to imprint himself onto his new prototype android, and dictate directives. It reminded me of the waiting room Dave Bowman was left in in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

      The ship was progressing beautifully without solar sails deployed. I got the impression that the solar sails powered the ship's batteries.

      As for the dog tags, they'd be under shirts and jackets. I can suspend disbelief that they're there. Same thing goes with the photos. The photo of Shaw and Holloway could have been taken before or after the interstitial footage on the blu ray of them getting fitted for their space suits.

      David could very well have taken Shaw's cross and put it someplace else, like he did in the medlab after Charlie was killed and she was given the news of her pregnancy. He had it in his utility belt at the end of the film. He never put it on.

      The engineers we see do look different. I assumed they'd evolved. It **is** over 2,000 years since the ship(s) left for LV-223, after all. I equated their jovial behavior to the soldiers being welcomed home after D-Day. The Juggernaut is a warship, but it's an Engineer warship. If one of our warships was docking after years and years of war, would we scatter, or would be cheer and welcome them home. That hook thing that hung in midair seemed like it could have been made for Juggernaut docking. The flying saucer we saw in the beginning of Prometheus could have been decommissioned. That opening sequence could have happened as far back as 35,000 years ago, the age the most recently found cave paintings were recorded to be. For all we know, the engineers have put an end to seeding worlds and traversing the galaxy. Unless the reason why it looked like only one small colony on the planet means that the rest of the population are actually traversing the galaxy. Meaning they're going to come back, find this Engineer equivalent of Pompeii, and get really, really pissed off. (About as pissed as the engineers who left in retaliation for the crucifixion of Space Jesus.)

      David isn't ready to head back to Earth. He's still experimenting with xeno genetics. Recording a log that will probably be radioed to Earth gets Weyland-Yutani off his back for as long as possible so he can continue his experiments, stockpile a ship with eggs and head to Earth with enough bio-weapons to do the job. (And yes, I think it's also part of Ridley's Alien formula to conclude with a log entry.)

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  23. Missing stuff...and not just normal plot points that should have been in the movie but weren't but stuff we know they shot. David's mention of being alone after Shaw was in cryo and he says he realized what they were. Daniels asking Mother where the xenomorph was and she answers "Four meters above you" (did Daniels and Tennessee ever separate during their search?). Not to mention the two "promo" films. Scott's on record that they finished the movie on schedule and within budget - but they shot all of this stuff that was nothing but trailer fodder...

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  24. I haven't made it to Alien: Covenant yet so I'm waiting to listen or read anything, but....BEYOND THE GATES is on Netflix!!!! I'm not sure if it's been on there, but it popped up in my suggestions today!

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  25. Loved Prometheus, loved Covenant. Both are first-rate popcorn flicks, IMO.

    I never wanted any explanation/backstory for the xenos, so for me, the thematic incoherence and arbitrary plotting of these two movies is a weird kind of virtue that amplifies the cosmic horror and delicious, crunchy nihilism. If things made sense, and the characters behaved prudently, and the Big Questions were answered, I think I'd be bored and irritated by the pointlessness of it all. Instead, we get great actors, beautiful cinematography, great sets, and righteous kills. Indeed, I like to think Sir Ridley is secretly trolling us for wanting more franchise product... and poking so-called "Intelligent Design" Creationists in the eye while he's at it. It can't be an accident that all he awful things in both these movies only happens because Peter Weyland thought humans are too perfect to be a result of mere natural selection, can it? As Christopher Hitchens said, "Religion poisons everything." :P

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  26. There's a misprint in the title of this thread.

    The movie is actually called Alien: Covfefenant.

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  27. There is a clip called Advent in the Alien: Covenant Blu-ray extra features that outlines David's activities on the planet and what happened to Shaw. Together with some of the other vignettes (Phobos, The Last Supper, The Crossing) we get a much better understanding of the movie's backstory and character development. This doesn't fix the flaws in the theatrical release, but it does provide a more complete experience in subsequent viewings.

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