A reassessment of The Films Prometheus and Covenant

BAYLOR

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In the film Prometheus , we see the opening scene millions of year in Earths' in which an Alien humanoid Engineer drink some the black mutagenic substance which dissolves his boat and spread his gunner everywhere. Then we fast forward to the planet where the ship from earth finds the derelict spaceship, and the remains of dead Aliens and container of the black mutagenic substance in container some which are leaking out, and strange snakelike creature. . And we know the rest. But the question comes to mind , did the Alien Engineers develop this substance themselves ? or did they find it somewhere else ? The substance once it gets into a living body corrupts the DNA of the person and causing the mutate horribly or to give rise to monster created by their own body which see in Covenant . If looked at in Lovecratain terms, this substance is like something could have been developed by Nylarathotep known as the Crawling Chaos . This entity delights in causing chaos. he also has a human aspect On could argue that in both films David could be a stand in for Nylarthotep's human aspect . And of course David in the four dil infected with substance Dr Shaws Husband to see what would happen and in the sequel Covenant also rains the mutagen down upon the unsuspecting colony of Engineers to share where them the gift of Chaos .

What im saying is there is far more to these films then I gave them credit for .

Thoughts ? :(
 
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BAYLOR

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Lovecraft would appreciate a film like Aline because it would been the kind film that would have fit into the philosophy of his Mythos Universe and so would Prometheus and Alien Covenant .
 

BAYLOR

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Okay , so far this one is not getting off the ground.:)
 

Venusian Broon

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Okay , so far this one is not getting off the ground.:)
So, my opinion on these movies is:

Ridley Scott went in hard to try and explain the engineers. Fair enough, but we got a Von Daniken ancient aliens backstory that kinda missed what made the alien films great. Namely the aliens. Unfortunately too, I believe Scott really needs a strong script, because although he's great with visuals, his SF sensibilities I find a bit poor. He got a strong script for both Alien and Bladerunner, which allowed his artistic creative side to come to the fore. Prometheus's script just wasn't as strong (perhaps Scott had far more leeway to push his ideas onto his baby?)

Add to that some ridiculous moments that still make me groan. (Like the guy who uses drones to map out the structure, actually getting lost, Ms Theron getting crushed by a spaceship etc...)

So I think it got rightly criticised. Scott then, I think, decided to 'go back to basics' and make Covenant more like the original Alien, rather than taking the risk of trying to continue more with the original Prometheus search for the engineers. (Hell, he gets Bad David to dispose of the engineers in seconds!). I might have written a review of Covenant somewhere on this site, but I found it disjointed, sloppy and disappointing.

I believe another one was planned at least, that would explain how the original alien ship with its cargo of weapons-grade eggs in Alien found it's way to LV-426.
 

BAYLOR

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So, my opinion on these movies is:

Ridley Scott went in hard to try and explain the engineers. Fair enough, but we got a Von Daniken ancient aliens backstory that kinda missed what made the alien films great. Namely the aliens. Unfortunately too, I believe Scott really needs a strong script, because although he's great with visuals, his SF sensibilities I find a bit poor. He got a strong script for both Alien and Bladerunner, which allowed his artistic creative side to come to the fore. Prometheus's script just wasn't as strong (perhaps Scott had far more leeway to push his ideas onto his baby?)

Add to that some ridiculous moments that still make me groan. (Like the guy who uses drones to map out the structure, actually getting lost, Ms Theron getting crushed by a spaceship etc...)

So I think it got rightly criticised. Scott then, I think, decided to 'go back to basics' and make Covenant more like the original Alien, rather than taking the risk of trying to continue more with the original Prometheus search for the engineers. (Hell, he gets Bad David to dispose of the engineers in seconds!). I might have written a review of Covenant somewhere on this site, but I found it disjointed, sloppy and disappointing.

I believe another one was planned at least, that would explain how the original alien ship with its cargo of weapons-grade eggs in Alien found it's way to LV-426.

It might have been better had he left the engineers as a mystery to be unexplained and pondered But since he didn't I though maybe he might be attempting a Lovecratain angle to all of this? :unsure::(
 

Toby Frost

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I agree with Venusian Broon's post. I think the two films suffer from two basic problems: poor scripting, which leads to ridiculous incidents such as those two scientists trying to pet an alien penis-cobra, and a need to explain everything, which ruins the sinister mystique of the Alien. It's incredibly disappointing to realise that the weird creature growing out of the cockpit of the spaceship is not just humanoid but a big pale man who wasn't growing out of the cockpit at all. Almost all the revelations make me think "Is that it?" Some of it doesn't even make much sense: if the Engineers created mankind, what about monkeys and evolution?

Really, Prometheus and Covenant aren't the story of the Alien: they're the story of David, with some crude religious allegory slapped on top.
 

BAYLOR

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I agree with Venusian Broon's post. I think the two films suffer from two basic problems: poor scripting, which leads to ridiculous incidents such as those two scientists trying to pet an alien penis-cobra, and a need to explain everything, which ruins the sinister mystique of the Alien. It's incredibly disappointing to realise that the weird creature growing out of the cockpit of the spaceship is not just humanoid but a big pale man who wasn't growing out of the cockpit at all. Almost all the revelations make me think "Is that it?" Some of it doesn't even make much sense: if the Engineers created mankind, what about monkeys and evolution?

Really, Prometheus and Covenant aren't the story of the Alien: they're the story of David, with some crude religious allegory slapped on top.

Prometheus and Alien Covenant as prequels just didn't work and couldn't work because the original Alien was decades older and looked it.
 

Christine Wheelwright

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Agree with VB and TF. When we watched the original Alien films, we didn't need a thorough, detailed, complex analysis of the history. I'm still not sure why anyone would think this is a good idea. And it creates constraints that limit the filmmakers ability to simply tell a good story and concentrate on the characters within it.
 

BAYLOR

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Agree with VB and TF. When we watched the original Alien films, we didn't need a thorough, detailed, complex analysis of the history. I'm still not sure why anyone would think this is a good idea. And it creates constraints that limit the filmmakers ability to simply tell a good story and concentrate on the characters within it.

The original film looked like no Science fiction film before it. The crew were essential ly a bunch of space trucker working stiffs only one of which Ash, was a actual scientist who knew far more about what was going on then the rest of the crew . The look of the ship intent of being clean and antiseptic was grungy dirty, like and drippy with water like a derelict factory. The Alien Ship looked like no alien ship before it, Dark, organic, what control surfaces there were had no shiny blinky bulb lights or anything else that looked like ti might be products of a movie prop department. They dark and unfathomable. In looking at the you couldn't discern what did an of it did w There the was the Space Jockey at least that 's what he referred to by people seeing the film . He was not really an engineer , that came later. He looked like he was part of the ship and you's try to imagine what he might have been like when he wasn't dead and fossilized. What and who was this Space Jockey and why were there no other bodies found on that ship ? . But that opened another question Why were the pod arranged in row? was why was there and energy fiiled enveloping( The only other piece of tech still operational . Given how were arranged in row and the containment/warning field must have been loaded not the ship by the crew. But then again, were the bodies? Perhaps the Space Jockey was the only person on the ship? Where did the aline pod come from ? The original film left you with alot of unanswered questions and no definite answers. This was one the reason that Alien worked as well as it did.
 

Christine Wheelwright

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The original film looked like no Science fiction film before it. The crew were essential ly a bunch of space trucker working stiffs only one of which Ash, was a actual scientist who knew far more about what was going on then the rest of the crew . The look of the ship intent of being clean and antiseptic was grungy dirty, like and drippy with water like a derelict factory. The Alien Ship looked like no alien ship before it, Dark, organic, what control surfaces there were had no shiny blinky bulb lights or anything else that looked like ti might be products of a movie prop department. They dark and unfathomable. In looking at the you couldn't discern what did an of it did w There the was the Space Jockey at least that 's what he referred to by people seeing the film . He was not really an engineer , that came later. He looked like he was part of the ship and you's try to imagine what he might have been like when he wasn't dead and fossilized. What and who was this Space Jockey and why were there no other bodies found on that ship ? . But that opened another question Why were the pod arranged in row? was why was there and energy fiiled enveloping( The only other piece of tech still operational . Given how were arranged in row and the containment/warning field must have been loaded not the ship by the crew. But then again, were the bodies? Perhaps the Space Jockey was the only person on the ship? Where did the aline pod come from ? The original film left you with alot of unanswered questions and no definite answers. This was one the reason that Alien worked as well as it did.
Right. And because time wasn't wasted crossing the ts and dotting the is, the makers were able to develop the crew characters (that we still remember). The narrative could develop with no constraints imposed by a rigid backstory. All this contributed to its excellence.
 

BAYLOR

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Right. And because time wasn't wasted crossing the ts and dotting the is, the makers were able to develop the crew characters (that we still remember). The narrative could develop with no constraints imposed by a rigid backstory. All this contributed to its excellence.

The focus was kept on the characters and the immediate threat of the Alien, with a few mentions of the companies agenda with regard to the Alien thrown in for good measure.
 

paranoid marvin

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As movies, Alien and Aliens were virtually perfect. The directors cut of Alien3 is interesting, Alien Resurrection is a like a combination of 1 and 2, but it's a downward spiral after Aliens.

I thought Prometheus and Covenant were perfectly watchable (and rewatchable) movies. Yes you have to switch your brain off to some parts, and the characters do some silly things to put themselves in harm's way - but this happens in most horror movies. I prefer these movies to some of the more recent sci fi efforts of the last 20 years, but are in no way a satisfactory back story to the Alien story. Tbh we didn't need one or even want one.
 

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All of these films are another example of the Easter Egg/origin story baloney that has so thoroughly infected SFF movies. In the modern future, LV-426 has been accidentally visited not twice but three times. And the visitors in Aliens missed the enormous alien spaceship sticking out of the landscape. The Nostromo stops there without data about an earlier planned voyage by the same damn corporation!

There was a real beauty to the original story: Humans find an alien, but probably benign, race of fellow space travelers that have suffered a catastrophic infection possibly tens of thousands of years ago. The infection is from a xenomorph that is so aggressive in its propagation that it can gestate in nearly any type of creature - even mutating them into eggs. All from a single, durable adult form.

But then we get queen egg layers. Then it turns out the Nostromo crew missed that they were in the presence of human variants and that the "perfect predator" was less than 30 years old, and human history plays some sort of pivotal role in the whole story. It's ridiculous and sad, even worse than the third Indiana Jones movie having to explain the whip, jacket, scar and fedora as the product of a single teenage incident.


Good writing is when you have a story to tell that isn't just another silly explanation of where Wolverine's claws came from, where Luke's lightsaber went, or hinges on who the protagonist's dad turned out to be. There is something essentially fascist about constantly looking to origin stories and genealogy in SFF.


Personally, I knew I was watching something bad when the Prometheus crew rushed to the alien spacecraft like there was a new iPhone release.
 
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paranoid marvin

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All of these films are another example of the Easter Egg/origin story baloney that has so thoroughly infected SFF movies. In the modern future, LV-426 has been accidentally visited not twice but three times. And the visitors in Aliens missed the enormous alien spaceship sticking out of the landscape. The Nostromo stops there without data about an earlier planned voyage by the same damn corporation!

There was a real beauty to the original story: Humans find an alien, but probably benign, race of fellow space travelers that have suffered a catastrophic infection possibly tens of thousands of years ago. The infection is from a xenomorph that is so aggressive in its propagation that it can gestate in nearly any type of creature - even mutating them into eggs. All from a single, durable adult form.

But then we get queen egg layers. Then it turns out the Nostromo crew missed that they were in the presence of human variants and that the "perfect predator" was less than 30 years old, and human history plays some sort of pivotal role in the whole story. It's ridiculous and sad, even worse than the third Indiana Jones movie having to explain the whip, jacket, scar and fedora as the product of a single teenage incident.


Good writing is when you have a story to tell that isn't just another silly explanation of where Wolverine's claws came from, where Luke's lightsaber went, or hinges on who the protagonist's dad turned out to be. There is something essentially fascist about constantly looking to origin stories and genealogy in SFF.


Personally, I knew I was watching something bad when the Prometheus crew rushed to the alien spacecraft like there was a new iPhone release.


My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that in 'Alien' the owners of Nostromo (Weyland-Yutani Corporation) are aware of the presence of the alien craft, and are hoping to pick up specimen(s) to bring back to Earth. Ash is aware of this, but the rest of the crew are kept in the dark.

In Aliens, Weyland-Yutani Corporation again try to get live specimens, but this time by placing colonists on the planet.

Whilst things start to make less sense as the series goes on, I do think that the first two movies stand up as (relatively) credible storylines.
 

BAYLOR

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As movies, Alien and Aliens were virtually perfect. The directors cut of Alien3 is interesting, Alien Resurrection is a like a combination of 1 and 2, but it's a downward spiral after Aliens.

I thought Prometheus and Covenant were perfectly watchable (and rewatchable) movies. Yes you have to switch your brain off to some parts, and the characters do some silly things to put themselves in harm's way - but this happens in most horror movies. I prefer these movies to some of the more recent sci fi efforts of the last 20 years, but are in no way a satisfactory back story to the Alien story. Tbh we didn't need one or even want one.

I thought Aliens 3 and Resurrection were both garbage.
 

paranoid marvin

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I thought Aliens 3 and Resurrection were both garbage.


It's disgraceful that they allowed such a butchered version of Alien3 into the cinema. With some important bits seemingly randomly cut out, the movie makes little sense. The Director's Cut on the other hand tells the story properly, and whilst it's not the greatest movie ever made, it has it's moments, and at least it brings a 'proper' end to the story. Alien resurrection was a lazy cash-in that just cheapens the series.
 

BAYLOR

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It's disgraceful that they allowed such a butchered version of Alien3 into the cinema. With some important bits seemingly randomly cut out, the movie makes little sense. The Director's Cut on the other hand tells the story properly, and whilst it's not the greatest movie ever made, it has it's moments, and at least it brings a 'proper' end to the story. Alien resurrection was a lazy cash-in that just cheapens the series.
They should have used GibsonS screenplay for Aliens 3 instead. It would have made a far better film.

As for Alien Resurrection , that was am absolute travesty .
 
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Mon0Zer0

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In the usual situation, as with the case of Alien 3, producer interference ends up watering down the original kernel of the script and we end up with something that is a bit of a mess.

In the case of Prometheus, I think the opposite happened. I think the producers were so desperate to get the Alien franchise up and running they gave Scott carte blanche to come back into the Alien universe. In turn, Scott seemed to have no interest in making an actual Alien movie, but in exploring ideas that are interesting to him - his catholic faith, the boundary of humanity and what makes humans, human.

He should have made his own standalone sci-fi movie that was nothing to do with the Alien universe. Make his own paradise lost movie under a new, original ip. Make his creepy android movie as a blade-runner side film. He should have let Blompkampf do Alien 5 and reinvigorate the franchise.

Scott has had ideas for a while about his prequel story, but this showed he had no understanding of what made Alien great - namely the sheer... alienish quality of the Xenomorph. The more we got to know this creature and where it came from, the less interesting it is. When it's motivations and origins are unknown He meddled too much in the script, when he should have built off an interesting script by a trusted and skilled writer.

Prometheus is a beautiful looking film. Production design is incredible. But the story itself and the choices... The engineers were better when they were strange, alien looking things and not giant blue humans. No one needs to see someone start a spaceship with a flute. Haven't we had enough of scientists doing dumb things like taking helmets off on alien worlds, or getting into forced arguments as if they were jocks in a space marines movie?

They should have used Gibson screenplay for Aliens 3 instead. It would have made a far better film.

Personally, I would have preferred Vincent Ward's earlier version aka 'the greatest sci-fi movie never made'.
 

BAYLOR

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In the usual situation, as with the case of Alien 3, producer interference ends up watering down the original kernel of the script and we end up with something that is a bit of a mess.

In the case of Prometheus, I think the opposite happened. I think the producers were so desperate to get the Alien franchise up and running they gave Scott carte blanche to come back into the Alien universe. In turn, Scott seemed to have no interest in making an actual Alien movie, but in exploring ideas that are interesting to him - his catholic faith, the boundary of humanity and what makes humans, human.

He should have made his own standalone sci-fi movie that was nothing to do with the Alien universe. Make his own paradise lost movie under a new, original ip. Make his creepy android movie as a blade-runner side film. He should have let Blompkampf do Alien 5 and reinvigorate the franchise.

Scott has had ideas for a while about his prequel story, but this showed he had no understanding of what made Alien great - namely the sheer... alienish quality of the Xenomorph. The more we got to know this creature and where it came from, the less interesting it is. When it's motivations and origins are unknown He meddled too much in the script, when he should have built off an interesting script by a trusted and skilled writer.

Prometheus is a beautiful looking film. Production design is incredible. But the story itself and the choices... The engineers were better when they were strange, alien looking things and not giant blue humans. No one needs to see someone start a spaceship with a flute. Haven't we had enough of scientists doing dumb things like taking helmets off on alien worlds, or getting into forced arguments as if they were jocks in a space marines movie?



Personally, I would have preferred Vincent Ward's earlier version aka 'the greatest sci-fi movie never made'.

If I had been in charge of the studio David Fincher would have been shown the door and I would be in some else to direct , produce Alien 3 and and would handed them Gibson screenplay with the instructions , no deviation or rewrites will be allowed, do what on the script. If a 4th film has happened. I wouldn't have let Jean -Pierre Jeunet anywhere near it.

Neil Blomkasmps Alien film would have gotten my approval.
 

Swank

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My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that in 'Alien' the owners of Nostromo (Weyland-Yutani Corporation) are aware of the presence of the alien craft, and are hoping to pick up specimen(s) to bring back to Earth. Ash is aware of this, but the rest of the crew are kept in the dark.

In Aliens, Weyland-Yutani Corporation again try to get live specimens, but this time by placing colonists on the planet.

Whilst things start to make less sense as the series goes on, I do think that the first two movies stand up as (relatively) credible storylines.
There is no reason that Weyland would presume that terraforming + colonists are the best way of investigating an incredibly valuable spacecraft.

Aliens was written separate from any connection to Alien, and the studio had Cameron re-write it as a sequel. So the logic of it is thin.

The presentation in the films makes it appear that Ash has a standing order to recognize alien stuff that is more valuable than the crew or mission and act accordingly, and the Nostromo stumbles across the derelict. Then Ripley takes so long getting home that the colony is already in existence by the time she's debriefed. And maybe the derelict is missed due to the violent nature of the terraforming initiation.

All of which goes out the window if Weyland had already sent a mission decades earlier.
 

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