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Much Ado About Cinema

Alien Covenant is a 2017 sci-fi horror film directed by Ridley Scott, written by John Logan, Dante Harper, Jack Paglen and Michael Green and stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, and Demián Bichir. The film follows the crew of The Covenant as they deviate from their search for a substitute Earth.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Alien Covenant is another one in the long line of movies which frustrate me. This is a film of two stories and one of them is clearly better than the other. The film narrates this interesting story with the sort of elan that only Ridley Scott can attain. But, every time things get interesting, we are shown a cheap scene with a kinda-sorta Xenomorph which ruins that exceptional idea, the mood, the tone and most importantly "the tension".

David (the android from Prometheus), can still think for himself. He wiped out all the engineers with that black substance (robbing humanity of the chance of meeting their creators), infected Shaw (Noomi Rapace's character) with it and wants to be the sole creator of a superior species. That should have the primary and only plot of the film. I would pay all the money in my wallet at this time to watch a film with that premise done well. A reviewer likened this premise to the story of Satan himself. Why do we not want to explore the story of Satan again? Why are we reminded of his useless minions?

I do not understand why this film needed Xenomorphs to run around and kill people. Xenomorphs, it pains me to say this, are not scary anymore. The rules for engagement with them have changed drastically with every new film. I stick by the notion that once you show me a Xenomorph in a well-lit area, it stops being scary because it's just an overgrown rat with acid for blood. A few well-placed bullets kill it. People have space ships and machine guns and struggle to handle one overgrown rat which does not bother hiding anymore.

As it is a staple of every film in the Alien franchise, the scientists or explorers or whatever they are, are just the worst people ever. I hate the fact that in every film, they make the same bloody mistakes. Oh, he looks at the volcanic face hugger hideout. He touches it like a dingus because fuck you. And now he has been infected by it and will give birth to a Xenomorph. God damn it. The recycled scenes (the chest burster is now a head and neck and back buster) and reused tropes are tiresome at this point. Amazingly, the film does not have the great cinematography to gloss over the blatant nonsense. Disappointing.

There were a host of things I enjoyed about the film and all of those began and ended with Michael Fassbender (the man can do no wrong, except for Assasins Creed). He and his character were the best part of Prometheus and without a shadow of a doubt, a similar sentiment can be echoed here. While Prometheus kept up with the heady concepts and compelling character arcs, this movie is just a regular slasher film in space.

Even though Prometheus was unsatisfying, I like it plenty because of the new direction the film had, seemingly, taken with the franchise at large. It made me ask questions of the plot and stayed in my head for ages because of how open to interpretation it was. This film is just not good enough for me. Throwing away so many great plot points (where did the black goo come from, why did the planet from Prometheus have statues of the Alien queen and that giant head even before the first Alien was created, why did the Engineers create and ultimately hate humans, so many more) and characters (The bloody Engineers) for this hackneyed trite annoys me.

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