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I want to talk to you about Alien: Covenant – “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.”

This isn’t a review of ‘Alien: Covenant‘. We’ve already done that – and to my mind, it’s a really fair review. So fair in fact, it would be hard to write a kinder one… or a more brutal one. So there’s not a lot left to say, from a review point of view.

I’ve seen it three times. Once in a private balcony at Greenwich’s Superscreen. Next in D-Box. And finally, with the old man responsible for getting me so Xenomorph obsessed in the first place. I wouldn’t rule out another….. I’d be surprised if that’s when I finally get my grubby mits on the 4K copy.

And if there was more to say? Shame on you for letting that influence you seeing it/what you may feel about it. I’ve never understood that. Surely, ala ‘Suicide Squad‘, if something’s so divisive, you should want to see it more?

Personally, I found it perfectly functional, and serviceable sci-fi. And I’m grateful to the furore in a way. I’m convinced it’s going to get me the Director’s Cut of ‘Alien: Covenant‘ and it’s predecessor.

I’m not saying that it’s OK to ever feel like that during;

1) a Sir Ridley Scott film
2) a film in this wonderful universe.

But, I didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. And certainly, no one died watching it. Which based on twitter, and several online meltdowns, may be hard to believe. Equally, I think it’s right that people challenge standards, and don’t accept substandard cinema. I genuinely mean that. But that means you have to throw ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2‘ – or specifically the last thirty minutes – under the bus, too. You can’t have it both ways.

So I thought I’d cover off three things. Namely;

1) Why would ‘Alien Covenant’ influence your opinion on any other film?
2) Bloody hypocrisy
3) How the frick is it a ’15’?!

1) Why would ‘Alien Covenant’ influence your opinion on any other film?

OK. this really bothers me. I love Mark Kermode, but here, he’s just wrong. He calls out ‘Exorcist 2‘ as the worst film/sequel of all time. Namely because it undoes a lot of the admittedly cracking work of ‘The Exorcist’.

So Mark’s point is that whenever he watches ‘The Exorcist’ now – he can’t shake any of the other series from his mind. Christ. Imagine the CGI in ‘Exorcist: The Beginning‘ popping in to your mind, every time Regan grabs the crucifix. Brutal. Imagine never being able to enjoy the spider walk again because of ‘The Exorcist 3‘ (which is underrated, anyway!)

Now, I can’t understand this way of viewing ‘Exorcist 2′. Not one bit. In fact, I think it’s indefensible.

It’s like saying you can’t ever watch a Marvel film again after being burnt by ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘. Or maybe skipping ‘Thor: Ragnorak‘ because ‘Thor: Dark World‘ was… shaky.

(“I don’t care if it’s the trailer of the year, lads, I’m not going. Natalie Portman was deplorable in that last movie – and I don’t care how good she was in ‘Jackie”)

(“Hey guys ‘Wonder Woman‘ looks great, eh?” “FU. ‘Batman v Superman‘ was an abomination. We can’t see it. I’d never forgive myself”)

The other bit I struggle with here is hypocrisy. (More on that in a minute).

It’s not just films, it’s life in general. If Kermode feels like that. Fine. But does he now avoid ‘Die Hard‘ because ‘A Good Day To Die Hard‘ made us all want to kill ourselves? I doubt it.

Does he now shake and shiver every time ‘The Matrix‘ comes on, because it’s being shown on ITV with its sequels. And he couldn’t possibly stop at ‘The Matrix‘, and avoid the others? Again, I doubt it. In fact, I tweeted him when we were both staying in The Waldorf last April, but, for some reason, he never returned my calls! True story.

I’m not so sure.

It’s seemingly an Alien universe thing. People can’t see past the fact that ‘Prometheus‘ and whatever else follows is plotting a course right towards LV426 (or is it?). They can’t imagine ever watching John Hurt et al again, and not think if it all being Michael Fassbender’s fault.

And I think that shows weak mindedness. I really do.

If my 9 year old said he was never going to watch a Christopher Nolan film after the travesty that was ‘Dark Knight Rises‘, I’d understand. It was genuinely as crushing a cinema experience for me as ‘Batman and Robin‘. And that’s coming from someone who thought ‘Dark Knight‘ was a bit, you know, overrated.

But I’d also remind him that means he should never be able to watch Harry Styles in ‘Dunkirk‘. So who’s the real loser?

2) Bloody hypocrisy

Right. In ‘Alien‘ (which I Bloody adore, by the way), John Hurt keeps his helmet on…. (FU ‘Prometheus‘, that’s one nil straight away), but… he does stick his face into an alien egg. (One-One).

Then, when the facehugger departs, everyone forgets they’ve done their mandatory quarantine training, and lets Johnny boy to dinner. We know what happens next… I should say in between this, they leave quarantine doors wide open when they see said facehugger has departed.

I won’t go on, but I’m hoping you see my point.

Skip forward a few years, and Scott’s butchering of the cinema cut of ‘Prometheus‘ makes stupid scientists look even stupider. (The deleted scene of them finding the hammerpede as worms initially doesn’t condone the ridiculous reaction that follows, but ‘softens the blow’).

So both are stupid. Arguably on an even keel, too. But we, (you), bash one, and not the other. We, (you), destroy ‘Suicide Squad‘. And a lot of that is fair. But it’s like you’ve never seen ‘Iron Man 2‘. Or ‘Ultron‘. Or that Marvel turning one of the best Kurt Russell roles of recent years into a CGI mess. (shudders).

And we never even mentioned the fact that ‘Aliens‘ sees Ripley return to LV426. Probably because if we did, one of the greatest sequels, (films?) ever, would be diminished. And why would we want that? I certainly don’t. I want to play with my NECA power loader, and my 7″ dolls. Google.

(L-R) Danny McBride (Tennessee) and Katherine Waterston (Daniels).

3) How the frick is it a ’15’?!

Arguably the biggest deal to me.

I have a 9 year old. When he was 4ish I let him watch the finale to ‘Aliens‘. (Don’t judge me). He gets to see some facehuggers. Some of the best creature design ever. One of the most rousing musical cues of all time.

It’s all good.

But now he’s 9. He’s got a thirst.

I take him to see ‘Fate Of The Furious‘ because it’s a 12A and we casually brush off the sadism on show.

So what’s next…. ‘AVP‘? Potentially.  No. On paper, the BBFC think ‘Alien: Covenant‘ is “most suitable’. Jesus. I don’t know where to start with that.

All I really have to say is do one of two things;

1) Stop downgrading films to get more dollar.
2) Start downgrading older films… there’s no way ‘Alien‘ is an “18” by today’s standards

I think that’s about it. I feel a lot better for getting that off my chest. If I sent this to you on twitter because you were being a dick, I hope you understand. I could never get it into 140 characters, could I? 😘

Right. I’m off to watch ‘East Bound And Down‘ again.

Can’t wait for David to end up being the Space Jockey….

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  1. A great article. I do feel Prometheus and Covenant do take away the strangeness and alieness of the xenomorph but that’s still not going to stop me enjoying Alien and Aliens. However, the stupidity of the characters in Prometheus and Covenant does irk me more than that in Alien. Maybe it’s because they’re scientists / professionals who should know better. They all seem to be in to much of a hurry to get down on the planets in each each film. I know it shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but it just seems like things that could have been fixed in various drafts of the script.

    Spoilers ahead:

    The events of the new films does mean Alien v Predator doesn’t fit in anymore if David created the Xenomorphs. I know that’s not a huge problem, but add that to the fact in Prometheus we see the classic Xenomorphs as art on the walls of the Engineer’s installation, I wonder whether they have existed before Prometheus. Maybe David thinks he’s done something new but he’s just repeating past experiments?

    Also, we now have to wait and see how David gets another Engineer spacecraft.

  2. I watched Covenant at the weekend and I too wondered if it would now effect my viewing of Alien. I know it shouldn’t but I have a feeling the thought that David created them will change the way I view it.

    I disagree with your comparison to The Matrix as those were sequels, the events of those do not bare any impact on the first one and can easily be dismissed from the mind. Knowing David created the Xenomorph is harder to shift.

    I quite liked Prometheus and thought Covenant was a lot better but neither are anywhere near as good as Alien or Aliens.

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