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AUTHOR SUBJECT: Alien Covenant
Velusion
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Posted: 5/20/2017 5:19:06 PM
Alien Covenant is the first official prequel to the 1979 classic film ALIEN.  For some reason Prometheus was not billed as having anything directly to do with ALIEN.

I went into the theater with high hopes after the disappointment with Ridley Scott for making Prometheus.  I assumed Prometheus was so deep and rich with subtleties that I must have missed the point. Unfortunately I was wrong in blaming myself.  The film was bad.  Alien Covenant was better in some ways but just as bad in others.

Going in to see Alien Covenant I had hopes that Scott was going to undo the damage done by Prometheus. I wanted to know more about the Engineers and there was even a rumor that we would meet the ones who created the Engineers.  Instead we are treated to more stupid people doing stupid things before they are ultimately killed by the aliens.  I suppose the heart of the story or the message that Scott was trying to convey is that mankind is stupid and deserves to be exterminated.  Engineers create people.  People create robots. Robots plan to kill people and Engineers.  The aliens themselves are not characters in this film. They are simply animals. There is nothing elegant about them.  They just kill.  You might assume with any species of animal that their prime reason for existence is to survive and procreate. In Alien, the alien wanted to survive.  In Aliens they wanted to procreate by gathering up the colonists so that they could be used as hosts for more aliens.. In Alien Covenant, they only wanted to kill.  The worse part of the story telling in Covenant is that you don't care at all about the people being killed. We don't get to know them.  They are just fodder for the alien death machine.

SPOILER ALERT

The movie starts with a wonderful flashback scene between David, the android from Prometheus played by Michael Fassbender, and Peter Wayland, played by Guy Pearce. The scene takes place before Prometheus when David was fresh off the assembly table.. Wayland created David. Their conversation in the scene pretty much set the tone for David's behavior in Prometheus and Covenant. David lets Wayland know that while someday he will die, the same is not true for himself.  As where Wayland wants to know who created humans, David already knows who created him; an imperfect human. The message is clear that from David's point of view, he is better than humans. Prometheus shows David's contempt for people which is profound enough to make him want to see them die.

then the story begins.

A group of colonists traveling to a distant planet to colonize it. They intercept a transmission from a nearby planet that sounds human. For reasons that are not too well thought out, they go off course to investigate the origin of the transmission which happens to be a planet that will sustain life. This sounds great to the captain of the ship. "why travel 7 more years to get to our destination when this planet seems pretty good".. Most of the ship Covenant's crew shuttles down to the planet which seems at first to be a wonderful place. paradise!... That is until spores from some of the plants make their way into a couple of crew members and cause them to give birth to aliens. Let the fun begin!!  Right away the two little newborns begin killing everyone,,, that is until David shows up and scares them way.  Surprise! David, who lost his head in Prometheus, is all put back together and doing well.  He shows up and scares the aliens away kind of like the way Obi-wan Kenobi scared the sand people away in Star Wars IV.  I didn't mention that before the alien action began, the crew members of Covenant discovered the Engineer spaceship that David and Shaw used to leave at the end of Prometheus. Since they were headed to the Engineers home planet, I had to assume that this is where they were now.. I was right.

Where are the Engineers?  Well, David killed them all as soon as he and Shaw got there. We learn this as a flashback.  Thousand of Engineers are milling around like ants in a saucer of sugar when David, who was apparently put back together by Shaw during their journey, releases all of the canisters of black goo onto the crowd below. I was surprised to see that the goo doesn't turn them into aliens, instead, it seemed to kill them by breaking up their DNA the way it did to the Engineer at the beginning of Prometheus.  Strange.  It turns every other living thing into something monstrous... 

So now, after waiting for a year or two between Prometheus and Alien Covenant to find out more about the Engineers. the only thing we learn is that David killed them. It's less than 20 seconds of the film. Bam! No more engineers.

Where is Shaw?.... She died, I guess.  David loved her but now she's dead... Until later we learn that David used her for one of his experiments.  You see, we find out that David is Dr. Frankenstein with a chip of his shoulder for humanity.  He set up a lab and began playing with the black goo in an effort to create the perfect being.  He definitely has a god complex.  He does not want to be a servant. He wants to the master.  He wants to be god..  Since Shaw was the only person around for him to test his experiment on, he used her. We have to assume she was used as a host for an alien since the only time we actually see her is as a corpse on a table. Her guts missing.. So much for David loving her..

Walter is the android on the Covenant ship, also brilliantly played by Fassbender.  He looks like David but is a more advanced model that is less "human" than David.  As where David can cry, Walter does not. He does not have the creative or emotional make up that David has.  He is there to serve... David sees him as his brother although he is disappointed that he does not share his vision for the future. Nor does Walter feel that humans are inferior to him as David does.... On a film making note, the way the film makers put 2 Michael Fassbenders in the same shot, interacting with each other is the best I've ever seen.  I does truly look like there are 2 Fassbenders there. They look at each other they can touch each other and interact in a completely believable way.  Michael Fassbender is the only jewel in this film.

The aliens themselves are vicious and deadly.  They come in 2 different forms.  The first we see is smooth and very white. Tall and sort of thin. I think they were called the Protomorphs..  The other is nearly exactly like the zenamorph from ALIEN. Both are killers and both run around on all fours.  The zenamorph from the other Alien films always walked upright.  Some people think this might be because the zenamorphs in Covenant are David's experiment and he hasn't had time to perfect them yet.... yet..  Something else that was not right...  The Protomorphs are born looking like small versions of the much larger aliens they would soon become.  That's fine. Whatever... but the zenamorph is born the same way; During the scene when the captain of the ship is on the ground and the alien within him begins pushing its way out, ala chest burster scene in Alien, it comes out as a fully formed zenamorph!!?  It looked exactly like the 16 inch Alien model I have in my bedroom.  A completely formed alien with a tail and tongue with teeth.. Remember, in all of the other alien films it is always a larva like snake with teeth before it transforms into the beast that we all love.  Now all of a sudden in this movie, it is born as an Alien dwarf!  What gives??

David and the aliens.  One of the protomorphs is playing with its victims dead body when David comes up behind it.  it senses him, stands up and turns.  It stands there like a military soldier in the presence of the base commander.  It doesn't attack...ok.... Later when the captain of the Covenant gives birth to the dwarf zenamorph, the slimy little guy sees David over in the corner and looks at him.  David raises both of his arms to the little beast, and in return, the creature raises its arms to him!  I don't know,,,, All I can think is that somehow, at a genetic level, the aliens that David engineered know that he is their maker, their god. They seem to respect him.. Either that or it's another case of me giving the writers and Scott too much credit and maybe it was just something stupid.

What a crew.  Once again, just like in Prometheus, we have endure a crew that makes bad decisions and who don't act believably... Actually, I take that back, In Prometheus the crew could not possibly have been less professional or more emotionally/socially stunted.,,, but when the crew of Covenant is being escorted by David through the city that the Engineers lived in and they find themselves surrounded by thousands of dead engineer bodies, it doesn't faze them at all. None of them even mention it... but no matter what, there is always time for sex. I don't know about you but if I was on a ship and in the course of the last few days most of the other crew members were killed and torn apart by strange little monsters on the planet and in the ship that I am in, I don't think having sex in the shower would be one of my top priorities but, that's exactly what 2 of them did. Here we are near the end of the 3rd act of this action horror sci fi movie and just for fun, Scott through in a show sex scene. As for the characters who decided to get jiggy while everyone was being killed, well, they got what they deserved.  They were too busy getting their horny on to notice a 7 foot tall alien on the other side of the clear shower stall.  See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya....

Yes, and then some more stuff happened but none of it really meant much.  In the end, David apparently destroyed Walter or disabled him. He gets on the ship with the 2 surviving crew members passing himself off as Walter.  The two crew members go into hyper-sleep but not before one of them discovers that Walter is really the evil robot David..  David is free to do whatever he want with the ship and its cargo of thousand of frozen colonists. Presumably he is going to go to the planet the crew was suppose to go to in the first place.  Will he make more aliens out of the frozen colonists in the next movie once he thaws them out? Probably. .. He thought to bring a couple face hugger embryos with him before getting on the ship. He smuggled them in by swallowing them then throwing up later... Somehow Michael Fassbender is able to pull off a magnificent dual performance as both David and Walter otherwise, I think this film would have been too stupid to even write about. 

Scoring this movie from 1 to 10, ten being ALIEN and 1 being Alien vs Predator, I give this film a 7.  Mostly because of Fassbender and the cinematography.  The film is visually stunning and I do have to admit, Scott did pace the film very well (if you don't count the first 20 minutes)..  Would I recommend this film?  Reluctantly YES.


REPLIES:   21
mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/20/2017 10:03:37 PM
Oh, you watched a movie did you James?  Lovely, dude!  Did you have it with some hot, buttery popcorn? 

Ah, the joys of youth.  To be so excited by a movie that it brings out the inspirement from within and for a moment transport you up into fantasyland. 

You're lucky simple pleasures still get you all "wowwowowowowowow!!!" 

Personally today's movies do nothing for me.  Some older movies perhaps.  Not the new ones. 

Well I'm gonna go work on my movie.  Later J!  Enjoy being fascinated by the unhealthy garbage for the masses.  



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Posted: 5/21/2017 8:20:24 AM
.... anyway.....................

MORE SPOILERS

Two more observations about  the alien mythos:

In Alien Covenant, the human hosts are initially violated in one of two ways: Spores emitted from bulbus little plants move through the air seemingly with some sort of intelligence since they target the host them move deliberately toward them.  They enter the bodies of 2 of their victims through the ear canal and the nostril.  These people become the host to the protomorphs, the smooth whitish aliens...  The other way the host is impregnated is by the face hugger.  It jumps onto the person's face, snakes a tube down their throat then lays the seed(s).  These people become the host for the zenamorphs, the H.G. Giger alien.  I'm not sure if that means anything but it is something that I noticed.... I can't help but wonder why the planet is so green and peaceful yet there are these little bulbous plants that apparently spread alien spores.  There are no animals on the planet.  No birds. No squirrels, nothing... and I suppose there are no fish in the water either otherwise they should have been hosts for aliens which would have been everywhere by now..  Did David engineer the plants or are they the result of him bombing the planet with black goo when he arrived?

The other observation has to do with Shaw.  In Prometheus, she was impregnated with an alien when her infected boyfriend drilled her and fiilling her with his alien contaminated love juice.  .. Before the alien within her reached gestation,she opted for a robot assisted abortion.  The alien is removed...  Later on in the movie while running around trying to save her own life she doubled over in pain for a few seconds then recovered and goes back to herself preservation activities..  I don't think this was an accident nor do I think she was simply reacting to post operative pain.. No, I believe she had another alien embrio growing in her.  My theory is that the host will continue to churn out baby aliens as long as it is alive.  In all other cases, when the alien is born, the host dies from massive trauma and blood lose.  Shaw was still alive when the alien was removed from her so her body was able to host another alien.... We all assume that David used Shaw as the host for one of his experiments but maybe, she was already a host and he merely used her dilemma as a chance to observe, the way a scientist would observe......  The only thing that goes against my theory is that one of the crew members says to David "what did you do to her?" meaning what did he do to Shaw.  David replies "the same thing I'm going to do to you"... That implies that he did use her as a guinea pig.... again, did I discover a cleverly hidden tidbit about the story or am I just incorrect,,, or maybe it was just bad writing..


mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/21/2017 10:01:10 AM
Dang diggy dang-dang!

mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/21/2017 12:32:25 PM
............ ok, so when is anybody else also going to jump in?  Mike Cornflake, where are you?  Come and compare this movie with exile.  And where's Aldridge?  And ........ who else was here?  Cervello, you live?  

Pfff, indie"club" indeed.  This is just me talking to myself.  Am I a club?  No. 

Jamesy, ..........ewwww!!!  That movie sounds disgusting and vile.  Why do you spend your last years obsessed with such terrible B-movies?  Clearly you believe it's badly written.  Yet you cannot tear away from it.  I think maybe you have a monster inside you.  It's called your personality. 

BAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! no.  

But let me share this true tale.  That face alien with the fingers who clamp to one's face reminded me of it: 

Last night, a weird monster had sex with me.  In the dark I could just make out it appears to have five tentacles.  It clamped to my pole and started a weird dance.  I couldn't make out who's impregnating who.     

Then I turned on the bed lamp and saw it's my hand.  That guy is always grabbing at my junk.  The two of them seem to be sex-obsessed.

Lastly, Jamesy, remember this is just a movie.  Not a religion.  Nothing need be realistic or consistent.  If director/writer/fx-guy/whomever decides for this movie the aliens work like this and look like this, that's why.  Who cares how the aliens worked 30 years ago.  

30 years ago it was a guy in a suit.  Today, we can only wish they would bring back a guy in a suit and stop with the farking cgi!!!!!!! 

Cgi is for video games.  Not for movies. 

Well I'm gonna go play my Alien video game.  It's somewhere in my props department. 

Later dweeb! 

SLEEPTILLNOONPRO
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Posted: 5/21/2017 1:20:29 PM
 "and where's Aldridge?"

Nobody gives 2 pins about what I think Marius. Look at I, CREATOR...I raved about that crazy movie but did that make Cervello's Swiss bank account grow any fatter? I don't think so. 


"30 years ago it was a guy in a suit.  Today, we can only wish they would bring back a guy in a suit and stop with the farking cgi!!!!!!!  

Cgi is for video games.  Not for movies.  "

I agree with this for the most part. Look at what they did to my hero, Godzilla. BLASPHEMY!

mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/21/2017 1:58:11 PM
Yay!  Another real person is participating!  Aldridge, you rock salts! 

And here we thought indieclub is dead.

I, what?  Cremator?  Nonsense, your publicity combined with all the publicity on this forum to get Cervello at least 40 sales just from indieclub.  Never underestimate your influence! 

Say something nice about my upcoming 3 DVD set when it's done too.  I'll give you $5 off if you can make at least 3 other sales happen ;)

Too bad about Godzilla.  No worries though.  You'll forget all about Godzilla when you see what I made.  It's fantalicious!

And now back to Alien Coventry.  Sounds gross from what James is saying about it.  You won't see me paying to watch it at the theater!  If I want to see horrible creatures killing white people, I'll just watch the news.  

Good night everybody!  Lovely conversation!    

Mike Conway
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Posted: 5/21/2017 9:25:18 PM
 "Surprise! David, who lost his head in Prometheus, is all put back together and doing well."


And, here is that scene.  I'm very surprised that this was left out of the movie.



As for my ALIEN COVENANT reaction, I was pissed off.  Angry that the alien host/chestburster cycle was incredibly sped up (also a fault in ALIEN VERSUS PREDATOR).  The conventions established by the other ALIEN movies are simply ignored.  No queen to lay those incredibly large eggs.  They just kind of appeared from experiments., no realistic gestation period.  Someone chestbursts an alien back on the big ship and the thing is just huge, within seconds of the computer identifying the lifeform.

How is David performing genetic experiments (or host splicing) when there are no animals or people?  There aren't any animals around.

How is it that every director who has access to CGI, changes the physical rules for creatures or things that move?.  They did it with the STAR WARS prequels (jumping Jedi) and they do it with these aliens, which look like they can overtake a speeding car.  I hate that, because I want it to seem real.

So, PROMETHEUS?  I actually liked that movie a lot.  If you can get past the two idiot scientists (who get lost), that's a pretty solid movie.  The whole David android characterization was amazing.  The fetus removal was well done.  The blue guy was cool, both at the begining of the movie and at the end, when he dispatches everyone and then gets raped by the squid.

I agree, both COVENANT and PROMETHEUS are incredibly beautiful to look at.  There's nothing like a Ridley Scott ship landing on an alien planet scene.

I didn't care for the religious implications of PROMETHEUS.  If you've followed the backstory, Jesus was an engineer, and his death 2000 years ago is what prompts the other engineers to load up the deadly vials and head back to earth to wipe us out..  Of course, one of the vials broke open and killed most of them first.  Fortunately, they kept it rather vague.

I will see COVENANT again, after all the ALIEN movies mean more to me than STAR WARS.  But, I was not happy with the sloppy writing and stupid characters, as has been mentioned.

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 5/22/2017 7:55:43 AM
Thanks for the insight James!
Haven't seen it yet, so I skipped your **spoiler** sections.
That sounds like a great film. I've read some terrible reviews as well here and there. It appears haters hate it with passion, and those loving it go see it several times on the big screen. Hehe!

sv

mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/22/2017 8:24:02 AM
Har har.  "**spoiler** sections".

Asif we don't know the story is going to be more alien creatures killing people.  Yeah.  Fresh and unique!

.... Oh sorry.  I just gave the plot away.  SPOILER ALERT!!    

Is that Ripley chick still in these movies?  She must be like 105 years old by now.  Is she still hot or is she now cgi?

Velusion
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Posted: 5/22/2017 8:39:16 AM
Sv, I went to see it a second time just to make sure I didn't miss anything.... I didn't. ,, and as much as I enjoy the technology and techniques of CGI, I'm with the people who think it is ruining movies. Some films use it well but most rely on it and actually make it the star of the movie. SPOILER Mike, I am familiar with the backstory for Prometheus and the whole Jesus thing. That's why I wanted to know more about the engineers.... Did you notice that the Engineers in Covenant looked much different than the ones in Prometheus. Maybe I'm wrong. I mean, the scene was dark but they looks different to me. END OF SPOILER I guess in the end, it was an exciting movie and will be for those who aren't ALIEN fanatics like us, Mike. People like us want a good story that gives us more of the world (alien world) we love... for everyone else, it will be a fun and scary sci-fi flick... Nothing wrong with that.. ............ sorry for the lack of paragraphs in this post. It always happens when I'm posting from work..
mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/22/2017 9:22:24 AM
PARAGRAPHS!!!!!!!!!!!  Giving an excuse is no excuse for sloppy penmanship.     

Is this garbage in 3D?

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 5/22/2017 11:48:35 AM
So true, too many filmmakers / studios believe that only CGI can work. And in the end, most of the time it simply kills movies!

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Posted: 5/22/2017 2:10:43 PM
Right.  It worked well in Benjamin Button and, surpringly, the apes in the new Planet of the Apes movie are extremely believable in my opinion..

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 5/22/2017 2:18:31 PM
I didn't really like the apes in Planet of the Apes, personally... Well done, but still not believable to me!
They did an amazing work with Mighty Joe Young though. The blend between CGI gorilla and the costume on a live actor was perfect. They did something very cool: instead of having animators to mimic the real life actor, they teached the actor to move like a key framed puppet. When blending both, it made the CGI totally believable!



mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/22/2017 9:50:36 PM
Wow, I'm a genius.  I got every single active indieclub member to participate all in one thread.  Now THAT's something. 

Even SV came!  Or something that's on autopilot using SV's account. 

SV, put these corrections into your autopilot programming: 


"They did an amazing work with Mighty Joe Young though.
"

An amazing job.  Not work. 



"they teached the actor to move like a key framed puppet"

Taught.  Not teached.  



Anyway, that's probably enough about the subject of the new Alien movie. 

Now I have to go and face a heavy decision that will change my life irreparably forever.  Later! 


Mike Conway
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Posted: 5/22/2017 11:24:08 PM
 Most believable work I've seen is probably the young Kurt Russell, in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2.  Amazing.


And yes, the engineers looked different to the point that I thought they might be a different bald race.  They were missing the dark eyes, smooth, pasty white skin and Cherub face features.  Not to mention the lack of size and muscle.  Take a look:


ALIEN COVENANT





PROMETHEUS




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Posted: 5/23/2017 5:19:35 AM
Great screen grabs!

I thought the same thing; that they may not be engineers.

By the way, the Engineer make-ups were very translucent silicone.  Expensive and time consuming to make and apply.  The guys walking around in the Engineer city look to be wearing foam latex.  Completely opaque but very cost effective...

Back to the CGI subject:  Yes, it offers cinematic freedom but nowhere is it used better than when used to create landscapes.  Covenant has very beautiful landscapes.  For all I know they are real places but if they aren't, the computer artists did an incredible job....... Something else;  in the computer graphics world there is a group of people that are every bit as important to movies as the CGI people.  I actually think they are more important because we see their work everytime we watch a movie but we don't notice it.  I'm talking about the COMPOSITE artist.  These guys and gals do so much more than just comp a bunch of film elements together.  They remove wires, set focus, match move, distort, control particle systems, create image parallax, simulate fire, and so much more.  Hell, they can even take a CGI element and light it as though being lit in the 3D software.  Take away the CGI but keep the comp artist and you still have the tools to make a stunningly visual film.

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 5/23/2017 12:54:57 PM
So right, compositing is everything! Even bad CGI, when prperly composited, can work...!
Here's an amazing video on the compositing work on Black Sails. It's Vimeo, not sure it embeds well on the forum... Vimeo link is here.





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Posted: 5/23/2017 2:48:47 PM
So many layers... and I suppose that because they have to churn out so much of it, the pipeline must be very well defined... Just another day at the office..

Sv Bell | Black Flag Pictures
Sv+Bell
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Posted: 5/23/2017 6:19:36 PM
Absolutely. There are SO MANY people involved. In fact, no one can claim "Hey, I did that!"
It's really like an assembly line...



mokkimachi
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Posted: 5/23/2017 10:04:38 PM
Embed doesn't work but link did. 

Sweet little ship video there dude!  Quite amusing.    

Most of it is perfectly well done, especially the wide shots. 

But I did catch about three or four shots that didn't make the realism grade. 

And about two on which the compositing wasn't completely perfected.  They looked like composites.  James Rogers must be spinning in his grave!  

Also, some shots didn't seem to actually need being done as 20 layer composite sfx shots.  People walking on deck needing green screen behind them?  What they need is the actual ocean in the background.  Nothing looks more real than real. 

Amusing stuff dude!  Thanks.  



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