No one is happy about plans to deliver Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott‘s third Alien movie, on 10.6.17. Everyone worships the original, hugely influential Alien (’79) but despises the financially successful ($403 million) calamity d’estime that was Prometheus (’12). This latest and final Alien is, of course, an attempt to mitigate the horrid experience of Prometheus, a movie so infuriatingly awful that it launched the “Scott is over” meme. The compassionate thing would be to smother this project in the crib and never do another Alien movie ever again. Move on, find new worlds, create new poetry. But there’s big money to be made from Alien: Covenant, obviously, and so here we are. I’m sure Scott intends to deliver an Alien movie that the fans wanted from Prometheus but didn’t get.
I’m naturally presuming that the malevolent Damon Lindelof, mind-fucking predator and destroyer of realms, won’t be allowed with 500 miles of this project.
Prometheus “is impressively composed and colder than a witch’s boob in Siberia,” I wrote on 6.1.12. “It’s visually striking, spiritually frigid, emotionally unengaging, at times intriguing but never fascinating. It’s technically impressive, of course — what else would you expect from an expensive Scott sci-fier? And the scary stuff takes hold in the final third. But it delivers an unsatisfying story that leaves you…uhm, cold.
“For what it’s worth Scott shoots the hell out of Prometheus, but the script isn’t integrated. It’s half-assed and lacks a clear hard line. The fault, I hear, is mainly with Damon Lindelof‘s rewrite of Jon Spaihts‘ straightforward Alien prequel script. Roughly 40% delivers some absorbing futuristic technological razmatazz and exposition on a long voyage to a distant planet, 30% to 35% is proficient scary-icky stuff (slimy alien snakes) and 20% is some kind of half-hearted spiritual quest film on the part of Noomi Rapace‘s Shaw character, a scientist who wears a crucifix.
“It’s a gray, forbidding film about howling winds and chilly people. It’s a watchable, well made, at times better-than-decent ride, but it really doesn’t hang together. I’m sorry but anyone who says ‘wow, this is really great!’ is just full of it.”