Alien Covenant

Discussion in 'Movies, Books, TV & Media' started by Gravy Train, May 18, 2017.

  1. Sermo Lupi

    Sermo Lupi SS.org Regular

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    Hit character limited; post continued:

    FYI, I wasn't directing that at anyone in particular, but here's a lengthy rebuttal of one of the posts above to address some of those 'idiot plot' accusations against the most recent film:

    Is it that hard to accept? The film established that the they did not have complete faith in Weyland Corp.'s scanning technology used to plan the mission in the first place, and suddenly they discover a transmission from a planet that turns out to be more habitable than the one they were intending to find. At the very least it warrants a scouting mission, right? If you were the Captain of a tallship looking for habitable land and you happened across a landmass that you know isn't the one you're looking for yet it meets all of your criteria for settlement, you're telling me you'd take back to the high seas after you'd just weathered a storm that damaged your ship? That's the responsible thing to do? If you think that's unrealistic, maybe it would have seemed more plausible to you if Ridley Scott had named the Captain 'Christopher Columbus' to state the obvious, because the predicament definitely rings some bells. Also remember that there were few factors to raise any suspicions something might go wrong (like, say, purchasing a cinema ticket to go see a horror film), and it wasn't an alien signal but a human one which they were able to decipher that led them to the planet, providing a further reason to investigate.

    It's your lucky day! Mr. Scott has heard your criticism and has re-shot that scene so the characters wear biosuits that completely shield them from known biohazards. We're talking topshelf stuff--100% protection! You know, because Weyland was never known for cutting corners even at the best of times. Unfortunately, however, the alien spores and plague insects which gestate into this horror of a creature that we've learned (repeatedly) over a series of 6 films to confound every expectation of terrestrial biology also seem to possess some sort of alien, non-terrestrial ability to penetrate this biosuit. Poor luck, eh? So now that we've established that the alien species does something unexpected (as it always has in the past films), how does the scene play out any differently?

    It's okay for heroes to be exceptional: it's part of the job description.

    As for baseline training, Weyland is just known as 'The Company' in the first film. For those of us who have worked in an industrial setting such as in a mine or on an oil rig, that sort of banter will be immediately familiar. Same with the roughneck attitude and spotty training--not everything gets done by the book in the real world, and Alien is THE premier low-fi sci-fi franchise. The technology often sucks, the workers are disaffected and obviously flawed human beings, and everyone is in it for the paycheck. The opening of Cameron's Aliens is devoted to Ripley exposing this awful state of affairs to Weyland and they willfully ignore her testimony. Half the point of 'The Company' as a narrative device is to establish that both its directors and its employees don't listen to each other because they're bad at cooperating and seeing eye to eye. So no, I'm not really surprised they'd fly an exploratory vessel through a storm which didn't have much of a chance of damaging regardless. Secondly, their ONLY recon vessel? Did you miss the second half of the film?


    Except that: 1) They didn't know it would gestate in a matter of minutes to transform into a child-sized alien...why would they worry about getting it on the ship if they didn't know it even existed? 2) They should have had every intention to use the quarantine bay for it's intended use. Again, these people don't know they're in a horror film in the same way that you do. 3) If you've ever been in an emergency situation, nothing ever goes as planned. Combat medics have pretty barebones training for exactly this reason. You're not always going to have time to don your safety gear and snap your rubber gloves on in comical fashion as you reach for your stethoscope. Also, I think you're underestimating the factor of emotion here: this entire team is full of husband/wife pairs. Even if the medic wasn't caring for her own partner, she knows how important it is to get them the best care ASAP. They're going to cut corners to save friends and loved ones.

    They'd just come from a battle in a field where sticking together got them ripped to shreds. Splitting up into pairs isn't a huge disadvantage once they know the nature of the threat they're facing. Not putting your eggs all in one basket is actually probably the advisable thing to do here.

    As for David and the captain, he trusts him just as he trusts Walter because he assumes they are exchangeable machines. It's a flaw in his thinking, sure, but he's a faithful man and I'm sure he holds all sorts of crazy beliefs about how special humans are and how coldly intelligent the synths can be. I don't see any reason why (from what we know of his character) he'd assume David would be lying to him and leading him into a trap. And even if he did suspect that, why would he lure his crewmates into it as well so that they can get slaughtered, too? You're faulting him for not having backup, but he HAD backup in his own eyes. Leery as he was of David after the encounter with the neomorph, he still assumed he was on their side at that point. What he disagreed with was David's attempts to communicate with the creatures, because he only wanted to kill them. In my view, the Captain thought David was being unsafe and illogical (in a way that only a human could understand him to be), not that he was being treasonous.


    About as moronic as any helpless human being would be when his friends and loved ones (including his wife) are on the planet in distress. He doesn't immediately override the safety protocols, and edges the ship closer and closer to an unsafe area of operation. Finally, when push does come to shove, he goes down in a second exploratory vessel (or maintenance--whatever, the point is he spared the mothership) to save them. That's is 100% believable behavior for someone in that situation, and especially for someone who is third or fourth in command with no one around to tell him 'No'. What the hell does he know about leadership and risk mitigation anyway?

    No, probably not. You're making a lot of assumptions about this--to my knowledge there is no manual that comes with these synthetics. And even if there was, they probably wouldn't have read it. Was an engineer even left alive at that point?

    The knife scene with Bishop in Aliens would like a word. And you found Bishop to be a 'normal human'?

    Can't speak toward Star Trek TNG, but Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) predate it by a good margin. Also, a 'robotic' robot is hardly a new idea...
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  2. Sermo Lupi

    Sermo Lupi SS.org Regular

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    Lastly some final thoughts:

    I thought it was a good film. It had a coherent cinematic style with Prometheus, and it's one I find attractive even if I prefer the darkness and grittiness of the earlier films. Alien (to me, anyway) was always about the low-fi technology, and it's something I thought suited the themes and visuals of the earlier films really well. Here, things are more sterile and clear--in fitting with all of the franchise's secrets being put on full display, the art critic might remark--but I'll still take it over virtually any other big blockbuster in the last year or two. And that was kind of the crux of it...walking away from the cinema, as much as I was debating the merits of this or that idea in the film, I was mostly just pleased to have seen an Alien film on the big screen again. Flawed as it was, I'll take it over the homogeneity of all that super hero crap we get as a baseline now.

    As for the flaws themselves?

    1) Lack of suspense. To be fair, it had some mild twists and turns as much as ANY Alien film could have at this point, but we're like 6-9 films into that universe now and the surprises are gone. It is what it is, and I'm not sure we'll ever get it back. The novelty of Giger's designs has been expended, although they're still unbelievably cool. It's just that the alien isn't surprising anymore (its new 'morphs' only marginally so) and the plot structures aren't surprising either. So Ridley's plan for combatting this lack of suspense seems to be making the set pieces bigger and bigger whilst delving more into the mythos of the universe, but many fans are going to feel this is moving further and further away from the original vibe of the earlier films. At this point I feel like Alien has more in common with Beowulf than a film like Alien: Covenant.

    2) The troupes. Didn't mean to be too hard on you, Dredg, but at least we can agree on the predictability of the third act. Especially with the final sequence, it played out more like a director ticking off boxes and/or pandering to fans than anything else. It was still pretty cool, don't get me wrong, but come on:
    A) after the initial alien threat is expunged from the rescue vehicle, another gets aboard the main ship via an infected crew member. B) the alien rampages about the ship, but the heroine corals it toward the ship's industrial bay. C) The heroine defeats the alien with the help of machinery and by flushing it out into space using an airlock.

    3) Interested as I am to see the secrets of the Alien franchise explored in greater depth, it obviously kills the magic of the films a little bit. But with that said, I'll offer two diamonds in the rough: what was the last popular film that had its narrative and world design discussed and debated so much? The fan reception of this film has been refreshing for the reason that it's gotten people talking and interpreting things again. Secondly, it does seem that Ridley Scott is still giving us stuff that's true to his original vision. I won't explain it all here because this post is already long enough, but if you do some digging into details like the jars and the idea of a plague-borne xenomorph (that was apparently weaponized by the engineers), you get some interesting clues pointing back to the first film(s). Some people think Scott is just flying by the seat of his pants and making it all up, but I'm not sure that's the case--at least not as far as the mythos is concerned. And I'm interested to see his vision in full once he's finished making Alien films.

    All in all I enjoyed it!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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