Alien: Covenant: A Tale of Two Tales (An Average Conclusion)

Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light

John Milton, Paradise Lost

As the level of anticipation for this last Alien entry has risen to be nearly palpable, so too rises the level of disappointment of the movies overall. Looking back over the series, you can track the quality of the movies and almost create a roller coaster ride with the line connecting them. The thunderous beginning of the series, followed by twists and turns and corkscrews in the movies that come after. All of these aspects inevitably ending with this movie: a slow and sad end of the ride. Ending a series with a movie like this reminds us all of lessons taught repeatedly throughout many franchises in the last decade: a simple premise  CANNOT uphold 40 years of movies and still remain as fresh as the start. I’m pretty bad at analogies involving roller coasters, but I’m pretty good at being bitter and jaded about movies, so let’s end this project with Alien: Covenant.

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Prometheus: The New Testament, But At What Cost? (An Avg. Part 7)

[it] wasn’t what we thought [it] was; I was wrong, we were so wrong…

Audiences in the first viewing that wanted to see an Alien prequel, 2012

The final phase is here: a long-awaited end is in sight to this series and my damned Alien project. It’s been quite a ride to bring opinions to you about movies your parents liked and then pretended to only like one or two of. Weathering two very different versions of dead franchises is no small feat, and we can all be thankful that the task is almost over. But before we go back to exclusively watching Disney movies and participating in the end of the world pandemic, there are two more movies in this franchise to discuss. All of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men had gathered together to allow Damien Lindelof and Ridley Scott to answer the question people never truly wanted answered: just what was that spaceship? And who was that jockey from the original Alien? With the last movies before us, let’s begin the conversation about Prometheus.

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Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, The Bad Slasher Movie (Average Pt. 6)

What the ****? Where did this come from? Where the hell did this movie come from?

Liam O’Donnell, creative consultant for AVP R, on the AVP franchise, 2017

Posting has been rather infrequent the past two weeks, and I think I would owe a lot of that to whatever the hell movie it was that I watched for this review.

Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is no one’s first choice. I can only hope that it was not yours, and it definitely wasn’t mine. There is always at least one movie in a franchise where one has to ask why it was made, and that is where you have a great possibility of losing your audience: Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is one such movie. It is simultaneously a cheap and expensive burning of money on the screen and most probably felt that when leaving the theater (as of writing, AVP R stands at a 12% critic score and 30% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes). Scenes are incredibly poorly lit, CGI was passable but still bad for the time, and the acting seemed like it came straight out of a Friday the 13th movie. Let’s break it down:

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Alien Vs. Predator: the Filler Crossover Event (An Average Pt. 5)

[The movie would] kill the validity of the franchise; To me, that was Frankenstein Meets Werewolf.

James Cameron on Alien vs. Predator, 2006

The first half of the series is wrapped up, and that mean the good movies are behind us. If there is one thing to count on going forward, it is a downward spiral of wacky nonsense. Long gone are the truly memorable moments when Ripley is running through corridors and we are unsure of her safety. Long gone are the great comedic lines from Bill Paxton, and the funny screams from milk-blood Lance Henrickson. From the mid-point onward, we are awarded with attempts at a high action/low attention span arc in the franchise that will have you laughing more than crying over the corpse that is Alien. Now, onto Alien vs. Predator:

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Alien 3: A Studio Mess-terpiece (An Average Pt. 3)

No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me.

David Fincher, Guardian interviews at the BFI (2009)

If there is one thing that we can say about the Alien franchise up to this point, it’s that each movie is an experience. The original movie is one of the quintessential sci-fi experiences of the 70’s. It is the ultimate example of how to turn every element of a cheesy low-budget industrial movie and into a masterpiece. A similar story can be told about the sequel, whose praise is still heard from nearly any movie goer since its release. Even the schlock of either feature, which would usually be critiqued by the standard moviegoer, is ignored compared to deserved aforementioned acclaim. Truly they are cornerstones of their respective director’s and writer’s careers. 1992’s Alien 3, the directorial debut of David Fincher, is…well it’s an experience.

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Aliens (An Average Pt. 2)

A sequel is an admission that you’ve been reduced to imitating yourself.

Don Marquis

So, we have a strong foundation of what Alien is now, right? Fantastic lighting and sound design to create a truly scary atmosphere. Nuanced characterization to create people that seem very real. A monster that avoids sight until absolutely necessary to reveal itself to the audience. All these things are what I focused on in the last post because those were what I believed made a great Alien movie. Well today, we’re going to take some of those things, have them directed by somebody completely different, and turn up the schlock to the nth degree. Get ready folks, because here comes 1986’s Aliens. Let’s dig in:

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The Alien Franchise: Alien (An Average…Project?)

In space no one can hear you scream.

Alien promotional poster, 1979

Alright so I’ve been on a streak of mostly stinky movies, so let’s talk about one of my favorite movies ever made. It was a movie that scared my pants off as a child, and helped mold me into the science fiction nerd I am. This was a groundbreaking film that, despite creating a nearly perfect sequel, branched off into a debauchery of a franchise (and before you ask, I am not alluding to Terminator twice in two posts). I am, of course, talking about the magnificent 1979 motion picture Alien.

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