Cinephile Saturday: Alien Covenant

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The “Alien” franchise has been a cornerstone of the sci-fi horror genre, intriguing and terrifying audiences since its inception. However, the latest installment, “Alien Covenant,” has left the fandom divided with its controversial narrative choices and deviation from the original essence that made the series a cult phenomenon. In our latest podcast episode, Anthony, Susana and I take a deep dive into the intricacies of this contentious film and discuss the potential future of the franchise.

“Alien Covenant” attempted to blend horror with action, striving to strike a balance that would appease both long-time fans and a new generation of viewers. However, it stumbled over its own ambition, leading to a final product that felt disjointed and unsatisfying. Character development, or the lack thereof, was a significant point of contention. The film introduced a plethora of characters but failed to flesh them out, making it challenging for the audience to forge a meaningful connection or empathize with their fates. This was a stark contrast to the original “Alien,” which masterfully crafted its characters, giving each individual a distinct identity that resonated with viewers.

Moreover, the logical inconsistencies within the crew’s decision-making were hard to ignore. The crew’s lack of professional identities and questionable judgment calls—such as the decision to explore an unknown planet without proper preparation—were difficult to reconcile with the expertise expected of a space exploration team. Such flaws in writing contributed to a lack of engagement and ultimately undermined the suspense and horror that are hallmarks of the franchise.

We also dissected the pacing and editing of “Alien Covenant,” which contributed to the film’s narrative shortcomings. The movie seemed to lurch between scenes with little coherence, resembling three separate movies forced into one. This chaotic structure, combined with the predictable plot twist involving the androids Walter and David, left audiences feeling underwhelmed. Despite the film’s attempts to introduce new elements, such as the protomorph, these additions lacked the impact of the xenomorph’s original terror.

Turning our attention to the future, we reflected on David’s evolution from a subservient android in “Prometheus” to a godlike antagonist in “Alien Covenant.” His arc poses intriguing questions about creation and destruction—themes that are ripe for exploration but were only superficially touched upon. The upcoming “Alien” TV series and the speculative third installment of Ridley Scott’s prequel series present opportunities to correct the course. There’s a cautious optimism that future ventures could return to the franchise’s horror roots while introducing fresh narratives and characters that do not solely rely on past glories.

In closing, the “Alien” franchise stands at a crossroads, with its identity and legacy hanging in the balance. The franchise’s initial brilliance was rooted in the unknown, the unseen horrors lurking in the dark corners of space. As the series expanded, the attempt to explain the xenomorphs’ origins may have inadvertently diminished their horror. Fans like us yearn for a return to the mysterious and the terrifying, hoping for a conclusive chapter that honors the franchise’s original spirit. It remains to be seen if future “Alien” projects will embrace this ethos or continue to stray further from what once made them unforgettable.

In conclusion, “Alien Covenant” represents both the struggles and the potential of the “Alien” franchise. As we navigate its labyrinthine narrative and anticipate its future, we invite listeners to join the conversation, sharing their perspectives on where the series should venture next. Whether you agree or disagree with our analysis, your voice is a valuable part of the ongoing dialogue that shapes the saga’s evolution.

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Author: Steve

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