Alien Covenant: What a Waste

To save you some time if you don’t want to read on, we walked out of the theater and all I could think was: “What a waste.”

Strap in, kids. There is literally nothing I like about this movie.

What is with this navel gazing?
You know what would have been amazing? If they’d cut the entire first scene from the movie. Aside from being boring, it wasn't’ an effective method of reminding a viewer where the story was, or even giving an insight into David’s end motives. That time could have been better spent answering my next questions….


Why do I care about these characters? Who are they? Why am I currently playing relationship connect the dots?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m at least happy they aren’t a dozen scientists ignoring all safety standards and generally being idiots, but I also know nothing about any of them. All I know for certain is that the brunette with short hair and a tank top has the best chances of survival. I don’t know who these people are, or why they decided to sleep for 10 years to colonize a new planet (save for Daniels and dead James Franco). They’re flat, tired characters who have less personality than Walter.

While they tried to do the exterior ship views like those from Alien, they failed. Not in method, so much as atmosphere. The ship is too bright. The Nostromo was amazing in the way it was filmed because of its darkness, because it felt like a creature crawling through the dark depths of the sea, lethargic from the cold. The Covenant….
 
 
What government or corporate entity is going to send out a ship with a crew made up entirely of couples? Where was the company man/govt official?
The crew’s first responsibility is the safe delivery of its passengers to Origae-6. The people in stasis signed up to GO to Origae-6. Even if the crew was sent a full message by Elizabeth saying “Come on in, the water’s great.” The idea that they’d actually consider setting down on an unknown planet because it “reads right” makes no sense.
It makes more sense to have a crew of non-related people with their family, or loved one, or whatever, in stasis with the rest of the passengers. Barring that, there should be a representative of some sort to keep them on track. Someone who’s got the authority to say… I don’t know “We’re not going to risk the crew, passengers, and ship because you saw a ghost.” The freaking ship’s name is “Covenant,” you know, synonymous with: contract, agreement, and pledge.
 
 
What was the point of the “Man of Faith” stuff? Also, if you’re being summoned to a planet by John Denver music, that’s clearly coming from a demon, not an angel.
A large part of the perceived animosity between the “new guy in charge” and the “wife of the old guy in charge who is now his second in command I guess” is in the fact that he is a man of faith. This rings untrue to me for many reasons. Largely that they go on to ignore it for the rest of the movie. 
It rings untrue to me that a man of faith would deny others whatever funereal rituals they need (especially one who already thinks he’s universally disliked). I find it hard to believe that he would jump to the conclusion that the message they receive is a good omen, and not a temptation (from the evil it obviously is). The actions that make him a poor leader are not those of a faithful man, but of one who is insecure and fearful. Without giving some clue as to the specificity of his religion in relation to their eventual peril, this character attribute is a hollow attempt at making us care about him.
 
 
Why do they go down to the planet? Why does the ship’s protocols even allow them to change course?
In Alien, the Nostromo crew is woken because Mother has instructions to make them go check the signal out. Here… the crew is in stasis, the ship is on auto-pilot you have your little neutrino burst and obviously, they wake up. They have to fix the ship. I get that. But fixing the ship, making emergency course changes, seem to be the only things they would need to do in-transit. Without emergency needs (and probably heavy overrides) a full course change doesn’t make sense as something one of the crew could just do.
 
 
Why do so many go down in the scouting party (other than as proverbial redshirts)? Why is there a biologist on board? Why do they leave the shuttle pilot alone?
Maybe I spend too much time working with common sense, but none of the landing plan makes sense to me. You have next-to no idea of what to expect on this planet, and you decide to take all but 3 of the crew? That’s not a scouting party, that’s ¾ of the people someone thought you needed to run the ship. There are parameters for acceptable loss, and they stepped right out of them.
The necessary crew of a ship like that doesn’t seem to need a biologist. And yet, there we are. But even having a biologist is not enough to make anyone think they could discover if a planet is a viable habitat. There could be something like… spores that react with human physiology and produces a neomorph. Or face huggers. I’m pretty sure Origae-6 had more people look into it than a biologist and a ship’s crew made up primarily of security.
I could be wrong, but I suspect, that if one only has one method of leaving a planet, one might leave that means better guarded than in the hands of a single pilot who’s going to be distracted by repairs anyway. Not saying that would have helped in this instance, but it added to the myriad of WTF decisions.
 
 
It is utterly unsatisfying that Shaw is a footnote.
I don’t know about you, but I left the theater after watching Prometheus thinking two things.
  1. “Why were all of those scientists such idiots?” and
  2. “There is so much potential for a Shaw-kicking-engineer-ass movie.”
And here we are. She’s a shadow, a photograph, and a dissected corpse. Seeing David’s betrayal of Shaw would have been wonderful--how did he get to a place that where she trusted him enough to turn her back? Would she have condoned experiments on the engineer's, thinking it was all they deserved? But we didn’t get the story of what happened to the Engineers, or Shaw (sure, we get David’s versions, but who knows the truth).

 
What part of this was supposed to be scary?
Earl read me a review quote the other day praising this as a masterpiece of horror. And I couldn’t understand why.
 
Maybe it’s the fact that they’ve rehashed the same basic plot points over to the point of death that it’s getting boring. Maybe it was the fact I didn’t know enough about the characters to care if they lived or not. I don’t know. But I didn’t even get a jump scare out of this movie.

 
You know... I’m beginning to loathe Michael Fassbender, simply for the roles he’s taken.

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