While that title is a bit of hyperbole on my part it does capture Ridley Scott’s feeling about the Alien franchise pretty accurately because in 2014 he said that he was done with the Alien.
After all, Prometheus as originally written by Jon Spaiths was chock full of Alien goodness, though rewrites took care of those pesky xenomorphs (unless you count the proto-Alien, known as the Deacon, that appears at the end of the movie).
Flash-forward to early 2017, and Scott’s not only talking about Alien: Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus but that he’s so keen on the creature he was finished with just over two years prior that he’s willing to crank out sequels as long as people are willing to pay to see them.
And that’s an awesome thing because no one has a visual esthetic as keen as as Ridley Scott, though I am curious as to what changed his mind.
Part of me thugs that 20th Century Fox just pulled up with a massive truckload of money and dumped it at his door, but who knows.
Today 20th Century Fox released a teaser poster for Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant and the xenomorph is (apparently) once again the star of the show.
Which is very odd because Scott originally wanted nothing more to do with the Alien universe, which at least partially explains why Damon Lindelhof’s rewrite of Joh Spaiths’ original screenplay exorcised virtually all hints of them from Prometheus.
And yet it doesn’t because for someone not interested in dealing with Aliens, he certainly included a lot of the elements of their mythology, such as Weyland-Yutani, a variation of the Facehugger and what can only be called a proto-Alien.
Weird choices, though maybe they’re an indication that Scott took less of an issue with the universe of Alien than the Alien itself.
Which isn’t what I’d call a good sign, especially since he’s apparently leading with them.
Visually, Morten Tyldum’s Passengers holds a huge debt to Pixar’s Wall-E, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and Apple’s design esthetic.
In other words, it’s attractive, but doesn’t appear to strike any new ground.
The same thing can be said of the story, which revolves around two people who accidentally emerge from suspended animation 90 years too (or was it?), and eventually fall in love.
As I said, it’s nothing new.
Though it’s welcome that Jon Spaiths wrote the screenplay (Prometheus–before Damon Lindelhof came in and purged it of direct connections to the Alien movies and Marvel Studios’ upcoming Doctor Strange) so there’s perhaps the hope of a mystery (which is at least hinted at) to balance Lawrence and Pratt looking all starry eyed at each other for over an hour.
What I referring to is in interviews how Ridley Scott often says that he feels as if he’s taken the Aliens as far as he’s able–keeping in mind that Prometheus as originally written was firmly entrenched in the Alien universe, till Damon Lindelof joined the project and excised most of those elements from Jon Spaiths’ screenplay–yet he keeps throwing in ideas peripherally related to Alien, though not nearly enough to satisfy fans of those movies.
And while I hate to sound to sound cynical, it feels to me that he knows damn well that fans of the Alien franchise–hungry for new material–will see just about anything that has xenomorphs in it.
And I get that “Alien fatigue” may have set in and that Scott feels as if he’s taken the property as far as he possibly could. That being the case, why not leave it alone and let someone else handle it; though admittedly the Alien sequels done by other directors have been uneven at best, with Aliens being the most watchable and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem the least.
And while I wouldn’t call myself a fan of either Requiem or to a lesser extent, Alien: Resurrection, I’d rather see the movies embrace the material wholeheartedly and unashamedly, as opposed to the tentative way that Scott seemed to approach Prometheus, and how I am reasonably sure he’ll approach Paradise, its sequel, as well.
Though what’s really odd is that Ridley Scott intends to include Aliens in Paradise at all, which bothers me because, while Prometheus is a gorgeous to look at–it winds up being neither fish nor fowl.
Or maybe I am irritated over Vickers running in a straight line when the Juggernaut happened to roll in her direction. Or how the pseudo-Facehugger not only survived decontamination in the Med-Pod, but somehow thrived. Or…since showing is always preferred to telling, why don’t I just let CinemaSins give you a guided tour.