Dear Ridley Scott,
I wish I didn’t have to say that this is one of the hardest reviews I have had to write in a very long time. Normally I would just go about my life and not even bother speaking on this, but I am sincerely disappointed.
“Alien: Covenant” has been a film I’ve waited for since going crazy for “Prometheus.” I am a huge fan of the “Alien” films and can honestly say that if I am channel surfing and one of the films is on — I stop what I’m doing to watch it for the umpteen-millionth time.
In 1979, “Alien” rocked the planet and everybody in it with a story that was epic in scope and eye candy for sci-fi lovers and filmgoers everywhere. I love the character of Ripley and everything she embodied. She was strong, smart and powerful in her own right — feminine, nurturing, tough as hell and not afraid to show fear. Hey, being chased across the galaxy by a freaky-stomach-splatting, acid-spitting creature that just seems to have it out for you would drive anyone to momentary lapses of fear.
Ripley took us through every gut-wrenching range of emotion, and her victory was our victory! Every time the aliens came after her, Ripley put her big girl britches on and gave them a galactic supreme thrashing.
That’s what brought us back into the theaters in 1986 with “Aliens,” because vengeance is best served in the cold vacuum of space and we wanted Ripley to show the gun-slingers how it was really done. With the introduction of Knute, Ripley became even more real to us all because her maternal side kicked in with “get away from her you bitch!” I was in the theater when people got to their feet cheering on their heroine!
“Alen 3” in 1992 had us knowing it was inevitable that Ripley would be found floating in space, slumbering away only to be awakened by a prison full of guys who thought they were badasses — hardly. When it came down to it, a woman solved their problem and then, quite literally, took one for the human team. We still cheered Ripley with her hands gripped around that slithery biter of mayhem showing us all what sacrifice truly looked like.
Then came “Alien Resurrection” in 1997, and I was thrilled to see the reincarnation of Ripley. A scary version of her original, this Ripley had a mean sense of humor and no problem showing off her set of skills. Although I enjoyed the film, I knew that it was time to say goodbye to Ripley, letting her ride off into the sunset of Earth.
Imagine the surprise of mostly everyone when in 2012 “Prometheus” came along. I knew Ripley wasn’t going to make an appearance since this was a prequel (and Mr. Scott, I can’t even begin to tell you how I feel about prequels). That being said, I’m a Michael Fassbender fan, I think the world would be a hideous place without Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace will always be “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” so I mentally and willingly signed on for that ride.
Different and twisted as the film began to divulge the universal secret of where in the hell these creepy, double-jawed aliens came from. I have watched “Prometheus” time and time again because of the story and the cast. I wanted to know where this was going, I wanted Elizabeth Shaw to get the answers and I wanted David to be a cool synthetic. The reviews were mixed, and it was either totally loved the film or totally hated it.
So here we are in 2017 and another ship is floating around in space with “Alien: Covenant.” I was already sitting in the theater seat with my dander up because Shaw wasn’t going to be part of this adventure. To be honest, the only thing that kept me in that uncomfortable seat was knowing Fassbender was going to be playing dual roles and I had to see that for myself.
Now, here I sit, still, weeks later thinking how could this have gone so wrong?
Well, for me it began the moment new-guy-behind-the-ships-wheel Captain Oram orders the ship to land. Basically you lost me immediately — totally because no one is that stupid (or so I thought). Screening the film with my two daughters who are also “Alen” aficionados from their teenage years, we spent 10 minutes rolling our eyes at one another because believability flew out the window like Ripley’s creature-baby in “Alien: Resurrection.”
That is only the beginning of my list of bitches and complaints, but that’s what happens when I feel cheated. To be honest, Mr. Scott, the story just rankled me to the point of no return. All I kept thinking was really? REALLY? Even Michael Fassbender taking on dual roles had my head shaking — and not in a good way which kills me, seriously kills me.
If I had one question to ask you I suppose it would be did you believe “Alien: Covenant” was the best you could do for fans? No surprises, but instead a revelation that I found to be more placating than cool. Gawd I am so P.O.’d and what’s worse is I know there has to be another film coming down the spacepike, and I feel like I’ve already seen it in my theater’s mind.
Of course, I’m not going into detail about the film because even if I’m cranky, I don’t want to ruin the film for those crazy enough to slap down their $15 because perhaps they will find something I’m just not seeing. My only solace is the fact that I have all the other “Alien” films on Blu-ray and can use it as a marathon-mind washing over the weekend.
Something tells me that you aren’t going to be too upset over what this lil’ old broad film critic has to say in the grand scheme of things. If you need someone to look over your next “Alien” script, however, I’d be glad to use my handy red pencil to ward off any ridiculousness before you yell “Roll ’em!”
If I can offer some salve for the scratches I think “Taboo” is a frakken ridiculously awesome television show and “The Martian” is absolutely brilliant, so there’s that. Always look for the bright side of the universe right?
My apologies if I have offended you with my opinion, Mr. Scott, because I really did want to go gaga for “Alien: Covenant” — truly I did.
Crabby Movie Maven