After a rough week, my husband and I took ourselves out for an afternoon date at the movies. Hey, I’m over 40 and can’t be bothered fighting for a parking spot on a Saturday night. I used up my Boob Power feeding my preemie. Besides, hubs and I both do shift work, so a mid-day movie in an empty theatre suits us just fine.
With high hopes, we saw Alien: Covenant, the latest offering in the “Alien” franchise. Prior to today, I kept clear of most of the movie’s online talk. I had heard one complaint that it took almost an hour to see an alien – that was an exaggeration, by the way. The timing took less than that – although not by much.
THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. You may not want to read further if you don’t want to know anything about face huggers, chest bursters, or anything of the bullsh*t alien science that is the foundation of Alien: Covenant. If you want a filmography of the franchise, The Verge encapsulates it very well, with lots of links that dig a deep rabbit hole if you’re feeling bored.
Read My Thoughts about Alien: Covenant Below at Your Own Risk
Imagine yourself staring at an approaching thunderstorm. Lighting forks through the clouds and the resulting clap of thunder promises a chest rattling show. Light rain hits your face as the sky darkens. Then the wind shifts and blows the light show past you.
That’s the movie I watched today. I’m sorry, true fans, but I couldn’t kick in my suspension of disbelief, mostly because of the convenient science and explanations of Covenant. I can overlook the predictable plot (you can figure out who is going to live and die right as soon as characters speak) and wishy-washy relationships between the “couples who are crew.” Oh, and you know that colony full of couples we heard about? Most of them slept through the film.
With all those incubators on board, I didn’t even have to watch the end of the film to know that some mo-fo alien in one form or another was going to make it to the All-You-Can-Incubate/Eat-Covenant-Buffet
Back to science, BS alien insta-gratification science.
First off, an archaeologist is not the same thing as a robotics/android engineer. There’s no way Shaw could rebuild David on an alien ship (which had been abandoned for 2000 years if I remember correctly).
I get bent out of shape when bad science informs a plot. Just because an advance alien civilization invents black goo that plays with DNA, that does not mean that said goo can break the laws of nature… at least, not without a viable explanation.
C’mon now. We know what’s going to happen. Goo will go into a body, the body will birth an alien, the alien will run amok, and there will be carnage. Spend a few minutes trying to make sense of your science, please! Not everyone in the audience needs or wants a Ph.D. in alien bio-terrorism, but we’ve been with the franchise long enough that we deserve an attempt.
I had to swallow a big pill to accept that the face hugger xenomorphs grow physiologically different chest burster offspring depending on the host organism. That assumes a shared DNA structure for horizontal transmission. But that’s where I stop. Every other aspect of this world-building adheres to the same basic principles as ours, so the replication of life should too.
How does a chemical create sentient, parasitic life? No, wait, don’t tell me… because it’s alien. Even our fastest replicating microbe still needs hours of incubation to take effect. I can’t see how a chemical gets into a human body, then gestates a living thing large enough to split open a grown man’s spine in a few hours.
David dropped a payload of goo pods on one city of Engineers. The pods self-organized into a cyclone, somehow dispersed their contents, then turned everyone in posed, charred molds worthy of Vesuvius. The overly muscular neutral-gendered Engineers didn’t entirely disintegrate. Not only that, but this dispersal method was so good, that the black goo (Chemical A0-3959X.91) conveniently kills all life on the planet except green stuff and spore producing balls… and mosquitoes. Zika virus ain’t got nothin’ on Chemical A0-39yaddahyadda, man.
David says he experimented because he was bored, being alone in the only inhabited city on the planet. Who the hell did he experiment on to derive humanoid forms? The Engineers were dead. He got one impregnation shot out of Elizabeth Shaw, the lone Prometheus survivor. Who was left? Where is the science? A bunch of dissected alien parts on a table tells me diddly.
An image shows the result of how the goo modified an alien mollusk… guess that means no sushi on “Planet 4” (where Covenant lands for a poorly explained, BS reason). If the black goo distorts DNA, then why didn’t everything on Planet 4 xenomorphize into something that immediately attacked the Covenant crew? I don’t believe David caught all the living modified creatures and dissected them. There are only a few in his study. We share DNA with plants – why did the goo make the wheat bigger but made shellfish predatory? Hey, maybe that’s where Triffids come from!
Two Covenant crew were infected and displayed symptoms within an incredibly short period of time. No one assisting them thinks to put on any personal protection devices, not even the biologist in the group. Whaddfuq? Are we all immune to germs in the future?
Before I write up a list of questions a klick long, I’ll make this last point: animals MUST EAT to grow and survive – especially those that live upon other animals. I don’t care if the xenomorph eats the four walls of the med bay. Just feed the damn xeno babies! How in the hell did a creature that feeds on humans (or animals) explode in size from foot long to “Supersize Me” in the span of a few hours without any food? Maybe David’s eggs have more omega 3 than the alien queen’s eggs in any of the other movies.
Lest I forget… this chemical only creates a single xenomorph from the host – and all from a few black particles. But there’s no evidence of xenomorph corpses on the ground anywhere in the 10 years they have been starving on Planet 4.
Did I like it as a stand-alone movie? Yes and no. The visuals were stunning. Did it have the intense horror of Alien and it’s sequel, Aliens? Not for me. Once you see one chest-burster, you’ve seen em all, even if they come out of someone’s mouth or spine, with more blood than before, I still expect it. David was a far scarier monster than the xenomorphs and I wanted to see more of his conniving.
Why didn’t they make this movie about him and Walter? Yup. Saw that “twist” coming from far away, too. Didn’t you?