Alien Covenant Questions

We’re one month into blockbuster summer, and right now the most divisive film seems to be Alien: Covenant. Some fans of the franchise that started with Ridley Scott‘s original sci-fi thriller back in 1979 have been happy to see the franchise evolve in recent years to combine the usual blood, gore and suspense with more philosophical and intellectually stimulating questions about the creation of life. Others just don’t find themselves interested in the story that Ridley Scott is now trying to tell all these years later.

No matter which side you find yourself on, you might be interested in this video put together by Red Letter Media which asks more than a few important questions about how Alien: Covenant impacts the rest of the franchise. Furthermore, they also point out a lot of unresolved problems and unanswered questions that make the movie feel even more sloppy than it did initially.

Watch and listen to  Red Letter Media’s Alien Covenant questions after the jump, but beware of massive spoilers. Read More »

Five Great Ridley Scott Audio Commentaries

Ridley Scott commentaries

In 1965, Sir Ridley Scott made his directorial debut with the short film, Boy and Bicycle. His illustrious filmmaking career began with a short that cost him $120 and starred his brother, the late Tony Scott. It led to a career that is nothing short of spectacular, one never lacking passion or permanence. He’s a filmmaker who’s been ahead of the curve, created trends, and made movies that’ll last forever.

Thankfully, he’s been game to talk about almost every one of his films in audio commentaries. He’s always candid, ready to share his wealth of knowledge, and keep you hanging onto his every word, whether it’s for a two-hour drama or one of his three-hour epics. The master filmmaker is, without question, a master of audio commentaries.

With the recent release of Alien: Covenant, it felt like the right time to listen to some of Scott’s commentaries. His tracks for Alien and Blade Runner are must-listens, and the same goes for his tracks about demons, kingpins, two legends on the road, and con artists. Here are the five you really need to seek out.

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Alien Covenant

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.)

In 1979, Ridley Scott unleashed Alien on unsuspecting moviegoers, creating something that would end up becoming iconic in the process. Scott, a filmmaker with a background in graphic design, took what was essentially the type of B-movie that cluttered up drive-in theaters and turned it into something greater – a haunted-house picture set in space, dripping with atmosphere and dread, heightened by grotesque creature designs from nightmare-expert artist H.R. Giger.

Alien would turn into a franchise, although Scott stayed away for most of it. He returned for the sort-of prequel Prometheus, one of the most polarizing films of his career. Fans expecting another Alien were sorely disappointed, as Scott no longer seemed interested in the simple, dread-inducing terror of his 1979 film. Instead, the filmmaker wanted to use the Alien mythology as a framework on which to build a more complex, existential examination of the origins of humanity.

Scott could’ve walked away from the Alien franchise after Prometheus, but instead he seems committed to riding this out to see how far it will go. He has returned with Alien: Covenant, which loaded its trailers and promotional material with the familiar xenomorph alien that fans are familiar with. This film, Scott seemed to be saying, would be the Alien-type film Prometheus was not. It was a trick, though. The filmmaker had more complicated, complex ideas in mind. They don’t always work, but you have to at least appreciate his willingness to experiment with them at this stage in his career.

Spoilers follow.

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Alien Covenant

After questioning where human life came from in Prometheus, director Ridley Scott continues the narrative in the prequel sequel Alien: Covenant. But the trailers have indicated that this is an Alien movie that also goes back to the monstrous roots of the original 1979 movie that introduced audiences to xenomorphs. The truth is that it’s both. The question is whether that results in a cohesive, thoughtful, suspenseful sci-fi flick that’s worth your time.

After the jump, those of us on the /Film crew who saw the movie already offer their own thoughts. Read More »

Alien Covenant

(Because of the mixed reactions to the film from critics across the internet, we are running two reviews of Alien: Covenant. Here’s a negative take on the movie. For a different take, you can read Karen Han’s positive review.)

Ridley Scott has made two great films: Alien and Blade Runner. In spite of the sequel to the latter coming this fall, Scott has chosen to cross-breed these two science-fiction classics in making Alien: Covenant. Based on that title, you might hope that this will right whatever wrongs were incurred by his 2012 film Prometheus, which professed to start the origin story of the feared xenomorphs while populating that story with some of the dumbest characters in recent memory. You would be wrong. Alien: Covenant is basically the answer to a question that shouldn’t have been asked: what if Roy Batty was the lead of an Alien movie?

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alien covenant

(Because of the mixed reactions to the film from critics across the internet, we are running two reviews of Alien: Covenant. Here’s a positive take on the movie. For a different perspective, you can read Josh Spiegel’s negative review.)

The planet upon which most of Alien: Covenant unfolds is not unlike the movie itself: it’s a vast and beautiful thing, though not without its share of dangers and unexplored territory. Covenant is an epic that sprawls across genres and ideas, some of which are better addressed than others, but in its final act, it shines just two beacons through the darkness. There’s its base DNA in the self-contained drama and horror of 1979’s Alien, and there’s the near-biblical story that director Ridley Scott now wants to tell about man and post-humanity, and the creation of life. The resulting mix is a thrill, in no small part because — for a franchise that seems so determinedly nihilistic — it’s surprisingly earnest.

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best alien moments

In space, no one can hear you scream. Or make lists ranking the best moments from the Alien film series.

With Alien: Covenant hitting theaters this week, Jacob Hall and Jack Giroux revisited every movie featuring a xenomorph (yes, even the Alien vs. Predator movies) with one purpose: to watch for the scenes and beats and lines of dialogue that resonate the most. In this particular case, a “moment” is a malleable term. What stands out, really stands out, when we think back on these six movies?

We’ve included videos when available. And yes, there will be spoilers for the series from this point onward.

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The Best Movie Monsters You’ve Never Seen

alien covenant

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition: some of the best movie monsters you may have missed!)

Ridley Scott has a new movie hitting theaters this week, and for those of us who love his 1979 sci-fi/horror classic Alien, that news is improved further by the knowledge that his latest is a new entry in the franchise. Of course, 2012’s Prometheus fit that very same bill, and we all know how that turned out. (Not terribly if you ask me, but let’s stay focused here.) Alien: Covenant may end up featuring equally stupid human characters, but judging by the trailers, it’s made at least one important improvement. It’s bringing back the fast-moving, wickedly dangerous, and endlessly terrifying xenomorphs (in some form or another) to wreak bloody havoc.

Through the franchise’s ups and downs the aliens themselves have remained some of the most beautifully nightmarish monsters to ever grace the screen, and if we’re being honest, few others come even close to comparing in the area of horrifyingly effective design. Still though, there’s no shortage of memorable movie monsters from the Graboids in Tremors and the river monster in The Host to the creepy subterranean killers in The Descent and the alien monstrosities of John Carpenter’s The Thing. These and others made the cut earlier this year right here on this very site.

But what of the frightening creatures in movies that maybe didn’t find a spot on that list or any other? The seven movies below aren’t nearly as well known, and they’re not all great necessarily (although I’d go to the mat for half of them), but the common thread between them is in the design and presentation of their monsters. Some are terrifying, some are fun, and others are darkly beautiful, but all of them deserve to be seen by more eyeballs.

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alien video games ranked

Ridley Scott’s Alien has had a marked influence on the video game industry, but it’s mostly just that – influence. I’s James Cameron’s Aliens that feels like a video game itself (in a good way), and developers have “borrowed” from it liberally for their titles. Without these movies, the space marines that populate first-person shooters would never have emerged, and games like Contra or Metroid would never have been a thing.

But that’s not to say there haven’t been some really great officially licensed games! There are good Alien games! But there are also a lot of really bad ones. With Alien: Covenant out this week, there is no better time to rank them from worst to best.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Rick and Morty Alien Crossover

Alien: Covenant is coming to theaters this week, bringing xenomorphs and new creatures to the big screen who will feast on unsuspecting space explorers. The early buzz on the movie was fairly mixed with critics having varying opinions on how the movie balances the horror and suspense of Alien with the intellectual, expository side of Prometheus. You’ll just have to see it yourself to form your own opinion.

In the meantime, fans can enjoy what will probably be the best piece of promotion for the movie yet: a crossover with Rick and Morty. In this clip, the title characters from the Adult Swim animated series get a distress call from a ship that should look quite familiar to fans who have kept up with the Alien franchise.

Watch the Rick and Morty Alien Covenant crossover after the jump. Read More »