ACF #2 ALIEN: Covenant


Here, folks, another week, another podcast. This week we’re discussing Alien: Covenant. Ridley Scott wants to make the lowbrow genre of the blockbuster into a middlebrow work by adding a lot of highbrow art. I’m all for it! So my friend and I are discussing the two important conversations in the movie, in the beginning and in the center, in relation to the works of art on display and their role in revealing character and discerning intentions.

At the same time, we’re talking about the meaning of horror as a genre and the moral logic it obeys. Listen to the end for some shocking remarks about 19th-century British horror stories and the book of Genesis! At the same time, we’re continuing our elaboration of the conflict between life and science — this is Ridley Scott working in his Lovecraft-ian mode. And there’s more! Take a listen, and please share!

There are 10 comments.

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  1. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks

    I look forward to listening – but man, Covenant‘s a rental after the nonsense of Prometheus. There are only 2 Alien movies.

    #1: One Alien. Horror movie.

    #2 Gobs of Aliens. War movie.

    Each was perfect. I decline to recognize that #3 exists, given what it did to the survivors of the second movie. I don’t remember anything about #4 except everyone was angry and wet.

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  2. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Yeah, I do think the first ones showed what you could do. The men for the job fit so well it’s hard not to want them to do it again, & Ridley Scott for one really does want to keep doing it!

    It looks like he’s not succeeding in his self-appointed task to scare milennials & become a blockbuster-master! But he is succeeding with other things–he’s bringing long years of experience to this big studio story & he’s as canny now as he was inspired 40 years back.

    Not a bad way to go out for a director, to say nothing of the rare case of a man taking back his franchise!

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  3. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt

    You have an iTunes link?

    • #3
  4. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Not on iTunes; or at least not yet. You can download it from soundcloud, if that’s good enough…

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  5. Polyphemus Inactive

    I look forward to listening. I, personally, am glad that someone like Ridley Scott is attempting original SciFi. I am tired of the superhero genre and all of the rehashing of older stuff. I guess this is sort of rehashing but it is exploring a fictional universe that I have always found compelling. One of the best aspects of the setup of the first Alien was that ancient huge spaceship and the invitation to wonder what it was and how it got there.

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  6. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    I agree! At least, American cinema, even at the level of eight-figure popularity needs more diversity of story, viewpoint, & attitude to movies.

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  7. MisterSirius Member

    From what you report, Ridley Scott seems to be again working through Shelley’s Frankenstein and Rousseau’s “Noble Savage.” That is, in Scott’s Blade Runner, a story by Philip K. Dick was replaced with a version of Frankenstein where the White Monster is a misunderstood Noble Savage. (In Shelley’s novel, the Monster contacted his creator for the fabrication of a new Eve as a mate; in Scott’s version this is replaced with an open-eyed Oedipal deal with no mate involved, not even “mom.”) So White Monster “Roy Baty” is the real hero of the show, and he gets to do his American Indians of the Plains rituals.

    Cameron, who worked on Aliens (1986), seems to have picked up on the “white noble savage” thread in his own later Avatar (2009). In this case the (cursed as white) guy is able to be reborn as a noble (colored) savage.

    Then again, having writ that, maybe Scott has dropped the Rousseau part and is now doing a pure Shelley play. Well, duh: the subtitle of Shelley’s novel is “The Modern Prometheus”!

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  8. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    So this is the wisest thing I’ve heard about Blade Runner:

    My own thoughts run in a similar direction as his. I recommend his analysis because he has both respect for the story & daring suggestions. He starts with the obvious & doesn’t stop there. He can account for structure as well as for details, for the most part. This is what movie analysis should be.


    • #8
  9. MisterSirius Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    So this is the wisest thing I’ve heard about Blade Runner:

    Wait, I must watch a lecture lasting an hour and a half? Uh, can I see the abstract first? Or, since this is all film related, what is the “elevator pitch” for this one?

    • #9
  10. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    You can just listen to five or so minutes–if you don’t like what the guy has to say, it’s no use wasting your time. What he starts from is the question, what is humanity? In the movie, there’s a test devised to tell the difference between replicants & humans–but there is no similar insistence on what constitutes humanity. The guy wants to say that you can gradually work your way to what it means to be human if you go through the plot, once you sense what a dangerous position it would be to leave things at the measurable time lag in answering some question or the lack of awareness of context in some cases.

    • #10

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