5 good things Alien: Covenant should keep from Prometheus

Contributed by
May 19, 2017

Somewhere out there is someone who wants to make an argument that Prometheus is a misunderstood gem, a work of genius that we'll all pretend we loved from the very beginning at some point in the distant future.

I ain't that guy.

Prometheus is, from the point of view of most people (myself included), not a good movie. It doesn't answer any of the questions it sets up, it's needlessly complicated and its characters have less common sense than everyone in Alien: Resurrection combined.

But it's not all bad news. There are, divorced from the film as a whole, moments and elements of Prometheus that are good... when you take them out of the context of the rest of the film.

Some greatness cannot be carried forward. Sadly, neither Idris Elba's nor Charlize Theron's characters can reappear in an Alien movie on account of they real dead. And that's a shame, because all movies are made better with their inclusion.

Here are a few things from Prometheus that can, and hopefully were, carried forward to Alien: Covenant.

Body Horror

A buddy of mine who works at Syfy said that his favorite scene in any Alien movie was the "pregnancy" sequence from Prometheus. And while I most certainly do not agree and would contend that pretty much any scene from the original Alien is better than the best scenes in Prometheus, I have to admit that the body horror of Prometheus is absolutely mind-meltingly disgusting and great.

You know the sequence with the alien python (its official name is "hammerpede") that you probably hate because the humans in it (who are supposed to be trained professionals) basically ask to be murdered? Just ... forget that part for a moment. Forget how brain-numbingly idiotic Millburn is and just appreciate how cool it is when an alien python snaps his arm before climbing into his suit and down his throat. That $#@! is next level. No matter how much I hate Fifield and Millburn (answer: I hate them a great deal) I recoil in delight every time I watch the scene where they bite it. It is just the best kind of gruesome.

And, yeah, When Elizabeth Shaw has to use the bio-bed to cut the alien growing inside of her out of her stomach while she's conscious? That, too, is a fantastic sequence when you forget how little the scenes leading up to it make sense. Give me more creepy tentacle baby, please. That's hot nightmare fuel and I need my tank refilled pronto.

The Tech

You know ... I like the pups. I hate Fiefeld, but I really, really like the concept of roving robots mapping out an alien location. And I dug most of the human tech in Prometheus. I liked the holographic stuff from Weyland Yutani, I dug the human ship and Vickers' weird shuttle with the snow falling on cedars screen saver, and I even liked the Engineers holographic video stuff, too, even though it doesn't make a lot of sense.

For all the ways in which I appreciated how low-fi the original Alien is, I cannot deny that Ridley Scott's team knows how to do technological spectacle. So whatever robotic handheld devices they can dream up for Alien: Covenant, I am game.

Just no hypersleeps where an android can watch your dreams. That can go, the rest can stay.

The Philosophy/Religion Stuff

I know, I know. Prometheus does not execute some of this stuff through to its climax, but I will say that I really enjoyed Shaw's spiritual approach to the Engineers. If there are life forms who created us, what does that mean? Does their existence negate belief in a higher power or life after death? And I love David's riff about how humans might feel if it turned out they were only created because someone could do it.

I think at the heart of most science fiction are the questions "where do we come from" and "what is our purpose." And using those questions in a way to terrify? That's worthwhile, provided you really think it through and don't just set up the big questions only to leave them totally in the air to show off people running from falling ships and proto-xenomorphs snarling.

More proof that connects Xenomorphs with humanity

Give me more cave paintings. The open sequence where Shaw and (sigh) Holloway discover those cave drawings proving that there's life on other worlds was a really neat way to open Prometheus. And, despite the beyond-lackluster execution of that concept, I would say that this notion that the Engineers were responsible for the creation of both man and Xenomorph is ripe for more good storytelling.

I think a lot of the best villains are ones who are inexorably tied to our heroes. You know, I even liked that time Ripley was part Alien. I know! Yes, that movie is very bad, but the half-human, half-xenomorph stuff was the stand-out coolest idea in Alien: Resurrection. The historical precedent that Xenomorphs and humanity are connected is also a cool idea. Alien: Covenant should probably do more to explain that than Prometheus did.

Who's an android?

"Hey, Vickers? Are you a robot?" I really liked that you couldn't tell if Theron was playing human or android. It was cool! Did you know that in the early press for Prometheus, Ridley Scott alluded to their maybe being two androids on the ship? Now imagine if that concept had gotten a more definitive answer! HOW COOL WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN? Pretty cool, friend.

So, yeah. I would love for there to be some surprise androids in Alien: Covenant. We know Michael Fassbender is a robot, but maaaaaaybe someone else is? Billy Crudup? Danny McBride? Oh, it would be crazy if Danny McBride turned out to be a robot!

Just ... if someone is a robot, make it clear at some point that they are a robot, Alien: Covenant. That is all I ask.

So there you go. A whopping five positive things I could think of to say about Prometheus. That's a lot of potential for a really bad movie, and there's absolutely no reason Alien: Covenant couldn't make good on that potential.

What about you? Was there anything you liked enough from Prometheus to see it carried over? Do ... do you like Prometheus? Defend away! And if you've got hopes in general for Alien: Covenant, lay 'em on me.