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Alien: Covenant is not Prometheus 2

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader

2017-05-23


Prometheus has never been a fan-favorite film in the Alien franchise. When it was released back in 2012 it got middling reviews and, what surprised me the most, lots of fans of the Alien movies disliked it too. And when a sequel to Prometheus was announced last year, Alien: Covenant, there were still snarky comments online about how much Prometheus stunk.

Because of all the negative comments I avoided seeing Prometheus in the theater and ended up renting it on digital at home several months later. But instead of hating the movie I came away loving it. To me, Prometheus is a near modern sci-fi masterpiece about what happens when a group of people go off looking for God but instead find something thatís not quite the personification of evil, but does have bad intents on the human race. Since then, Iíve watched Prometheus several more times and each time I find something new to appreciate about it.

But I still wondered? Why did so many of the same people who loved the other Alien movies that I love too dislike Prometheus so much? After a bit of contemplation, I think Iíve figured it out.

Up until now the Alien movies, and even the Aliens vs. Predator movies too (which should never be spoken of), were all monster movies. Alien is about a monster that attacks the crew of a ship who must fight back and survive. Aliens is about a whole bunch of monsters that attacks a group of marines who must fight back and survive. Alien 3 is about a monster that attacks a group of prisoners who must fight back and survive. And Alien: Resurrection is about a couple of monsters who attack some scientists and pirates who must fight back and survive.
But Prometheus is a different film entirely. Itís the movie that broke the Alien mold and I think thatís why the fans of the genera didnít like it. They wanted more ďmonsters vsÖĒ and instead they got something different.

Prometheus is a horror movie thatís not really a monster movie though there are monsters in it. Itís almost a body-horror movie with characters being infected with something ďickyĒ and being turned into some very weird things and another that has to have one of these things cut out of her. But for the most part, Prometheus is about exploration, and what happens when you assume the thing youíre looking for wants to be found when it really doesnít.

So, instead of the fans embracing something new and unique they turned mostly against Prometheus, derided it and some still dislike it to this day. Of course there are people other than me who like Prometheus, Iím friends with a few of them. But for the most part, whenever a news story about Prometheus appears online itís snark, snark snark about that movie and why canít we get back to the original monster films?

It sometimes seems like fans of a franchise get upset if sequels are exactly like the first movie and donít do anything different, but they also donít like it if the sequel is too different then the original and takes the franchise in a new direction. Itís a tightrope that the creators of movies like Prometheus must walk, and even if they get it right creatively like I think they did they can still be considered a failure in the eyes of the fans if the movie doesnít unfold they way they think it should.

Which is what looks like is happening with Alien: Covenant. That movie, in theaters now, looks like itís a return to the monster movie genre for the franchise with the crew of a colony ship the ďCovenantĒ running across the remains of what was left of things after Prometheus while having to do battle with the classic alien xenomorph monster from the first film. And I donít think Iím spoiling anything here by saying that since the very first trailer for that movie and TV spots as well feature this classic alien very prominently.

Still, I pine for what might have been with a true Prometheus sequel if that movie hadnít been so savaged by critics or had done better at the box office.

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