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Grade B

Ten years after “Prometheus,” the crew of the colony ship, Covenant, experiences a serious malfunction of their ship.  Forced out of their expected 7 year cryo-sleep to make repairs, the crew’s focus switches from their destined planet to one that is much closer and supposedly more suited for humans.  Only Katherine Waterston, who plays the second in command, is hesitant to alter the plans; but the acting captain (played by Billy Crudup) and the rest of the crew are insistent on checking out the newly discovered planet, and off they go.

An exploratory team lands on the planet that turns out to be beautiful and teeming with plant life — but no animals or even insects can be seen or heard.  Despite this oddity, some of the crew are already planning on starting their new colony here…until two crewmen suddenly become sick and the horrifying, true nature of the planet is revealed.

Alien spore infestations/gestation/gory emergence, frenetic bursts of intense fights against aliens, impeccable cinematography, good and evil synthetic people (both played amazingly by Michael Fassbender), the mystery of what happened to the last two crew members of Prometheus, and claustrophobic bug hunts are all here.   There are moments where you — the “Alien” movies aficionado — will tell yourself “Oh, I’ve seen this before in previous ‘Alien’ movies,” but it shouldn’t be looked at negatively.  It’s simply director Ridley Scott giving fans what they want to see.  What should be treated negatively are the two, huge shenanigans in “Alien: Covenant” that, had they not been there, would have earned this movie a grade A.

Shenanigan #1: **SPOILER ALERT** Fassbender, as David, easily places his stolen spaceship above the city of “Engineers” and drops a crapload of bio-weapons on the Engineers below.  So these Engineers, with their highly advanced tech capability, had no way of knowing who was piloting their ship, and just let one of their own spacecraft hover above their city without any sort of vetting on who was actually inside the ship?  And where were the other space vessels of the Engineers throughout the city?  This highly advanced race looked like they forgot to pay the bills and all the good stuff were repossessed.  Shenanigan #2: Crudup, despite seeing the evil nature of Fassbender/David, lets himself fall into a trap that even a stoner whose brain is half-baked would’ve seen coming.

The fact that I gave this movie a B despite those two giant shenanigans tells you that I really enjoyed watching this.  Yes, I am a serious fan of “Alien” movies; but beyond that, “Alien: Covenant” is a good movie that combines old school elements with the new, and it definitely deserves to be part of the “Alien” lore.

And now, for my most memorable, movie moment of “Alien: Covenant”: the scene when **SPOILER ALERT** Fassbender/David fights Fassbender/Walter.  For a brief moment, this sci/fi flick becomes a kung-fu flick.  It was surprising and entertaining.

— M

Matt Damon plays an astronaut.  Again.  He is on another planet.  Again.  He is stranded.  Again.  He needs to be rescued.  Again.  Only this time, in “The Martian,” Damon isn’t a jerk.  Quite the opposite, Damon plays an extremely likeable scientist/botanist who is left behind Mars by his team of astronauts when a sandstorm strikes and Damon’s team believed that he was dead.  With a temporary base camp for shelter and about one month of food, Damon has to use every resource he has available — including his sense of humor and a never give up attitude — to survive long enough for NASA to send help.

Damon’s character is so intelligent and resourceful that I mistook him for MacGyver a few times.  Make no mistake, 99.999% of us wouldn’t make it past day 10.  Does that make this movie highly unrealistic?  Of course not, because there are thousands of highly intelligent people out there; and NASA doesn’t send idiots out into space.  Plus “The Martian” is considered sci-fi, so a bit of shenanigans are allowed.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Damon’s team (you know, the ones who scurried off the planet and left Damon for dead) are on their spaceship and close to Earth, and they are given the news that Damon and NASA have suffered several setbacks and Damon will most likely die on Mars.  But…there is a small chance he could be rescued if Damon’s team slingshots around Earth, picks up supplies provided by the Chinese, and heads back to Mars to prepare a James Bond-style pickup while in space (you’ll see what I mean if you watch a lot of James Bond movies).   It is a risky plan that jeopardizes the lives of 5 more astronauts/scientists and adds many more months of space travel, and the team takes a vote on whether they go home or go back for Damon.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Martian” is the scene when Damon figures out how he can create more food and oxygen and water to wait out the rescue that he hopes will come.  The ingenuity of this guy is amazing, and it is at this point that I was really rooting for this guy to make it.  I think most of the success of this movie is owed to Damon’s character connecting with the audience — we care about this guy, we feel great when he figures out a problem and are saddened to see a failure.  For two hours and twenty-four minutes, Damon is our friend who we want to see come home safely.

Yes, Maximus, I was entertained…but also confused regarding some of the science stuff that just went over my head.

— M

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve watched “Prometheus,” and while it’s still fresh in my mind I will write about it.

I’m a huge fan of the Alien movies.  I even bought and read the comic books made from them way back when I was younger.   So, of course, I’m partial to liking “Prometheus.”  But I think I’d still like this movie if I had never watched any of the Alien movies.  “Prometheus” is simply a good, sci-fi flick.

So…the most memorable moments in this movie.   Top honors would go to the opening sequence where a human or humanoid (his head looks like an Easter Island statue, and his skin color was gray, I think) stands near the edge of a waterfall.   He disrobes, and he is freakishly built.  If Arnold Schwarzenegger had sex with a mountain gorilla instead of his maid, this humanoid creature would be the result.  Anyway, Easter Island dude pops something into his mouth, and his body starts to disintegrate.  And it looks very painful.  He falls into the waters below, and we see his DNA spread out into the waters.   Although it’s not explicitly stated, we are to assume that we Earthlings are the product of this idiot’s sacrifice.   I’m sorry, but there’s no way in hell I would give up my life — and in a painful way at that — to bring forth life into a planet.   I’ll toss in some cut fingernails, maybe spit in the water.   If that doesn’t bring about life in a few million years, oh, well, I tried.

On we go to another memorable moment in “Prometheus.”  The semi-suicide of one of the crew, who becomes infected with Alien crap.  He knows he’s screwed, and his body is morphing into something that doesn’t make him happy, and he’s in a lot of pain (similar to the ones we feel when we see the final cost of filling up our gas tanks).   So at the entrance to the ship, he’s told to stay back because of his infection.   Charlize Theron warns him with a flamethrower.   Infected guy moves forward, since he no longer wants to live with his affliction; and he’s quickly turned into a fiery marshmallow.   Being burned to death sounds painful to me.  When I was very young, I was stupid enough to put my finger in a car cigarette lighter after it was pushed in and came out.  It was…extremely painful.  I also would like to add that…it was extremely painful.  And that was just the very tip of one finger.  Anyway, why didn’t infected guy ask for some drugs to make him super happy, then sleepy; and tell his crewmates to kill him after he’s passed out?  Yes, I know the burning is much more dramatic.  But when you know virtually no one would take that option of being burned alive while conscious, you can’t help but cry “b.s.” either out loud or in your mind.  Either way, it deducts points from the movie.   Only movies that are super cool and awesome can have b.s. moments which doesn’t really hurt the movie.  This movie isn’t one of those super cool and awesome ones.

Before I write about my final memorable moment, I have to warn you about a spoiler here, as I’ll be talking about the ending of the movie.   For those fans of “Alien” and “Aliens,” there is the mystery of the derelict ship and the fossilized body of the lone pilot whose chest has burst from the inside.  This pilot has been nicknamed “The Space Jockey.”  Well, “Prometheus” answers those mysteries.  Kind of.  You see, “Prometheus” shows us how the ship came to its final resting place; and we see the last surviving “Space Jockey” manning his ship during takeoff.  But…after it crashed, the pilot gets out of the ship and chases our heroine.  The “Space Jockey” is grabbed by an octopus-like alien, and has something forced down his throat.   The “Space Jockey” wakes up — still far from his spaceship — and an alien bursts out of his chest, killing the Jockey.  Therefore…how do we still have the body of the “Space Jockey” in the pilot seat in the spaceship in the movies “Alien” and “Aliens?”  Maybe I missed some piece of information, maybe there were two surviving “Space Jockeys”…I do remember watching this movie intently, paying attention to every detail.  And as far as I can remember, there was only one living “Space Jockey.”  So if I’m right, what hell, Ridley!

Hmmmm…between this paragraph and the previous one, a few hours have passed; and after doing a bit of research, it turns out the planet that the majority of “Prometheus” takes place on may be different from the planet involved in “Alien” and “Aliens.”  But if you’ve seen the first 2 Alien movies and then watch “Prometheus,” you’ll understand my confusion.  And confusion seems to be what Ridley Scott is creating.  No this isn’t a direct prequel to “Alien,” yes this has some DNA involved with “Alien,” no this has nothing to do with “Alien,” yes this has somethings familiar with “Alien.”  What the hell, Ridley!  I’ve seen “Alien,” “Aliens,” “Alien 3,” “Alien Resurrection,” “Alien vs Predator” and “Aliens vs Predators: Requiem” a combined 50 times, rough guess.  “Prometheus” is definitely a prequel to the Alien saga.  Why the director is acting coy like a 13 year old schoolgirl about to get felt up for the first time, I have no idea.

If it walks like an Alien, hisses like an Alien, and kills like an Alien, it probably is an Alien.


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