Alien:Covenant

This film has been on my mind a fair bit since its release. I had mixed feelings going into it due to Prometheus. Prometheus is a movie I think is very beautiful to look at and has some decent bits in, but overall is a bit of a mess. It feels like it’s trying to tell two stories by two different camps from the production standpoint. In one camp you’ve got the urge to make an prequel film for the Alien franchise, and the other camp want to make a film about creationism. Add in some daft elements in the script (run off to one side!) and we’ve got a film which is hard to love, also the technology is massively advanced compared to the other films. I know the Prometheus is an advanced space craft but they could have easily made the tech look like that of the previous films (Sorry, this is something that really bugs me!).

The problem of what film is being made carries on into Alien:Covenant. On one side we’ve got a story about colonists wanting to find a new world to settle on, then on the other side we have the urge to look at this creationist storyline. I’ve watched this movie maybe half a dozen times now and I really believe there is a good movie in here, if you take away that creationist element, and some of the dumb-ass choices the characters make. There’s a bit early on about a funeral that shows there is friction between the characters, but it feels ham-fisted. The funeral is forbidden due to repairs needing to be done, but the repairs could wait and the funeral is brief. It feels like it’s there just to create conflict.

If they took away the David storyline, the plot device of wondering off to another planet and just had a story about colonists arriving at a new planet to then find it was once inhabited by an alien race that died out. Then they find an egg and chaos ensues. Why couldn’t we have had that movie? Up until David shows up we’ve got the makings of a really good atmospheric horror movie and then it slips into a psycho-robot-with-delusions-of-being-a-god movie.

When I think about the original Alien movies they were pretty straightforward. Horror and action pretty much, what you saw was what you got. They never really felt like there was a grander story happening that needed to be addressed. They were just what they were. There was social commentary there, but it was subtle. You didn’t feel like you were being hit over the head with it. Maybe that’s what they need to get back to. Imagine the type of social commentary we could of had in this film if it had been about landing on a planet for colonisation only to discover these horrific aliens that had maybe already wiped out an alien species that had been on the planet before.

Where this series goes in the future, I don’t know. There’s rumours that this new generation of Ridley Scott Alien movies is a trilogy and there’s a third part coming, but this movie didn’t do especially well. So I’ve got to wonder if Fox will give it one more go, drop the franchise for the time being, or go in an entirely different route altogether.

Time will tell, but I know how I’d like it to go.

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11th January 2017

Each time I write the date in the blogpost title I keep wanting to write December (yes I put a post out the other day having done just that). It’s a little hard to believe that it’s almost halfway through January already.

Anyway, to today’s progress. I wrote a damn good 652 words during my lunch break today, which I am really impressed by. Writing an action scene is always a lot of fun.

This evening I was at a Write-In, but nothing got written. It was more of a chill out evening and a lot of fun. I am about the halfway point in the edit now, and have a bit of momentum going.

Short and sweet tonight, I’m gonna finish watching Alien and then off to bed.

9th January 2017

Toady I wrote 659 words on Penal earth before work and during my lunch break. This evening I have dragged my heels a little bit. I had a little trouble getting rolling but when I did I managed to edit through 3500 words of The Space Watch.

I think a problem I’m having with getting started each day with editing is its been so long since I’ve done any real editing I’m a little wary of it. Hopefully the more I do the more easier it’ll be to get rolling.

So far the story isn’t in too bad a shape, but I’m still in the bit I was on before I stopped for NaNo, and it’s the bit just after NaNo that I’m worried about. I fear it’s going to be messy and require a fair amount of re-writing, but if it does, it does. There’s not a lot I can do about it. I’ll try not to get demoralised by it if I do have a lot of work to do to tidy it up. I need to look at it as just another step in the process.

Reading wise I’m about half way through Day of Chaos: Endgame (Judge Dredd). This story is just getting better and better and I’m loving the artwork in it. I’ve also started listening to Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon. This is the audio dramatisation of it and I’m really digging it. It’s reminded me just how much I love the Alien films, and also how much I love anything set in space. I’ve got an urge to watch the Alien movies, and films like Sunshine, Moon, Pandorum, Avatar, and Event Horizon. Also the Predator films, and I want to dive into the Star Wars movies again (loved Rogue One, by the way). So I think over the next few weeks I’ll be digging these films out of my movie library and having a little look around Netflix and Amazon video, I might start with The Expanse, I’ve heard that’s good.

Tonight though I’ll be getting into Day of Chaos: Endgame before bed. I want to see how this gets resolved.

Movie Monday: Alien Vs. Predator

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Alien Vs. Predator is the mash up of two movies series that. Any fans had been waiting for a long time, but I don’t think this 2004 movie was what they wanted.

Me, I like it. It’s not by far the best movie involving out of all the Alien and Predator movies that have been made, although I would like to say that the Alien Vs. Predator sequel is one of the worse films I have seen. Back to this film though. A team of experts is taken to an area near the Antarctic to investigate a sudden heat signature that has appeared under the ice. Once there a hole appears in the ice that leads down to the source of the heat signature. This allows them to get to the source quicker.
Once there they have a little look around, tripping a pressure switch as they do. This activates a series of mechanisms at the deepest point of the pyramid that is under the ice which raises and awakes a frozen alien queen that has been held there. Above ground three Predators have killed the support team and have made their way underground.
In searching the pyramid the team find a sacrificial chamber and many human remains that show signs of ritual sacrifice, although one of the team points out that it looks like something has broken out of willing sacrifices. After this the team split up and half go further down into the pyramid and find the Predators weapons and remove them from the stone case that they were in. This is when all goes to pot. Once the weapons have been removed it activates the pyramid. Alien eggs move up into the sacrificial chamber and, well you can guess. The walls in the pyramid also start to move around as well trapping different characters in different areas. People start dying and so on.

I can see why a lot of people do not like this film. It does not have the feel that any of its predecessor movies have. Sanaa Lathan is good as the lead but not entirely convincing. Raoul Bova is okay too. There is some good work by the support cast, Ewen Bremner and Colin Salmon especially. I loved seeing Lance Henriksen as Weyland too.
I like Paul W.S. Anderson’s work too but this felt like it missed something. It did not hold the horror edge that Alien did, or the intensity or aliens. The rawness of Predator was also missed. I think it lacked a lead. Sigorny Weaver, Arnold Schwarzenegger really took the reins of the earlier films and I think that having had a more powerful lead would have helped the film hugely.
It’s one of those films that I can watch frequently, its easy too watch and does not leave me scratching my head. The visuals in the movie are beautiful and the script is well worked.
It is deffinately worth a watch though, just don’t expect it to be as strong as Alien, Aliens or Predator.

Book Review : Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

In this book we follow the journey of A young man called Artyom as he travels to the heart of the Moscow Metro system where mankind has taken refuge after A nuclear war.  Artyom is given A mission by the mysterious Hunter to tell the authorities in Polis, at the heart of the Metro, of A new threat that is creeping down into the Metro from the radiation covered city above them.

I found this A really fascinating read.  It showed me A world that I had never encountered before.  I am still a relative novice when it comes to reading and this is the first novel that I have read which has not been written by someone who is U.K. or U.S. based.  I got sucked in by how Glukhovsky pulled this world that he has created together.  He explains A lot very clearly, but also very subtly.  There are no times during the novel that I felt that I was having background information shoved down my throat.  There is little of why mankind has had to surrender the surface of the planet.  Glukhovsky drip feeds very little about the nuclear war and I did find that A little frustrating.  I want to know why the bombs fell, what were the triggers and so on.  But I appreciate that it is not needed for the story that is being told.

Everything we see of this world is through the eyes of the young Artyom.  He has never really ventured to far from his home station, VDNKh, which is near the edges of the Metro system and A little isolated.  So we as readers get introduced to much of this world through the eyes of someone who has only experienced life from his own small part of the Metro.  There were A few moments where I felt he was A little easily led, and there are others times where he makes A stand in the face of oppression.  There are more than A few times where his life is hanging by a thread.

His journey could not have been made without the aid of the people that he encounters throughout the book.  Most help him but some just try to draw him into what will benefit them and give no consideration for Artyom’s mission.  Some of these people try to make him part of their religion, or need him to find some artifact.  Glukhovsky breaks society down very nicely in places.  There are obviously those who are religious, others who are communist, a Fourth Reich exists underneath Moscow in this world.  Along with the Hansa group these, as I recall, are the most prevalent communities that Artyom encounters.  There was only one group of people within this world that I was not totally convinced by, but It is a good example of how mankind will accept anything that we are told just to be accepted and have some of our freedom removed.

I have always been found of the lack of information of A horror.  In Ridley Scott’s film ‘Alien’ we do not encounter the beast until we are a fair way into the movie, and when we do we don’t really see the creature in all its glory.  So I was chuffed to find that this novel did not give us readers much to see when it came to the mutants. In the early stages of the book there is little to no given details of these creatures.  It is not until Artyom gets to the centre of the Metro that he comes face to face with these bogey men that haunt the inhabitants of the subterranean Moscow.   I feared for our hero at many stages during the book, even when I had a fair chunk of the novel to read I found I was worried that Artyom would not survive.

 

This whole story could easily become reality.  Not only are the characters very real but the world that they live in could become real in a blink of an eye.  As I said Glukhovsky never really explains why mankind pushed the button that led to the missiles flying through the skies to rain down not only death of mankind but also A crippling aftermath that mother earth will take more years than we can count to recover from.  This world that has crawled underground after this apocalypse sucked me deep down into it, I lost myself when I was reading and was able to truly escape into it.

I did not see the ending coming, and I found it especially spectacular in its own way.  I have so many questions that have not been answered but that did not leave me feeling unsatisfied.  The ending worked amazingly well.

I cant wait to read Metro 2034.