Great Scott, Ridley, you’ve lost the plot

 

Ridley Scott Infographic

This article contains SPOILERS, so if you have not seen Alien:Covenant and intend to see it, then stop reading now.

In space, no one can hear you scream, but they sure can in the cinema.

And screaming is exactly what I felt like doing after sitting through Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott’s worst movie yet.

Ridley, how did it come to this? How could you have directed two of the best sci-fi movies ever made — Alien in 1979 and Bladerunner in 1982 — and then give us this drivel?

What’s more, Ridley, Bladerunner and Alien are not just good movies, they are masterpieces: original, beautifully filmed and with a bunch of well-developed characters running around on atmospheric sets and acting their pants off.

Sure, Bladerunner was based on a Philip K Dick story, but you took it and created a cinematic legend.  Perfect. Not a wasted line or limp scene in that movie.

And before that, you had taken Dan O’Bannon’s screenplay and made Alien into something sublimely creepy and unforgettable.

So what happened with Covenant?

What happened when everything good you can say about Bladerunner and Alien, you can say the exact opposite about Covenant? Where those two movies were atmospheric and disciplined, Covenant is heavy and scattered. Where Bladerunner and Alien were original and exciting, Covenant is predictable and boring.

And the characters, Ridley, the characters — if we can call them that — because not a single one of them had any character. Heck, I can’t remember most of their names. Never a good sign when you want your audience to care about them.

And why should we care about a mob of mostly dull, stupid people who do dumb things like explore alien planets without spacesuits and who do even dumber things like separate from the group to take biological samples and, would you believe, take a leak. During which aforementioned leak-taker becomes infected with, yep, you guessed it, an alien virus.

Which, by the way, is why you wear a space suit when you explore an unexplored…oh, forget about it. The truth is, I wanted you all to die the moment you got off that ship without your helmets. Who hired you guys? And were you really astronauts or just pretending to be?

And the sad thing is, we know you can make us care about the characters in your movies, Ridley. We know this because you took the time to set up their personalities and relationships in Alien before they all started keeling over. And you spent quite a bit of Bladerunner showing us the more sensitive, vulnerable sides of Deckard and Rachel and the rest of the replicants before any of them keeled over too.

I have to say, after Prometheus some of us began to wonder if you’d already lost the plot because the crew also did the “let’s-take-our-helmets-off-in-this-spooky-cave-on-an-unexplored-planet” routine.

And the characters were also devoid of character and the dialogue was about as exciting as dental floss.

But because we all love the original Alien, we were willing to forgive Prometheus. We were willing to forgive its lack of atmosphere (and how you can create atmosphere when you try, Ridley) and the unconvincing old-man makeup worn by Guy Pearce to make him look old. Not.

We were even willing to forgive the captain for telling his terrified crew to go to sleep in a spooky cave and that he’ll come and rescue them in the morning while he goes off and gets it on with another crew member.

But I for one will never forgive you for Covenant.

Unless maybe, just maybe, it was the six screenwriters’ fault. In which case, you aren’t fully to blame. But surely a director of your fame and talent would have had control over the final draft? And if not, why not?

So sorry, Ridley, I no longer trust your direction. I will only see your Bladerunner sequel if the critics give it a good rap. Every single one of them.

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About the author

Claire Bell is the health and wellbeing editor of Midlifexpress. She is the author of Stone Age Secrets for Mind and Body and Comma Magic. Print and ebooks available on Amazon.


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