Dear Mr. Scott-
Long time fan, first time caller.
Once upon a time, what made you stand apart, aside from a beautiful eye and great DPs, was your ability to breathe life into characters. The script, of course, has a great impact on that, but you were a master of taking what was on the page and getting the actors to shine with the roles. Characters felt real. They felt grounded. They felt iconic.
While Prometheus was pretty as all get out, I couldn’t bring myself to re-watch it because the characters (and the script’s actions) were laughable. The only redeeming value to the characters, the only thing of any interest, were the actors playing them. Prometheus was all eye-candy, from the FX to the actors. It actually plays better as the world’s most expensive screen saver.
Alien: Covenant fares much better, largely in part due to Logan and Harper, the screenwriters. The progression of events and character reactions make sense, even if in this universe no one ever cares about protective hygiene on a new planet. There’s some serious problems with continuity to the first movie, but perhaps somewhere in the future 5+ films you intend to make in the universe, someone will fix those holes with story. Overall, we have a much better film.
But the character problem remains. The actors are still the only reason to care about any given character. While there’s something to be said for slice-of-life, in media res characters, the reason horror works is down to caring about either the characters or the monster.
Which brings us to the other point: The Xenomorphs have become a sideline in their own franchise. There was a dreadful weight to them in the originals that’s absent here. The Xenomorphs here look cool as hell, and are beautifully animated at points, but that’s all surface. They’re simply props for the characters…which we don’t care about…to deal with.
Instead, we get more David. Which is, honestly, awesome. Fassbender and his massive frame are fascinating to watch, and the character, trope-warts and all, is a good one. In fact, it’s the only one worth caring about in the two films, and it seems the screenwriters are aware of this. Which means, like Prometheus, we don’t get an Alien film, we get a film set in the same universe with cameos of the titular beast to drive the action and nothing more.
As such, I humbly suggest a rebranding. We have the Alien Quadrology, which you kicked off, and now we have the David Dodecagology (or whatever it becomes). I realize this will need to redo all the marketing materials for the streaming and disc editions to David: Covenant, but better to do it now than on an anniversary release and just confuse everyone.
It’s a shame about the gorgeous poster used for this film, but I’m sure many people would not object to all the Xenomorphs in the art being replaced by multiple Fassbenders in those poses.
PS: Multiple Fassbenders is my new band name.