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Alien: Covenant is not Prometheus 2

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 that’s not quite the the personification of evil, but does have bad intents on the human race. Since then, I’ve 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 I’ve 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 attacks some scientists and pirates who must fight back and survive.

What if Prometheus doesn’t have anything to do with anything after Alien?

But Prometheus is a different film entirely. It’s the movie that broke the Alien mold and I think that’s why the fans of the genera didn’t like it. They wanted more “monsters vs…” and instead they got something different.

Prometheus is a horror movie that’s not really a monster movie though there are monsters in it. It’s almost a body-horror movie with characters being infected with something “icky” 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 you’re looking for wants to be found when it really doesn’t.

Prometheus Movie Review. 

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, I’m friends with a few of them. But for the most part, whenever a news story about Prometheus appears online it’s snark, snark snark about that movie and why can’t 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 don’t do anything different, but they also don’t like it if the sequel is too different then the original and takes the franchise in a new direction. It’s 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 doesn’t unfold they way they think it should.

Which is what looks like is happening with Alien: Covenant. That movie, in theaters now, looks like it’s a return to the monster movie genra for the franchise with the crew of a colony ship the “Covenant” 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 don’t think I’m 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 hadn’t been so savaged by critics or had done better at the box office.