Movies Roundtable: Alien: Covenant Ranked in the Alien Franchise

***The Alien(s) franchise has been through a number of iterations with some famous movie-makers taking various turns at the helm. With the release of Alien: Covenant this weekend, what is your favorite Alien movie/era?

Mike Noyes

The Alien franchise is a great series because even the weaker films have something to offer. It’s also a series that has had strong director’s for its entire run.

The greatest films are easily the first two. Ridley Scott’s original master piece is an amazing slow burn horror film. James Cameron kicked it up a notch to make a kick ass action film. The vibe of these films couldn’t be more different and each is an excellent example of its genre.

David Fincher’s Alien 3 gets a lot of flack. I avoided seeing it for years because everyone told me it was horrible. When I finally saw it it was nowhere as bad as everyone said. The same can be said for Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s stab with Resurrection. Granted, the last 15 or so minutes are the worst thing ever, but there is a lot of great stuff leading up to it. Swimming aliens!

I enjoyed Prometheus and I am looking forward to seeing the new film this weekend.

Brendan Campbell

I absolutely love the Alien franchise. Next to Star Wars it’s my all time favourite science fiction series of films, and while I try to keep myself in check when going into any movie, I’m beyond thrilled to step into the world of the Xenomorph once again today when I go and see Alien: Covenant.

For me it’s not hard to choose my favourite film out of the bunch: it’s James Cameron’s Aliens without question. I remember seeing it as a kid and just being completely captivated by it. I didn’t even know what it was at the time, but I loved Ripley, the space marines and the Xenomorphs.

The first time I watched it it was on TV, I believe. I somehow stumbled upon it while out with my parents at a family friend’s house. It’s funny because one of the scenes I remembered most was when Hicks and the team set up sentry guns in the corridors and the bullets just keep getting lower and lower until they’re empty. Just so intense and awesome.

Years later I’d watch it again and had no idea where that scene went. Had I made it up? Because it wasn’t in the version I was watching. Then I’d learn that there was a director’s cut, and low and behold, my childhood memories were a reality and the sentry guns were back!

It’s just such a fantastic science fiction movie with such a perfect cast, flawless direction, a tight story and just loads of fun. The first Alien is masterful at suspense and horror, and I actually saw that second, which wasn’t a bad thing.

What I love most about the first three films is the differences they bring to the table instead of simply rehashing the same tired scares and monster beats over and over. Alien is where we’re introduced to these creatures, so everything is unknown and we’re as unaware of what’s to come as the crew is. In Aliens, we’re aware of how dangerous these things are, and so is Ripley. And to counter the fact that she’s escorted by heavily-armed space marines, there are hundreds of these deadly creatures and not just one.

The one that gets a lot of hate is Alien 3. I love the premise and idea of Alien 3. While I hated seeing Hicks and Newt just killed off so quickly at the start, I loved the idea that a facehugger had stowed away on their ship, and now a Xenomorph was loose on a desolate prison planet that has no weapons on it.

Granted, the theatrical cut isn’t the greatest, if you haven’t seen it, I HIGHLY recommend watching Alien 3: The Assembly Cut, which adds 25 minutes of footage, reworks a lot of the story, and adds a lot more depth to characters and themes. I actually put that version on par with Alien and Aliens, which is saying something.

This is getting long, so I’ll finish it off by saying that I enjoyed Alien: Resurrection when I was younger, but upon viewing it again a few years ago, I really realize how mediocre it is. Funnily enough, I actually really enjoy Alien Vs. Predator and its sequel for the fun monster mashups they are.

As far as Prometheus goes, I actually enjoyed finding out how and why the Xenomorphs came to be and thought it was a great science fiction tale. If they can mix aspects of that story with the horror elements of the original film, then we may be in for a treat with Covenant!

In short: Aliens is my favourite film, go watch the Assembly Cut of Alien 3 if you haven’t seen it, it’s okay to pretend Resurrection doesn’t exist, and the Predalien is one of my favourite movie monsters ever.