The original Alien film taught me that in space no one can hear you scream. A couple of days ago I learned for myself that in a very crowded bus, during peak hour traffic, everyone can very much hear you mutter, "whaaaa the fuuuu?".

This was an immediate and involuntary reaction to this news I'd just read on Twitter, 'Ridley Scott has an idea to work Ripley into his Alien prequels'. Whaaaa the fuuuu?

Sorry, I just did it again. I can't help it. As far as ideas go this can only be labelled a bad one. I'd go as far as to call it the second worst idea the 79-year-old director has had in regards to the direction he thinks the Alien franchise should head.

His numero uno bad idea is every aspect of his Alien prequels, 2012's boring Prometheus and this year's odd-hybrid sequel Alien: Covenant.


I wouldn't say that A:C is a bad film, it's more that it's not a good film. The attempt to graft two very different films into one not entirely successful. You end up with the wannabe cerebral elements of the former awkwardly nestling up to the action-horror the early Alien films are celebrated for.

That a director in his twilight years would want to use his art to examine big ideas of religion, creationism and existentialism is not entirely surprising.

But - and someone get Sir Mix-A-Lot on the phone because this is a big but - is Alien really the best place to be exploring these sorts of ideas?

Spoiler alert: Hell's no.

At its core Alien is a monster movie. Because it's in space it gets lumped in with sci-fi but it's not. Really, it's a simple horror movie; A small group of people in a situation they can't get out of are slowly picked off by an unstoppable terror. This description fits Halloween, Friday the 13th and, yes, Alien.

No one looks to Jason for the meaning of life. No one's asking philosophical questions of Mike Myers. So why does Scott think big ferocious space cockroaches hold the key to life's mysteries? Dunno. Maybe I should ask them.

Still from Alien: Covenant NZH 11May17 - RGP 27May17 - FICTION: We know films like Alien are unreal, designed to make us watch, yet we hang on to the fallacies they propagate, like if you work
Still from Alien: Covenant NZH 11May17 - RGP 27May17 - FICTION: We know films like Alien are unreal, designed to make us watch, yet we hang on to the fallacies they propagate, like if you work

It's also hugely unfortunate that these prequels are systematically destroying everything cool about the Xenomorphs. Slapping on a convoluted and ridiculous history strips the horror of their very being right from them.

All the back story these phallic creatures of grim bloody death need is that they just are. That's it. No further explanation necessary.

This new jibber-jabber about a paranoid android creating them in a lab with a pen and a pad but he forgot about Dre, and blah-blah-blah is nonsense.

Xenomorphs should just be evil space-cockroaches that somehow got off their home planet a long time ago. Maybe a discovery team (human or Predator) made the bad idea of landing there, opening their ship's door before quickly realising this was a bad move and taking off again with a couple of stowaways... From there the Xenomorphs spread rapidly throughout the galaxy.

This makes way more sense - and would be a way more fun movie to watch - then the current notion that a malfunctioning robot just thought it would be cool to make them.

And now, on top of all this baloney, Scott is talking about shoehorning original heroine Ripley into the story? Whaaaa the fuuuu? Sorry...

A few days ago, Scott said, "We're heading toward the back end of the first Alien so it may be feasible. Ripley's going to be somebody's daughter. Obviously. We're coming in from the back end."

So Ripley's grandma happens to be there when the Xenomorphs are created and then decades later, Ripley's own spaceship will - by pure chance - stumble upon the wreckage of her dead grandma's ship? Whaaa the.. you get the idea.

Guess space isn't that big a place after all. Who knew?

This is unofficially known as the Star Wars effect. No action or event can ever happen without at least one, preferably two, original trilogy characters being shoehorned in somewhere.

In this context it's hardly shocking to learn that last month Scott expressed admiration for George Lucas' storyteling.

"The way he's handled Star Wars has been spectacular. It's what I've been trying to do to really evolve Alien."

I'm certain this is the first time anyone has referred to the Star Wars prequels as 'spectacular' without immediately adding the word 'failure'. The more Scott expands and explains Alien the less frightening the whole thing becomes.

Alien really doesn't need a universe behind it. All Alien needs is a dark confined space, a small group of people and some place no one can hear you scream.