Jack Sparrow and the Alien: It’s Been Real, But It’s Time for Both of You to Go

Alien Covenant
Century Fox/REX/Shutterstock

A character who rules over a multi-billion-dollar global movie franchise always deserves a grand entrance. But “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Alien: Covenant” raise the question: How grand can your entrance really be when you’ve never gone away? In “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” Jack Sparrow, the sloshed freebooter who’s like Captain Morgan on opioids (hasn’t he heard that they don’t mix?), first shows up as a dissipated mess, rousing himself to consciousness as he lies inside a great big metal bank overflowing with gold coins. For a moment, you think you’re seeing Johnny Depp wake up in his bedroom. But even as the series winks at the idea that Jack has seen better days, it leaves us with a non-winking reality: He sure has.

In “Alien: Covenant,” the Alien’s first appearance gives you a similar what’s-old-is-new-but-not-really feeling. We’re on a leafy planet, in rugged terrain that looks perfect for a camping trip; the novelty is that the Alien is going to explode into view not on a sterile spaceship, or inside a slimy obsidian cave with walls like a T. rex’s rib cage, but in the great outdoors. We’ve already seen microbes float into a crew member’s ear like pollen, which leaves you wondering what happened to the facehugger (as it happens, the facehugger is still around, which makes the film seem like it’s playing by two sets of rules, which it is, but never mind). Then the moment of truth arrives. There is much coughing and writhing, there is blood-vomiting, there’s a mood that strains to come off like shock and awe. But when the alien fetus bursts out, the audience feels a bit like an obstetrician presiding over his 10,000th birth. Yep, that’s what it looks like. Next!

It’s worth noting that in the original franchise era, the 1980s, when the word “franchise” was an inside-baseball syllogism that was only just starting to be used by people like Michael Ovitz and Jeffrey Katzenberg, almost all Hollywood sequels were bad — “Halloween II,” “Jaws 3-D,” “Poltergeist II: The Other Side,” “Amityville II: The Possession,” “Grease 2,” “The Sting II,” “Conan the Destroyer,” “Staying Alive,” “The Jewel of the Nile,” “Meatballs Part II,” “The Karate Kid Part II,” “Revenge of the Nerds II,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “‘Crocodile’ Dundee II,” “Ghostbusters II,” “Arthur 2: On the Rocks,” “Fletch Lives,” “Big Top Pee-wee,” “Caddyshack II,” “The Gods Must be Crazy II,” “The Fly II,” “Back to the Future Part II,” and on and on. There was a cynicism, not just among film critics but among the audiences who went to see these movies, that a sequel might turn out to be cheesy fun, but that it was almost always going to be an inherently second-rate bill of goods, because it was based, transparently, on commerce: taking the original movie and squeezing its appeal dry. The very word “sequel” had a déclassé aura.

That era, of course, is long gone. Franchises are the basic commercial architecture on which the movie business now rests, so the whole culture — audiences, critics, the industry — has a vested interest in viewing this situation without cynicism. Besides, in our era, there have been enough artful and transporting sequels, from “The Dark Knight” to the “Bourne” Films to the “Before Sunrise” films to “Toy Story 3” to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” that one’s hope can always burn bright. Yet that doesn’t mean that the old rules don’t apply. One of the reasons the word “franchise” passed from industry talk to a colloquial term is that it sounds strong and powerful. You’re not just seeing a movie, you’re glimpsing a part of something larger. You’re not just watching it, you’re joining it. But it can be healthy to return to the mindset of the ’80s and remind yourself that a sequel is often just a sequel: a movie that has no organic reason for being, even if it pretends otherwise.

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Alien” films have hung around as long as they have because of the promise that they’ll sustain the high of what they’ve done before. But that’s a none-too-grand illusion. In the case of the slovenly, nonsensical, tossed-together “Pirates” films, the promise now runs on fumes; in the case of the “Alien” films, the promise just grows more pretentious, as if the backstory of the Alien creature were part of some vast enthralling mythology that we’d all been craving to know. At times like this, it’s worth recalling the simple lesson of lousy ’80s sequels, which is that nothing kills a franchise like sheer repetition.

If you live by the pirate sword, you should be prepared to die by the pirate sword. There was always a built-in meta aspect to Johnny Depp’s performance as Jack Sparrow. In the original “Pirates” film, “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” in 2003, he wasn’t just a smart actor giving a stylized performance as a dissolute, self-centered rummy buccaneer who always managed to spit out a slurry line that was, in its chasing-logic-around-a-bender way, more literate than you expected. He was an actor of hip idiosyncrasy who went his own way. So when he agreed to be the hood ornament on a Disney movie franchise based on a Disney theme-park franchise, there was a cosmic irony to the casting. Depp, through his conviction and charisma, turned what should have been the ultimate act of slumming into a way to have his gold and eat it, too. He was the tongue-in-cheek soul of the new family-friendly machine.

His performance, however, began to look like good old slumming around the time of the third “Pirates” film, “At World’s End” (2007). For a while, Jack Sparrow was just another thing that he did; then it became the main thing that he did. And that changed the way the character came across. The whole power dynamic got flipped. Instead of being an actor who lent a square franchise a touch of cool, all because he was staying loose and having fun with it, Depp became publicly chained to what the franchise represented, since it was now the key factor holding up his brand. Depp’s whole off-camera look — the rings, the tattoos, the leather bracelets, the multiple earrings, the necklaces, the facial hair, the whole endless adornment of it — first presented itself as a series of fashion signifiers connoting his rebel independence. But then it began to play like he was becoming Jack Sparrow of Beverly Hills. And the tabloids (the toxic divorce, the money woes) only added to that. It was one thing for Jack Sparrow to be a dissolute troubleshooter chasing the gold; it was quite another for Johnny Depp to be.

Is it any wonder that the character has no lightness left, and nothing left to surprise us with? In “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” Depp delivers one line that, to me, has some of the sparkle of old. The movie’s hero, played by Brenton Thwaites, this week’s Aussie-pretty-boy-who-would-be-a-star, confronts Jack with the fact that he has no ship, no crew, and no pants. “A great pirate does not require such intricacies,” says Jack, and Depp tosses off the word “intricacies” with a myopic spontaneity that made me smile. The rest of the time, it’s dispiriting to see him go through the motions of a character who has run out of wit and juice. There is nothing left to discover, or enjoy anew, about Jack Sparrow. He’s like a sitcom mascot who has done everything but jump the shark.

Truly, though, he doesn’t look any more pickled than the Alien. “Alien: Covenant” is the sixth “Alien” feature, and what was clear 20 years ago, by the time of “Alien: Resurrection” (1997), is that you can take all the elements of this series — nightmare décor out of the H.R. Giger wallpaper collection; squishy hyper-sexualized imagery of birth and death; exoskeletal monsters with dripping silver jaws — and you can bang them together into a new shape, but the thing that can’t be recaptured, even by director Ridley Scott, is the essence of the original 1979 “Alien”: the sense of revelation, of seeing a monster that immerses the audience in transcendent horror.

In “Alien: Covenant,” the chest-bursting scene gets repeated so many times that after a while, I began to think: If the Alien is really such an advanced creature, why is it even bothering with all that gestation-and-delivery stuff? It seems, for the Jaws of Space, like such an inefficient way of coming into being. What’s inescapable is that a monster that’s supposed to chill us to our souls has become, after far too many films, as familiar as an old friend. And each time you make another “Alien” movie, you now only add to that feeling. More becomes less. Fear becomes reassurance. And something old can no longer be made to look like something new.

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  1. I’d watch a movie called “Jack Sparrow and the Alien”!

  2. Ann Joyner says:

    I remember back a few years ago when MySpace was still bigger than Facebook and there was an article that I read titled something like “Why MySpace is superior to Facebook and why Facebook is on it’s way out.” A month or 2 later Facebook was officially the place to go and Myspace was losing people left and right. My point: This is one guys opinion. Personally I’m tired of all of these stupid start wars movies. And star trek movies. I think Chris Pine is awful and nothing could compare to the original Star Wars but I’m not making a stupid claim like “It’s time for these movie franchises to go”. I love Pirates. I love the fun stories, I love the casting and I love Johnny Depp. They could make a million pirates and I would see each one. WHY? Because in this crappy world sometimes I want to just have fun and escape WITHOUT drugs. That is what hollywood was supposed to do. No it seems like all they make are car movies, superhero movies or politically motivated movies.

  3. Daz says:

    This whole culture of aggressively opposing things you don’t like is tiring me out.

    So you don’t like franchise / film / TV series X,Y or Z? THEY MUST BE DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY!

    I’m not usually in the largest group of movie fans, and I’m usually a fan of stuff that gets disposed of in favour of something being made for the largest ‘in-group’ of super-fans.
    I’m so jaded, I feel so old and tired from it. Your lynch mobs will set about killing all my favourite things. Are you pleased?
    Can I just have a couple of nice things while you have EVERYTHING else?

    Dislike what you want, please stop calling for the destruction of that which displeases your higness.

  4. It was time for him and his lame Keith Richards impression to be over with after the 2nd one, if not sooner. Talk about milking it.

  5. Jason says:

    I want Ridley Scott to finish the prequel story !

    Otherwise the people who payed for “Prometheus” and “Alien Covenant” will feel cheated.

    It’s a good and interesting story with much potential.

    They could end the prequel business on a high note.

  6. nNark says:

    Um. There is no one who calls Back to the Future II a bad movie. You rattled off so many examples, you got carried away. Kinda shoots yourself in the foot.

  7. Fool Me Twice? says:

    Alien: Covenant is what’s commonly referred to as a Free Library Rental.

  8. Clyde Mack says:

    Aliens? No. I actually am into the franchise for the first time. I saw and liked the original, the next two made me not care much.. the last two have been at least entertaining. Jack Sparrow on the other hand, I think everyone could stomach to see him hang up the pirate hat.

  9. Maahes Jones says:

    Congratulations Vareity.

    You are among those whose broader themes were completely and utterly lost on you, leaving you without anything to truly take away from Alien other than “why isn’t this Star Wars?”, evident from the fact that you clearly failed to understand wherein lies the true source of antagonism in the film.

    Any storyteller will tell you that the source of antagonism in any story is arguably the single most important aspect of any narrative. The Alien is a plot device, not a plot motivator. Fassbender’s David is the true monster here and he is a truly excellent antagonist. You apparent expectation of this being a creature-freature and your subsequent critique based on that assumption is ironic given the movie deviated from that tired formula with it’s true antagonist.

    Even the ’79 original, which by the way became *the* cult classic despite being panned at the time of it’s release, because, well, it wasn’t Star Wars, had that underlying social commentary on humanity and even watching the movie as a kid I understood that the Alien was never truly the bad guy. In fact, Ian Holm’s Ash pretty much spells it out for us in his iconic monologue and those are themes that Scott doubled down on in his new franchise. Granted; Prometheus almost buckled under the weight of those themes and some of them were too enigmatic to a great deal of people, but once you catch on to them you’ll come to realize that the film offers some truly fascinating existential questions and as a result one of the best pieces of sci-fi in recent history. The hate Pormetheus got as a result of it is unwarranted but in that regard to some extend very understandable. In this movie however some of those theme are, at least in part, broken down which is why it’s a little disappointing that you still wouldn’t catch on to them.

    As a writer myself I often look to Scott for inspiration and reference when tackling broader themes and bigger thematic designs because nobody does that quite like Scott does (except Tolkien, obviously). We live in the era of extended universes in which everything has to be part of a bigger thematic universe, but most of those narratives because end up being completely vapid and all they really manage to convey is the same event fatigue we get from it’s source material. A result of catering them to fads and hypes, rather than a compelling story. Scott doesn’t care for that. He has a vision and he’s been known to disallow anything or anyone, especially monetary intensives based on hype, to frustrate those and I think the same is true for Alien. A design like say the MCU is made up of spectacles that are composites that form a bigger spectacle. What’s more is that pretty much every other extended universe in cinema today was already an extended universe in it’s source material. Not only is Scott’s larger thematic design is original but it works from within those designs rather than towards them.

    Alien Covenant is “certified fresh” and the Alien is arguably the most iconic movie monster in cinema history. It’s highly unlikely that it’s legacy – that is, it’s true legacy – will be discontinued. I for one am very curious to see what other thought provoking things this franchise has to say about our deeply flawed existence in the future. That’s not to say it’s always exiting to see our old friend in action!

    As for Jack Sparrow? No argument there!

    • Daz says:

      Well said, Maahes Jones.
      As you slightly alluded to; general audiences want a movie trailer to make a simple promise and for the movie itself to deliver that simple idea in a straight forward way. It’s like a product package, people need it to just explain what they’re getting (Trailers these days even spoiling major plot twists.)

      Ridley Scott Alien movies have layers of subtext that wouldn’t really get picked up on in the trailers, the themes are wide in scope, but the story itself seems confined to a few characters, you almost hear people crying “false advertising”
      People generally also don’t want to think or philosophise while they watch a movie and Ridley Scott requires that they do just that.
      By the way, I genuinely respect mindless entertainment, it’s important, it’s therapeutic. I just want to enjoy the literary / philosophical style of film most of the time and I don’t want all movies to become one or the other.

    • nNark says:

      Please don’t refer to Rotten Tomatoes as any sort of support of a point. It is a conglomerate of mostly-nobodies, many of whom have no established writing cred.

      • Actually, you’re quite wrong there. Do some research.

      • Jj says:

        Scfi/thriller is the genre of Aliens if you wanna go into greater depth make a different movie in a different genre. The premise that you are talking about makes for a great story “element” not an entertaining “focus” there are a multitude of ways of looking at this movie franchise. The ability of a woman to lead, curiosity killed the cat, listen to your gut, the desire to be free, the desire to rule, the beauty of destruction etc….. great “elements” not a lure for a captivating story if its the “focal” point.

  10. The pirate, yes. The Aliens franchise not, because it’s still VERY GOOD. Hollywood is a big prequel, franchise by this point. So, the Aliens franchise will stay, bye!

  11. Kevin Tran says:

    The Pirates and Alien franchises needs to end if respective movie studios does have the guts to do so. Same could be said for the Transformers franchise and hopefully the Mission: Impossible movies and the Expendables.

    • Ann Joyner says:

      Your opinion. I love Pirates and the mission movies are my favorite franchise. Tom Cruise could be 90 and using a cane to knock people out and I’d still go see them

  12. cn says:

    Why are some people so obsessed on burying the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The global audience still love it and will come in droves for it. Same could be said for Fantastic Beasts and Transformers. These are the franchises I grew up with and they still have huge worldwide appeal. Why don’t you say the same to the MCU (overrated in my opinion) or any of the others. Wonder Woman is being used to undermine Pirates but I doubt it will outgross it globally. Doctor Strange and Moana weren’t able to outgross Fantastic Beasts either.

  13. Josh says:

    say what you want, but i love the pirates movies. Theres somethng about it that keeps me hooked. The writer seems to have a grudge against franchise movies. So should marvel and DC stop making superhero movies now, should transformer movies stopped too? I suggest the writer to stick with watching indie movies.

  14. Simon Pegg says:

    Dumbest article I ever read.

    Loved Pirates of the Carribean

    Loved Prometheus and all Alien movies.

    This writer has no respect for long lasting movie franchises. By his logic they should stop making Batman, Star Wars, Spider Man, and Fast and Furious movies because not all movies within each of those franchises were good.

    • Zákány Balázs says:

      Thanks for saving me from reading this sit all the way.

      • Suzanne says:

        Thank you…this Writer is an angry and ugly seemingly UK nationalist and I know nothing about him and will not bother to look to look him up. I’m already feeling I’ll reading this. I think he SERIOUSLY needs to hang up HIS occupation because this old man is no longer able to see Any light, assuming he ever did. Oh! BTW, Aliens Blew away Alien. And I could name other movies where the second movie was Better. (But you’re speaking of Cash?) the thing you claim you don’t care about Mr. Honorable? Ugh…

  15. sparkle says:

    true. pirates of the caribbean: dont tell tales or whatever is becoming lke bold and the beautiful, it started of with classic actors and performance, but went on to slowly shift characters once the current ones get old to their children, just to juice it for cash.

  16. the real question: do we need another blog post by Owen Gleiberman? A: definitely not, replace him with a 25 year old blogger who will work for much less money…no severance package

  17. Dr. Stephen J. Krune III says:

    Is there a worse reviewer/blogger than Owen Glieberman? I can’t think of one.

  18. Ross says:

    The Alien has become about as scary as Bella Lugosi. Bwaa!
    Please stop it. Really. Stop it!!

  19. Alistar says:

    I wanted an ALIEN sequel not a prequel, I love the alien series with Ripley and want to see her again. I’ll return to the franchise when she returns

  20. jim says:

    Wow I loved the new pirates film Id say it was the second best in the series .Please make more. I agree on aliens I wanted more engineers and that whole storyline. But the alien move I always wanted to see was were the come to earth. One lesson learned this summer was never listen to professional critics. if i had i would missed king arthur and pirates witch both sucked in 2d.

  21. Jacques Strappe says:

    Add Minions, Jurassic whatever, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Turtles, among other tired franchises to this list

  22. Ginger says:

    Everyone loves a good pirate and a good alien. There’s an idea for a movie! Jack Sparrow and the alien….”When Worlds Collide, on Much Stranger Tides .”

  23. Carolyn says:

    JD you are awesome

  24. susan says:

    capt jack you just keep on rockin with your bad self!!!!!!!

  25. tardfarmer says:

    I hope a face hugger eats your soul…

  26. Bartholomew J. Simpson says:

    Opinions are like a**holes, and everyone’s got one, so then how important is Gleiberman’s about ALIEN?

    I would never meld the ALIEN franchise with the goofy tiredness of a film franchise adapted from a theme park ride. Sure, the scariness of the actual ALIEN Xeno has diminished, but that doesn’t mean the franchise should be put to rest. As for Pirates, who cares, seriously.

    ALIEN has comic books through Dark Horse, quality toys from NECA, books, video games, and probably a lot more that I failed to mention, oh, and most importantly, it has ties to Giger’s artwork and Dan O’Bannnon’s original story. ALIEN has a greater historical significance in popular culture than Pirates. Gleiberman’s argument is very weak.

    If someone at FOX sees this comment – please continue with ALIEN and do not listen to some “opinion” by someone who obviously doesn’t even like the ALIEN franchise. Furthermore, not continuing on Ridley’s planned trajectory for ALIEN would be wasted effort (creatively & financially) on FOX’s part. ALIEN does not have to be a militaristic shoot’em up for blockbuster success, that routine is a tired one.

    ALIEN: Covenant was theatrically released at the wrong time, in between Guardians and Pirates, bad move on FOX. From a marketing perspective, it would have been wise as to present A:C as a Prometheus sequel, thus removing Alien from the title and leaving it only “Covenant.”

    THE H.R. GIGER LOOK/VIBE MUST BE HEAVILY INCORPORATED TO ACHIEVE A SCARY/CREEPY FACTOR FOR FUTURE ALIEN FILMS. Alien: Covenant paid only slight homage to Giger.

    What were you hoping for, Gleiberman? The most original ALIEN film to date? Sorry, that happened in 1979. I just hope your sour perspective on ALIEN doesn’t influence the suits at FOX squash the plans for future films.

    ***Spoiler alert*** not following up with David, Daniels, Tennessee and the 2,000 colonists would be a massive failure for FOX and Ridley, but it seems that Ridley would rather focus on a Getty kidnapping film that FX is also working on at the same time. I’m worried that Ridley might have too many pizzas in the oven and ALIEN is getting burnt from neglect.

    There are many people you love the ALIEN concept and its new prequel mythology direction. So sorry it wasn’t your cup of tea, why don’t you think of trying a different tea bag, Gleiberman.

    • Bartholomew J. Simpson says:

      CORRECTION – There are many people WHO love the ALIEN concept and its new prequel mythology direction. So sorry it wasn’t your cup of tea, why don’t you think of trying a different tea bag, Gleiberman.

  27. HeckSpawn says:

    Wish you’d published this story back before Rocky IX or Friday the Thirteenth the Fourteenth…

  28. Trey says:

    And it’s time for whoever wrote this article to shut the fuck up. Jack can keep on sailing and the alien can keep on killing. Both will forever be huge and iconic characters who’s story will never die, and never get old. Tired of it? Don’t watch it.

  29. I disagree, the character of Jack Sparrow is endless! Appropriate for any generation! How come you want to rob future kids of this magnificent character that gives and gives in every performance?

  30. RSimon says:

    Some sequels work, some don’t. It’s not an absolute one way or the odder. Sure beats these Masterpiece freakin’ theater movies coming out now.

  31. Lori says:

    “And the tabloids (the toxic divorce, the money woes) only added to that.” Whoops, you misspelled “domestic violence.” Johnny Depp is now a deterrent to seeing a film for me, and I’m not alone.

    • Johnny Depp Fan says:

      Don’t you mean unproven allegations of domestic violence that were dismissed with prejudice?

  32. Bill Hampshire says:

    And the next Bond film will be # what now?
    Another silly piece from OG.

  33. Cath says:

    Whereas we didn’t need another Pirates movie it was at least an entertaining way to pass the time. Nothing spectacular but if you went to it you knew what to expect. Considering the reviews, I was pleasantly surprised. As for Alien Covenant we also knew what to expect for the most part, but gosh, it was boring. I suppose considering the plot of that one we will be getting a sequel. Do we need one? No. My guess is that studios are afraid to try something new because the old is familiar and they draw people in. They need to figure out how to make these sequels cheaper if they insist on doing this if they are trying to make money. Also I think sometimes studios think losing money is a good thing.

    • opheliablack says:

      Cath, this was one of, if not the, smartest comment posted to this story and actually worth reading.

  34. Chetan Kulkarni says:

    Jack sparrow can never be outdated. I can watch johny depp playing jack sparrow for next 100 years and will always keep the same spirit!

  35. Wen says:

    A fine piece Owen. I am glad you wrote it. Ridley Scott deploying his considerable talents for rehashes is quite a shame too.

    • Bartholomew J. Simpson says:

      No, you’re wrong. Gleiberman’s opinion about Alien is from a conventionally centered perspective. The franchise is greater than how he views it, and it shows he did not research how rich the property is outside its filmography. The Pirates film only has a ride to support its purpose for existence.

      Was Exodus a good movie? NO! The Martian was entertaining, but hardly anything more than what it was; a film about Matt Damon growing potatoes on Mars, and Matchstick Men is just okay….

      Scott’s career took off from Alien, and he then went on to direct another classic, “Blade Runner, a treasured property.

      TO ANYONE AT SCOTT FREE PRODUCTIONS LURKING THROUGH THESE COMMENTS – TELL RIDLEY TO FOCUS ON ALIEN; COVENANT IS A LITTLE MESSY AND NEEDS PLOT HOLE REPAIRS FROM A SOLID ALIEN FILM OR TWO.

  36. Lorenzo Jones says:

    Glieberman only had to go to a theatre for the last few years to realize the heroes stay heroes for a while, then interest wanes because of same story, same faces, same stakes. Then a rebirth. Wonder Woman is a totally fresh superhero – a very bold woman. She has quite a few stories in her as she brought crossover to the film who were not afraid to let women lead. Disney has been on a roll with Marvel, but has overdone, and people are weary – slightly. Disney’s will lose some spark, but it takes longer because they have a better machine to keep them alive with the parks and consistently reaching new generations. Star Wars will survive for quite a while because we were denied the continuation of characters we loved for 40 years and their attachment was revived only in the Disney effort, not the Lucas horrible second round. Btw, Wonder Woman will not pull Hollywood out of its “sexist cave,” as Variety plugs for, the issue being silly because it’s not sexist, it plays what people pay to see. There was a Supergirl dalliance that was not pursued. Hollywood tried “Sheena” of the jungle but there wasn’t any bungle there, but Jolie in Lara Croft had a few until Jolie wanted literary films. And now, as summer roles around, we get “Hero of the Week.” Let’s see what Universal’s “The Mummy” brings, though it has to be at least good action with Tom Cruise, and the running time of only 97 minutes makes a viewer happy – but in the time of overly long movies because they play in beautiful palaces with spectacular sound and giant screens as well as luxury seats it may be a great trend to go to a movie that isn’t overly done with extra scenes for star and director ego. Alien and PTC? Both were great old friends and Glieberman is wrong. He may not want to see them, but that’s him. They can come back and visit anytime.

  37. ST says:

    Franchises are SO 1990’s.

    Everything’s a “Universe” now!

  38. dorothy vaiano says:

    when you are kid and you grow up with princesses, pirates and faires.. it is what it is.. great movies for young adults to enjoy.. and even at 65 I love the ride… “Pirates at Caribbean” it never gets old (must have ridden that right over 100 times in 35 yrs)

  39. Margaret says:

    Simple solution: If you don’t like these films, don’t see them. But don’t impose your preferences on others.

    • MadLori says:

      I don’t think expressing his opinion – which is his job, after all – constitutes “imposing his preferences on others.” You don’t agree? He’s not stopping you from seeing the films.

      • Simon Pegg says:

        He could just as easily not write the article and keep his opinion to himself. The action of writing and publishing the article is his way of imposing his opinions.

      • Simon Pegg says:

        This writer should quit writing garbage on Variety. Make his own website that no one visits.

      • opheliablack says:

        Righto! MadLori. And you don’t have to read it, Margaret! See, your simple solution can apply in more than one medium.

      • JonV says:

        Actually, given his “position” as a critic, he IS trying to impose his preference. He is essentially telling film companies – “stop making this drivel – I don’t care if the masses want to see it.”

        It’s one thing to declare that a film stinks, it’s another thing to declare that the film should not even be made.

        My two cents…

  40. Rudy Mario says:

    This time I agree. I previously did not agree with the same premise for the Fast and Furious series. That is because globally it mints money though personally the latest one gave me a headache.

    Alien is washed our and has been so for a while Jack Sparrow is fading and though the latest will salvage from outside the US, tge death signs are obvious and if the do another it could well tank in overseas. So agreed. Better to bury both.

  41. Jonathon Richow says:

    While you are eradicating unnecessary tripe from Hollywood, can you get rid of the inane comic book movies?
    If I see another supposedly grown-ass man in a superhero costume, then I’m going postal.

  42. FiFi De La Flure says:

    I think I was the only one who loved Prometheus but I felt with Alien Covenant Ridley Scott was pandering to the critics of Prometheus. Covenant was stomping over old ground that had already been covered in the franchise like Good synthetic bad synthetic Ash and Bishop in Covenant we had David and Walter. Alien Covenant had some good set pieces and was worth the IMAX price but over all it was a disappointment. R.I.P Shaw.

  43. Ron says:

    They are both good ‘franchises’. I do understand where you are coming from about the repetitiveness. And, I’m let down with the latest ‘Alien: Covenant’. It has moments that are pretty good. But everyone who watches it and are let down should remember that Ridley Scott gave the whiners what they wanted. There are a few things I would have preferred to see differently but then I’m not the artist weaving the tale.

  44. ManOfBronze says:

    The Alien franchaise needs to stay. I am enjoying the tale that is being told.

  45. Occultology says:

    So, according to Variety, Jack Sparrow, The Alien, and Bill Maher need to go. Who’s next? The MGM Lion?!

  46. Michael says:

    Hollywood gives the public what it wants. As long as the public is going to shell out money to see Alien 10 and Pirates of the Carribean 42 and as long as they make a profit, Hollywood will continue churning them out.

  47. Vince says:

    Well Alien Covenant is already the second biggest worldwide box office movie in its franchise after Prometheus (and its only been out a few weeks) & Pirates of the Caribbean has opened big. So proves this article has no weight. Research before you write stuff.

  48. Chris says:

    Give Blomkamp a chance

  49. Movie lover says:

    Owen Gleiberman is absolutely right. Both series are way beyond their prime, exhausted and actually hurting their “brands”.

    But Bruckheimer and Scott won´t stop forcing this down the audiences´ throats since the worldwide audiences have been dumbed down so much that they only want to see what they know.

    The fast food strategy has been applied like a facehugger and people are stupid enough to let themselves be infected again and again.

    There will be another “Pirates”-movie and Scott already has said he wants to crank out at least two more.

    And the studios are run by the beancounters who will excitedly say: yes!!!

  50. udpert says:

    Neil Blomkamp would have revitalized Alien with the James Cameron-style approach his script was purported to have. Sadly, Hollywood went with Scott again. Give Blomkamp a chance.

    • Jamie G says:

      Bleamchamp makes terrible movies & they’ve already announced Alien 5 is dead. So get over it.

      • Chris says:

        He’s made one terrible movie, one meh movie and one fantastic movie. He would make a great alien movie. This are only dead till they can make money in Hollywood.

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