Alien: Covenant Review
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Alexander England, Goran D. Kleut, Guy Pearce.
So, it's fair to say Scott got a little burnt by critics for his Prometheus and could it be he's heard the cries of the alien fandom? Though, in the defence of the studios, they seem to be getting a hard time pleasing everyone no matter what they do. Much like the Star Wars franchise, Lucas got a lot of grief for The Menace Phantom for not being a "Star Wars" Movie and then Abrams gets a similar amount of grief with A Force Awakens for daring to be too much like a "Star Wars" movie. So it seems the studios can't win either way.
It has to be said, that when I saw the extended snippet of a scene of the crew conversing just before going into cryosleep, seeing Franco and McBride together, I immediately thought this was a parody clip made for Comic Relief or Saturday Night Live. I can't actually take anything serious with those two sharing the same screen.
This is a direct sequel to Prometheus and another prequel to Alien. Set ten years after the disappearance of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in the year 2104. A team of colonialists consisting of married couples are bound for Origea-6 for them to colonise. Though, similar to Alien, they are interrupted by a stroke of bad luck which brings them to the decimated home world of Prometheus' engineers and thus, a new cycle of xenomorph begins with an interesting pair of helping hands.
This does answer a lot of questions whilst still leaving much to think about with some questions from Prometheus going unanswered, especially Dr. Elizabeth Shaw's ultimate quest. Or did I miss it? Even though parts of it is very predictable which is assisted by plenty of visual cues taken from resurrected from Alien and even other Scott films. There's quite a terrifying realisation of what's going on, coming round full circle and fulfilling the prophesy that mankind are truly the architects of their own destruction.
It's very hinty and sneaks in elements from the key films of the franchise, like they stripped these films of their good characteristics and redressed them, piecing them together to form a familiar yet fresh alien film. Even the music echoes Horner, Goldsmith and Streitenfeld's scores of the previous films, like audio prompts to make you feel something. The sounds too, the digital bleeps and bings are so recognisable, and the creatures clicks.
I actually liked the characters in this film, but again, they're like carbon copies of characters seen before. Waterson's Daniels obviously echoing Ellen Ripley, even coining the very same killing phrase at the end. I'm not a fan of McBride, it's his obnoxious attitude that puts me off, but he pleasantly surprised me here. I like the idea of Walter, Fassbender's American version of David. He dangerously skirts close to Terminator territory here.
Crudup provides an additional religious belief to the story, something more Christian than Dr. Shaw's in Prometheus. It's nothing heavy and plays a relative small part to the story, but the religious subtext reminded me very much of two Alien comics published in the nineties. One being Aliens: Salvation written and drawn by Dave Gibbons and Mike Mignola, the other being Aliens: Sacrifice written and drawn by Peter Milligan and Paul Johnson. Both being a worthy read if you're a fan of the comics.
There's more action here than what Prometheus gave us, but, like Prometheus, the CGI isn't so great. Again, having something real is more believable than having it computer generated. There's some great gory scenes but it all lacks tension and any real horror, possibly because we're so familiar with the Alien.
It's a good central piece, now making a little more sense than Prometheus, or at least it feels that way. It's certainly a better piece than Prometheus as an Alien film and it has rekindled my interest into where Scott intends to take the story next.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 6
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yeah, to complete the set too.
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