Alien Covenant (d. Ridley Scott USA/UK/Australia/New Zealand/Canada 2017)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

Entertainment:

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Performances:

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Predictability:

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Technical:

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Introduction

In 1979 the horror and science fiction world got a complete smash and reinvention; and the film world in general got a lesson. Alien (d. Ridley Scott USA 1979) was like nothing before and showed an immense imagination to creature design and suspense as well as the use of its characters. Furthermore, and what was really unlikely, Alien got a follow up with Aliens (d. James Cameron USA/UK 1986) that actually took new territory and expanded on the biology of the xenomorph in a way that complimented the original film. It also switched genres that lessoned the horror but upped the action but still made for an effective piece of cinema. Alien³ (d. David Fincher USA 1989) was plagued with huge pressure and nightmares around its studio involvement. It left audiences confused as a result despite managing to handle some complex subject matter in a daring fashion and keep the dreading atmosphere throughout. Alien Resurrection (d. Jean-Pierre Jeunet USA 1997) did not fare as well in any of these regards and so we saw the franchise come to a holt in 1997. We saw a spinoff with Aliens Vs. Predator (d. Paul W. S. Anderson USA/UK/Czech Republic/Canada/Germany 2004)and (maybe collapsing to audience unanswered questions) Ridley Scott returned to the helm of the franchise with Prometheus (d. Scott USA/UK 2012). It was not a good Alien film. It was a good film but not really anything to do with Alien. It seemed the director wanted to tell a completely different story but ride the success of his 1979 film. Alien Covenant (d. Scott USA/UK/Australia/New Zealand/Canada 2017) (despite the talks of an Alien 5 appearing) is Prometheus 2.

The Look

Ridley Scott will always bring a nice set design, creature design and generally amazing cinematography. This is why he is so suited for science fiction and also one of the big strengths of Prometheus. We’ve seen his best in Alien and Blade Runner (d. Scott USA/Hong Kong/UK 1982/2007) and this energy isn’t lost on the director now. This new film (which I shall insist on calling Prometheus 2), boasts the same strengths as its predecessor. Despite some odd moments of depicting the Alien in some unflattering and un-suspenseful ways it does look good and it does look powerful and unlike in Prometheus POSSIBLE SPOILERS. We do see the Alien END OF SPOILERS.

The Creature

In both characters and story, Prometheus had a lot of problems. These problems continue here. Ridley Scott seems to really like Michael Fassbender and his performance as David, but doesn’t seem to realise that this shouldn’t take from the rest of his characters who are mostly one dimensional. One of the other things Ridley Scott did with Prometheus, which again continues its problems here is give a creation story and to give alternative looks to the Alien; that feels far from the Alien that we love and wanted. Throughout the film there are some disastrous changes brought to the franchise that takes away from the original film if we apply the biology of the creature to the legend of its species. This makes for a really disappointing watch and again, angry watch for Alien fans. We, also, only start to see suspense towards the end of the film and then it’s too quick for it to really take hold. Throughout the plot points are predictable and it makes it hard to get invested in the characters despite some great performances.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, this film is Prometheus 2, with all the faults to come with it. Its got a great look and actually for science fiction fans it’s worth a look for that alone. However, for Alien fans…. I think the Alien franchise is dead. We’re not seeing much that actually comes from a good Alien film and none of that magic. The deaths are basic (really suffering the 15 certificate) and the suspense and dedication to character just aren’t here. Worst of all though, we’re actually taking away from what the Alien is. Prometheus 2 that is all you are.

Synopsis

10 years after Prometheus a new spaceship comes across the planet that David (Fassbender) and Dr Shaw (Noomi Rapace), the survivors of the Prometheus, had arrived at.

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender

Interview with Ridley Scott

Interview with Cast

Deconstructing Alien

H. R. Giger changed the way we see Aliens

Gender analysis and Ripley Part 1 and 2

Original Concept art from H. R. Giger

Alien Analysis by The Long Take

Aliens Analysis by The long Take

Alien Analysis by Collative Learning

A look into Alien

Art of Scene – Chestburster

The Body in Alien

Critical Analysis

Alien – Filmsite

Prometheus Problems

Prometheus – Interpreting Symbolism

Ridley Scott Admits Faults of Prometheus

Aliens and Gender

Alien 3 Studio Interference

The Troubled Production of Alien 3

Alien Covenant Influenced by Fan Backlash

Spaceballs Chestburster

Alien Covenant (d. Ridley Scott USA/UK/Australia/New Zealand/Canada 2017)



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