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*** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS NO SPOILERS***
Alien: Covenant is directed by Ridley Scott, and it is the sequel to 2012’s Prometheus and the prequel to the much-loved Alien franchise.
In this film, a crew of a ship called The Covenant are heading to a planet to hopefully colonise, but when they hear that there’s a much closer planet with far superior vital signs they decide to head off there instead. That turns out to be a major mistake because there’s some horrible shit going down on this new planet.
I didn’t mind Prometheus. It was a welcome layer the film series that made Sigourney Weaver a star. It was both a smart and risky movie. It was a tease of a film that left me irritated by the absence of, well, aliens, which I thought was dumb. It was like having a Superman film where Clark Kent doesn’t don the blue tights.
People complained about there being no Xenomorphs, so this time around, rather than continuing the Prometheus storyline the way it was intended to be, the Xenomorphs do appear in this film. The two films merge together. We finally get some answers that were left hanging in Prometheus.
For the most part, this movie does have that Prometheus-Esq feel about it, but it is an Alien movie. It ties together perfectly with the Alien series. From the word go you can hear that Jerry Goldsmith score, which is a nice little bonus. Even the way the title comes on screen is straight out of Alien.
Ridley Scott is the greatest director of Sci-Fi ever. No one directs Sci-Fi the way Ridley Scott does.
Not only are all of his science fiction movies just gorgeous on the eye, they’re very bold and have a lot to say. It’s not always about the Alien creature, even the first Alien which some could just call a movie about a monster on a spaceship, had so many themes just in its art direction, production design, sexual imagery. Everything about that film is as close to movie perfection that you’re going to get. It’s common nowadays for movies to use a green screen or rely heavily on CGI. That isn’t the case here. Sure there’s some of that, but as you know Ridley Scott is obsessed with practical effects. A lot of the scenes are in-camera. You can tell because Scott is obsessed with getting things in-camera. Watch the special features on Prometheus – you’ll be blown away about just how much of that movie was not green screened. Bottom line, this film is truly breath-taking.
There are some things I don’t like about this, and a lot of it has got to do with the tone. There is defiantly a point where Prometheus converts into Alien. It’s at that point where it just feels off. Don’t get me wrong; I did enjoy this movie. It’s very exciting and fun to watch, everything looks amazing, and the acting is top draw – especially Michael Fassbender. With regards to the tone, there’s a very dramatic shift in the third act – and while I was excited about it, and hoping for it, and looking forward to it, it just didn’t feel like it was the same movie. It also follows the same formula of Prometheus and Alien. It felt like at times I was watching a re-make of Alien ’79.
The other thing that spoils this movie for me involves a certain character. This is a non-spoiler review so you’re safe with me, but when you discover what this character’s motives are, it makes it obvious how the movie will end.
I mentioned the acting, in particular, Michael Fassbender. He really carries this movie in a lot of ways. He has a lot of work to do and he commands every second of screen time he is on. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Danny McBride’s performance. Katherine Waterston is the modern version of Ripley and she does a good enough job. She wasn’t bad – far from it. I just wished that she was booked better at times. There are times where her resemblance to Sigourney Weaver is almost a mirror image. Even down to the same attires at times.
Inconsistencies aside, I enjoyed watching Alien Covenant. It’s the third best Alien movie, in my opinion.
It’s well worth your time.
Rating: *** ½ (Aye, it’s canny)