5 good things Alien: Covenant should keep from Prometheus
5 good things Alien: Covenant should keep from Prometheus
Weekend Movies: Nothing, Nothing
19 May, 2017, 21:37
You would be wrong.
Most of Alien: Covenant's problems essentially stem from the fact that, while it certainly sows the seeds to be about something, it never really quite follows through with its ideas. Fassbender is the clear lead, from the first scene. He is a next generation character that is immortal and he meets his brother, David, in the unknown planet. He is overseeing the ship that's on a course to bring 2000 colonists in suspended animation to planet Origae-6 where they will start a human colony with the aid of hundreds of human embryos. A newer synthetic is onboard: Walter, also played by Fassbender.
The burst caused the sleep chamber of the ship's captain to malfunction, killing him.
The action later in the film, on the other hand, seems more in tune with Disney/Marvel action-adventure spectacle than the moodiness and intimacy of the original movies. Roused from sleep, the crew deals with the emergency and picks up a mysterious transmission seeming to emanate from a nearby earthlike planet. Absent the intriguing images of the giant pilot in the crashed ship that tugged at the imagination of viewers 40 years ago, "Alien" might have been a standalone scarefest, remembered for its strong female lead and aforementioned chest-eruption, but without staying power. Do xenomorphs enjoy gestating in unassuming dudes' stomachs?
Thankfully, Alien: Covenant more than makes up for that omission.
John Logan (Spectre) and Dante Harper provided the Alien Covenant screenplay.
A distracting false ending aside, the film maintains its hurried momentum throughout once it shakes off the slow start, and it's hard to imagine any fans of the series leaving the theater with anything other than delightfully dazed grins. The film plays for one hour and thirty-one minutes.
The interaction between Fassbender's two charcters make for some of the movie's more absurd moments, including potentially meme-inspiring silly dialogue, an awkward semi-romantic encounter and a silly bout of robot-fu. "You just put your lips together and blow". The film sets them apart by appearance and accent, but even without that Mr. Fassbender ably differentiates the two, imbuing David with an arch humor to mask his ingrained contempt for the humans he was built to serve.
If that were the entire story of "Alien: Covenant", the movie would probably be better than it actually is. In that film, septuagenarian director Ridley Scott returned to the Alien-iverse he created and then left to others. It was cool! Did you know that in the early press for Prometheus, Ridley Scott alluded to their maybe being two androids on the ship? This, of course, makes it easier for said characters to make dumb decisions - Crudup's choice to land on this unusual planet is more logical than stupid, but most of the decisions he and others make afterwards are just idiotic.
The "Alien" franchise has always been a battleground for the philosophical and physical tussles for dominance between human, alien and artificial intelligence. Waterston would make a fine Ripley-esque lead, if she didn't feel like a supporting character in David's relentless quest of creating something flawless. Not only does it not need a backstory, a backstory can only serve to make it less compelling because explaining it unavoidably takes it away from being a horrifying abstract embodiment of cosmic phobia and makes it just another movie monster. And there's a way to place a phenomenal dual performance from one of our best actors in a genre piece musing on the philosophy of life and creation. The only drawback is the scare meter, especially for the moviegoers who already know what the aliens look like, how they are "born" and their attack mode.
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