Sunday, May 14, 2017

#Movie #RECAP Alien: Covenant

Yesterday I went to see the new chapter in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant.
And to be honest, I still have no idea how I feel about it. Was it good? Was it bad? I can’t really say, I think I need to let this one aside from my mind for a little while... Let’s discuss some details[As usual, WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD!]

This new episode is really Prometheus 2. Fox probably forced the Alien in that title there to distance the film from the lukewarm reception of its predecessor.

It does actually have some more Alien-ysh in it, but it continues Ridley Scott’s recent obsession with retconning the Alien series into his own.

The more time passes, the more I get his Director’s Cut of the original Alien. People thought the egg-morphing in the Director’s Cut was strange.. or that his original idea for having Ripley killed off in the original film’s alternate ending, and the Alien develop speech enough to leave a new distress signal was pretty weird.. well, those ideas were perfectly in line with what ol’ Scott presents in this film.
Let me just say I’m a huge long-time fan of the franchise. I even find some stuff to love about the lesser entries in the series. David Fincher might hate himself what he did for Alien 3, but it had a unique mood and atmosphere, odd plot and special effects aside. Sure David Twohy’s original script might have been better. And Alien Resurrection was a weird final product, but I love his weird French touches and some great scenes it had. And similarly, Joss Whedon’s idea might have been better on paper. And even AVP and AVP-R... well, no, let’s go into those two...

Anyways, Convenant felt like another retreat. This is like the third time (Director’s Cut, Prometheus, Convenant) Ridley Scott remakes his original story of space-faring crew gets lost on abandoned planet, discovers Alien, gets infected and killed one by one.

Only this time the first half felt like a remake/second try on Prometheus and the last act was the proper remake/new take on Alien 1.
I don’t wanna make it feel like I hated the film. Like Prometheus, there was a lot of good too here.
Ridley Scott is one of the last greats of his generation, he has a fantastic eye for scenery and beautiful photography.

Although some special effects left much to be desired somehow. I’m thinking all the small Neomorphs/Xenomorphs looked kinda unfinished and badly implemented.

And yes, there’s a ton of CGi here, a lot more than I’m used with this series. And it looked kind of rushed - GOD I miss practical Alien costumes!!
The cast was pretty good - as it generally is with this series.

Katherine Waterston did pretty well as Ripley/Noomi Rapace stand in for the film. Did Ridley Scott get mad with Noomi so he did that to her poor character, or was it always the plan? No idea. The crew was decent if expandable and only really comedic actor Danny McBride really surprised me with his fun and likeable character.

We had a tech crew of an industrial ship in Alien 1, military forces in Alien 2, bounty hunters in Resurrection, (the dumbest) scientists in Prometheus and now a colonial ship in Convenant. So it was easier to forgive them for their missteps for getting involuntary infected here, unlike the space biologist that gets infected and the geologist with 3D-mapping that gets lost in Prometheus.

And so much Michael Fassbender... Ridley Scott sure has a crush on the man... twice the Fassbender this time! From background supporting character in Prometheus to main character of these Alien prequel films in Convenant! He’s a great guy.. but there was such an awful “flute” sequence in the middle of the film.. what was that, Ridley Scott??? Was it homo-erotic, robo-erotic or just plain Fassbender-erotic?
More compliments for the film: the music of Jed Kurzel was pretty good. Much better than Harry Gregson-Williams’ generic epic score for Prometheus. Kind of in between that and the original Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Alien 1, even reprising some cues.

(I did think they made it sound more Star Trek-kish than Alien a couple of times tho...)
It’s a pretty weird film.

Ridley Scott’s clearly trying to tie these prequel stories into Alien 1, but I feel like he’s creating more and more holes in the grand scheme of things, and retconning to many details for my tastes.
The Aliens are not just bugs, monsters or the deadliest species in the galaxy, but simply the creation of the synthetic David. That’s right, he is the one that created the creatures from the original film series.

Hence why they were bio-mechanical in appearance.

Ridley Scott ditches the whole huis close-take of the original, or horror story, for a tale of Creators vs. Creations, which was already part of Prometheus. Engineers are ditched for the background this time and easily disposed of. They even looked like clumsy prehistoric dudes, not the super advance species we feared in the previous film.
This goes to show the original Alien wasn’t exactly the soie product of Ridley Scott alone, but had a lot more input from the hands of Dan O'Bannon, David Giler, Walter Hill and, heck, even Giger. Without them it’s just Ridley Scott’s crazy take on Chariots of the Gods?.
So to summarize things up: I liked Convenant. Felt it had some great ideas. But also a ton more weird stuff in it.

Is it a better film than Prometheus? Probably.

I don’t think I actually wanna rewatch it anytime soon. (Although I probably will rewatch Alien 1 soon to clean up my thoughts)

And I would rather replay through Alien Isolation instead.

(PS: Ridley Scott confirmed Neill Blomkamp's Alien 5 - Alien: Awakening will never, ever get made. Geez, Scott, you’re so possessive of the franchise now that you’re pushing 80! Where were you when Paul Anderson made AVP!?)

(PS2: Ridley Scott said he would to make 2 more of these!!!!!!!!! Another film to properly tie in Prometheus/Convenant with Alien 1. And probably an interquel in between Prometheus and Convenant ....??! Why!!!?!)

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