Return To Form...
- Alien: Covenant review by MG
"Prometheus" pretty much divided critics and audiences everywhere when it came out in 2012. It wasn't what many had expected and seemed to raise more questions than answers. For the record I think it's okay, a good slice of sci-fi that has wonderful visuals, some good ideas but essentially a grand B movie. Probably not what people were expecting though from Scott.
"Alien: Covenant" is more conventional in many ways, a simpler story to understand but one that has a few twists and turns of it's own. The idea of creation is very prominent but it is still sci-fi and sci-fi horror at that and here it delivers. Lots of gore, running, screaming, people sweating in panic and terror, subtle it ain't!
Yet for me it works, the cast are all generally good but this is Fassbender's film and he really delivers here. He's the Ripley of this Alien timeline if you like, it's his interactions with the aliens and engineers that bind everything together.
Will be very interesting to see how the story evolves in the inevitable sequel.
7 out of 9 members found this review helpful.
An ambitious sci-fi that's too cold to live up to the franchise
- Alien: Covenant review by BG
Every time I watch Covenant, I get more divided about it.
In the cinema, I was enthused and excited.
Reading the novel, I was struck by how antiseptic some of it feels. Now, re-watching it on 4K, that feeling persists.
The 'Alien' is about something primal; the fear of a hideous and possibly prolonged death at the hands of something invasive and unknowable.
David, the android protagonist of Prometheus, and one of the antagonists here, is about cold detachment. A superior intellect. Something chilly and remote.
Unfortunately, Scott has declared publicly in words that he's bored with the alien and only interested in the AI threat, and that's something he conveys here with the imagery. After a beautiful space chapter, Covenant is a film of browns and greys. Derelict structures, empty woodland and deserted floodplains.
It comes briefly and sometimes powerfully alive with the characters' fight to survive - and a standout sequence based around the first emergence of a threat shows that Scott still has ferocious horror chops when he chooses to bring them; however, despite some delicious character interplay and elegant dialogue, much of the rest of the movie takes pains to be cruel, remote and cold.
It also commits the cardinal sin in horror of demystifying the beast at its core.
For decades, Jaws and Alien have been held up at the monster-movie templates; Jaws largely because of technical malfunctions that forced Spielberg to reimagine his villain into a rarely glimpsed threat, and 'Alien' because of a startlingly unnerving design that only gets deployed in brief, horrifying moments.
Now, the man who brought us one of those templates chooses to not only spell out exactly where it came from, but to show it as subordinate to a threat that some viewers find less interesting. It's akin to saying "Oh this? It's not that interesting really. And it's almost just a pet..."
It might be one of the most damaging moments in the franchise, and with Scott's declaration that he wants to sideline the Alien even further, a strong indication that the studio should have ditched him and stayed with the mooted (and braver) 'Alien 5'.
For those after chilly intellectual thrills, Covenant does deliver on some levels, and Scott might still be able to bring us a decent closing chapter if he can control his influences - but it's an antiseptic beast next to the emotion and terror of 'Alien'.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.