Sunday, 14 May 2017
#42 & 43: ALIEN COVENANT
Starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir. Written by John Logan and Dante Harper. Directed by Ridley Scott. Running time 123 minutes. Budget $111 million. Cert 15.
Flushing the foul taste of Alien Prometheus into the cold vacuum of space comes this, Alien Covenant, the 6th official film in the Alien franchise, the third to be directed by Ridley Scott and the second in the proposed Alien prequel series.
Learning his lessons from Alien Prometheus, well almost, Ridley has cleverly given us what we want, more xenomorphs more, scares, more gore and more action. Also by doing away with the writing 'skills' of Damon Lindelof in favour of John Logan and Dante Harper, Ridley is able to deliver a far more satisfying and vastly less stupid movie than its predecessor. That said, it still seems that in 100 years time, humans are far more stoopider than they are now, since they do insist on doing really stoopid things on alien planets, of which more later.
The plot, set ten years after the Prometheus mission went missing, joins android Walter as he pilots and maintains the colony ship Covenant on its long seven year journey to a distant planet with a crew of over 2000 sleeping colonists and crew members. When a freak interstellar neutrino flare sees the ship damaged and its hibernating captain incinerated Walter is forced to revive the flight crew to help him repair the ship. And it's while reparing the ship, one of the crew members, Tennison intercepts a
strange distress call and the ship decides to investigate the signal which leads them to explore a massive type M planet within weeks of their location rather than the seven years of their proposed target planet. And so the ship, now under the captaincy of Billy Crudup decides to investigate.
The new planet is swiftly reached and an expedition team dispatched. It's there on that strange, utterly silent planet (no animals, birds or insects exist on the storm lashed planet) that the shit finally hits the fan, over and over again and a survivor from the Prometheus is discovered living alone on the alien world, that we soon discover is the home planet of the Engineers. But why is it now silent, what happened to the population and just what the hell are those giant egg things down in the dank basement..?
Damn Ridley Scott is a satisfying director, his skill at framing shots, establishing tension and directing action is almost peerless, it's a shame he seems less concerned about his scripts. And while this is a vastly superior movie to Prometheus, it's still has supposedly intelligent characters doing stupid things to push the plot along.
But this is nit-picking and as I'm loathed to say endlessly about other films, this isn't real and it certainly isn't a fly on the wall documentary. It's a bloody satisfying and entertaining science fiction action/horror film that delivers a thoroughly entertaining, stylish and well-directed slice of schlock that doesn't skim on the monsters or gore. while also giving us some fascinating interplay between Michael Fassbender's Walter and the sole survivor of the Prometheus that form the core of the movie. The other human characters take a back seat to their shenanigans but that isn't a bad thing. Apart from the aliens, the androids are far more entertaining than the human characters.
This is a very obvious sequel with nods to all your favourite bits plundered from earlier films while new twists on old tricks are wheeled out to some gruesome effect.
Not half bad! 8/10