Sunday, October 1, 2017

Film Review—Alien Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant (Review)
United States/United Kingdom/2017
Format Viewed for Review: Vudu
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Review Special!

"It's a worthy addition to the Alien series, although it's not nearly as horrifying or tense as the original."

A colony ship lands on an uncharted but inhabitable planet and discovers a terrifying threat.

Alien: Covenant is a sequel to Prometheus. The plot follows the colony ship Covenant as it travels to a remote planet called Origae-6. During their trip, however, the ship is damaged by a stellar neutrino. The crew awakens to tragedy, but they quickly get back on their feet. And, as they get back on their feet, they discover a rogue transmission coming from a nearby planet that resembles Earth in terms of habitat. So, the crew heads down to find the source of the transmission and to examine the planet to see if it's a suitable place for their colony. Of course, everything goes wrong. I won't spoil anything else, although the trailers probably spoiled more than I did so far. It leads to a strong climax and a painfully predictable ending.

I really enjoyed Alien: Covenant. The first hour or so of the film was immersive, intense, and frightening. It evokes a sense of isolation and discovery. It almost feels magical, like the first time you watched Jurassic Park. It doesn't quite match Jurassic Park, but it evokes a similar sensation. There were also some surprisingly gory and even emotional scenes. And everything is well stitched together, creating well-paced and engaging experience. However, around the middle, the film does lose some of its steam. The sense of discovery and isolation also dwindles, creating a much more predictable horror movie—a slasher, in a sense. It eventually picks up for the last thirty minutes, but, as I already stated, it can be hit-or-miss. I enjoyed the climax, but anyone can see the ending coming from the beginning.

Another issue I had with the film was the characters. Now, don't get me wrong, most of the characters are likeable. Tennessee (Danny McBride), for example, stands out as a great character. On the other hand, Daniels (Katherine Waterson), although likeable and somewhat interesting, severely lacks the presence of an iconic character like Ripley. The ridiculously large cast essentially overwhelms her. So, it feels like there is no main character in the movie. Also, like in Prometheus, these characters tend to do stupid things. So, yes, this film is also contrived. The plot contrivances aren't as annoying, though.

The acting was all around great. Katherine Waterson performs well as the leading lady. Danny McBride delivers an incredibly impressive performance. And, Michael Fassbender once again delivers a dedicated performance. The film was shot beautifully. Seriously, this is a gorgeous film that should be watched at the highest quality possible. The music was also great. The special effects might not be for everyone, but they were undoubtedly high quality as well. The screenplay was written by John Logan and Dante Harper; Ridley Scott served as director. Again, the writing could have used some work to fine-tune the second act and iron out the plot contrivances. Otherwise, it works well enough as a sequel to Prometheus. Ridley Scott's direction is great, though. Not only does he have an eye for beauty, he also knows how to create atmosphere and dread.

Overall, Alien: Covenant is a very good movie. It has its fair share of flaws, but it is still very entertaining and even frightening at times. It's a worthy addition to the Alien series, although it's not nearly as horrifying or tense as the original. If you go in with an open-mind, I think you'll like it.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some nudity.

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