Watching Alien Covenant

Didn’t have much else to write about, but did finally get to watch a friend’s copy of this movie.

Well it was more more coherent and better than Prometheus.  At least some things generally made sense.

I certainly agree with most reviews, Michael Fassbender did an excellent job acting in this movie playing 2 very different and distinct roles.

I’d say if you’re an AvP fan or just an Alien fan then this movie could be the equivalent of #3 for you, or #4 depending on how obsessed one is with the lore.

SPOILERS

Once again I’m left feeling very torn on a sci-fi film.

From what I understand, Prometheus was very mixed in its reactions and underperformed.  Apparently shaken by this, the makers of the next film decided to play it safe, and gave us a film that’s rather close to a remake of Alien 1.

I wish Hollywood would learn that it’s not “something new” which people are against – it’s just bad storytelling.  This is actually something I don’t blame the writer on because I’ve heard and looked into earlier drafts of Prometheus and it apparently was a competent story originally.  Somewhere along the lines, the director or editor broke it.

If you’ve seen much of Ridley Scott’s filmography, it’s really hard not experience deja vu during this one.  Indeed if you were to ask me to sum up this film it would be “alien + blade runner” as David strikes me as very much like Roy Batty without the ticking clock.  I’m not sure why Scott is so obsessed with “superior synthetic men” vs regular humans but it’s starting to make his movies predictable. Once you realize they are arguably villain sues (arguably) it’s hard to feel any tension.

Then there are lots of niggling questions that bother me.  Like why the ship has artificial gravity running when a lot of damage and danger to the passengers seems to be from falling.  At some point I wondered why Daniels & co stuck on the planet ordered the ship to move away and sacrifice themselves on the planet to save the ship.  Why is Alien 3 the only entry in the whole series that seems to grasp a concept of self-sacrifice?  Heck when we’re talking about an entire planet, one has to wonder why they don’t just firebomb the city David controlled and then go set up the colony on the other side of the planet.

It also destroys tension to have the humans constantly losing and self-sabotaging.  When the first baby neomorph was born, I was annoyed the thing wasn’t stomped to death and shoved into a box.  The first alien worked because the crew involved was a bunch of space truckers.  In this movie the crew involved are supposed to be frontiersmen – and they act like urbanites going on their first camping trip.

When they were in space and it reminded me of The Martian I liked it and any scene with Michael Fassbender in it was captivating.  There’s just still something… missing.

Which is a shame because looking at the deleted scenes and extra short films on the blu-ray, I cared more about the characters and connected with them in those, than the film proper.  Maybe a longer director’s cut someday will give us a film that’s over halfway decent.

See also: What were they thinking…

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