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Movies => Good Movies => Topic started by: dean on May 13, 2017, 12:49:43 AM



Title: Alien: Covenant 2017
Post by: dean on May 13, 2017, 12:49:43 AM
I like to call this movie and Prometheus: Ridley Scott takes substances and starts waxing lyrical about the meaning of life.

There are some great themes here, but some of it is pretty dense/pulled off really haphazardly.

The short version: I enjoyed it's thrills better than Prometheus. It still has the 'people do stupid things' element Prometheus has, but much less and the crew are infinitely more likeable, capable and better portrayed. Aliens are better portrayed here, for the most part and Fassbender is a delight, despite how hammy he is in parts.

But man, Scott has basically done an undergrad arts course on Philosophy is what it kind of feels like. It's a movie of two parts; goofy philosophy and tense thrills but it kind of doesn't know what it's meant to be and the editing and plotting pretty much kills a large portion of the suspense. Since we know what the Aliens are all about Scott is pretty much on autopilot here with a few cool kills that if it was the focus of the movie would have made this amazing. But we have this wedged in between Fassbender's David quoting writers, playing flute and generally being a bit of a kook.

Any suspense from the end 'battles' is kind of ruined with a sense of inevitability and any reveals are projected well in advance. A classic example is a crew member being told to look into an egg: we know what's coming and it kind of sucks the fun out of it that we know these things are coming. Its just so explicit in its obviousness.


The longer spoiler version: Lots of talking about creation, and a lot of bloat, plus a 'android learns to play the flute' scene which is both really interesting and really silly at the same time. The crew of the Covenant are off to a planet to create a new world. These colonists are full of hope, a bit of faith and this sense of family shows through in how the characters interact with one another. Danny Mcbride is a standout here: funny but heartfelt and it's a nice change of pace from his normal a-hole characters. The crew are in hypersleep, looked after by another Fassbender android "Walter" before their ship is damaged in some kind of anomaly thing and they lose some crew/loved ones (including a blink and you'll miss it cameo from James Franco which is an interesting casting choice which I think had more meaning and maybe got largely left on the editing floor)

Once the ship is repaired and the dead are grieved they discover a rogue transmission (a John Denver song no less) from a planet nearby that looks like an even better prospect than their original destination, so they decide to investigate. Once on the planet they discover the crashed ship from Prometheus and on the way unleash a few bacteria things that infect a couple of crew who in short order get torn apart by little baby aliens who wreak havoc on the landed ship and force the remaining crew to wait for a rescue.

While waiting, the aliens come back in a scene that reminds me of the Raptors in Lost World and it's great but before it builds any traction they're rescued by David from Prometheus who takes them back to the ruins of an Engineer city. This place looks creepy, is incredibly well shot and the atmosphere is stunning. Whilst there Walter and David have some chats about the meaning of life and meeting your creator and I'll kind of leave it there.

Overall I enjoyed it but was ultimately frustrated by the fact that the best plotlines and moments were too short in order to make way for the lengthy philosophising going on. Make no mistake, this is a Prometheus sequel despite the 'Alien' title. Strip out most of the philosphy and focus on the thrills and tension and you'd have a really good Alien film.

The good: Lots of great art design with some really nice callbacks to Giger in the artwork David makes of Elizabeth Shaw.

The Aliens are pretty effective and decent here, even if the stakes are so obvious there is no real tension for the most part.

The flashback of David arriving to the planet is terrific albeit a bit silly. I really wish they set the film during the travel to the planet/focused more on that aspect as it'd make one hell of a film.

The bad: Continuing the tradition of killing off great characters of screen, Rapace is here in mention only which is an incredible shame. Franco's character being burnt alive in his hypersleep pod is also a waste as I didn't even know it was him until his partner plays a video of him whilst greiving. The youtube prologue (which is quite good from a character point of view) even has his character a bit sick saying 'I'm burning up' which kind of gives you an insight into how formulaic some of the twists and 'surprises' are and how obvious it's set out.

A scene towards the end is pretty much there just for the trailer. Whilst it was fun it was a waste of a moment and literally existed just to get an easy kill in near the end. Side note, is this the first time we've had nudity in an Alien film? The brain imagines how that scene could have gone from the trailer and easily could have gone down much more disturbingly if they lingered on it longer.

Still a lot of silly plotting. If you hated Prometheus this isn't much better.

The editing (or at least the scenes) are a bit all over the place. The David landing on the planet scene would have made for an incredible opening scene but the way it is put in there just seems a bit off.

But yeah, overall alot more coherant, much better characters but gotta wonder what Sir Scott is smoking these days as he seems to need a bit of focus and much better pacing/ed

3/5. Probably about right: I enjoyed it more than I should have thinking about it a couple of days later, but a few gripes and a lot of silliness knocks it down a point or so.


Title: Re: Alien: Covenant 2017
Post by: kakihara on May 15, 2017, 01:04:36 PM
Were any of the unanswered questions from promethious answered? Like the opening scene were the engineer desolves into the water?


Title: Re: Alien: Covenant 2017
Post by: kakihara on May 15, 2017, 01:06:07 PM
Oh, i should learn to spell prometheouses. Almost got it.


Title: Re: Alien: Covenant 2017
Post by: dean on May 15, 2017, 03:38:58 PM
Were any of the unanswered questions from promethious answered? Like the opening scene were the engineer desolves into the water?

No but it was more coherant and goes a bit more into the how and who created the Aliens as we see them 'later'.


Title: Re: Alien: Covenant 2017
Post by: Dark Alex on May 15, 2017, 03:42:40 PM
Part of me really wants to go see this movie and it to be great, but the other part of me is worried its going to get Prometheous all over again.


Title: Re: Alien: Covenant 2017
Post by: clockworkcanary on May 24, 2017, 07:16:45 AM
Possible spoilers...

Very mixed feelings about this movie. First problem as with most prequels is explaining stuff no one asked for. Killing the mystery can cause problems (see Michael Myers).

The question of "is it really a retcon" has been coming up a lot. The wife and I came away with different interpretations. My instant reaction was that it's a retcon, that while interesting itself, didn't need to be. The wife says the next movie should make the connection, but I find that a weak way to tell a story.

Note: Wasn't a big fan of Prometheus. Search for the creator story ...and those stories tend to just move the goal posts (we discover "creators" only to now wonder how "they" were created...)

So, in a nutshell, an android took the engineers bio weapon and experimented and evolved it into the xeno we know and love. Ok, that's an interesting take (and I like the concept of human's creation creating human's destruction) "aka throw a little Blade Runner into the mix"

But that raises questions: How did a ship full of ancient eggs, a fossilized space jockey (with evidence of chest bursting) crash land on LV426 all before David did his experiments? Maybe it's just me, but I prefer that they were ancient, mysterious, and unknowable -aka "Alien"

Sure, apologetics can answer these flaws, but they never should have been an issue in the first place.

Yet, it was a fun viewing experience, overall. It was great to see some Alien havoc. And really, this series has been done to death -there isn't really anything to add to the original premise that hasn't been done before, so they're going on a new timeline, somewhat like comics do.

Mixed feelings indeed.


Title: Re: Alien: Covenant 2017
Post by: Zapranoth on June 01, 2017, 02:37:14 AM
You're not the only one
With mixed emotions!