May 19, 2017 - 2 hr. 2 min.
Director - Ridley Scott
Writers - Jack Paglen, Michael Green, John Logan, Dante Harper
Starring - Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup
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Read the Review by Keith Cheatham
One of the things I believe makes us stand out here at Red Moon, is our wide ranging taste in films. From animation, to horror, sci-fi to drama, Sean, Brandon, and I find value and entertainment in an abundance of vastly different works of cinema. Some may chastise us for being overly critical of movies, and even advise us to just sit back and enjoy the story unfolding on screen. I appreciate their sentiment, after all at the end of the day, a movie at its core is meant to entertain. However, if we didn't sit back and find the enjoyment in all films we wouldn't have the wide taste we do, and I argue that our overt criticism of certain films come not from a desire to bash everything that's not the likes of Forest Gump or Return Of The King, but to be able to enjoy even more the gems that do come along. Far too often we are given mediocrity on display because producers know the masses will see it anyway. This mindset is no more apparent than in large franchise films. A prime example being the franchise on topic today. Alien.
Beginning with Ridley Scott's masterpiece 1979’s Alien, the franchise has spawned 6 films in the main series and 2 alien vs predator movies that are best never spoken of again. The Alien series started out high, delivered an amazing sequel with James Cameron's Aliens, then began its downward descent with David Fincher's Alien 3. After, resurrection and the 2 films that shall not be spoken of, the franchise was thought in the gutter. Then comes the return of Ridley Scott, with his semi on again off again prequel Prometheus. The hope and light in the darkness, that didn't completely fail to reignite the spark, but did only manage to create a small ember. It was generally disappointing to mass audiences, and critics were fairly split. And these are the films, the ones that many would still find great entertainment in we are so critical of, because we know what the franchise should be, despite what it is, which brings me at last to Scott’s latest entry, sequel to Prometheus, prequel to Alien, I speak of Alien: Covenant. Is it the gem that has finally come along to prove our point? Eh, yes and no.
Covenant, I will start by saying is definitely a much better film than Prometheus. Prometheus started with great ideas, but never followed through, left a jumbled mess of plot lines, and was not the most coherent of films, add in some generic plots and characters, who don't always react as a logical person would and we get a film that while I and others found some enjoyment in, is still subpar. Covenant rights many of these wrongs. Taking the more intriguing point of Prometheus, such as genetic engineering and gives us a more fleshed out origin and creation of the Aliens. Covenant satisfyingly wraps up Prometheus, while dropping the less interesting and more convoluted plot threads. And while some may be disappointed to see some of the questions Prometheus raised go unanswered, I for one am glad they only followed the the better ideas.
Just as the plot is tighter and more coherent than its predecessor, Covenant also gives us a better cast of characters, with more believable motives and development than the ones in any alien film excluding the first two. Following the crew of the ship Covenant on their journey to colonize another world. Though, I must say while the character are better, there are still many gaffs in their decision making, such as prodding an alien spore. Are these really the people we entrust to ensure the survival of our species? Though they may have some lapses in judgment they are still a far cry smarter than the crew of the Prometheus, and more likable too, even if they are throwing out “F-bombs” that really don't fit into the situation. I appreciate the R-rating, given by us the action and carnage an Alien film deserves, and while the originals too had the “F” word, I feel they came more naturally than the ones thrown into almost every sentence just to have adult language.
Props goes to Ridley for his direction in this too. Set designs are always incredible in a Scott sci-fi and this is no exception. The covenant looks splendid and the aliens are never not scary. In fact, Scott does a great job with the choreography of the creatures bringing some the first film’s old school scare into the later half.
Over all this is close to the Alien film fans have wanted for years, though it's still not quite there yet. With hokey scenes such as Michael Fasbender and an alien newborn fawning over each other, it still has many kinks to work out, but if you’re a fan of the series it will still satisfy.
I give Alien: Covenant, 3 out of 4 stars.