Review of "Alien Covenant (DVD)"

published 09/11/2017 | SirJoseph
Member since : 08/03/2012
Reviews : 543
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Super
Pro Cast, Twist, No Main Characters! Soundtrack, Concepts, Ending
Cons Predictable, Long, Spores, American
exceptional
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Characters / Performances
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"In Space, No one can- Just watch the damn film and shut up!"

Alien Covenant (DVD)

Alien Covenant (DVD)

Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla (Introduction)

Never surprised to see my fellow Ciao members and I at a disagreement for the umpteenth time. I don't need to name names, just read the other reviews for yourselves, one claims the film has a great cast, then contradicts itself claiming they're 'mis'-cast. The other spouts nonsense of Alien 3 being too feminist despite the films only female role nigh on getting raped and ogled by a jail full of murderous men. Amusing that said film fails the comical 'bechdel test' (a ridiculous method of defining whether a film is 'feminist' enough!) failing on the very first requisite (and others) - It has to have at least two [named] women in it. So instead of dragging conflicting opinions and political commentaries into this, how about we just get on with the film eh? I mean the first 2 Alien films were ground breaking enough, whilst pushing a strong female character to the forefront without it feeling ham-fisted, patronising and pandering like in today's cinema. Sure the Alien name got dragged through the mud with the 2 spin-offs including Predators but Prometheus at least tried to restore the franchises honour - whether you liked it or not, you gotta admit it was at least classier than Resurrection and nowhere near the lows Alien Vs. Predator. So I say again: just watch the film and let it stand on its own. If you can't do that, compare it to the only comparable in Prometheus - countless critics and people on here hated that so considering how different this feels, you may be pleasantly surprised when you aren't muttering with crossed arms: "it's nowhere near as good as the first 2."
Take me home, Country Roads (Story)

The Covenant is a colony ship heading for a planet to set up base, start a new. Disaster strikes swiftly when the crew are viciously awoken from their pods due to an unforeseen stellar burst to find their captain trapped and soon enough, incinerated. Demoralised, the crew disobey orders and have the ex-captain, James Franco, ejected into space in a Jack Daniels laced ceremony. Repairs done and a transmission humming a melody is picked up from a nearby installation. Afraid of returning to their pods and the newly appointed captain eager to prove himself, they investigate and touchdown to the planet that remarkably, appears ideal for terra-forming. Split into two parties, the crew are barely able to explore when two men are overcome by spores that entered them via local plant life. The victims tire and bleed. Violently shaking and eventually, experience a brutal... Expulsion. The lifeboat gets blown up and the heavily armed crew are torn to shreds by two small xenomorphs, losing jaws, hands and lives in the process. Scattered, several crew members deceased and 2 aliens causing havoc, they are only saved by the appearance of a reconstructed David, sporting a dishevelled, recluse haircut. Going into the cinema, I knew I had to arrive with an open mind about the whole things. Let it stand on its own, otherwise I'd be nitpicking throughout and generally having a bad time. Luckily, we are treated to the good bits of all films, the ships, the twists and the aliens. That lengthy ending sequence in Aliens? Oh yes. The end? Exceptional. Unfortunately it got judged by the same people who slammed its predecessor and either hold unreal expectations or never liked the series to begin with. For the most part though, it got an above average rating it perhaps deserves.
"Hey erm, little less of the 'old man', sweet tits..." (Positives)

The first thing to note is the fan service supplied in the form of the Covenant - the ship everyone's on. It's full to bursting with little details that made the first films so awesome. Blinking buttons, industrial tech, tepid mood lighting and a central console that all crew gather around - a place of comfort and warmth for anyone who's played a sci-fi video game. With the death of the ships captain so early on, the crew undergo an expected shift. Franco's body is still warm (smouldering) when the second in command tells everyone to refocus and get going. His order disobeyed, his worries of not being taken seriously are bared for all to see and he reveals his own insecurities around his religious beliefs. Then, as if to prove himself, he demands they all go and investigate a rogue signal from an unknown planet, despite protests. A huge amount of conflict and chaos delivered within 25 minutes. The soundtrack must be mentioned. What's more, this blow leaves the film without a focal point, something usually defined further along in the films, but while Daniels is seemingly a lead role (a solid one at that), the survival of others and lack of over the top heroism is what makes this a surprisingly realistic set of characters. Not only are the remarkable works of Wagner played and performed but the miasmic tones of the first Alien films are restored and still manage to sound fresh and eerie as they did before. At one point, it sounded like composer Jed Kurzel had taken influence from the hollow dread vibes of The Social Network and spectacular video game composition legend Jeremy Soule (famous for his works on the Elder Scrolls games but similar to the Knights of the Old Republic here) Last of all, I can't stress enough the brilliance of Michael Fassbender - a double role of two androids/synthetics, one a well spoken, curious creator, the other a straightforward jack of all trades. He even kisses himself at one point. Fanboy fantasy confirmed.
"Hey, language, language! Be respectful there... Sugardick" (Negatives)

It is predictable at a point. I admit, I figured out the little twist at the end and proceeded to tell my other half. When it came to fruition, sure I felt a little smug but it didn't dampen my opinion of the film, however I understand it would like do so for others. As soon as the parties start scouting on the ground, a couple come into contact with spores that infiltrate two of the men. This aspect didn't gel well with me because it seemed more of a way to demonstrate how CGI can be used (it looks unreal, in a bad way - nice depth of field though) but also a downright refusal on Ridley Scott's behalf, to divulge (or decide) how to come up with the true origins of Alien. Yes we learn how the most familiar xenomorph came to be, but as for the most tangible beginning? Plant spores, really? This is no spoiler either, so don't even try it. As an avid fanboy of Fassbender, I was a little let down to learn that the most recent upgrade to Prometheus 'David' would be an attempt at American 'Walter'. He does an ok job I guess but it's so obviously put on compared to the rest of the cast and hardly an accent you want to endure for 2 hours. Unlike in previous efforts, he does quieten the Irish in him this time ;). What is with John Denver's 'Tale Me Home, Country Roads' in 2017? It rears its southern twang here in the form of a static-ridden rogue transmission, but it was also in Logan Lucky which was far better suited considering it was set in West Virginia and shone again, rather strangely, in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I asked Google why the prevalence this year, but the top result directed me to a 'check your privilege' website I daren't give the time nor click. That may be a negative, but the songs a classic so we'll end on a good note... Actually, no, one more - David requests the ship 'Mother' to play Wagner's 'Das Rheingold - Act 2 -
Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla' ...which is act 4.
"I'll do the fingering" (Finale)

An amusing line delivered by the stern-faced David as he teaches his counterpart how to play the recorder. Seeing as I thoroughly enjoyed Prometheus, it was no surprise I found myself grinning again. Covenant is very much a similar being in that it includes a dark but beautiful world where an eccentric cast set out. Then 2 people are 'infected' and violently die a gruesome death. Seemingly following that same formula, Covenant manages to sneak in a good amount of time on-board, something rather unexpected when you're under the impression you're learning about the origins of this species and what happened after the last film. On a personal note, I really admired the dynamics with David and Walter - two machines separated by the fact that the latter is 'Superior in every way' yet only the former can create. This philosophical plié has its roots firmly set in science fiction but comes closer to reality each day, hence my interest. Admittedly, some of the CGI scenes of the various aliens are questionable sometimes, in that they appear with a tinge of 'Made for 3D' a medium that I despise when it impacts on the film-making like it usually does. I'm pleased to say that this film slots in perfectly to a busy catalogue that'll get busier still with the possibility of an upcoming sequel, currently dubbed 'Awakening' and perhaps even more as the man himself proclaimed he could 'crank out' another 6. Not exactly the language I wanted to here, as if it were a labour of numbers rather than love. However, I feel happier in the knowledge that Scott also said he would not shut down the progression of the franchise (again). I rather like having an Alien film break up the suntan lotion laced films of summer and the snow coated sweetness of a Christmas tale.

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 13/11/2017
    e :o)
  • IzzyS published 12/11/2017
    Detailed review.
  • 1st2thebar published 12/11/2017
    A case of Alien overabundance from the peccant Scott. He's diluted his film-making legacy.
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Product Information : Alien Covenant (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: DVD

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Scott, Ridley

Classification: 15 years and over

Actor(s): Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Katherine Waterston, Guy Pearce, Billy Crudup

Production Year: 2017

EAN: 5039036081313

Video Category: Feature Film

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Listed on Ciao since: 23/10/2017