Thoughts on Ridley Scott’s entertaining and erratic Alien: Covenant.
“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.”
What a bloody mess(!) Alien: Covenant is a film brimming with great moments. Slaughter in the shower, chaos under quarantine, staring down monsters, and Michael Fassbender making music – there are shots and scenes that rival the very best imagery from the Alien franchise, and ought to live long in the memory. The rest is erratic, muddled, confused. Ridley, evidently uncomfortable with the sheer amount of mainstream backlash he received with Prometheus, injects a wacky blend of action, sci-fi and horror into his tale. The final product ups the entertainment factor, but the CGI theatrics and breakneck third act pacing come at a cost to the film’s identity.
Melding so many genres understandably widens this series’ appeal, but it also dilutes the individual elements that made Alien so chilling and Prometheus so fascinating (/obnoxious to some). They’re still present – this is Ridley Scott after all – just in smaller doses. The middle chunk, in particular, exhibits plenty of its predecessor’s philosophical flair. Except this time the ideas are conveyed in a little more ham-fisted manner (and separated by more moments of pow-pow, blam-blam). The characters are disappointingly thin, but Waterston, Fassbender, McBride & Crudup manage to squeeze in some really solid work regardless. Honestly, I think the big thing I can’t quite get over is how often this feels like a really fun sci-fi/thriller… that just happens to feature Xenomorphs.
On my way home I experienced something far more unpleasant than any of the imagery here (nothing on the film’s part, I assure you). Chelsea fans, celebrating. You can peruse through my ordeal here.