Alien: Covenant – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Alien: Covenant – 3.5/5 –  Enraptured and detailed, it is that thing a filmmaker must blend to provide their own unique vision.  When the melding of indifferent elements come together, it can generate something magical.  Ridley Scott is a master of visuals and storytelling.  Through the years, he has made many entertaining films (Gladiator, The Martin).  Returning to a franchise he made famous in the 80s, he brings that feeling of a true Sci-Fi/horror.  Even with some cliché items and predictability found throughout, Alien: Covenant provides that a true blockbuster that stands out on its own merits.  This is a good return to an iconic franchise.

Premise:  The crew of a colony ship come across a mysterious beacon.  As the crew venture to an uncharted paradise, what seems to be great turns out to be the worst.  With no time to escape, will the crew be able to escape the horrors of the unknown planet.

There are a lot of actors and actresses in this film.  For the full list please refer to the IMDb page.  In short, the cast does a good job in creating a believable crew on a space mission.  With so many characters it creates a lack of depth.  Even with this obvious detail, each actor/actress provides enough personality to make them stand out.  Each individual performance is propped up by the strength of the script.  This provides conversational styled dialogue that creates a feeling of real people trying to live, breathe and survive on the spaceship or unknown planet.  Through each situation that happens, it provides a point where the audience can gravitate towards too with certain characters.  The one thing that makes ‘some’ of the characters’ borderline on common clichés is the subtle examination of ‘whose who’ within the group.  There are obvious archetypes when it comes to the horror dynamic.  This leads to some idiotic choices that feed into some of the flawed plot elements.  Even for this, the cast provides a welcoming humanistic side to the overall blockbuster appeal.

The direction brings about many elements of filming into one singular Sci-Fi story.  This film focuses on three specific elements:

  • Idealism
  • Horror
  • Action

To create a focal point for so many genres can be hard and create a pathway of convoluted detail.  Adding to this tough task is the fact that this is a bridge film.  Being a sequel (to Prometheus) and a prequel (to Alien), it provides a complexion of mystery and expectations.  With so many layers, the director (Ridley Scott) finds a way to blend it all together and create something imaginary and poignant.  There is enough detail to mold within the eye of the audience the subtlety and grandeur of an entertaining ride.  From the beginning, the film moves at a steady pace.  After a quick prologue, there are continual subtle hints of explanation of the ‘film universe’ through conversational and visuals quips.  This creates a ‘purpose’ of all involvement of plot points, characters and thematic detail.  There is no force-fed notion or assumptions made within the direction, just an organic flow to create something intelligent within a blockbuster.  As you move steadily through the film’s first two acts, the scope of the crew investigating an unknown beacon is vivacious because of the detailed structure of giving you ‘quick hits’ without making the audience feel ‘dumb’.  You are introduced to prior and new elements of the ‘Alien’ Franchise, mixing it in the raw action, dramatic tension and eerie atmospheric detail.  There is a lot of witty sensations created through interactions.  This creates that ‘caution’ on what is truly the intention of the unknown planet.  Once we get to the third act, all the elements introduced come together.  The film then starts to unravel in fragmented ways, with the strength of the thoughtful/poignant plot fading behind the weakness of the cliché horror context.  A lot of the third act boils down to predictable foreshadowing, characterized telegraph paths and obvious ‘shocking’ deaths.  This leads to a climax that is high on action but low on bravado.  The epilogue continues down this path through revelations that become forced fed.  Even if all the ‘allusion’ become apparent, the overall entertainment is enough to complete the gratifying experience.

The visuals are simply breathtaking.  Creating something ominous, brooding and believable in an expansive universe is daunting, but Ridley Scott provides the eye to bring the imaginary alive.  Through the openness of space, the grounded aspect of the spaceships and the unknown exploration of a new world, you feel the power and purpose of everything that surrounds the characters.  From the wide-open landscapes to the microscopic detail of the vegetation, you feel like everything you see is real.  The score is another outstanding part of the film.  With a resounding use of orchestra and brooding bass vibration, you feel that dark detail of the story.  From the subtle to the loudness, it is layered with emotive depth that adds value to each character in the film.

Alien: Covenant is a film filled with a lot of detail but also glaring flaws.  For all the greatness, the predictable does hinder a lot of the outcome.  For all of this, it is entertainment at its finest.  If you’re a fan of the franchise or like a good Sci-Fi film, this is one for you.  You will not be disappointed, a worthy time at the theaters on the weekend.

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