Claudio Says ALIEN: COVENANT Solidifies Ridley Scott’s Return.

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FILM REVIEW: ALIEN: COVENANT

BY CLAUDIO ZELAYA

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Ridley Scott returns with another entry to his Aliens franchise and this time he’s let us know that it’s an “Alien” prequel. Remember that whole “Prometheus” nonsense? If the title wasn’t obvious, the Xenomorph also returns to bust out of guts, butts, heads, and anywhere else little Freiza looking creatures care to pop out of. It’s a nice blend of horror, suspense, and the sci-fi this franchise has mostly done well over the years. “Alien: Covenant” stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterson, Danny McBride and the Xenomorph I’ve come to name Chuck.

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The plot is a little difficult to explain without giving away too much, but essentially the Covenant is a ship full of sleeping humans being shipped to an inhabitable planet to reproduce and spread that good ole’ human genome to the farthest part of the cosmos. Along the way, they get a signal from a nearby planet and like all intelligent astronauts, they go and explore this very bad idea. Things start popping, if you know what I’m getting at! It’s a mix of the world building “Prometheus” tried doing, but this time you won’t fall asleep because there’s a lot of the horror element returning. Chuck the Xenomorph has never looked better in this CGI fest. Thinking back to the first “Alien”, Chuck has come a long way since being a tall-slinky man in a costume.

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If it isn’t obvious, I was not a fan of “Prometheus” at all. However, I really appreciated the references to the movie in this iteration because it showed some semblance of a plan. What “Covenant” invested on the most was its character development. Daniels (Katherine Waterson) continues the legacy Sigourney Weaver in being a well-equipped female protagonist. Her arc with her husband is properly setup and as things begin to go crazy, we see her step up to protect the rest of her crew. Tennessee (Danny McBride) is surprisingly not the comedic relief. Well, he has some funny lines, but so does everyone else. It’s nice to see him play a character that’s not just a goofball high on weed. I found myself cheering for Tennessee and Daniels for most of the runtime. Probably the best actor in this film, tied with Waterson, is Michael Fassbender. He plays another android like in “Prometheus”, but this time his name is Walter. He happens to be less creepy then his counterpart, David. As a fancier model, he seemed to hold some emotion without letting it consume him and distract him from his mission. He’s the guardian angel of the crew and they’re lucky to have him.

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The world building and characters are top notch, but there are some story flaws that need to be addressed. By this point, we know the whole “Alien” schtick. A face-hugger clamps on to your face and xenomorph pops out of you. There’s not much new you can do there, but they tried to introduce some ideas in this movie with the creation of the alien that seems to be lost in exposition. The villains motive is a little muddled and his arc is predictable.  I’m sure most of the audience saw it coming and the filmmakers did a bad job of choreographing the last act.

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Despite the predictability, I still found myself enjoying this movie. It’s a great sci-fi thriller that added some lore to the “Alien” world. Great characters helped navigate through an ambitious plot. Ridley Scott had a few rough years with films like “Exodus” and “The Counselor”, but after the award nominated “The Martian” and “Alien: Covenant”, we can finally start looking forward to his films again. Let’s hope that stays true by the time the next one comes out.

 

FINAL WORD:  StarStarStarHalf StarEmpty Star