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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Alien: Covenant *Spoiler-free*

May 10th, 2017 by Andrew McCarroll Comments

Alien: Covenant
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
Release date: May 12, 2017
Running time: 123 minute

John Hammond: Don’t worry. I’m not making the same mistakes again.
Ian Malcolm: No, you’re making all new ones.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Much like every director from Zack Snyder to Michael Bay promised to right the wrongs of their previous films, Ridley Scott has promised to deliver an upgrade on the underwhelming Prometheus. Focusing more on the claustrophobic surroundings of the original as opposed to the sprawling scale of the 2012 prequel, Scott seems intent on doing a complete 180 on tone from his ponderous predecessor.

In doing so, however, he rushes headfirst into a whole new set of problems.

An early death for one of the main characters is clumsily handled and because of that, there is no emotional heft to what should be a shocking moment; the subsequent fallout doesn’t feel earned and feels like a missed opportunity. Not to say that the previous complaints have been amended. We still have supposedly the best and brightest sticking their unprotected faces into anything and everything so we can see things explode through their bodies and, instead of feeling sorry for the cannon fodder, you just feel they are getting what they deserve.

The characters feel underdeveloped with the exception of Danny McBride’s Tennessee. McBride’s casting raised a few eyebrows but a world away from Kenny Powers he is no less enthralling.

Fassbender pulls double duty here reprising his role as David as well as his subsequent upgrade, Walter. He delivers a nice contrast of childlike innocence and psychotic madness but is let down by a script that never really lets him explore these avenues in great detail, including one clanger of a scene that is so out of place it almost brings the film to a shuddering halt.

Alien gave us one of the most iconic movie monsters with the HR Giger designed Xenomorph and it is here that Alien: Covenant commits its worst crime. Taking a design that has been imitated by every horror movie since and brilliantly described in the original movie as “pure unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality” and turning it into a bad CGI intimation of Pan’s Labyrinth’s Pale Man is unforgivable.

The film’s main set pieces are imitations of ones that have been done better in the previous movies and Alien in the long grass scene was done with far more suspense in Jurassic Park: The Lost World and the last 20 minutes are robbed of suspense due to a plot device audiences will see a mile away.

The movie starts strong but doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go. The whole enterprise feels like someone trying to do an Alien greatest hits tribute without every forging its own identity. It is an improvement on Prometheus but doesn’t break any new ground. Based on the last two outings for the franchise he created, I am sad to say I am happy Scott has passed the reigns of his other Sci-fi classic Blade Runner to a new set of hands.

2.5 out of 5 Nerds

Andrew McCarroll never quite built on the dizzying career heights that he hit at 6 years old, when as a member of the “Ghostbusters” he would charge his neighbours to remove any unwanted spectres. Now retired from slaying spooks, he spends his time obsessing over superheroes (especially Batman) and devouring shows like Dexter, Game of Thrones and Archer in a manner that would make Galactus proud. You can follow his rants on twitter @andymc1983