Wednesday, May 24, 2017

How About Quitting While You’re Ahead and Bringing Back Ripley, or Thoughts on Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant (2017) takes place ten years after Prometheus (2012) and continues director Ridley Scott’s insistence in over-complicating a claustrophobic monster in space horror movie with burdensome questions on the origin of life, the role of religious faith in a science fiction world, and a complex mythology explaining every mystery from the 1979 original.
Covenant is the name of a colony spaceship that picks up a transmission on the way to their new home.  Of course they investigate, and guess what’s on the planet?  Guess who breaks quarantine procedures?  And guess what gets back on the ship?  (There’s a clue in the title).
The CGI gooey/pointy xenomorphs will never be as scary as a guy in a suit because the actors are reacting to tennis balls on sticks; I don’t care how talented you are, as an actor you’re not going to transmit a proper sense of fear (and thus, frighten the audience) when you have no real idea what the monster will even look like.  But it is nice to see the dipping bird from the first movie is back (I suppose that counts as a cameo)/

Danny McBride may seem an odd casting choice for an Alien movie, until you remember Paul Rieser and Bill Paxton in Aliens (1986) and Harry Dean Stanton in Alien (1979).  As the pilot Tennessee Faris, he steals every scene he’s in and is really the only character who stands out, other than Michael Fassbender.  In many ways Michael Fassbender as David 8 and Walter from Prometheus has become the new Ripley in this prequel, and for some unexplained reason Ridley Scott wants us to follow this synthetic human’s story.  And all I can tell you is that he’s no Roy Batty, and after two movies I’m not really interested in what he’ll do in the next one.

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