ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)
Critic - No.106
Director: Ridley Scott
Casts: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
Genre: Sci-fi Action
Plot: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination. They must attempt a harrowing escape to avoid a disastrous streak of killing.
After a decent redemption with the Oscar nominated ‘The Martian (2015)’, Ridely Scott returned to his beloved genre of sci-fi and this film garnered lots of expectation. Happening after about 15 years later from the previous film, ‘The Prometheus’, Scott focuses on the Covenant ship’s trails of unfortunate encounters and stacks up the narrative with a predictable yet exciting, horrific set pieces.
The main strength of the film lies on the visual details that have been the strength of Scott from the very early days of his career. The mysteriously bleak and dark settings enhance the suspense while the gory birth of Aliens pays a fitting tribute to the ‘Alien (1979)’.
There are many fan moments in the film but ironically that pushes the spectators progressively, into a familiar, predictable territory that becomes painstakingly dreary, dry and dull after some time.
Yes I agree that when it is intense, Covenant is really intense. The first encounter of the unknown is nail-biting and excitingly violent. One has to accept that the introduction of the Alien is one of the recent best seen in the franchise.
However, the impact gets dampened when it becomes repetitive throughout the film. In addition, sadly, the first encounter becomes the highest moment of the film.
On the technical front, the possibilities paved by the visual effects team somehow rips the impact of the practical effects that made the original series more intimidating and closer to the senses.
There are many chases, kills and jump scares but none are imaginative, even for a non die-hard fan. After one point, the countless bloodshed overshadows the sense of narrative urgency or character development. Even the concluding revelation looks contrived. As most characters’ objectives are pretty straight forward, there is nothing overwhelmingly special in the performance line.
It will be an interesting to witness how the concluding film of the Alien prequel series (Alien: The Awakening) will add value to the franchise. Yes, most of us might be tired with the franchise by now but for die hard fans who still take pleasure in its unsettling mood, set design and abrupt spasms of bloodthirsty horror, there is plenty to enjoy.
Despite being technically brilliant with a few exciting moments, 'Alien Covenant’ does not offer anything dynamically new or significant to the once celebrated franchise.
CELLULOID METER - 3/5: