Saturday, 13 May 2017

Alien: Covenant - Review

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If you're looking for another typical 'Alien slowly picking the crew off in a spaceship' type thrill ride you'll likely be disappointed with Alien Covenant, quite possibly the first film in the series to suffer from having the heavily influential and idea inducing 'Alien' in the title. This suffering however is specific to the audience seeking to have much of the old reprised and recycled anew, Covenant's direction is incredibly more thought provoking, horrific and tense in a vastly different way to the original Alien films.

Ridley Scott returns to his ever-influential and successful sci-fi horror Alien with the newest instalment Alien: Covenant following on from Prometheus. Covenant is a different beast entirely in comparison to the original- of course, there's a hostile, very intimidating alien life-form that hunts members of the crew but the focus is more on the species as a whole. With an investigative nature very reminiscent to the original Blade Runner with a sprinkling of influences that turns more into a Blade Runner/ Interstellar horror hybrid that works beautifully within Ridley Scott's science fiction/horror haven. With Katherine Waterston (Daniels) and Michael Fassbender (Android/Walter) at the heart of the crew Alien: Covenant  is approached as an ambitious series that isn't so dissimilar from what is currently happening with Star Wars.

Exploration is a key point in the plot of this Alien movie, which, of course was always evident, but it seems to jump out a lot more across Alien: Covenant. You not only get a greater understanding of the mission, the how and the why, but certainly the scope is made very clear which captures this underlying pressure and beauty of things. The visuals are absolutely stunning, you're instantly - at least for most of us - returned to those familiarly retro-futuristic designs of the spaceship and surrounding tech as well as the harrowing CGI work that goes into the aliens themselves. Space is a big place and Ridley Scott has just about enough ideas to fill it all up. 

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The first half of the film builds slowly, but it's not the kind of dis-interesting slow build-up that portions up the sequences all wrong. The first half finds the pace and steadily continues to build and build until we reach 'oh shit oh shit oh shit' and it feels like nobody is safe. Alien: Covenant seems more thriller than straight up horror which welcomes a more stimulating and unfamiliar narrative. Philosophy pillars the narrative and it works when the main priority in Scott's films is life and sustaining it at whatever cost and way possible. Covenant introduces a new possibly suitable planet for survival as well as a new threat and alien life with the on-screen introduction of the Neomorphs,who for some will be even more disturbing than the Xenomorph.  The second-half of Covenant is a constant edge of your seat thrill ride that doesn't let up and really returns to the 1979 series roots, it's a testament that Scott can make such gruesome and horrifying sequences so pretty - The shower scene really got me.

It has always been known that there are various mutations of the OG Alien, and Alien: Covenant like the Neomorphs will come scuttling under your skin and after a while Ridley Scott will have his masterful grip on you. Covenant is by no means perfect, there are here and there scenes that had me really questioning their addition into the narrative but overall I had a great time with this film and I'm always surprised by the raw storytelling ability that lies beneath the horrors of space.

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