Sunday, May 28, 2017

Alienated

Image result for alien covenantI have to say that I enjoyed Ridley Scott's Aliens prequel Prometheus, proposed as a first step in the franchise that would establish the beginnings of this sci fi saga up to the point where we first meet the fabulous action-babe Ripley. Scott's return to the franchise, and to space operas in general, was a joy to behold, with great acting, stunning special effects , a fascinating premise and , yes, a general feeling of creepiness as the hoary warnings against corporate greed and attending evil are made tangible yet again. Not a perfect film, but the scale and power of the storytelling, albeit incomprehensible at times, made it an entertainment worth revisiting. 

Not so much for the follow up effort, Alien:Covenant, again directed by Scott. Where Prometheus added some new twists to the Alien mythos, this new effort offers little that is intriguing ; it is a make work project. We do discover the origins of the Xenomorph and are expected to marvel at their many manifestations , different kinds, shapes, purposes. But there is something dispirited about this film. There is no spectacle to speak of, no real wow factor, conditions not improved by the pacing, which is strangely led footed. Especially surprising for a director of Scott's calibre: an inconsistent director for quality, even his worse films had a great veneer and, most of , all moved well. 


Covenant sort shuffles along and wanders through some very familiar territory, that of an exploratory ship landing on an uncharted planet with a certain set of expectations only to discover some quite, quite horrible. Not to give too much away, but anyone familiar with past efforts in this series will know when to start the Alien countdown, when crew members begin to die horribly , one by one. Covenant feels like a place holder film, a middling and trudging action film that works best only furthering plot elements introduced in the previous film. 


Scott has three films in mind for this current edition of the sequence, and there is a cliffhanger, of a kind, waiting for us at the film's end, a twist so dire and dreadful that you can't help but wonder how the surviving crew members  can rise above the fatal circumstances we see them in before the credits role. By movie's end, Alien: Covenant seemed to have been created , in   terms of  narrative, to deliver us to the cliffhanger at movie's end and to hook us for what I hope will be the last  of this .