I can’t post my reactions to Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox, 5.19), which I saw last night at Leows’ Lincoln Square. But I’ve already passed along a view from a European movie-critic pal: “It’s a prequel to the first Alien, yes, but much more a sequel to Prometheus, delving very much into the same themes and also going into the creation of the alien, creation being very much on the movie’s mind.”
I can at least say that if you hated Prometheus, as I did, you’ll have an opportunity to savor the same stomach-acid sensations while watching Alien Covenant. So while waiting for the embargo to end…
Posted on 10.5.12: “Prometheus happened so long ago it doesn’t even feel like it came out this year. I saw it in Prague on a rainy afternoon. Mostly I remember the humidity and how warm it was in the lobby as all the journos and media people stood around and waited for the doors to open. And how I was sweating under my baseball cap and shades. And then wondering why the projectionist was showing it in 1.85 and not 2.35. And then trying to make sense of it…and failing.
Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus “is impressively composed and colder than a witch’s boob in Siberia,” I wrote on 6.1. “It’s visually striking, spiritually frigid, emotionally unengaging, at times intriguing but never fascinating. It’s technically impressive, of course — what else would you expect from an expensive Scott sci-fier? And the ‘scary’ stuff takes hold in the final third. But it delivers an unsatisfying story that leaves you…uhm, cold.
“It’s a gray, forbidding film about howling winds and chilly people. It’s a watchable, well made, at times better-than-decent ride, but it really doesn’t hang together. I’m sorry but anyone who says ‘wow, this is really great!’ is just full of it. But there’s no way to kick this around without dropping all kinds of spoilers so I’m going to keep things vague.
“For what it’s worth Scott shoots the hell out of Prometheus, but the script isn’t integrated. It’s half-assed and lacks a clear hard line. The fault, I hear, is mainly with Damon Lindelof‘s rewrite of Jon Spaihts‘ straightforward Alien prequel script.
“Roughly 40% delivers some absorbing futuristic technological razmatazz and exposition on a long voyage to a distant planet, 30% to 35% is proficient scary-icky stuff (slimy alien snakes) and 20% is some kind of half-hearted spiritual quest film on the part of Noomi Rapace‘s Shaw character, a scientist who wears a crucifix.
“The spiritual-religious angle is what disappoints the most because it’s only flirted with. The script starts off in a semi-solemn, semi-thoughtful vein, asking questions about the origin or spawning of humanity and the possibility of alien creators or “engineers”, but none of this develops or pays off, and things eventually devolve into standard shocks and creep-outs.
“Most ticket-buyers will go looking for a standard alien flick and come away going ‘hmm, I dunno but this isn’t quite it.'”