Monday, May 22, 2017

Alien Covenant - Movie Review

By: Hamza Shafique

I usually don’t take notes while watching a film like other movie reviewers do. My philosophy is to write my unadulterated impression after the film as a review. So, my review/rating completely rely on the fact, ‘how memorable the whole experience is’ and Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant is not memorable. I just saw it couple of hours ago and I am having hard time recalling most of it. Anyway, I will not say much about the story, it’s a sequel to Prometheus and prequel to Alien series. Story revolves around an expedition sent to colonize a planet but instead of going there they change their plan and go to a much closer planet they find after an accident on the ship, that also wakes crew from their sleep, in this accident they also lose their captain which leaves them with disputed leadership as well.

I will divide this film in three acts, first act where they have an accident and discover a closer habitable planet is tasteless and later I found out that there were some pretty good scenes (which are now available on YouTube) that were cut from the movie. To make this act crisp makers have accidently taken the charm out as well. This has also limited James Franco part to just a video clipping.
Second act is when they are on the planet and things starts to reveal. Here we get our first interaction to a xenomorph with all the screams and blood blended with clichéd regular horror moments. This part has interesting cinematography, the planet is beautiful with vegetation, mountains, waterfalls etc. and there are even remains of the alien civilization as well but greyish blue tone of the visuals makes it really hard to register/enjoy any of it. Also, screenplay here gets out of control. It gets confusing and abstract. For a horror/slasher/action film I expect plot to be simple, suspenseful and engaging not complicated and philosophical. This part is also idiotic as well for example, there is literally a scene where Captain sees David talking to a creature who has just killed one of his crew member and yet follows him to his underground xenomorph nest without any doubt. Also when u spend so much on CGI and production to show a dead civilization then instead of showing two robots play flute and flirt with each other, it’s more important to spend a little more time on explaining what happened there (again I found out there was a whole scene explaining that, which did not make to the final cut and is now available on You Tube). I know the flute part is important to convey the message and thought behind why David is doing what he is doing but still it’s supposed to be a popcorn flick and not some documentary on origin of species on History channel. I wanted Alien Covenant to scare me and not to make me question the purpose of my existence.

I wish film actually looked this crisp and bright on screen
Last and third act is when they get back on the ship and find the xenomorph there as well. Here UAE censor board chopped the shower scene which was a big part of the climax show down and this disoriented it a bit. This is by far the worst Alien climax sequence I have seen, especially when movies like ‘Life’ elevate the audience standards in the similar category, you cannot expect us to enjoy such old-fashioned stuff.
Characters are disposable as expected, only David/Walter, played by Michael Fassbender is properly written and memorable . Rest of the cast is decent but screen play doesn’t give them any moment to shine. Also, for the first time I have problem with dialogues in a film. I mean don’t use statements like, ‘I will do the fingering’ as such statements add unintentional humor to otherwise a very serious moment in the movie. Also, please upgrade vocabulary, using same words to describe multiple things sounds amateurish, like at one point we hear it’s a monumental loss and then soon we hear it’s a monumental mistake etc. I avoid using same term twice in an article and this is just a hobby, Screenplay writers used here are professionals and being paid so much to write scripts, so kindly make it worth.
Production quality contrary to the creative aspects is top notch, as expected from a 100-million-dollar franchise but what’s up with the dark and grey visual treatment. My mind kept on shouting like Ayesha Sana 'Bright keray isay bright keray bright keray' (if u don’t what I am talking about then click here, trust me you won’t be disappointed).
Overall an average first act followed by slightly entertaining second act and closing with a below average third act I go with 2 stars.

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