XS Manchester reviews the films you want to see...
This week XS Manchester went to see the sequel to the prequel of the original that ignored it’s sequels so it could make way for 3 prequels... are you still following? Me neither.
(Dir. Ridley Scott, 122mins, Cert. 15)
“I’ll do the fingering...” exclaims Michael Fassbender as resident cyborg David, garnishing the single audience reaction throughout the entire picture. No screams, no gasps, simply immature laughing from a sex pun. That just about sums up the level of excitement ALIEN: COVENANT has to offer.
With Ridley Scott back in the director’s chair to serve up a sequel to his prequel of one of his few good films, the miss-to-hit ratio of Scott’s filmography grows larger and larger. COVENANT offers up about as much new and interesting fodder as an afternoon spent staring at a brick wall. Following an all new crew as they venture deep into the far corners of the universe on a colonisation mission, they once-again decide to take a small detour to a rogue planet to see what lovely thing await them, only to be slowly picked off one-by-one by the galactic nasty that is the xenomorph. If that sounds similar to Scott’s last two instalments, Prometheus and Alien, that’s because it is. It follows the exact same narrative structure that we saw in 1979 and again in 2012, providing the fans and passers-by with practically zero new information to relish on this franchise. What? Aliens are scary? I think I already knew that.
Not every aspect of the film is lost though, the bizarrely cast Danny McBride (This is the End, Pineapple Express) proves to be one of the best and most convincing additions to the franchise in quite some time, easily overshadowing all other new comers including Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice, Steve Jobs) and Billy Crudup (20th Century Women). His placement in the film makes the most sense that it has to offer and the character himself is about as fully-fleshed as Scott is willing to offer to the audience. Hopefully he’ll be making an appearance in Scott’s third- and-thankfully-final instalment to the prequel series. Michael Fassbender is on usual good terms, this time performing as both David from Prometheus, and new robot Walter. Having both characters side by side is great way to see to distinctions in each of Fassbender’s performances.
COVENANT is definitely an improvement on the visual-diarrhoea that was Prometheus, but it still fails in its core value that Alien once had. Ridley Scott is not a bad filmmaker, but he could really do with picking his projects a bit more carefully.