Seriously, Ridley Scott? Alien: Covenant – movie review

Alien: Covenant is Ridley Scott’s attempt to reinvigorate the Alien franchise after the somewhat cold reactions received by Prometheus (2012) and some stinkers from the past (Alien: Resurrection, AVP), unworthily labelled as Alien movies.

Alien CovenantIn the film, we follow the crew of the Covenant – a spaceship on the way to Origae-6, a remote planet, to colonise it with some two-thousand colonists and a thousand embryos on-board. After something goes terribly wrong, the ship catches a human message from another unknown planet and, therefore, the crew decides to land there and see what’s going on.

Needless to say, the crew happens to be the target of creatures interested in nothing but ripping them apart in all manner of devastatingly inventive new ways.

After hanging over five years for answers that Prometheus set for us, Alien: Covenant only provides the viewers with some of the posers.

Instead, the result of the latest Scott’s movie appears an amalgamation between Alien and Prometheus, a mixed-bag that doesn’t satisfy neither the fans of the first nor the supporters of the latter.

Ali CovenantHaving high expectations for this film, I was very let down by it. In all honesty, Covenant is a convoluted, bloated mess that attempts to recreate the most successful chunks of both the first two Alien movies and Prometheus, failing, though, almost on every single level.

In all fairness, though, visuals and acting are the saving grace of the movie.

The cinematography is gorgeous and, once again, Ridley Scott proves to be a master-class Sci-fi director in terms of visual effects. Some of the shots are breath-taking and eye-grabbing, that’s undeniable.

Plus, the acting is very good on everyone’s part. Although Katherine Waterston as Daniels is decent, Danny McBride in an unprecedented role for him and Michael Fassbender – who carries the plot along throughout the entire two hours or so of runtime – stand out and are worth praising over the other performances.

However, these two elements only can’t save the movie from being a big let-down.

My main disappointment with Alien: Covenant revolves around the tone. The Prometheus-like vibe never matches with the Alien-like tone, providing a very contrasting feeling throughout the whole film.

Yet, the camera-work is sometimes frustrating: certain shots seem directly extracted from a videogame and there are scenes where it’s impossible to understand what’s going on because of the use of the infamous shaky-cam. Which I was really surprised Scott got away with, since it’s a technique such a good director should shy away from.

aliencovenantIn terms of camera-work, I was also disappointed by the fact that some gruesome and bloody sequences were made hard to look at, whereas would have been great to appreciate their effectiveness in this type of film.

Again, the CGI doesn’t blend with the practical effects and shots on location. It looks already fake and dated even in comparison with the astounding special effects of the first Alien (1979)! Ridley Scott, where did you go?

All in all, I would have preferred to see a straight-up sequel to Prometheus – which, although not perfect by any means, is an entertaining, challenging piece of cinema – rather than a bloated flick where direction and production company aimed to please the mass audience’s requests for more xenomorphs and brutal killings.

In conclusion, give Covenant a chance if you have to, but I personally wouldn’t recommend to watch this film, especially to those who love the first two movies and hope to see their beloved franchise to be reinvigorated. Cheers!

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The movies of Fede Alvarez – Evil Dead (2013)

Premise – Fede Alvarez is a Uruguayan filmmaker who directed four shorts, one TV series and two feature length horror movies – Evil Dead (2013) and Don’t Breathe (2016). In this ‘list’ I’m going to talk about the last two.

Being a young director, he’s not much experienced and his two films convey many different influences, among which Sam Raimi and David Fincher stand out. Not bad as landmarks, right?

Both of these movies are rated as horror, but in my humble opinion Don’t Breathe is more a thriller with horror elements every now and then, rather than a pure horror movie. Whilst Evil Dead is a horror flick in a more traditional way. Let’s dive into it, then.

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Evil Dead (2013) is the remake of The Evil Dead (1981), which was directed by Sam Raimi and stared Bruce Campbell, who both return as producers in Alvarez film.

However, Evil Dead could be seen more as a re-imagination than a remake of the cult B-movie, since there are many difference between the two products.

The plot is kind of similar to the original, though: David (Shiloh Thomas Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) arrive at a cabin in the woods, where the pair meet up with his younger sister Mia (Jane Levy), his friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas). The group plans to stay in the cabin while Mia overcomes her addiction to heroin.

Mia’s addiction gives the group a motivation to stay in this desolated cabin, which is already a clever and unconventional element in these movies sub-genre, where usually the characters decide not to run away from the place, although there is plenty of hints pointing that the situation is going to be screwed.

When Eric, the pivotal character, opens up a book sealed in many ways, shit starts to go bad. And to me, this is the weakest element of the entire film. A dumb choice made by a stupid character that cause everything to go wrong. It’s a very cliché thing in such movies.

The other issue I have with Evil Dead consists of the blandness of Eric, Olivia and – above all – Natalie, who do nothing in the movie but being there to get possessed or brutally killed.

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Luckily, our main characters are well developed and fairly acted, especially Mia, who is portrayed perfectly by Jane Levy. The young actress is able to transmit a sense of fear, desperation and anxiety through her both physical and linguistic interpretation.

Other than that, Evil Dead flows with no hitches throughout the 92 minutes long runtime, which consists of a scary and unsettling blood-fest.

Yeah, there are tons of blood in this movie. It’s actually one of the goriest Hollywood film made in the last years, since the blood is combined with mutilations, violent fights, gruesome lacerations and so on and so forth.

What’s really impressive about all of that, is the fact that the 95% of the movie is realized through practical effects and the CGI is at its smallest level. The camera work is also astonishing, considering that this is the first product of a rookie.

Also, the Raimi’s film has a strong sense of humor developed throughout the runtime that made up for the lack of good film-making values, while Alvarez movie has a sumber tone distinguishing it from the original. And to me personally, both the idea of making something different and the beautiful fulfillment of the concept elevates Evil Dead above the level of The Evil Dead.

In conclusion, Evil Dead is a good horror movie, where all the things we have seen thousands of times before are realized in a refreshing, innovative way, which turns the movie into an entertaining, edge-of-the-seat film.

So, yes, do not miss it out. Good job, Alvarez! Cheers!