Ridley Scott's Alien Covenant is a bewildering addition to the long standing franchise, a film which feels torn between serving two purposes, unable to fully pontificate the intellectual assertions which it opines due to its obligations of delivering the horror elements that one has come to expect from the franchise. Taking place approximately 10 years after the events of Prometheus, Alien Covenant introduces us to the crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy. Awakened from cryosleep due to a rogue energy wave damaging their ship, the crew of the Covenant soon discovers what they believe to be a inhabitable planet, one which they believe could be perfect for colonization. Investigating the new planet, the crew of the Covenant soon discovers that this planet is not one that offers the promise of life, but only death, due to malevolence that has taken place here. Alien Covenant is a bold vision, a film that certainly doesn't shy away from the continued mythology of the Alien world regardless of its multiple shortcomings. It's a film that one could admire simply for trying to do more than merely follow the same survival horror template, and while the film's thematic ideas about the relationship between creation, knowledge and power don't always form cohesive assertions, its refreshing to see a franchise be brave enough to continually go in a different direction, though its treatment of the xenomorphs will surely frustrate many fans of the franchise. The heart and soul of Alien Covenant lies in carrying on the narrative and thematic thrusts of its predecessor, Prometheus, with Michael Fassbender's David front and center, taking on an intriguing role as the synthetic whose become infatuated with creation, and the power and control which is intrinsically a part of it. There are certainly worse actors than Michael Fassbender to build a whole franchise and its mythology around, but one can't help but feel frustrated by the treatment of the xenomorphs, who feel regulated to the background, presented as quick-twitch beasts, instead of with the same horrific elegance they were treated to in the the early films. It's almost as if Ridley Scott has grown bored with the xenomorphys, much to the chagrin of fans of the franchise, with Fassbender's David being the true monster in Alien Covenant, the elegant horror icon whose diabolical nature is what I found myself gravitating towards. While Alien Covenant is intriguing, the film's various narrative subversions all fall relatively flat, whether being far too obvious from the onset or merely predictable, with the film's intellectual ideas and brave story being the high point, though even those get bogged down in a substandard screenplay and the film's desire to provide fan service.
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