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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Alien Covenant

Direction: Ridley Scott; Cast:  Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterstone, Billy Crupud, Danny Mcbride;   Story:  Jack Paglen, Michael Green; Screenplay: John Logan, Dante Harper; Producer; Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam, etal;  Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski; Music Jed Kurzel;  Editing: Pietro Scalia;Genre: Horror-Sci-Fi; Distributor: 20th Century Fox; Location: outer space  Running Time : 123 minutes
Technical assessment:  3.5
Moral assessment:  3
CINEMA rating: V18
MTRCB rating: R16
Alien Covenant takes place after the events of Prometheus although the opening sequence is the beginning of the predecessor film wherein the synthetic David (Fassbender) questions mankind’s creator. Years after, aboard the spacecraft Covenant, Walter (Fassbender) looks after the space crew and the 2000 colonists and embryos onboard to Origae-6, a remote planet they plan to inhabit. Covenant is hit by space debris destroying part of the spaceship and killing the ship’s captain Branson and a few colonists. While repairing the damage, they pick up a radio signal which turns out to be a woman singing an old western song coming from a nearby unknown but habitable planet.  Oram (Crudup) the new captain, decides to check it out instead of continuing their original journey. Daniels (Waterston) disagrees but she is overruled by Oram. An expedition team descends to explore the planet. They discover the Prometheus ship but two crew members are impregnated by alien spores. In a series of mauling and killing, the survivors are rescued by David and led to his hideout in the city full of Engineer corpses. After several discussions, Walter realizes that David purposely unleashed the black liquid they were carrying on board the Prometheus which killed the Engineers. David then experimented on creating a new species, thereby transforming himself from a created servant into the creator and master. Walter and David struggle as Tennessee (McBride) arrives to extract the survivors. Daniels, and injured Lope (Bichir) and Walter escape and return to the Covenant only to face off with another alien who got implanted in Lope. Walter helps Tennessee and Daniels defeat the alien and they resume their journey to Oregae-6 in hyper sleep. Before Daniels falls asleep, she asks Walter to help her build the log cottage by the river, when she sees Walter is not responding as expected, she realizes that but it is David all along. However, it is too late as she succumbs to sleep as David places two alien embryos out of his mouth and into the cold storage together with the human embryos.
Ridley Scott delivers the same mystic suspense and calculated gore to keep the audience interested but sensitive to the images and concepts unfolding in the narrative. The story is well structured and is not hard to follow even without having seen the previous Alien films. It borders on predictability yet keeps the audience glued and anticipating. The elaborate and painstaking design presents a world that is cold yet alive, undiscovered and dangerous. Fassbender gives a believable performance as the charmingly faithful Walter and the manipulative David searching for purpose. It is unfair but inevitable to compare Waterston’s with Sigourney Weaver's Ripley—in all aspects she falls short. Overall, this Alien franchise entertains enough as it explores another philosophical question about existence and purpose. If it gives the answer… that is the question.
The pinnacle of one's existence is to be like God—to have the ability to create. And fortunately, mankind has been bestowed with this gift.  Man creates through arts, through invention, through procreation. And unlike other living creatures, man's ability to create is enveloped in the desire to be human—that is to love and be loved, to serve and be one. When man loses his humanity, his creations become destructive for they are done for self-gratification. Then he loses his purpose—he exists to conquer and devour. Then he becomes a monster. Alien Covenant illustrates this through David and Walter. Both created synthetics but one became more human because he retained his purpose to love, serve and be one with his community, while the other who despite discovering the ability to create transformed himself into the monster.  While the movie delivers profound points for discernment, the graphic action and gore are not suitable for young audiences.


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