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Alien: Covenant [4k ultra hd+blu ray+ digital]  [Blu-ray]
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Alien: Covenant Billy Crudup & Danny McBride
In space, no one can hear you scream. After nearly four decades, those words remain synonymous with the sheer, relentless intensity of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece of futuristic horror, Alien. Now, the father of the iconic franchise returns once more to the world he created to explore its darkest corners with ALIEN: COVENANT, a pulse-pounding new adventure that pushes the boundaries of R-rated terror.
Set ten years after the events depicted in Scott’s 2012 hit Prometheus, ALIEN: COVENANT returns to the roots of the director’s groundbreaking saga with a uniquely terrifying tale filled with white-knuckle adventure and monstrous new creatures. With this, the sixth installment in the blockbuster series, the visionary director edges ever closer toward revealing the mysterious origins of the mother of all aliens, the lethal Xenomorph from the original film.
ALIEN: COVENANT stars Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 12 Years a Slave), Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs, Inherent Vice), Demián Bichir, Billy Crudup (Almost Famous, Mission: Impossible III) as second-in-command Christopher Oran and Danny McBride (Pineapple Express, Eastbound & Down) as the boisterous pilot, Tennessee. The film is directed by Ridley Scott (The Martian).
Q: What was it like to work with such an iconic filmmaker on his iconic creation?
Crudup: Ridley Scott is an absolute legend. If you make two good movies, you’re going to be one of the great directors, but if you make as many as Ridley, you’re a complete anomaly. To get to work with someone who has that many creative resources and kicks ass and is relentless with his energy, is a one-of-a-kind experience.
McBride: And to work with a guy like that on a franchise like this, where he created this universe to begin with, is unreal.
Q: What did you find compelling about your characters?
McBride: One of the things that I thought was most interesting about the script was the fact that it was a colonization mission. As soon as you start reading the story and you see that these are couples who are on this trip, it just raises the stakes for everyone. It’s not only about your own survival, but also about the survival of your partner as well. It sets the tone in a pretty interesting way.
Crudup: Ridley did that too in the original Alien movie. He sets up the camaraderie and the group dynamics that end up being the most crucial part of why you care about those characters. So you have the incredible alien and the unbelievable effects and the suspense that he uses in his filmmaking, but what you’re really invested in is these characters and he’s done the same thing in this movie.
Q: The first Alien was very much a horror movie, the second was a war film and this seems to combine the best of both of those elements. Do you agree?
Crudup: I think that it not only combines those elements with what has been an extraordinary advancement in CGI and the ability to create not only practically, where he creates these environments with expert effects people, but also in post-production because what he’s able to do with the creation of these aliens is truly terrifying. Not only does it draw from Alien and Aliens, but also from Prometheus where he starts this idea of creation, what it means to be a creator and how we’ve created the mythology for our own gods. He’s weaving that into it as well, so this movie gets a hold of a lot in a little time.
Q: What were the sets like that you got to work on?
Crudup: Well it smelled horrible in the Egg Room, that’s what I remember most. I don’t know if it was the plastics that they were using or the smoke effects.
McBride: No, I apologize, it was such a long walk to the restroom, and that Egg Room was right next to the main location.
Crudup: That’s not hygienic. That’s what I was so curious about when I looked in the egg, I thought what in the world am I smelling in there?
McBride: I didn’t realize that was an egg, I’m sorry. I just thought the toilets in Australia were different than the toilets here.
Crudup: All of those sets are so meticulously crafted that you are kind of in awe at first when you walk in. It’s like you’re walking through a museum and seeing this incredible installation, so your first reaction is just wow, they did all of this with this ingenuity and this craftsmanship. Then it’s not such hard work when you’re playing the scene, because the environment has been created for you.
McBride: The sets, the production design and even the lighting and how Ridley incorporates the lighting into the sets, because he’s always running with four cameras, it is so crazy to see a set that is so thought out. Not only from an artistic standpoint, but even from a production standpoint, that he can fit four cameras into these sets and every one of the shots looks incredible. You’re finding lighting just from the natural lights that they’ve incorporated into the build.
Crudup: Sometimes it’s hard to move around because they’ve created this complete environment. The floor is meant to be this moving feature as well when you’re in that ship, but I was trained as a dancer so it’s very easy for me to navigate that kind of thing, but it was harder for Danny (laughs).
Q: Do either of you have a really prominent memory from making the film that you think will stay with you?
McBride: The very first day that we were on set and we came on to the spaceship, The Covenant, there was a look on everyone’s face, looking around thinking wow, this is it, we’re in an Alien movie! Even just down to the look of the hallways and the look of the control panels, it was crazy because it was nostalgic of that original film and it had Ridley’s fingerprints all over it.
Crudup: There was a recording at the very beginning. The entire company came together and we did it almost like a stage play with Ridley directing.
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The colony ship Convenant is on it's way to found a new world when disaster strikes. The crew and their android Walter [Michael Fassbender] have to make hard choices. But a nearby planet seems to be the answer to all their prayers. Trouble is, danger awaits. Along with a few answers as to what happened to a long lost ship...
Prometheus tried to tell a story, rather than be a typical Alien movie. Since that didn't go down entirely well with some, this tries to continue the story, but be an Alien movie as well. With enough gore and scares to keep those who want that happy.
But it's just a bit average at both.
As a story, it's like the middle book in a series. One that moves things along to get closer to resolution. But in doing so it doesn't go that far, and does rather dismiss too quickly a few things from Prometheus in order to find another way to go.
As an Alien movie, it's okay. It might put you off showering for a while. And one early scene is effective. But beyond that it won't stick in the mind for long. Because there's just nothing much to the characters. Billy Crudup does fine at depicting a man struggling with balancing faith and responsibility. Katherine Waterston is a capable female lead, showing a lady battling grief. And Danny McBride has enough charisma to make an impression in a non humorous role. But they're all a bit too average as characters to really make you care.
This is not a terrible film. It's a perfectly capable one. But it won't stick in the mind for long.
The dvd begins with an anti piracy ad, which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote.
The box says the only language options and subtitles are English, but having checked the disc that isn't the case:
Languages: English, Czech, Hungarian.
Subtitles: English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish. Croatian. Czech. Hungarian. Serbian. Slovak. Slovenian. There's also one middle eastern language and another east european one, but I couldnt identify them succesfully.
It does have a commentary from the director, and there are subtitles in English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish for that.
Deleted and extended scenes: six of each. If you watch them all in a row they run seventeen mins in total.
Phobos: an eight min long short film which show the crew undergoing a test. An interesting watch in the end, that might have been a handy early scene to have in the film.
Alien Covenant is a cover version, no two ways about it, it's a retread of what was showcased in 1979, only with the tie-in to Prometheus and a continuation to the origins of Xenomorph and pals. Clearly we have a case of Scott making one for the fans, a return to chest busting goo and space adventurers under great duress, all of course while he fills in the blanks as well. For sure it's lazy when put up against Alien, and indeed against his other superlative sci- fi offerings such as Blade Runner and The Martian, but for those who lambasted Prometheus for its non Alien conventions, you have now got what you hankered for. Any expectation of this turning out to be a fresh masterpiece was always going to be crushed, so really it's best viewed as a loving retread. Yes! Bad science, plot and logic holes, average acting etc, these rightly don't deserve forgiveness, but it's hardly the devil's spawn here, in fact its's great fun as much as being a visual treat.
Log cabin on the lake.
We start with a prologue involving Weyland and David, the conversation involving creation, the most pertinent of which being the question of the ages, where do we come from? Then after a tantalising tinkle of the ivories for Wagner's "The Entry Of The Gods Into Valhalla", we are whisked into outer space 2104 to be in the company of the Colonisation Vessel Covenant. Crew 15 - Colonists 2000 - Embryos 1140. The destination is ORIGAE - 6, ETA in 7 years and 4 months. Only Walter the Android (Michael Fassbender) is awake, until it's time for the crew to be abruptly awakened from their hyper sleep...
Crusoe and the pathogen.
From the off disaster strikes, thrusting the crew into emotional strife. Characters are introduced, conversations and traits establishing the bare minimum that we need to know, then a ghost transmission is received from Sector 87, planet number 4, and off we go into familiar territory. Things inevitably go from bad to worse and the action, blood flow and creature feature conventions are all laid out for our digestion. There's some surprises in store, with Fassbender a double bonus, and there's some striking chatter ranging from if there's benefits of the human race? and even that involving the poets Byron and Shelley.
Who will survive? If anyone? Just what does the finale have in store? As we get devilish answers, and the barn storming aural pleasures of the full orchestral version of "The Entry Of The Gods Into Valhalla", it's tied up nicely and the pulse rate can settle. Job done. No bar raising here, no film to push the space lander out into new dimensions, just a good honest sci-fi thriller to be viewed with that in mind. 7/10
Scott can do better than this. His prime left us many years ago and he has always had a vision beyond Alien which he is now creating through Prometheus and now Covenant. Prometheus had strong moments which gave the franchise a much needed kick but sadly they were dampened with a lot of not so strong moments. There are to many to low moments to mention but after taking it all in I knew there would be another movie on the way to make up for all the mistakes......in coming Alien Covenant.
Covenant is a very good film in areas but again suffers the same way Prometheus does. To start with it actually feels like a remake of Prometheus. It does answer some questions but again leaves you with more questions. Its a shame these type of films don't just get to the point instead of dragging out a trilogy if it even gets that far.
I still bought Covenant as the extras are quite dishy and like the reason I got Prometheus was because of the Ridley Scott commentary. There is also deleted and extended scenes, featurettes and more. If you want to keep the whole saga together its a must buy, if you want extras then its a must buy, if you want the movie itself well its very good at times but a frustrating experience yet again.
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