17 May 2017 | paulijcalderon
There's actually a good movie hiding in here. What brings it down is an extremely predictable structure
I was extremely skeptic going into this. I was afraid it would feel too much like a rehash. Luckily enough, I found myself to have a good time. Some things disappointed me, but a section of the movie got really good and I was instantly hooked. It takes time to get there. But, just know that there's a good movie in here eventually.
"Prometheus" premiered 5 years ago and it left me with mixed thoughts. As the years have gone by I've noticed that I've liked it more with each viewing. Sure, there are some noticeable bad things in it which is why I can't say it's perfect. But, I understand it much better now and I appreciate the questions of existence and space exploration it brought up. I especially liked the story of Elizabeth Shaw and the robot David. They carried that movie on their shoulders. I was so eager to see where their story would lead.
Which is why I was worried. The trailers looked like the movie ignored to be a good follow-up and instead to just be a beat for beat remake of the original "Alien". I wanted to explore new ground and continue with the search for the Engineers. I thought that was so fascinating. I didn't wanna see a re-skinned version of the classic "Alien". We already have those movies and they're great. Still I completely understand why they did it. "Prometheus" wasn't well received by most people, so to have a new movie that would mix both "Alien" and "Prometheus" into one made sense in a marketing standpoint. People expected the Xenomorphs back and now they are. And to be honest, I was happy to see the creatures return. Still if you are like me and wanted to see the continuing adventures of Elizabeth Shaw you are not gonna get it. Noomi Rapace is unfortunately not back. You will get some answers left from that movie through the eyes of a new crew from the ship Covenant. So, you can watch this one without even seeing "Prometheus". They fill you in on everything you need to know.
The design of the sets and the effect work is incredible. Some CGI was a little off. But, the rest of the locations and interior ship designs were wonderful to look at. The sense of mystery was strong and I loved the dark feeling you get watching these movies. It's really great just visually and tonally. What's not so good is the structure. You know exactly when someone is gonna die and so on. It's basically like a generic slasher set in space. I hoped for some more twists to the things we come to expect, but that never really happened. If you've ever seen a previous "Alien" film you know where the movie is gonna lead. It's definitely on autopilot with the structure. The new crew is alright. I found myself caring for a lot of the members. A few of them are stock and generic. But, those are the ones who get out of the picture early on. They did an OK job of building some sympathy for them at the beginning. Some dialogue at the start didn't work that well, but it soon got better.
What steals the show is the story of the robots David and Walter. Fassbender is absolutely phenomenal playing both roles. You buy it a 100% that they are two different characters whenever they have a scene together. The way they pull it off is out of this world. I loved it. The movie gets really good after the end of the first act. Once you start to investigate what's going on it gets very disturbing and dark. I got invested by that point. If you ignore the horror clichés you get a fantastic different story that's surprising. I would have wanted it to focus more on that story, but what we get is still satisfying. I will say that the horror scenes do make you feel stressed and uncomfortable. So, they actually succeed in creeping you out. It's just extremely noticeable when those scenes are gonna happen. The soundtrack is fantastic. It's somber yet finds a way to creep under your skin.
Is this better than "Prometheus"? I can't really say. I depends on what you wanna see. Ridley Scott went the easy route. He starts the movie well with a great opening scene which I loved. Then he has a bit of trouble in the first act. It's a little slow with some uninteresting moments. Once we get to the planet the movie finds itself with them digging deeper into the mystery. It has a wonderful second act and a finale that's underwhelming, but like I said: Satisfying enough. I can forgive it for not being what I wanted because of the David / Walter story-line. That's what had me on the edge of my seat. It was really fascinating. How about the rest of the movie? Well, it's basic fun space horror. Not terrible, just something you come to expect. You can do much better next time, Ridley. If you follow the right steps with the right characters, you can have a fantastic third chapter in this prequel series.