Ranting Xeno's Xeno Review Rant (!!!SPOILERS!!!)6,492 Views11 RepliesAdd A Reply
!!!THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!
Well! Last night I eventually saw it and, well...erm...buckle up, this could get bumpy.
First and foremost, there WILL be spoilers. 2nd, and important to some, there may be bad language as I'm writing this raw and as it comes to me. 3rd, and for no other reason that I put 3rd and now have to make something up, I probably won’t proof read until after the fact.
Where to start. Oh yeah, **** that chestburster!!!
If you recall; when the soundtrack became available on YouTube, I had major reservations about the Chestburster track. My fears were realised, and some. David gazing in awe at his creation, check. David waving at the chestburster, unexpected and stupid. The chestburster waving back and emulating, as opposed to running off to safety to start its INSANE growth spurt (more on that later), I audibly groaned in the Cinema. I expected it'd be a problem scene for me based on the score but not even in my ultra-cynical imagination could I have dreamed up that bloody nonsense!
- David: "Wow! Look what I have done! Yay!"
- Chestburster: "I should be scared and vulnerable but I'll stand about for a bit."
- David: "Let’s play a game."
- Chestburster: "Not sure that’s a good plan but I'll go with it."
- David: "Simon says, have a wee stretch."
- Chestburster: "Oh gawd, this ****er wants to clear the Cinema."
- Chestburster: *stretches*
- David: "Simon says, raise your arms just like me."
- Chestburster: "****s sake!"
- Chestburster: *Waves arms*
- David: "Do a backflip"
- Chestburster: "**** you. Didn't say Simon says. I can finally end this cluster****."
- Chestburster: *Goes away to do alienish stuff*
Enough negativity; I just had to get that out of my system.
To put this review in context, until Alien Day, this year, I hadn't rewatched Prometheus (and it was still a disappointment when I did). This movie I am going to watch again tonight. It is many many many orders of magnitude superior to Prometheus. It is actually a decent movie. Yes, there were points I wanted to claw my own eyes out but overall it was a night well spent watching a movie that is deserving of praise.
Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? Visuals...****ing incredible! Stunning environments, cinematography was top notch. But what else do we expect from Sir Ridley? In a way it is a moot point! Even if it was a ****-show, it would have been a beautiful **** show. The location shooting was great, even down to the digitally enhanced lightning storms. The scenes in space gave a great sense of scale. The charging sails, when deployed, made the ship fill the entire screen and it was nothing short of majestic! The sets were good, with the Giger-esque Juggernaut interior being a firm favourite (though I am a hopeless Giger fanboy). The engineer temple was spacey enough to be practical but cramped enough to bring in the (very) slight feeling of claustrophobia, after all of the open shots after landing. The design of the interior of the Covenant was also fairly impressive.
I already covered my thoughts on the score, in a previous thread, so I'll keep this brief. I loved it! At points it was beautiful and serine, at points it was a driving force behind the action on screen. It was an ever-present accompaniment without ever detracting from the on screen action or dialog. The recurring themes were haunting. The build of crescendos and steady addition of natural and synthesized bass were effective in the more action scenes, just to get the blood pumping a little harder. Yeah, music and score was spot on. Again, not a huge surprise. Even when there was a revisit to Prometheus music I didn't curse. Everything just felt right.
In terms of synopsis: I'd have worded it slightly differently:
"A crew consisting largely of selfish, stupid, gullible and loathsome characters on a colonisation mission, encounter a planet. With only retarded logic behind the decision they decide to ditch their existing mission and explore the planet. It has wheat. It has a psychotic toaster. It didn't have any threatening lifeforms on it, though. They were lonely. They decided to run through this new and completely unknown world with no protective gear. They made wildlife. They were not lonely anymore. They were dying. Good. Stupidity should be painful! The bonkers toaster saves the day and they all follow him, blindly. He lies to them for a while and then they start dying again. In the end an alien gets to the Covenant (again, through stupidity) and...ugh! just watch the end of Alien...its better."
That may not have sold as many tickets, though.
Now I may sound like I'm ****ting on this film; and that is not the case. If it wasn't for people doing stupid things all movies would be boring. It takes the willing suspension of disbelief and an acceptance of complete dumbassery to appreciate any kind of fiction. If people behaved sensibly, no action would ever occur. If nobody ever made a stupid decision, the crew would still be sitting in their apartments in their jogging bottoms, drinking tea and watching god awful sit coms on the TV. Stupidity I have no issue with. Though some decisions were beyond ****ing stupid, and warranted my groans of displeasure.
Back to the positive! The performances. Many were fantastic. Only a couple were outstanding, and one was a surprise! I was worried about Danny McBride being anywhere near this but...the mother****er pulled off a great performance. His character was probably one of my favourites! The boy can actually act, as opposed to ****ing about on camera. His character did bring some personality and humour (though not gratuitous levels of the latter), to counteract the dark and foreboding. Yet when he needed to, he pulled off almost believable emotion. When he finds out his wife died in the lander, this was demonstrated. I really liked "T" as a character.
Fassbender? Well, its Fassbender - almost guaranteed to be great. But his performance was outstanding. By far the most engaging, whether speaking as Walter or David (or getting amorous with himself or trying to **** himself up with irritating musical instruments), his characters were the most interesting on screen. The way he portrayed each characters idiosyncrasies and mannerisms made each a standout character in its own right. The camera work, use of doubles and/or VFX was done flawlessly; so the Fass on Fass scenes just flowed as if it were being acted by twins. There was never a point where I didn't fully believe (obviously, in the context of the movie) Walter and David as 2 separate entities. Impressively this is continued even when Walter and David are having a mild disagreement, or knocking 7 shades of **** out of each other.
Daniels? Well…erm… Katherine was Ok. Just a bit meh. I liked the moment on the Power Lift thing where she eventually just thought "Right! **** it!" and went out to confront the Proto-Xeno. Other than that, she was just there. She did a decent job of looking sad after her man was burnt to a crisp in his crio pod, but I kinda just didn't give a ****. Not a commanding performance.
Other than that; all characters were secondary. Neo/Proto fodder. Collateral damage. And I'm extatically happy that they were treated as such. No arbitrary character building on someone that is just going to explode/lose a head/be chomped on in a shower. No time wasted on ****ing about. No I like rocks, no I love rocks! Because nobody cares about a corpses affinity to rocks. There was enough character building to explain why certain characters go from questionable to bat-**** crazy, but not a huge amount of time is wasted on them. Here is X, X is married to Y, X is in danger, Y becomes a selfish and reckless ****tard. Job done. Back to the important stuff (Walter/David/etc).
Oh, I forgot Captain Chris. He was a pleb and deserved to die. Good performance, I guess, but I just hated him and didn't care what happened to him. He could have juggled David, Walter and a Neomorph whilst singing the blues and dressed like a mermaid and I'd still not have noticed him. Man of faith? Man of no substance whatsoever. It’s a shame, Billy is a good actor and probably should have been scripted into something other than a useless and boring ****.
James Franco pissed me off. He was only on a tablet for 30 seconds but that was long enough to irritate me. That's all the time I'm wasting on that.
Right, to the non-humans (and I included toasters as human)!
The baby Neomorphs were pretty cool. I loved the way they were portrayed on screen. Tails slashing and stabbing. Little crazy buggers, so they were. Completely animal, naturally and impulsively aggressive. The corn field scene was a standout, the complete disarray, confusion and terror were portrayed effectively. Walter killing the Neo with a punch to the throat, via face, was a nice touch (but led to a question down the road, at the end of the film). The baby Neos were possibly the best creatures in the movie.
The adult Neo, though it didn't get a **** ton a screen time, was also pretty cool. Personally I don't think it’s the one that ran off after the mega-awesome-flare in the corn field. I think it was Shaw, or a bi-product of Shaw. I think she got infected, probably accidentally, and the adult Neo was the result. This would explain David's absolute horror as it was killed, he looked genuinely distraught. He then played an homage to Shaw at his desk, saying a farewell to the last living part of her after it was killed (or maybe murdered in David's eyes?).
Now – don’t get me wrong - there is no question that David hacked her up and used various parts of her, more than likely ovaries/womb/eggs (despite being infertile) or general DNA, we saw it on screen. But I seriously doubt he killed her. I believe accidental infection leading to the adult Neo, and all experimentation was done post-mortem. I think he did "love" her (as much as it was possible for him to do so, his exact state of transcendence was never implicitly stated despite being heavily hinted at), and what resulted of her. The death of the adult Neo was probably more poignant that any of the human characters.
The facehuggers were awesome. Good mix of practical and digital effects. But, they are what they are. They have always been awesome. There was something that pissed me off, but I'll cover that later
The chestburster? One was a cluster**** and the other was off screen.
The design of the eggs was good. I think they looked significantly different to those in the derelict on LV-426, so there is probably going to be a mutation or 2 before the stories are tied up (at this point, the chances a bridging happening satisfactorily are slim imo).
The Proto-Xeno looked amazing.......when it stood still long enough for you to see it! ****ing thing was on Amphetamines. Sprinting about and leaping all over the place. Totally detracted from the look of it. There were a couple of shots where it looked awesome! Standing at the temple door, before its sprint to the lander. On the roof of the lander. When it was caught in the crane, before it went pop. Before the shower attack. Just after entering the terraforming bay, before it started leaping about and became a VFX fest. Nothing menacing about the bloody thing, in this movie. Just all CGI and rampaging. Big fat "Meh!", from me.
The engineers? I didn't give a single solitary **** about them. Was an entertaining wee scene. Those who wanted answers about why they wanted to destroy earth and why they created the goo, must have put a lot more time and thought into Prometheus than I did. Basically, a massacre was used to break up the extended Fass on Fass dialog. It worked quite well.
I’ve also got a couple of gripes. All the time I've been avoiding spoilers I've seen topics about whether they were engineers because they look different, but been unable to open them. For ****s sake people! Have you never heard of Polymorphism? I used to make a living out of it (reptile breeding). The same species can look VASTLY different. The recessive Albino gene for example. Does a python stop being a python because it is Albino? Craziness! But they are a foot shorter, you cry in your defence. And? Have you ever seen Carebara Diversa, and ant species famed for its polymorphism throughout castes? The super majors are bloody huge, yet they are the same species. Now, stop this silliness.
Also, stop saying genocide!!! This was an encampment, not a civilisation. To say that was an entire civilisation is madness. Imagine it were earth...David arrives, hovers over London (sorry Londoners), deploys goo. London dies! That wasn't genocide. Neither is it a civilisation gone. It’s a city gone, yes. But the rest of the UK is fine, the rest of Europe is fine. Humanity as a species is not decimated! Massacre, yes. Genocide, hush...
Sorry, went off on a tangent there. Where was I? Oh yes. Engineers. Fun scene. Death to the remnants of Prometheus. I only fear there is more to be seen of the Engineers.
Last non-human mention. There was no cat. Gutted! Lol
Now to the way it pissed all over the alien lifecycle. Time from spore to Neo was incredibly short. This in itself isn’t an issue. Different critter and "impregnation" method, different gestation period. Fair enough. As for the time to grow into a full grown Neo, that is still vague. If the adult Neo killed in the temple was the one that ran away in the wheat field, it was exceptionally fast. Though, as mentioned before, I don’t think it is.
The facehug to chest burst also seemed faaaaar too quick, but the sense of elapsed time may have been skewed by the narrative (there may have been time passed that wasn't shown), David looked bored waiting anyway. But it all seemed rather rushed. After the chestburster appeared (**** **** ****!), it appeared to become adult in the blink of an eye!
Now to one of my biggest issues. David created the Xeno. Meh! Ffs...
Also the partial and momentary facehug. Now, if it only takes 10 seconds to impregnate a host, why the hell does the facehugger in Alien bother putting Kane into a coma? Why waste the time? Jump on, lay, jump off, go to the pub. Now, it can be argued that the facehuggers seen in A:C arent quite the same as the one in Alien (the eggs are certainly different), but that said. Why woould a future generation be LESS efficient than a past one? Why would David continue a strain that was less efficient at the progression of his work?
Another thing that was essentially nullified was Egg Morphing. People don’t morph into eggs, containing facehuggers. Facehuggers are created embryonic, and the only thing needing created is a genetic holder/egg/suitcase for them? Really? Ugh!
I'm very interested, or now morbidly curious, how this story ark is going to tie into Alien. It has taken the logical routes and smashed them with a big mallet of **** you. Having said that, I can’t wait to see the attempts to reconcile.
Right! I could, and probably would, rant about the lifecycle and canonicity impacts, and the tie in to alien, all day so I'll shut up on that.
The David/Walter kiss, didn't see that coming. And what came next, I'm so glad I went in spoiler free as the recorder stab to the neck was a genuine surprise. It was one of the only points in the entire film where the lass with me actually jumped. It was a good, if somewhat weird, scene. It led into David dry humping Daniels and asking her if he could kiss right ("Is that how its done?", he asked. Well Davey son...not really. There is usually consent and the lack of a nail in the chin. But decent effort, I guess), just before Walter returns to smack the piss out of David. The fight scene was pretty good and again the effects were good so it was just like twins fighting. No oops moments with effects.
Which reminds me...blood on Faris' face, no blood, blood again...come on...
After the fight there was the switch. David betters his newer model. The fact I don't know how doesn't even annoy me. In fact I like it! Sure, it raises the question of how it all went down in such a short time...but that’s a mystery I don’t mind, and one that will HOPEFULLY be addressed in later films.
Did David Kill Walter? Walter had the upper hand and couldn't be swayed by human emotions such as doubt, pity, and certainly wouldn't be afraid of "Hell". All David had was a knife, potentially in reach. If David did manage, against all the odds and logic, to kill David, did he then cut off his own hand? How did he fix his voice so quickly?
Another option is that he had something genius he had been hiding (along with everything else) and was somehow able to acquire Walter's body. We know he had an override code for the Covenant. Did he have one to power down and or transfer into Walter?
Regardless, the David/Walter interactions were my favorite parts of the film!
Right, I have to shut up now. I could continue ranting...but I'm at work and writing this on my phone. My boss just went a bit mad as I'm not meant to have my phone at my desk.
In summation; good film. Going to see it again tonight. Well worth a watch. A billion times better than Prometheus. Neos are cool. Back/Face burst scenes cool. Pacing seemed on the fast side but didn't detract from the overall experience. Score was amazing. Visuals beautiful. Acting was decent (at times surprisingly so).
First watch score: 7.5/10
I have to agree the neomorphs were good... they were like little ninjas , quick spin and the face/jaw just went.
I thought the bit where the xenomorph burst out of teh captins chest was a little strange when david put his arms out to them and it copied him.
The one saving grace for that scene; At least David wasn't on a motorbike.
@Ranting Xeno - Thank-you so much for the review!!! I am still pumped to see this movie, although I am the Engineer-loving crybaby, HAHA!!
Ranting Xeno Your rant had me laughing my head off!!
Thank you....now I just need to find my head and re-attach it.....
"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger
Wow i cant believe you found the score to be amazing, i couldnt dissagree more on this part. I found the score to be very unfitting to the overall tone of the movie (aside from the nods to Jerry goldsmith and Mark Streitenfield). It actually took me out of the experience several times when it partially ruined several scenes because it was so unfitting to what was happening on screen. It was also used too much and in places where there should have been complete silence. I really hope (but doubt) they will do a revamp on this and edit some of the music for the blu ray release. If they do this and also make the editing and pacing of the third act better this could potentially make this a really solid movie compared to an ok movie.
Cerulean Blue: You're welcome. Hope you enjoy! :)
Lone: Hahaha. Thanks! Did you manage to reattach your head? Lol
Joe: Each to their own, mate. I didn't find it distracting...but that's just me :)
I just found the soundtrack amazing because of three specific things - 1) the song being played while Oram's chestbursting; 2) the melody of the original A L I E N theme being played at the opening; 3) original A L I E N soundtrack melodies being played while they're discovering about "a new planet where we should just forget about our mission and that 2000 ****ers and land over there", and later on at the wheat field (I guess, not quite sure right now).
"This mighty city shows the wonders of my hand."
Oh, and I couldn't forget about David playing Prometheus's theme on the flute as a composition to Elizabeth, what I think that has to be also considered part of soundtrack management.
"This mighty city shows the wonders of my hand."
Lots to consider, but yeah, still looking fwd to it especially as you are willing to see it again. :)
As for Canon issues...with my story, well, there's gonna be some problems...
IN SPACE THERE IS NO WARNING
I have to admit i was way too harsh regarding the score as i now have watched the movie again to give my final impressions of the film.
I have to say i actually liked the movie alot more on my second viewing. Maybe i wasnt as critical as i knew what i was getting into, but that being said i still have issues with the same things, which is mainly editing, pacing, lack of suspense and bad use of score in the third act, but it didnt bother me that much this time around. As i said I have to admit that I think i was way too critical of the score, as it actually had some decent tracks in there. I still think there were some bad ones which ruined the tone of some of the scenes in the 3rd act, and also was used too much and in wrong places. But it wasnt as bad as i initially thought, so i take back what i said about it being generally awful. That was way too harsh. I think many of the musical issues goes hand in hand with the editing and pacing so i cant blaim it all on the score.
I agree with 2 and 3 as i mentioned i liked the nods to goldsmith and prometheus. The issues i had as i mentioned above is mainly in the third act, especially the scene which u referred to in your first point. I understand what the undertone is but it didnt fit simply because of the general tone of the movie and editing/pacing wise. It just felt really off and distracting.
Anyway I think this is a good movie which sadly could have been great had it fixed some of the third act issues (editing, pacing, lazy writing, music). Hope to maybe see some improvements on the blu ray, maybe a directors cut as there were many scenes left out or cut short that i saw in the trailers.
Epic rant! You should be a professional movie reviewer. I like your theory about Shaw and the Neomorph too.