Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Alien: Covenant

I’m a Prometheus sympathiser. I loved it when it came out and after watching it recently, I still do. I do see and realise the flaws throughout but can get past them and enjoy the ride. With Alien: Covenant, you may think that Ridley Scott would have learnt from his mistakes, however that’s not the case. Covenant is a flawed film that many will not be able to see pass. I however could and I still enjoyed what felt like a great sci-fi thriller that’s truly trying to grasp onto more than what the films that have gone before and after it have. Read on to find out why.

Covenant follows the crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, as they discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination. This film twists and turns pretty much from the get go so it’s difficult to go into more detail than this without spoiling things. Michael Fassbender returns yet again to play another synthetic android, and man is he as incredible as ever! Fassbender is the MVP of this franchise, I could watch him act all day long and never get bored. Joining him is a new cast, the stand outs being; Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride and Billy Crudup. The rest of the cast are just as good but there is quite a lot of them and these three are the main drivers of the story.

I liked this film a lot but I’m not oblivious to its flaws. Like I’ve said before, I can see past many of them but I’ll highlight them here first as they do detract from the film but not to my overall enjoyment of it. You do not really care for any of these characters, maybe Katherine Waterston’s as you follow her for most of the film but I was never too worried if any of them made it to the end. Part of this is probably down to the decisions the characters make, weak ones, stupid ones and some which just have no logic or reasoning behind them. It’s obvious how stupid some of these decisions are and I’m surprised they weren’t picked out before the film was made. Maybe it’s something to do with the philosophy of the film, are they highlighting the biggest flaw in humans is the fact that we are? This feels like I’m clutching at straws but who knows. If you can look past this, and I’m sure there will be many that can’t, then there is a great sci-fi film lurking and it comes into its stride once the story kicks in.

The film only gets better as it goes on, revealing its sinister threat and delving deeper into the philosophy that Prometheus started musing about. Maybe some came for the Xenomorph, and there is a lot of that, but I personally loved the philosophical element of this film. It makes its feel like it’s grasping for more than just being another killer alien film and trying to make us think like many other great sci-fi films. At times, it feels like it’s two films battling each other, one being an Alien prequel and the other being a Prometheus sequel. In a way these franchises may have been better off separate from each other but I don’t care, in my opinion both Prometheus and Covenant, even with their flaws, are really solid films and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Despite the flaws I’ve picked out, I enjoyed the hell out of this film. It’s tense, it’s scary, it’s gloriously gory and it’s thought provoking. It’s a great addition to the Alien franchise and I would definitely watch it again even if it’s just for some very memorable Michael Fassbender scenes… Not perfect but a great sci-fi film, I’m rating Alien: Covenant a 4/5. I’m hoping that the possible sequels to this film can be more thought out with deeper layered characters but also keep the philosophical element that has me hooked.

What did you think of the latest instalment of the Alien franchise, classic sci-fi or another dud? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I was travelling in California with my family when the first Guardians of the Galaxy came out. Being the Marvel fanboy that I was and still am, I begged them to go watch it opening day. After many grumbles about how I was taking time out of the holiday to see a film about a talking tree and raccoon, they gave in and we saw the film at the Cinemark Monterey 13 cinema. They were not ready for how US audiences enjoy films because unlike us British, they are loud about it. I’ve never had a movie-going experience quite like it, there was clapping and cheering throughout, it was well deserved and I absolutely loved it! My parents, well they left the cinema exclaiming how it was one of the best films they had ever seen and how much they loved Rocket and Groot!

Now here we are; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. My parents loved it, so there’s their review. Me, well I’m the film guy, I like to go a little more in depth with my opinions and although this film was a fun watch, it was a little bit messier than its predecessor. Read on to find out my SPOILER FREE verdict.

In their second outing the Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. All the main players are back as well as few new faces in the form of Kurt Russell as Ego, Pom Klementieff as Mantis and Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha.

If you think that description of the story is vague, that’s because there’s not much more to it than that and that’s where the film trips over for me. In what feels like a TV episode structure, the film’s plot is pushed along by one or two characters of its ensemble cast, whilst the others are just reacting to what’s going on, trying to make sense of it. Yes, most of them have their small arcs which do work nicely into the film, but if you were hoping characters like Groot and Drax were going to be more than comedic relief then you will be disappointed.

Thankfully where the story doesn’t add up, the character interactions do. They’ve set up the family dynamic really well for the group, they’re brilliant to watch together and bring a lot of laughs. You know how you could watch the The Avengers just chilling out drinking beer together for two hours, well you could definitely do the same with the Guardians, the chemistry between the group is amazing. This film is full on comedy, it’s the most jokey of all the Marvel films so far and thankfully most of them land. It’s a load of fun to watch with a large audience and because you care for the characters a lot, when the going gets tough, you do genuinely feel for them. And with film being about father – son relationships, it does have some emotional punches.

I could honestly watch this team together all day, even when the story doesn’t hook me, the characters are so good and well defined that in the moment it didn’t matter. Drax stole the show in the first film and he is just as funny here, but for me Rocket was the MVP of Vol. 2. The CGI was flawless and you get to see Rocket be a full on badass when he takes out a whole bunch of guys single handily with just his fists and few gadgets. The music is great yet again and I love how it still plays a big part in the film, even if the playlist isn’t as good as the first (this is becoming repetitive, I know) but that is of course subjective.

You guys get the gist, it’s still good, a lot of fun but not as well balanced or (some would say) as perfect as the first. Another solid entry into the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is great time at the cinema, I’m rating the film a 4/5.

What did you think of Marvel’s latest cosmic adventure? Loved it, hated it? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!