ALIEN: COVENANT  [Blu-ray + Digital]
Ridley Scott On Terrific Form! Witness The Creation Of Fear! Spine Bursting Action!
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ‘ALIEN.’ With ‘ALIEN: COVENANT,’ the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with the film ‘PROMETHEUS’ and connects directly to Ridley Scott's 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” android named David [Michael Fassbender], who is the survivor of the doomed and ill-fated Prometheus expedition.
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 2017 Fright Meter Awards: Nomination: Best Special Effects. 2017 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards: Nomination: Best Supporting Actor for Michael Fassbender. 2018 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: Nomination: Best Science Fiction Film. 2018 Hawaii Film Critics Society: Nomination: Best Supporting Actor for Michael Fassbender.
FILM FACT No.2: Principal photography began on April 4, 2016, at Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand, and wrapped on 19th July, 2016. Effects houses Odd Studios and CreatureNFX provided the film's makeup and animatronic creature effects. Director Ridley Scott reported that the first cut of the sci-fi film was two hours and twenty-three minutes long, and was eventually edited down to the two hours and three minutes of the released version. The film was released in Mainland China on 16th June, 2017, and was trimmed by 6 minutes, leaving the film total released length in China at 116 minutes. It is very likely that the move was due to usual censorship by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, because of the monstrous violence depicted in the film and the removal of the David-Walter 'kiss' scene which was deleted due to LGBT censorship sensitivities in China.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, Lorelei King (Voice of Mother), Goran D. Kleut, Andrew Crawford, Javier Botet (uncredited), Steve Doyle (uncredited), James Franco (uncredited), Juke Hardy (uncredited), Scott James (uncredited), Billy Mansell (uncredited), Guy Pearce (uncredited), Noomi Rapace (uncredited) and Benjamin Taylor (uncredited)
Director: Ridley Scott
Producers: Amy Greene, David Giler, Hannah Ireland, Mark Huffam p.g.a., Michael Schaefer p.g.a., Ridley Scott p.g.a., Teresa Kelly and Walter Hill
Screenplay: Dan O'Bannon (characters created), Dante Harper (screenplay), Jack Paglen (story), John Logan (screenplay), Michael Green (story) and Ronald Shusett (characters created)
Composer: Jed Kurzel
Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 5.1 Descriptive Audio
Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Spanish: 5.1 Descriptive Audio
French: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
French: 5.1 Descriptive Audio
Português: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Português: 5.1 Descriptive Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Português and Swedish
Running Time: 122 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox / TSG Entertainment / Scott Free / Brandywine Productions
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’  is the best instalment since the films ‘ALIEN’ and ‘ALIENS’ was released onto the public and of course director Ridley Scott's latest sci-fi horror film creates terror on a towering scale and wisely focuses on the extra-terrestrial suspense, and sadly some pompous critics have been allowed to voice their negative nasty comments about this 2017 film. When the director Ridley Scott released the film ‘PROMETHEUS’ in 2012, he was strangely reticent on the question of whether it was a prequel to the famed ‘ALIEN’ sci-fi franchise, maintaining that only “the keen fan will recognise the strands of Alien’s DNA structure.” More importantly regarding the cinematic genealogy, is the fact that ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ is actually pretty darn good and extremely very scary, and totally your worst nightmare.
The year is 2104, 11 years after the events of the film ‘PROMETHEUS’ and we find ourselves, as we so often do, on a space ship in the midst of a long journey. This is the Covenant, a colony ship bearing 2,000 frozen souls and 1,140 embryos on a terraforming mission to a planet called Origae-6. Along the way, however, a “neutrino burst” damages the ship and the android on call, Walter [Michael Fassbender] wakes the crew up early.
The Captain Branson [James Franco] is tragically killed by a malfunction in his sleeping pod, leaving his first mate, Christopher Oram [Billy Crudup], in command. While repairing the damage to the ship, the pilot, Tennessee [Danny McBride], detects a signal from a nearby planet. Remarkably, it could even appear to this naïve crew, that this world appears even more suitable for colonization than the ship’s original destination; the crew decides to reroute and find out what’s going on.
The landing party descends onto the planet’s surface and soon discovers, however, that all is not as it seems. Suffice to say that this is the home world of the Engineers, the towering race that seeded Earth with human beings millions of years earlier, and towards which the survivors of the film ‘PROMETHEUS,’ Elizabeth Shaw [Noomi Rapace] and the android David [Michael Fassbender] and of course we saw them charted their course at the end of the sci-fi film ‘PROMETHEUS.’
There is plenty to admire here, especially the stunning awesome sound design that is totally masterful, and especially the deadly silence on this petrified planet crackles with icy dread. Michael Fassbender’s performance is an elegant pas de deux that effortlessly delineates between the two identical androids, but the only difference with this android is that he talks with an American accent, which I cannot understand why they decided to do this? But the film is laboriously talky, filled with expository dialogue as stale as the recycled air on a spaceship. Long gone is the naturalistic banter that made the film ‘ALIEN’ so potent and, with it, the ability to explore its ideas through image alone rather than pages of over-written words.
An eerie prologue reintroduces the android David [Michael Fassbender], one of the films Prometheus’s few survivors, whom we see talking to his creator Weyland [Guy Pearce] in flashback. Piero della Francesco’s Nativity hangs on the wall beside them, and David regards the painting quizzically: something about the notion that the most enduring gods are born rather than just invented seems to seep into his circuits. This is the first of the film’s near-countless allusions to devotional and gothic art. In 2017, no one can hear you scream for an existential sci-fi thriller.
To director Ridley Scott’s credit he has taken the best aspects of the first ‘ALIEN’ sci-fi film and put in extra shock scenes together in the sci-fi film ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’. There is the typical slasher film horror scenario of the first sci-fi film, punctuated by the gun firing mayhem of the second one. There is as usual plenty of gore and people get killed in deliciously gruesome ways, and your appreciation of said scenes depends on your proclivity towards horror cinema. The ‘back burster’ Xenomorph is a nice update to the original chest burst scene with the actor John Hurt, and the new age special effects take things to their ultimate extreme level, getting a sufficiently squirmy reaction for sci-fi horror fans. It is also never a boring sci-fi film, especially in the scenes featuring Michael Fassbender as a potentially dangerous character of the evil kind, in fact he acts like a typical Machiavellian character where he is in control, meaning the android is devious, cunning, crafty, artful, wily, sly, scheming, designing, conniving, opportunistic, insidious, treacherous, perfidious, two-faced, tricky, double-dealing, unscrupulous, deceitful and totally dishonest.
We are all for more ALIEN franchise sci-fi films in trying to give us the answers we seek, as long as the storyline is inventive like what Ridley Scott has done with ‘ALIEN: COVENTANT.’ But the question that remains, where does the ALIEN franchise sci-fi films go to in the future? Ridley Scott is now 80 years old and plans to make more ALIEN sci-fi films, but going by the formulaic nature of this sci-fi horror film, hopefully someone might suggest a new angle on how to stop these monsters procreating. It’s difficult to figure out what other surprises are left for these grotesque and horrific Xenomorphs, as sometimes it feels slightly exhausting to watch another ALIEN film waiting for the eggs to attack these not very smart people on these spaceships. Perhaps it’s time to let someone else to take a stab at this sci-fi franchise to explore a totally new avenue.
‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ is director Ridley Scott’s latest ALIEN sci-fi horror film finally answers some important questions while returning to the serious horror roots and one that was not afraid to ask big questions but, more often than not, it does so by unsubtly spouting them out of the mouths of its characters. It is unapologetically bold and brash in its handling of intellectual material, but it sort of works for a few reasons. For one, the reveal of how and why the xenomorphs were created is rewarding within the terms director Ridley Scott laid out in the film ‘Prometheus.’ And none of this would’ve worked without the performance of Michael Fassbender, who once again plays the ship’s android and delivers a lot of the stodgier material with ease while gracefully wading through the rising melodrama, conducting Scott’s bombastic sci-fi symphony with total conviction. Even when things become faintly ridiculous, he remains utterly compelling.
‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ strikes a more favourable balance between the unwieldy philosophical ideas of Prometheus and the classic horror and suspense of the 1979 original film. Despite continuing the film ‘Prometheus’ questionable line of inquiry into the xenomorphs origins and occasionally adopting its histrionic tone for entire scenes, and ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ framework and exciting action put enough new spins on the series most reliable touchstones that the cast is able to carry it through to a satisfying end. Those who enjoyed the film ‘Prometheus’ and I am one of them, will really enjoy how the ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ sci-fi film continues on the themes and story from director Ridley Scott’s return to the franchise, which really excited me whenever these sci-fi franchise films are released and now the wait is over. The only slightly negative aspect of this film, is that it is crying out to have been made in 3D as follow up to the previous ‘PROMETHEUS’ sci-fi film.
ALIEN: COVENANT MUSIC TRACK LIST
THEME FROM ALIEN  (Composed by Jerry Goldsmith)
DAS RHEINGOLD, SCENE 4: ENTRANCE OF THE GODS (Written by Richard Wagner) [Performed by Stephen Barton]
TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS (Written by John Denver, Taffy Danoff and Bill Danoff)
THE MAN WHO BROKE THE BANK AT MONTE CARLO (Written by Fred Gilbert)
ANCIENT FLUTE (Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams)
LIFE and WE WERE RIGHT (Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams)
LET ME DOWN EASY (Written by Paolo Nutini, Rollo Armstrong, James McDougal and Wrecia Holloway) [Performed by Paolo Nutini]
DAS RHEINGOLD, SCENE 4: ENTRANCE OF THE GODS (Written by Richard Wagner) [Performed by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by José Serebrier]
Blu-ray Image Quality – 20th Century Fox presents this Blu-ray disc in a stunning 1080p image presentation that looks totally top notch and is totally enhanced with the 2.40:1 aspect ratio and it is Dariusz Wolski, who previously shot ‘Prometheus,’ returned as the cinematographer on ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ to give it that extra dimension of the awesome atmospheric dramatic effects. The black levels are natural throughout and very deep at times. The scenes that transpire at night in the wheat field look totally amazing. Since it’s a dark space opera so to speak I would go as far as to say the colour palette is pretty well spot on for how you would want it to look. There’s nothing exaggerated or overblown and when those explosions go off it blinds you like any good explosion in the dark of night should. As to the skin tones, they are all very pasty white and natural throughout because of being stuck in outer space for the very long period in travelling outer space and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary and every one had a healthy glow to them unless they were ill, you know sick from the alien bug in them. But there is one very negative aspect of viewing this film, is that it should have been shot in 3D, especially being a follow up to the previous film. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – 20th Century Fox brings us this Blu-ray disc in an awesome 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio experience and gives a great deal of soundscape expansion here and all the sounds we hear are fine and totally pristine down to hearing a pin drop. Other good sound effects is when you experience the harsh weather environments, crashes, explosions, rain, bumps in the night and so much more in a soundscape audio experience and absolutely nothing gets lost here. Even the quietest whimper is heard above it all and I really have to commend on the way they brought this track to life with the utmost of authenticity. The rear speakers were constantly engaged, but never at a level that sounded forced or unnatural. What is also very atmospheric is the interior of the spaceship, especially whenever the doors are sliding open and closed and the smoke steaming up all around you and to hear the growl of the alien hatchlings and the screams you get to hear as a result. The rain sound effects are another totally cool sound effect, which lends in credibility to putting you in the middle of it all here. The dialogue levels were always clean, prioritized and intelligent throughout and I never strained once to hear any of the spoken words from the actors, which is another total plus!
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Deleted and Extended Scenes  [1080p] [2.40:1] [17:37] Here you get to view twelve individual items and they are as follows: Prologue (Extended Scene); Walter in Greenhouse (Deleted Scene); Oram and Daniels (Extended Scene); Walter Visits Daniels (Deleted Scene); Daniels Bedroom Flashback (Deleted Scene); Jacob’s Funeral (Extended Scene); Ledwards Fall (Deleted Scene); Crossing the Plaza (Extended Scene); Daniels Thanks Walter (Deleted Scene); Rosenthal Prayer (Deleted Scene); Walter Reports Back (Deleted Scene) and Stairs to Eggroom (Extended Scene). As usual you can either view them separately or Play All. As an added bonus, you can view these clips in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
Special Feature: USCSS COVENANT  [1080p] [2.40:1] [16:00] With this special feature it includes three separate videos that add a lot more to the characters backgrounds, and they are as follows: MEET WALTER [2:20] Here we get to view how Walter the Android was built and then finally we get to see the all-new Walter, who has been created to serve. PHOBOS [9:09] Here we get to see the crew being processed via the Phobos Group “A” Test Assessment to see if they will be suitable for a long journey into space upon the Covenant space ship to the planet Origae-6. Please be warned, there are certain scenes in this video that you might find too extreme. THE LAST SUPPER [4:37] Here we get to see the crew on the Covenant space ship starting out on their journey to the planet Origae-6, and having their last meal before they embark on their long hibernation journey into deep space.
Special Feature: SECTOR 87 – PLANET 4  [1080p] [1.78:1] Here you get to view three separate special features and they are as follows: THE CROSSING [2:34] Here we are informed that in 2093, the Prometheus Expedition went looking for humanity’s creators. The mission ended in total disaster after discovering a deadly alien pathogen and the two survivors continued their search and we see what happened when the human Elizabeth and the android David finally arrived at the planet Origae-6. ADVENT [6:41] Here we see David the android explaining his inner thoughts of a new Eden and planting an alien inside Elizabeth while in hibernation in wanting to create a new species of alien and thinking he is God the Creator. DAVID’S ILLUSTRATIONS: Here you get to view five separate categories and they are FLORA; FAUNA, SHAW; SPECIMENS and ALIEN. So when you click on each category you have a massive amount of beautiful stunning black-and-white illustrations and it informs you how to view all the illustrations you get to view.
Special Feature: MASTER CLASS: RIDLEY SCOTT  [1080p] [1.78:1 / 2.40:1] [55:30] With this special feature you get to view an in-depth look at the making of the film and is in four individual and they are as follows: STORY; CHARACTERS; SETTING and CREATURES, and as usual you can either view them separately or Play All. It also features a host from the cast and crew interviews interspersed with tons of behind-the-scene footage, and viewers can learn a great deal on the director's creative style and approach to the plot, the characters, the visual effects, the shooting location, lots of behind-the-scene filming and lots of clips from ‘ALIEN; COVENANT’ and the original ‘ALIEN’ sci-film. This is highly recommended watch and well worth of its title “Master Class.” Contributors include: Ridley Scott [Director/Producer], John Logan [Screenwriter], Dante Harper [Screenwriter], Mark Huffam [Producer], Callie Hernandez [Upworth], Katherine Waterson [Daniels], Billy Crudup [Oram], Amy Seimetz [Faris], Benjamin Rigby [Ledward], Michael Fassbender [David/Walter], Danny McBride [Tennessee], Demian Bichir [Lope], Kyle Gardener [Stunt Coordinator], Carmen Ejogo [Karine], Chris Seagers [Production Designer], Neil Corbould [Special Effects Supervisor], Dariusz Wolski [Director of Photography], Charley Henley [Visual Effects Supervisor], Dane Hallett [Set Dec Illustrator], Matt Hatton [Set Dec Illustrator], Uli Latukefu [Cole], Janty Yates [Costume Designer], Conor O’Sullivan [Creature Design Supervisor], Adam Johansen [Creature Effects Supervisor] and James Franco [Branson].
Audio Commentary by Director Ridley Scott: Here we are welcomed by Ridley Scott who informs us he was the director of the film ‘ALIEN: COVENANT,’ and he also informs us that with this audio commentary of this film, it will be off the cuff and that nothing is really planned, just making comments that will be totally fresh. Ridley talks about his first film ‘ALIEN’ and he felt he had to revisit the Alien story by making the sci-fi film ‘PRMEHTEUS’ and asking the questions, who would make such nasty bio mechanoid intergalactic hideous thing and for what reason, so Ridley felt ‘PROMEHTEUS’ was a step forward to discover how and why, so Ridley felt at the beginning of ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ he felt we needed a link between the two sci-fi films and then starts to talk about the PROLOGUE at the start of ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ and the banter between the two people that were seen in the sci-fi film ‘PROMETHEUS’ and explaining the scenario, especially via the A.I David and how dangerous the human realises David could be and how the human is vulnerable, because the human is jealous of David as he cannot live forever, but of course in the sci-fi film ‘PROMEHTEUS’ the human gets dealt a mighty blow in shortening his life. Ridley gives great praise about the genius film music composer Jerry Goldsmith and why Ridley Scott decided to use again the original composed music from the film ‘ALIEN’ for the start of ‘ALIEN: COVENANT,’ as Ridley really feels Jerry Goldsmith is a genius and always does the best film music scores and very relevant for ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ as it links the two films so perfectly. When the space craft Covenant hits the solar flair and causes damage to the solar flares and wakes up the main crew, Ridley talks about all those actors and why they were chosen for this mission and what their jobs would be in real life. Ridley explains about the massive solar panels and what they would be made of and says NASA is thinking of using the same material for any future long distant space travel and in reality would be the same size as four English football fields. Scientists have spoken to Ridley in saying they get their ideas from watching his sci-fi films, as Ridley seems to solve any problems beforehand that might happen with real life space travel and so they feel Ridley Scott has helped the advancement of space travel. When the team from the Covenant land on the planet, Ridley talks a lot about the locations in Fiordland National Park, South Island in New Zealand, and informs us what is real and what was CGI computer generated images. A lot of the time Ridley just rambles on about the technical aspect precise details of the filming and why they did certain scenes and just talked in general terms that would be more interesting to people who work in the film industry and just went over my head, as some of the details was not very interesting. What also made me annoyed is that with certain scenes we view near the end of the film, unfortunately Ridley states the obvious and something we can work out for ourselves what we are viewing. When you see the control room on the Covenant, with the round table that was used in the ‘PROMEHTEUS’ sci-fi film, you see in the middle the nodding toy, well Ridley informs us that this is the same object that was seen in the original ‘ALIEN’ sci-fi film. One bit of exciting news Ridley informs us, is that he is in process of doing a screenplay for ‘ALIEN: COVENANT 2’ and ‘ALIEN: COVENANT 3.’ As we get to view the start of the credits, Ridley hope you enjoyed his little chat, and also asks if you enjoyed the film, bye!
Special Feature: PRODUCTION GALLERY  [1080p] [1.78:1] With this special feature you get to view four individual gallery images, where you get a selection of massive amount of awesome still images and with each titled gallery, you can either select AUTO ADVANCE to launch the images slideshow, where the images you view will change every five seconds or you can select MANUAL ADVANCE for your own individual preference in view the different image galleries and they are as follows: RIDLEYGRAMS [19 images]; CONCEPTUAL ART [115 images]; CREATURES [34 images] and LOGOS AND PATCHES [34 images.
Trailers: Here you get to view two stunning theatrical trailers and they are as follows: Theatrical Trailer 1  [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:26] and Theatrical Trailer 2  [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:04]. One added bonus of viewing these trailers is that it is viewed in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
Finally, ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’  Twentieth Century Fox presents Ridley Scott’s return to the universe he created, especially with this follow up from his previous directed film ‘PRMETHEUS.’ ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ is the newest chapter in the ground-breaking ALIEN franchise. Some harsh critics say that the film and pacing could be much better, but after all it is what it is, all about nasty Aliens! ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ is an unrelenting action movie where the horror arrives from unexpected quarters. But more importantly ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ pulls together some of the story threads thrown our way with the previous film ‘Prometheus.’ But with this Blu-ray disc release includes a series of refreshing extras to explore that further flesh-out the Alien ecosystem. ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ is an unrelenting action movie where the horror arrives from unexpected quarters. But more importantly ‘ALIEN: COVENANT’ pulls together some of the story threads thrown out with the previous ‘PROMETHEUS’ sci-fi film, But most of all it has magnificent visuals, mayhem and loads of buckets of the usual gore ensues, so enjoy! Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso