By rights, the Alien franchise should be dead by now, all curled up on its back like a big dead spider, flambéed by the flamethrower of critical ire. How many other movie series would be allowed so many misses and still get invited back to the plate for another swing? Throughout its various iterations since the 90s - sequels, prequels, versus match-ups - the Alien franchise has succeeded only in corroding its own legacy. Even 2012's promising Prometheus, directed by franchise progenitor Ridley Scott, fell short of expectations thanks to its entire cast suffering total frontal lobotomies in the third act. Well, the rot stops here. In Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott has directed the best Alien movie of the past 30 years, and although that isn't exactly a glowing compliment, know this: not only does Covenant deliver a payload of short, sharp scares and atmosphere in spades, it course-corrects the franchise as a whole, retroactively making Prometheus feel like a better movie too.
Good to know, thanks dude! The new trailer for Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods And Kings is below, with Welshman Christian Bale playing Egyptian prophet Moses and Australian Joel Edgerton as pharaoh Ramesses II. Oh Hollywood, how is it that this isn't even weird any more?
It has been 10 days since I saw The Counsellor, and despite it being an obviously flawed, frustrating film, there's something about it that clings to your subconscious, like recalling the remnants of a nightmare in the cold light of day. Ridley Scott's editor is clearly a goddamn American hero, because he was tasked with cutting down Cormac McCarthy's insanely verbose script for the screen; now, having read McCarthy's original, complete screenplay, I'm happy to share with you a few things I've noticed when comparing page to film.
'Exciting on paper' is a bit of an oxymoron. Nothing's exciting on paper. Books aren't exciting, unless you throw them at passing cars to make them crash. Cormac McCarthy is a man who writes these so-called 'books', and he's said to be very good at it. And so The Counsellor, his first original screenplay, with a first-rate director and cast, is tremendously exciting on paper. Trouble is, paper and film are very different things.
For all the talk of Prometheus "sharing the same DNA" as Alien, Ridley Scott's prequel doesn't bear much family resemblance to its granddaddy. The economy of horror that served his 1979 effort so well is replaced by a big-budget, star-gazing sci-fi that wants you to know it has size on its side. Hugely ambitious and staggering in its grand designs, Prometheus is almost hamstrung by the fact it is an Alien movie at all – the mishmash of grotesque body-horror and chin-stroking existentialism does not always make for the most coherent movie, but it is at least an entertaining one and certainly no black mark on the franchise.