This film has beautiful production design, excellent cinematography, and a star-making performance by Michael Fassbender (who is already a star).
On the other hand, there’s nothing new here. After wandering far afield of the Alien myth with 2012’s Prometheus, director Ridley Scott returns to the gory monsters, bursting chests (or in this case, backs, a wild and crazy variation on the original—yes, that’s sarcasm), and startling scary moments of the first Alien film.
The film opens with a self-consciously stark and stunning setting that pulls the viewer away from the action and tension. The artificial beauty continues throughout, often dominating the storyline and enervating the suspense. There’s even a shower scene that is so stylized that I thought I was watching a bad ‘80s cable show.
There is something of a Sigourney Weaver/Ripley character found in Katherine Waterston’s character, but she is given too little to do too late for us to place her in our hearts and minds as the new Ripley.
And the end–oy! Not satisfying on any level, as it is both disappointing in terms of plot and comes off as a patently obvious set-up for a sequel.
Yes, Ridley, it’s beautiful, and yes, you went too far off the reservation with Prometheus. But simply creating a modern, stylized-but-still-gory version of your 1979 classic isn’t enough. You’ll lose a good deal by not seeing it on the big screen, but this is ultimately a gorgeous rental.