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Yet where the actual movie is concerned, the veteran director could hardly have asserted himself more powerfully.
Scott has never made a secret of his admiration for the late Stanley Kubrick, and there are conspicuous nods in this film to Kubrick’s 1968 epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Scott is inspired by nobody more than himself.
The old captain is dead, leaving a distraught widow, Daniels (Katherine Waterston), and a tormented new skipper, Oram (Billy Crudup), who struggles to reconcile his job with his religious beliefs.
He redirects the stricken vessel to a nearby planet that seems hospitably lush, but where, inevitably, all is not as it seems.
She just about persuades us to buy into a character who could probably carry out Donald Trump’s campaign promise, certainly more successfully than he ever will, to ‘drain the Washington swamp’.
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Soon, the crew have a full-blown crisis on their hands, not to mention some nasty spores in their ears. ’ cries Daniels, which might be the most banal line of dialogue in the entire film, but there’s no doubting that she’s got the measure of the situation.
However, this is the Alien franchise, with Scott at the helm, which means it’s not just about aliens, it’s also about existentialism.
But soon enough her ruthless modus operandi are worrying her upright new boss (Mark Strong), and compromising the safety of a decent colleague (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). TV drama, but it could be a parody of itself, with White House aides talking 19 to the dozen in slick, perfectly formed sentences while walking urgently along corridors, bursting through swing doors without ever breaking either stride or thought.
Above all, though, this is a pulsating addition to the series, and the next adventure is set up neatly by an ending some of us might have seen coming half an aeronautical mile away, but is no less satisfying for that.
Moreover, the director’s sense of mischief is ever-present, as demonstrated by a soundtrack which finds room for both Wagner’s Entry Of The Gods Into Valhalla and John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads, as well as a shower scene which makes the one in Hitchcock’s Psycho look uneventful.
This film, with its dripping gore and its nasty frights, is much truer to the spirit of the original Alien.
The year is 2104, a decade after the events depicted in Prometheus.But his masterpiece is surely 1979’s Alien, which is why it’s so exciting when he returns to the science-fiction genre that made him a star.