"It's christmas and I want to open my presents". That's how I felt about watching Paradise.
It's probably my favorite fanedit ever because of how skillfully it manages to make a really good movie out of two bad ones.
Nowadays it's once in a blue moon that we get to see a grandiose sci-fi tale, packed with appalling visuals of Ridley Scott's expertise, but not marred by ridiculous writing and superfluous gimmicks. And that's exactly what Paradise is. It's technically masterful - the edition is seamless and everything fits as if it was the original montage of the movie. I would say the overall highlights are the now unburdened beautiful setpieces and the brilliant design of space-faring vehicles and whatnot. But most definitely, a movie for David to call his own.
If I am to indulge in nitpicking though, there are some things I would have edited further to improve the narrative as per my personal enjoyment - if I were to master such arts:
Vickers - It feels like she doesn't belong anywhere anymore. Even though she acts like she owns the place, she has no agency at anything, her ultimate fate is left unknown (as opposed to the original version) and the synthetic ambiguity about her character is reduced with the removal of most of her lines. I don't know to what extent her absence would impact the editing, but I feel like she could be completely cut off, making the edit even tighter.
Both original movies introduce a disgusting freakshow roster of creatures (mostly Prometheus) that I am glad are mostly gone in Paradise (along with the gorier death scenes). However, I still have a gripe with Shaw's surgery and the Neomorph's spawnings. These scenes are very graphic and I would be completely fine with it if they were addressing the Xenomorph. Instead, I find them utterly distracting since they're just exploiting the parasitic horror for shock value (same thing for the snake creature that runs off of Millburn's corpse. What movie is this again?) I would ditch the whole Shaw cesary scene since it does absolutely no impact to her for the rest of the movie - it surprisingly doesn't affect her neither mentally nor physically (which is terribly unconvincing, no matter how many drug doses the movie shows her injecting herself). But I know that one would be tricky since it's followed directly by Weyland's reveal where Shaw appears half naked and visually debilitated, so it would make little sense without the previous events. As for Ledward's spawn, his back burst could lead directly to the newborn neomorph lunging for Karine and skipping the brief CGI sequence that shows the thing rising up from it's placenta - the same for Lope's husband one (whose infection is confusingly overlooked).
The engineered virulent pathogen is also something I never liked about the original versions. I understand how it fits into David's carrying on the Engineers' ploy, but it feels like a disservice to the classic Xenomorph biological glory and mystery. It also feels too mundane that the Engineers big plan was an old-fashioned terrorist-esque biological weapon. I love that David is the Xeno's father and that he created the "perfect organism", but it's an underlying tone inconsistency that the movies can't decide if they want to go with the contagion theme or the infection theme. That's to mention some really silly sequences that demonstrate the processes: Holloway seeing his eyes' worm thingy on the mirror, and Ledward's spore infection through his ear canals. They're both brief CGI sequences that take weight off the suspense. We already know they have been infected, yet the movies go the extra mile to graphically demonstrate it. It's uncalled for and in bad taste. Classic case of less is more. Also, Oram's Xeno mimicking David remains laughable. Personally, I would have gone further in editing out all of these.
If there's one scene I would not have cut is the cargo lift showdown from Covenant. It sure could do with some cuts of the most slapstick action and impossible physics, but it's a truly heart-pumping piece with both Daniels and the Xenomorph showing their full prowess and resilience - definitely Aliens inspired. I also understand the scene takes away a little of the suspense from the chase aboard the Covenant that follows, but I actually missed it from Paradise.
All in all though, these are issues I have with the original material. I just felt like this was the right place to share them, with fellow fans that actually edited out a better movie off of what we were given. I'm very thankful for Job's edit, and again, it just might be my favorite one - hence my passion in dissecting it thoroughly. Look upon his works, Paradise is definitely a proper Alien prequel.
Deftly weaving between two films that each had their own unique problems that could be and needed to be fixed, Paradise creates a strong narrative of its own, while retaining Ridley Scott's original themes and removing the attempts to cater to a more mainstream audience. There are so many perfect little cuts that vastly improve the narrative (my favorite being the removal of the close up insert shot of David spiking Holloway's drink).
The editing is flawless and the additions are perfect. Quality is fantastic, although I would be interested in a fully uncompressed BD.
Leave it to a mash-up of two decent but wildly divisive films to make Beatles songs terrifying. If something as impossible as that can be made possible, then the faneditor has to be doing something right. Much like Ripley, this manages to take two very flawed if not all that bad films and put them together into a single narrative that works surprisingly beautifully. Many of the elements that bog both films down are removed and the clever back-and-forth editing not only keeps this moving at a smooth pace but also further emphasizes the themes of creation and its relationship with the creator in a way that's incredibly engaging and meaningful. The addition of deleted scenes and marketing material, i.e. the Peter Weyland TED Talk, is much welcome. I'm shocked by how much I enjoyed this.
As a fan of both Alien and Riddley Scott's work this edit perfectly conveys the central message that spans both movies about creation. At first I was hesitant to watch a fanedit that combined both Prometheus and Covenant (I like both films) but without a doubt they are all the better for it. The David centric story is spectacular, it has weight and purpose throughout the film making it all the more rewarding to watch certain scenes. The editing was superbly done as was the addition of scenes like the TED talk and the arrival of David to the engineer planet. One of the best fanedits I have ever seen and most definitely the best way possible to enjoy Prometheus and Covenant without useless plotlines and tedious action.
This is my favorite film for the last six month - I keep watching it when nothing else is on. So Good!
I am not sure this film will resound as well if you haven't watched the originals, but if you have, this is the BEST way to revisit the best parts of both films. Job, you are my hero!
I love the android focus now, the beginning was odd to me the first time with the justaposition of the two films, but when it hits the outbreak, it all makes sense, and repeat viewings make the beginning even better.
Thank you Job, big fan, hope you keep making awesome stuff!!