'Paradise' totally saves what I think are two visually stunning Blu-rays in my collection suffering from an overarching vagueness and the inexplicable antics of the crews with their cliched foolhardyness, incompetance and inglorious bastardy. The fantastic editorial here sweeps out the worst of this and turns what is left into impactful moments of intrigue. Bringing in an overarchingly vivid mainstay to the previously broken stories. Polishing off may be necessary on the odd dice and blend. Its heavy on the editing though. This may be as good as it gets without stock footage to string things out with. One really has to concentrate to pick out the nicks. And with the engageing plot weaving that highlights the best parts of the originals in the best ways the viewing is fully enjoyable.
It might be a good idea to offer some further textual explanations of the tooings and froings between Prometheus and Covenant but this itself will be a gripe for some (myself included) as it cant be done for the parts where the switching gets complex. Therefore it might well be left as is for the sake of consistency. It starts out a bit confusing with only the oringal mission info blurbs and some very brief notes which kind of pass by subconsciously. I actually quite liked the fact I was getting a bit lost as it adds a puzzle aspect. Its a mystery unravelling. It all pays off beautifully in the end!!
I want to say that for 99% of the edit, I loved it. Then the ending came. In the theatrical cut of Covenant, David has the A.I. play Richard Wagner's Entry of the Gods into Valhalla. It's a significant piece for David as it is the piece Weyland has him play in the beginning. It's quiet though signifying that David is still the creation, but at the end of the film David becomes the creator and the full orchestra is playing. The edit replaces this with Carry That Weight, a good song, but it doesn't have any story importance. Everything else from the edit is brilliant. It adds and removes the perfect amount and it's just brilliantly edited by someone who respects the subtext of these films.
"Prometheus" and "Alien Covenant" fused into a single film. Decent enough plan, although it seems Mr Willins has done this twice already with his "Derelict" and "Ripley" edits.
Video - 1280 X 720p AVC. The visuals for "Prometheus" are simply better than those for "Covenant." The opening moments with the TED talks could have used less fade-outs. Afterward, the editing is assured and masterful ... for awhile. With "Prometheus" the editor has a strong concept and it shows. The editor has his craft down so I have no comments on technical aspects.
Audio - 128 kbps AAC. 2 Channels. No subs. The editing is smooth, though the audio is spotty at times - in both films. Dialogue is muffled or indecipherable. From hollering to whispering. I listen over speakers, I listen through headphones. No difference. I viewed the 5 GB file, I don't know if the larger, 10 GB file offered 5.1, or if it would have made a difference.
Narrative - As with the previous "Derelict" and "Ripley" edits, Mr Willins runs concurrent stories. With those edits, the story bounces back and forth like a ping pong match. Like an ADD incessantly switching channels. With "Paradise" Job Willins finally hones his storytelling. This becomes David's story, more pronounced and effectively done with the "Prometheus" half. "Covenant" is much too talky.
Enjoyment - Hit n miss for me. The last thirty minutes were repetitive to the point of tedium. Too many climaxes, I just wanted them all to die at that point. In a word, too much "Covenant."
With "Prometheus" he cut most of the garbage I hated. "Covenant," I predicted would be more challenging, and to me he did not successfully carry this off. Comment - songs by the fab four were distracting and incongruous.
Job Willins displays superior abilities and I would like to see him shift away from these back n forth twofers.
Overall, wow. I'll start with the "enjoyment" category (I give the highest marks there), and work my way up.
Why do I enjoy it so much?
Focusing on the synthetics works so nicely. While it's easy to wish for the suspense of the original Alien, this edit shows that a nearly equal feeling can be achieved through unease. Job gives that sense of unease throughout this movie by focusing on the (to quote Walter) "disturbing" performance of Fassbender. David is the most intriguing character to come out of the films, but is presented in a muddled way in the original films. The question of who David is and who we ought to sympathize with is poorly handled until placed in Job's hands.
That said, I think even more could have been aggressively cut to limit the confusion of multiple crews, plots, moralities, and creations. As such, the narrative still struggled with extra baggage. Moreover, the complete abandonment of Shaw's character and the Engineer plotline so that the movie becomes a more obvious Alien prequel makes for a lackluster story that fanediting can't redeem entirely. As far as the climax - for me it was the moment we realize with few doubts that David killed/mutated Elizabeth (why have a grave in the first place if her corpse is still in your bestiary?). Everything after that is a bit lackluster, reduced to a shoehorn for Alien.
For the most part I enjoyed the audio editing, especially the use of the "farewell elegy to Elizabeth" throughout the movie. That said, the Beatles use at the end didn't seem appropriate, particularly since Walter had already played the Beatles and we had just recovered from a synth switcheroo.
The visual editing had some masterful edits. As others have mentioned, the interwoven infection scenes is the highlight of this edit. However, some of the transitions between crews aren't paced as well.
As for quality, I watched the Vimeo stream at 720p with stereo sound. It looked and sounded lovely considering the source.
Well done Jobwillins! Thanks for sharing your labor of love!
When I first heard about this fan edit combining the two Alien prequels into a single film centred around David, I was immediately intrigued.
The editing is great and for the most the narrative works but having the film narrative in chronological order would have been better than constantly switching from the past and present.
There were some deleted scenes which were not colour corrected or graded to match the film. This is nitpicking but felt worth mentioning.
Lastly, the song “The Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” had a significant meaning, especially how it is played throughout the film with its crescendo to the end when it blasts loudly as David has triumphed from his small beginnings to triumphing over his creator and becoming a god. I felt the song used instead by The Beatles did not suit the film at all and was a disappointing finish to a great idea.