Alien: Covenant may not have met our expectations, but it was undoubtedly visually compelling. The dark sci-fi tableaus sketched out by director Ridley Scott and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski are lush and vivid, regardless of anything that does or doesn’t happen in them.
Image: 20th Century Fox
Part of the reason why Covenant might be so visually striking is the way in which it borrows from painting. A lot of films do this, borrowing striking imagery, posing, and framing from static visual art. But since most of us don’t have art history degrees, it usually goes unnoticed.
Thanks to creator Herrozzy on Vimeo, it’s easy to get a sense for what might have influenced Scott’s latest outing. Specifically, Herrozzy demonstrates that there are strong comparisons to be made between Covenant and the violence and splendor of Biblical art, with lots of illustrations of Dante’s The Divine Comedy and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Seeing moments from Covenant next to those influences lends those shots a sense of operatic grandeur that we wish the rest of the film had managed to capture. I’m not sure I see all of the connections laid out here, but some feel absolutely spot on. Even when I don’t agree, though, I always love this sort of criticism. Moves that don’t work as a whole can still be full of personality and craft.
Videos like this provide a reminder that film is an art not merely influenced by other films, but a composite built out of music, painting, and everything in between. There’s beauty in that.
What do you think? Do you see the same connections Herrozzy sees? Let us know in the comments. You can watch the video below, and if you dig this video, Herrozzy has some others on their page that go over similar terrain with some of Studio Ghibli’s films.