Release Date: May 19th, 2017
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo
Director: Ridley Scott
Studio: Scott Free Productions, 20th Century Fox
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Science-Fiction Horror
“Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.”
That’s the press blurb for this flick so let’s jump into it! Alien: Covenant should really be titled Prometheus: Covenant, as it is 100% a direct sequel to the 2012 film. The film opens with a prologue depicting Peter Weyland, played again by Guy Pearce, talking to the recently activated synthetic David prior to the events of Prometheus. The film then jumps to 2104 with a colony ship Covenant on their way to Origae-6 to terraform and colonize. Disaster strikes and, through a series of events, the crew finds themselves landing on a nearby planet. Cue alien action.
The much (unfairly in my opinion) maligned Prometheus is the model for this film. The aesthetic continues the evolution of the future we saw there and the themes are similar. The problems from Prometheus are addressed and those cries of disbelief when supposedly smart scientists did decidedly dumb things that took the audience out of the 2012 movie are handled much better here. Alien: Covenant also opens up the universe more, delivering on the promises of Prometheus when it comes to finding the creators and more.
The first two-thirds of the movie are definitely the high points of the flick. The opening is hectic and tense, the cast of characters are one note at times. There are some blatant religious parallels such as the Last Supper photo we see near the end.
Each character is connected to the others in a way that sufficiently and succinctly moves the plot along. The exploration of this unknown planet is intriguing. The events that unfold there are terrifying and mysterious. However, the end of the movie is telegraphed and it lands flat and, ultimately, unsatisfying.
There are interesting side plots running throughout this series’ rebirth but I feel they hamper themselves when they try to stick too closely to the xenomorph. The xenomorph, as we are shown in the movies, are the Engineers’ WMD. Imagine a story in which a future race that humanity created discovered nukes, or the MOAB, or any other massive weapon we created.
That initial encounter is a horror movie, of course. But as they explore the universe, they might find our old civilization, our old space endeavors. They wouldn’t find a nuke at every stop. The nuke wouldn’t activate and blow them up at every turn. The arc of Prometheus could have been so much more but it and Alien: Covenant twist themselves to get back to the xenomorph at every opportunity. It’s not bad, just disappointing at times.
Alien: Covenant is a satisfying sci-fi horror tale that fixes some of the problems of its predecessor but takes some missteps of it’s own. It is in theaters everywhere.