Alien: Covenant isn’t so much a film about an alien as it is a film about creation… with an alien in it. Ridley Scott’s anticipated return to the franchise is a direct sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, and edges us closer to tying up with the flagship Alien series; and while there are a few bumps along the way, it’s a fantastic, reinvigorated take on sci-fi horror, peppered with elements of what made the original Alien films great.
Covenant picks up 10 years after the event of Prometheus, which, if you haven’t watched yet, should be on your to-do list before you sit down to enjoy Covenant. A colonisation mission to a far away solar system takes a detour to a foreign planet after a distress call is heard. The real hook? This new unidentified planet could be an even better new home for humanity than the original mission’s destination. Of course, things go horribly wrong, the planet isn’t as hospitable as it appeared to be, and there are some dark secrets to uncover about what went down on this serene-looking planet.
Michael Fassbender, playing two roles – an android named David (who appeared in Prometheus) and an updated android model doppleganger named Walter – holds down the performance side of things, commanding the screen with a mechanical yet compellingly-unsettling uneasiness to him. Fassbender, even playing a robot, shows he has the talent and subtlety of expressions to be a believable driver for the film. Screenwriter John Logan provided Fassbender with some genuinely interesting dialogue and characterisation moments that question what it is to be human and role of creator and creation in the greater scheme of things. It’s pretty clever stuff.
Alongside Fassbender is Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, and a number of other potential dinner-guests for some hostile aliens. Waterston and Crudup are impressive in each of their divisive character roles, giving some life and different “types” of personas to the admittedly marine-heavy franchise.
And as for the main attraction, it delivers. The alien element of Covenant takes a few leaps forward from the admittedly subdued Xenomorph presence in Prometheus, and gives fans a healthy dose of chest-explosions, spiny claws, and extraterrestrial hissing.
Alien: Covenant does a lot for fans – combining Ridley Scott’s offshoot ideas in Prometheus together with the gore and frantic horror of the Alien franchise, but it also does a whole lot more by bringing some engrossing themes and gravity to the overarching world. There’s still a whole lot of questions that remain unanswered, but after the few you get in Covenant, you’ll be even more intrigued than ever before.
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