Alien: Covenant, 2017.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
Starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, Demian Bichir, Jussie Smollet, Cassie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu and Tess Haubrich.
The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.
Sitting in the shadow of Alien and Aliens instantly means that Alien: Covenant is going to struggle to compete in terms of quality. So let’s look at it initially as simply a sequel to Prometheus before delving any deeper. As a sequel to Prometheus, Alien: Covenant is a significant improvement in terms of story and style. Whilst Prometheus was bogged down with exposition and so many plot holes that it resembled Swiss cheese, Covenant adds a lot of horror and gore elements, ups the action and feels like a more solid film.
This time around we have a group of colonists who are heading to a planet called Origae 6. After an incident interrupts their cryosleep the team awake and stumble across a mysterious signal. Being humans they go to investigate and find David (Fassbender) the android from Prometheus and all hell breaks loose.
Taking on a dual role as new synthetic Walter and playing David again, Fassbender is the best part of Covenant. Both his performances are solid and the gleeful delight in which he plays David is fantastic to watch. Other than that the cast are unfortunately quite bland (except for Danny McBride who puts in a strong performance as pilot Tennessee). There is a distinct lack of character development and as the crew are picked off the only thing that you’ll be thinking about is the mega amounts of gore you’re witnessing. There is no emotional feeling at all when people start dying as they’re written so poorly that you don’t even know their names.
The over reliance on CGI for the new neomorph and the xenomorph is also an issue. Whilst Covenant is beautifully shot in places, the CGI for the aliens feels clunky and at no point did it feel real to look at – just a bunch of pixels with no fear attached.
Covenant is an entertaining and enjoyable movie. There are a few scenes which don’t quite work and a few discussions about faith never really lead anywhere. After the mind numbing annoyance of Prometheus it is a vast improvement and a good fun horror. A few plot twists are obvious but so dark that you won’t care that you guessed.
Now let’s look at Covenant as part of the wider Alien universe. When you do this Covenant feels like a bit of a shambles. Whilst it’s great to find out how the xenomorph was created, at the same time it feels like we’re losing the mystery and the terror from the originals. There’s also a number of errors (or what I perceive to be errors) in terms of how long the alien gestates for in Covenant versus the original Alien, and how come the technology in Covenant is far superior to the original film? Covenant also lacks the claustrophobic tension of the earlier films and as mentioned above, the amount of cannon fodder characters that we have ensures that no one leaves an impression on you when you leave the cinema.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★