Alien: Covenant

"Very Good"

Alien: Covenant Review


Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events of 2012's Prometheus. And while this film carries on with the bigger themes about creation and identity, at its heart it actually has much more in common with the film in which he kicked off the franchise, 1979's Alien. Yes, this is a horror movie. It's slickly made and packed with engaging characters, and it gets gruesomely scary too.

The setting is somewhere in space in 2104, as the colonising ship Covenant carries a few thousand sleeping earthlings to a new world, tended to by the android Walter (Michael Fassbender). Then a space flare awakens the 15-person crew, and they hear a rogue radio transmission from a nearby planet that's eerily perfect for colonisation. Captain Oran (Billy Crudup) thinks it's worth checking out, potentially shaving seven years off their journey. First officer Daniels (Katherine Waterston) isn't so sure. But off they go, exploring the spectacular mountainous terrain, where they find a crashed ship and a city populated only by the Prometheus' android David (also Fassbender) and some creepy, acid-salivating creatures that he has something to do with.

The plot plays out like a slasher movie, as the crew members are picked off one by one, starting with the ones we don't know and building up to the starrier cast members. Each main actor gets to invest some back-story into his or her role, establishing relationships and personality quirks that hold the interest. Waterston is clearly the protagonist from the start, grieving over the death of her husband (James Franco in video clips) and showing natural leadership skills. Crudup is the impulsive captain who mellows into someone much more intriguing as the story progresses. And McBride has the other standout role as a tenacious pilot. But of course it's Fassbender who walks off with the film, excelling in scenes in which Walter and David engage in a kind of twisted bromance with nasty sibling-rivalry undertones.

With Scott at the helm, the film looks fantastic: effects are seamless and eye-catching, the action is bracingly intense, the settings simply stunning. On the other hand, the larger themes and deeper emotions are rather muted. They catch the attention and draw us in, but never really go anywhere interesting. Instead, Scott's intention is to freak us out with the multiple variations of this murderous giant bug-like creature, never quite explaining why there are so many different forms for it, or why it is so determined to massacre humanity. But never mind, this ripping sci-fi thriller will tide us over until wherever Scott takes the story next time.



Alien: Covenant

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

In Theaters: Friday 19th May 2017

Budget: $150M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Scott Free Productions, Brandywine Productions, TSG Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , , , Michael Schaefer

Starring: as David / Walter, as Daniels, as Christopher Oram, as Tennessee, as Sergeant Lope, as Karine Oram, as Faris, as Ricks, as Sergeant Hallett, as Jacob Branson, as Elizabeth Shaw, as Peter Weyland, James Franco as Rosenthal, as Xenomoprh

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