Keeping this as spoiler free as possible…Going back as far as 1986 to find the last great Alien film does not bode well for every entry into the franchise since then. With Alien: Covenant Ridley Scott continues to fill in the gaps setting this film after Prometheus but of course before the events in Alien.
Our new crew is on their way to colonise a new planet – Origae-6 – with 2000 colonists and a whole bunch of embryos on board in cryostasis. After sustaining some damage from an energy surge, the crew then intercepts a signal from a nearby planet that just happens to be perfect for colonisation and well with the two birds’ one stone approach the crew can find a great spot to start living and check out the source of the signal. However when things are perfect, they are too perfect and the crew finds out that many, many bad things can happen in a short space of time.
Whilst this is not the most eloquent of phrases but I don’t know a better way to put this – this film is goddamn gorgeous! Filmed in various parts of New Zealand for the outdoor shots. Everything looks great and mostly the effects blend well, barring a shot or two. Everyone knows Ridley Scott’s abilities as a director and once again his style and skill is on display. The score was good too, with the exception of a generic contemplative/sad moment sting that thankfully was only present early on. Scott also got some outstanding performances from cast.
Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender and Danny McBride all do stellar work; Fassbender in particular has a great deal to do and does it all so well. Waterston is great heroine material whilst McBride surprises in a straight, serious role which he totally nails. This Alien film is possibly one of the bloodiest Alien films to date. We all know (and love) the chest buster but Covenant has some pre-evolution chest buster ‘birthings’ that are just absolutely disgusting!
Alien: Covenant is not a bad film by any stretch or measure. The biggest hurdle it faces is that the stakes are diminished. As is the curse of prequels – the audience know the end result, so the path getting there has to be an interesting one. This is where Covenant succeeds and fails. It is tough to write about it without getting into spoiler territory but here goes – there are some truly horrific revelations contained within the story and this does get you more invested however, the only problems is that they don’t make as much of it as they could have instead going down the path of re-treading all the great moments from the previous films. Sure if you’d never seen an Alien film before it would be thrilling but if you are a fan of the franchise then you’ve seen a lot of this before. The script offers some interesting thoughts on life, faith and creation but once again the film dumps these musings for more running, hiding and bloodshed. Not a bad thing but just a thing we’ve seen before.
Alien: Covenant offers nothing new but still manages to be entertaining throughout.
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78