Alien: Covenant sees Ridley Scott’s return to the franchise which made him a household name. The science-fiction, horror film is the second film in the Alien prequel series and is the sequel to the 2012 film, Prometheus. My good pal, Harrison Harper, a fan of the Alien franchise, attended the New Zealand premiere of Alien: Covenant in my stead. Here are his thoughts on the film.
The film follows the crew and passengers aboard the colony ship, Covenant, as it journeys toward a remote planet, which is thought to be an uninhabited paradise perfect for the continuation of the human species. However, a storm causes the ship to take a detour, causing it to land on another planet filled with dangers. It just so happens that the planet is also home to the android ‘David’ (Michael Fassbender), one of only two survivors of the Prometheus expedition. In their time on the dark and treacherous planet, the crew uncover a deadly threat of which they struggle to escape.
Alien: Covenant lives up to expectations by building on the foundations set out by its predecessor, Prometheus, as well as delivering a new level of horror and violence, which is certainly a hallmark of the Alien franchise, yet appeared lacking in Prometheus.
Despite a slow start to the film initially, the narrative is on point and provides for excellent plot and character development, allowing us to care about each character despite the foresight that some may not survive. With films such as those in the Alien franchise, it is almost expected that the film will include horrific moments and gruesome deaths. Although there is this predictability, it is still difficult witnessing members of the crew being brutally attacked.
Unlike in Prometheus, the characters in Alien: Covenant appear to have slightly more depth, with Michael Fassbender playing not only the android, David, but another android all together, Walter. The scenes involving both David and Walter are by far the most memorable and interesting in the film. Katherine Waterston, too, didn’t disappoint in her depiction of Daniels, a strong female lead who falls just short of Sigourney Weaver’s epic performance as the bad-ass, Ripley. Where Ripley was colder and strong in her approach, Daniels showed off her determination to survive with her sheer courage.
Ridley Scott can certainly be said to be a genius as he managed to breathe fresh new life into the Alien mythos. This iteration sees the aliens get more screen time, with new variations being introduced to us for the first time. These new aliens portrayed in Alien: Covenant are Xenomorph predecessors, the Neomorphs and Protomorphs, who, despite being terrifying in their own right, are nowhere close to the formidable Xenomorphs, who steal the limelight in the film.
For fans of the series, the inclusion of classic scores and throwbacks to the original film made for a delightful experience and makes for a welcome addition to the franchise. With characters that matter, new, terrifying aliens, spectacular visual effects and a plot which bridges the gap between Prometheus and Alien, film-goers will certainly be entertained. Just don’t go in expecting an extraordinary tale and fantastic space battles with alien scum. Put it this way, Alien: Covenant is entertaining but is no where close to being as formidable as Alien.