Reviews: beware of chest pains – Alien Covenant
Directed by Ridley Scott,
Starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, Demián Bichir, Callie Hernandez
The next film in the science fiction franchise blends together all that is good about Alien and Aliens while keeping some of the feeling of Prometheus. The Covenant is a settlement ship, heading to a distant planet to colonize it for humanity. When a freak accident awakens some of the team early, and killing some of the others, they intercept a transmission which leads them to a different planet. If you’ve ever seen an Alien film before you know what comes next.
I have to admit that Prometheus just bored me to tears, I have seen the film twice since its release, and couldn’t tell you the plot if I tried. It was too much of a walk from the original premise of the franchise for me. I may be in the minority but I just didn’t like the film. So when I heard that they were doing another film, with Ridley Scott helming again, I thought we were going to get a basic follow up to Prometheus. Instead what we get takes the best parts of the first two films and throws in a little of Prometheus, for those who liked it, but they try to recapture the horror element of the first and second films that made us, or at least me, love these film.
The first part of the film will remind you of Life and Passengers, more than an Alien film, which is perfectly fine. While I didn’t hate Passengers as much as some people, I did like the set up at the very least. The reason that Life came to mind was because the science element of the start of the journey seemed like a very close partner to Covenant. After the big freak pulse that damages the ship, and the rogue transmission, they find a planet that somehow they had overlooked until now. Then they set on their way to this planet and all hell breaks loose. You can, from there, pretty much guess what happens; there are references back to the original film, the Prometheus movie, and we see a character from Prometheus who is a major part of the plot.
The cast is filled with people that you will know: Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Michael Fassbender, and Katherine Waterston. It’s really nice seeing McBride playing it straight and proving he’s more than just a stoner comedy guy. Waterston is tagged as the Sigourney Weaver of this group, and I have to give credit where credit is due, unlike my bank, as she holds her own through the whole thing. It’s going to feel, and the advertising is really to blame for this more than anything else, that she is painted as the new Ripley. She’s not, Daniels has an entirely different emotional reaction to everything, giving her a fresh feel to the character.
Crudup is great as the second in command who is thrown into the Captain’s chair, a man torn between his faith and his duty, and gives that little bit of conflict when everything goes wrong. The film rests more though, at least for the first part of the film, on Fassbender’s shoulders, he plays two roles during the film, that’s not a spoiler (it’s been widely publicised), and both parts have their own unique moments that make this a more full bodied science fiction.
If you are a fan of the Alien franchise you are going to be happier here than I was with Prometheus. They’ve brought back the horror part of the film that for me was missing in the previous film, and refused to tone down the violence. I’m a pacifist at heart, but give me a blood and guts filled horror or science fiction and I dance the dance of the giddy child. There are a few variations of the Alien creature here as it’s still clearly evolving, which is a nice touch. There are some moments where I felt the computer generated effects were a bit, just slightly, off, but perhaps that’s just me.
All in all, Alien Covenant is a wonderful action science fiction adventure that goes back to the roots of the franchise, while still keeping the creationism tone of Prometheus going. I’ll be going back to see this on general release, and while I skipped buying Prometheus on DVD or BluRay I’ll certainly buy this one for my collection.
Don’t forget we have an Alien: Covenant mega competition running right now with a chance to score a fab prize (including top end PC and VR headset!). Alien: Covenant opens in the uk on May 12th