ALIEN: COVENANT Review. A true return to the franchise’s roots
Directed by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, with a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen
Starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, and Demián Bichir
There is a trend in Hollywood these days of taking a successful series and doing prequel or addendum stories building on the mythos of what came before. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to pull off a decent story that adds another dimension to what you already know a’la Rogue One. If you AREN’T lucky, you get Dumb and Dumber-er which is essentially a waste of time. This was, thankfully, the FORMER and not the LATTER.
I’ll admit to being late to the party on the whole “Aliens” franchise. I had come in, like everyone else, on the second part, Aliens directed by the great James Cameron and hadn’t seen the original Alien until several years later. As a fan of both Science Fiction and Horror I was drawn to both the deep space action part as well as the pure horror. That an alien species can use you as an incubator to spawn and then kill everyone you love was chilling. It was pulse pounding. It was beautiful.
So it was with great expectations and some trepidation that I sat down in the BFI Imax in England near the same seats that Micheal Fassbender and Ridley Scott sat in less then a week before when the movie had it’s premiere and, with popcorn in hand, awaited the next installment of the Alien saga (or the second depending on weather you’re looking at it chronologically). I was not disappointed in the least.
MILD spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t at least seen the trailer.
Alien: Covenant follows a colony ship on their way to a remote part of the galaxy to a “Goldilocks” planet. They receive a distress call that was sent into space (seen at the end of Prometheus) and follow it to it’s destination. There they discover not only the wreck of the Prometheus but the beginnings of a galactic terror that will span the ages. It’s always hard to do movie reviews without doing spoilers as that kind of limits what one can talk about in the way of plot.
The story bridges Prometheus and Alien and fully incorporates the former, where before it just vaguely sat there, into the Aliens franchise proper. The movie runs more like the space horror movie that the original was then a space epic and that’s a good thing. The pacing is frantic and the action plentiful. The characters are well flushed out and we have ample opportunity to build a rapport with each one in turn. Ridley Scott returns to the universe that he created and you can certainly tell that he’s back.
As an aside, while researching this article, I discovered that three short films exist on the 20th Century Fox YouTube channel: Last Supper, The Crossing and Aliens: Covenant Rick and Morty. That should wet your appetite for the film itself.
I hadn’t had much experience with either Micheal Fassbender or Katherine Waterson. I have to say that this is a situation that needs to change. Fassbender is fantastic as the android Walter and Katherine Waterson fills the action adventure heroine boots of Sigourney Weaver admirably. I was also happy to see Noomi Rapace reprise her role as Elisabeth Shaw, even if only for the online short.
The film is mostly shot in New Zealand (Fiordland to be specific) and the scenery is breathtaking. The music composed by Jed Kurzel adds an eerie dimension to the film.
In conclusion, Go see this movie. See it in the theatre with that special someone. I promise you that the film will make your chest swell to bursting… with happiness.
Score: 8.5 out of 10