Let me be Clear, I am an Alien fanboy, the beautiful photo above has been my lock screen photo since it was revealed months ago. You can read my ranking of the films on Letterboxd here.
Alien: Covenant tries to be a Prometheus sequel and an Alien prequel at the same time, the film is as terrifying and interesting as it is frustrating and nonsensical. The film answers few questions poised by Prometheus, but still offers enough thrill and intrigue to keep anyone entertained.
The year is 2104, ten years after the events of Prometheus, and 18 years before the events of Alien. A colonization ship is traveling to the planet Origae-6, a planet that is hospitable for human life. The ship, which holds thousands of colonists in cryo-sleep, and a small crew, is hit with a blast and damaged. The crew is awakened from hyper-sleep to fix the ship, they are surprised to find a planet close by that can sustain human life as well, and may be even better suited for them than Origae-6.
The crew decides to land on this new-found planet to investigate. It doesn’t take them long to realize the planet they’ve discovered holds shocking secrets, and unimaginable horrors.
The secrets are SHOCKING and the horrors are quite UNIMAGINABLE, I wasn’t exaggerating. In Prometheus David was quite nefarious, but in Alien: Covenant he is pure evil, and it is glorious. David is the best movie villain in recent memory, Michael Fassbender plays him, and Walter, with skill and talent.
The subtlety in this film is, well, nonexistent. Ridley Scott answers critics of the perplexing Prometheus by having David completely wipe out the engineers, and turn his focus towards the Xenomorphs. I expected Scott to turn away slightly from the Engineer storyline, never did I think he’d set it in flames. It’s a mixed bag of emotions, I still have questions about the engineers, but the pivot back to the Xenomorphs is a welcome diversion, and may give us answers to other questions.
Unfortunately, Scott presents even more infuriating questions in Alien: Covenant, questions he will have no chance of answering, even if he does get the chance to make a sequel.
Some of my questions include:
- Why did David Destroy the engineers?
- How/did David create the Xenomorph?
- How did David obtain a Xenomorph egg?
- How was David put back together? (If you say Shaw did it…How? come on?)
Just a few questions, I’ve seen much speculation but there’s really no hard proof. When all is said and done, these plot holes got under my skin only minimally. The Original Alien presented many questions and never attempted to answer them. My main problem with the film is its plotting, Covenant has many stops and starts, playing like a Yo-Yo of highs and lows. Most scenes are great, from mesmerizing, to terrifying, to suspenseful, yet they don’t mesh as well as they should. This film had most of the right parts, but was in need of a better editor, the editor of the Amazing Spider-man series doesn’t exactly bode well.
Enough negative, let me be positive. Covenant succeeds in many aspects, first and foremost, it has more scares than The Alien Vs. Predator films, Alien 3, and Resurrection combined, and while Prometheus had it’s terrifying moments, Covenant supersedes it in almost every way. Covenant is just as beautifully shot as Prometheus, taking even the most bleak and boring set pieces and making them artistic and intriguing.
Katherine Waterston’s Daniels is more representative of Ripley, and a much better character than Prometheus’ Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace). Danny McBride plays it pretty straight in this film, he had only one laughable line in the whole film, and I actually enjoyed his performance and character.
That leads us to David, the star of the film. Michael Fassbender deserves an Oscar Nomination for his role in this film, playing dual roles of Walter and David. David is a terrific character, one who I want to see more of, something I haven’t felt since I was first introduced to Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. The scenes between Walter and David are a deeper look into A.I. and our creators, and they manage to be insightful, eerie, and sensual.
79 year old Ridley Scott listened to his critics, and I think he’s put an end to the Engineer story-line almost completely. I feel the end of Alien: Covenant takes us into territory that I am excited to see more of. I’m eager to see more, because if anything, Covenant leaves you want more, for better or for worse.
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