Starring: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride,
Plot: Nearly a decade after the disastrous Prometheus mission, the colony ship Covenant makes its way to a new world to begin a settlement. After suffering damage & losses to crew, The Covenant investigates a signal coming from a nearby world that is believed to be uninhabited until Covenant detects a sign of life.
Fans have been waiting with baited yet trepidatious breath for the next instalment of the Alien franchise. After the decidedly lukewarm welcome afforded to Prometheus, it remained to be seen if Ridley Scott could tie up the loose ends and fill in the plot holes left by that film. Add to the situation a reportedly cancelled Neil Blomkamp helmed Alien 5, a film that actually sounded promising and looked impressive from the concept art that was released, Scott’s next Alien film had A LOT to live up to. Finally, that time has arrived, was it worth the wait?
The answer to that question is, for the most part, yes. On a positive note, Alien: Covenant is a definite step up from Prometheus and it probably the strongest addition to the series since the Assembly cut of Alien 3. The series trademark grue is present in abundance and we finally have the Xenomorph back on the big screen, Prometheus suffered greatly for not featuring the Alien at all and instead tried to weave a much more philosophical tale of the nature of where they, and indeed, where we came from. Unfortunately in all the worthy metaphysical babble the actual thrills of the Alien series got lost in translation, thankfully that is not the case as much with Covenant, it is a much more thrilling affair.
Also a plus point of the film is its cast. It’s pretty safe to say that as with Prometheus, Covenant is Michael Fassbender’s film, he handles the dual roles of Walter & David deftly and with a quiet sense of creepy underlying menace and in David’s case, with a wonderful Machiavellian bent that is eminently watchable. Katherine Waterston is very capable in an almost proto-Ripley role and it is very refreshing to see Danny McBride lending his talents to something other than outright comedy with a character that feels like Brett & Parker from Alien were smooshed together. Both James Franco & Noomi Rapace are barely featured in the film at all and the viewer is left to wonder why money was spent to get two such high profile actors for such tiny roles when they could have been so easily glossed over in a rewrite.
The Xenomorph is back, or should that be Protomorph? Some fun license is taken to finally get the Alien back on our screen with a new backbursting variant to accompany the more traditional chestbursting toothy menace. The effects really are top notch and the Alien and all the gruesome carnage it creates has never looked better, it’s not just the Alien effects though, this whole film is utterly gorgeous to look at but that is no real surprise with Mr Scott behind the lens.
For the most part Alien: Covenant is a success, it’s is an engaging and thrilling return to form for a franchise that has struggled for a long time to capture the essence of the original trilogy, Covenant has managed to recapture that feel. It’s not perfect, it does suffer from some pacing issues at times but it is most certainly an assured step back in the right direction. With recent news that the next instalment could be in production within the year, I can’t wait to see where it will take us next.