Alien: Covenant (2017)

When one Michael Fassbender just isn’t enough…

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Ridley Scott’s next instalment in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant, has made its landing. While being ominously atmospheric yet beautifully shot, this sci-fi thriller is a welcoming return to a series that unfortunately seems to hold a majority of people questioning whether we really needed the reboot? Remake? Prequel? Prequel sequel? Whatever you wish to call it.

I may be in the minority here, but I’m rather enjoying the expansion into the Alien universe. Covenant successfully builds upon the franchises core themes; science, religion, man, myth, life, death and creation. It never feels like the creative team have dove in for a quick cash grab that most sequels/prequels fall prey to. Covenant cleverly peppers us with new information on the mythology of its monsters, whilst gifting us with a new kind of evil.

Covenant is far from perfect though. Its major problem is its characters. From a crew of around 15 (?) there are only a handful of memorable personas, the rest remain completely non descript. There is zero time spent building the minor characters any story or depth, and before I could even grasp who’s who they are dead.

A major disappointment to comprehend was that the theatrical cut of the film seemed to drop the essence that this crew was to be made up of couples in relationships, which seemed heavily implied in the films earlier marketing. A curious aspect that that would have worn well, but for reasons unbeknownst it is hardly mentioned and therein these characters lose some edge and depth and any interest in whether they live or die drops away.

Those few characters that do happen to stand out, stand out strongly. Fassbender gracefully plays both parts of good versus evil, and has a completely mesmerizing on screen presence. Katherine Waterston is a fine Ripley-esque female lead. But, the biggest surprise was Danny McBride, who for once refreshingly downplayed his usual caricature playfulness with a much more dramatic turn.

Alien Covenant is grungey as hell and no doubt an upgrade from Ridley’s previous 2012 entry, Prometheus. Covenant is gritty, well crafted, with dry almost campy humour. This new generation isn’t as much about the monsters, but rather a chilling saga for the character of David. Which sits absolutely fine with me. For the next instalment, I expect only a whole orchestra of homo erotic Fassbenders playing musical instruments.

7.0 / 10

“Serve in Heaven or reign in Hell?”

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