May 11, 2017
"Alien: Covenant" is latest installment of a science-fiction film franchise which started with Ridley Scott's "Alien" back in 1979. This new film is part of a prequel series which started five years ago with "Prometheus." Both prequel films are also directed by Scott.
11 years after the ill-fated "Prometheus" mission, the colony spaceship called Covenant is bringing its precious cargo of 2000 colonists and 1000 embryos across space to settle in a distant habitable planet. The captain Christopher decides to seek out the source of a mysterious humanoid sound transmission their sensors intercepted, which turned out to be a habitable planet closer by. However, when the landing team was attacked by alien monsters, they were rescued by an android named who introduced himself as David, the only survivor of "Prometheus."
Michael Fassbender, who played the android David in "Prometheus," returns to play the same role in this sequel. Furthermore though, he likewise plays the android of the Covenant named Walter. The story focused a significant section of the film with scenes featuring these the two androids getting to know each other better. Comparing the way Fassbender played one android over the other, the difference was actually very subtle. Lucky for us they wore different uniforms for us to distinguish one from the other.
I only got to know the name of Katherine Waterston last year when she played the righteous witch Tina Goldstein in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." Here in her new film, she plays Danni Daniels, the wife of the Covenant's original captain. She would later get to become the captain of the Covenant herself before the film ends and this puts her in position to fight the alien monsters close up in two of the film's most exciting action scenes.
Billy Crudup played Christopher Oram, the first mate who became captain after the first accident encountered by the Covenant in space. Crudup plays him as an officer who was very insecure about the respect of his crew for him.. Carmen Ejogo plays Oram's wife Karine, who was a biologist. Danny McBride plays the down-to-earth chief pilot Tennessee, while Amy Seimetz as Faris, his wife, also a pilot. Of course, as expected, these and the lesser other crew members will do certain illogical decisions, serving as easy fodder for the aliens to kill before they meet the lead characters.
We get to learn in this episode about how the tentacled aliens we saw in "Prometheus" evolved into the deadly oblong-headed monsters we saw in the first "Alien" film. This story focus caused the film to have several slow, talky, even philosophical moments which may seem boring to fans only looking for horror and non-stop action. The immaculate prologue featuring David talking with his creator Peter Weyland sets this thoughtful tone. On the other hand, the film did not shirk from showing gory close-ups of burnt, bloody and mutilated human bodies.
The story of aliens gaining access into a spaceship to massacre the crew is hardly new anymore. By this time, the "alien-bursting-out-of-a-body" scenes were not really scary or exciting anymore since these were expected to happen. It is really very difficult for Katherine Waterston or any new female lead to match or surpass the fierceness of Sigourney Weaver as Eileen Ripley of the original films, as comparisons will be inevitable. I still think though this prequel set could be enjoyed on its epic visuals and space horror merits, even if you are not familiar with the original series. 6/10.