Review of 'Alien: Covenant'

alien_covenant.jpg In 2104 “Covenant”, a colony ship, seven years from it's destination planet has it's crew awakened by it's android caretaker Walter (Michael Fassbender) when the ship is buffeted by the aftershock of a nearby neutrino burst which ends up killing a number of the sleeping colonists. While repairing the ship the crew receive a radio transmission from a nearby planet. Travelling to the planet they discover it to be savaged by storms but, determined to trace the source of the transmission which they suspect to be of human origin, they land on the planet which appears to be devoid of any animal life. Forming a search party several of the group are infected by spoors, dying horrifically with a slightly familiar looking alien emerging from their bodies. When their landing craft is destroyed in an attempt to kill the rampaging alien they are rescued by the android David, the sole survivor of the Prometheus mission…

A familiar return to the Alien franchise with only a few twists to keen long-term fans interested. Fassbender as David is the main focus here, much as he was in Prometheus, as we are never entirely sure what is going on yet he holds the key to understanding. Fassbender puts on a tremendous and convincingly chilly performance.

All of the mysteries are tied up in a rather simple and rather unsatisfactory way at the end of the film. Many will have guessed long before this what is actually going on without knowing the precise details.

Of course, it is the aliens we want to see and they are here but do not play as much of a role as in the earlier films. Here the action is very much shown without leaving much to the imagination making it much less horrific as it was in the original Alien film. There is still suspense but it is largely concerned with the mystery of what is actually going on rather than which crew member the aliens will chew on next (though there is still that). The crew itself are all rather extreme caricatures, as you might expect in this ensemble picture: The cowboy, the strong willed woman previously in the form of Ripley in the original movies, the head-strong captain seemingly oblivious to the safety of his crew and the thousands of colonists on his ship, and other walking alien-fodder around them.

Is it scary? Sure, there are a few situations that caused by film companion to jump though I can't say I really had any feeling for the somewhat one-dimensional characters on the screen that never seem to demand our compassion. The scene in the shower, which is in the trailer, is probably one of the most chilling scenes but as it is given away in advance it drains the energy out of it when you see it on the big screen…

Effects are, of course, exceptional (the scenes of the planet and it's civilisation are amazing) but it is the rather straight-forward story and one-dimensional characters that let it down. In Alien Ripley was a powerful character that you really willed on to get out but here we don't really care whether anyone survives…

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2017-06-06

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Year: 2017

Length: 122 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Ridley Scott: