This uses the lore Prometheus was so hyped up on, and turns it into a bleaker, more human outlook on the situation.
Alien: Covenant is the second prequel to Ridley Scott’s original Alien series. It follows the colonial ship ‘Covenant’ as it discovers a new habitable planet only a few weeks from where they are located in deep space. Led by Captain Oram (Billy Crudup), the crew is thrown into turmoil when two members are infected with a bizarre and violent virus after landing on the planet.
The film starts at an incredibly slow pace. It has all the sense of calm that the original film had, something Prometheus in particular didn’t. Covenant is certainly a return to its roots, Scott has said so himself, yet this is more than just an Alien copy. This uses the lore Prometheus was so hyped up on, and turns it into a bleaker, more human outlook on the situation.
As the pace quickens, the early moments are almost forgotten, and it’s this foreshadowing that Covenant gets so perfectly right. With a great performance from Katherine Waterston, and the the most impossibly brilliant performance from Michael Fassbender, the film oozes reality. This is futuristic sci-fi at it’s most real, even if the science doesn’t completely match that of our own knowledge.
A film like Scott’s Blade Runner relies on futuristic imagination. Alien: Covenant restrains it’s imagination and puts the effort into expanding what it has on a human level. It’s this reality that makes the Alien so terrifying. This is not an unrealistic expectation of the future, which Prometheus was. It’s a strange path to take for a direct sequel but it works, however barbaric the Alien franchise can be.
It cannot be put across enough how impressive Michael Fassbender is in Alien: Covenant. He is one of the highlights of this year’s cinema, and more than likely (and wrongly) won’t get much recognition for the role. When the newest version of his robot, Walter, is compared to that of Prometheus’ David it’s a simply impeccable performance. The way he manages to alter his motions and senses in the most subtle of ways is mesmerising.
It cannot be expected that the sixth film in a franchise (not including predator instalments), to be original. Prometheus tried and was insulted for it. This is an expansive effort to pull Alien right back to its roots. This is a film about instincts and fear, and not only is Alien: Covenant a terrifying watch, it’ll leave everyone itching to find out what happens next.