If you have never seen an Alien movie on the big screen or are a die hard fan of the creatures, then check out the newest installment called Alien: Covenant. The film has all the horror value of the first two and if you saw Prometheus a better understanding of this one as well. The only drawback is the scare meter, especially for the moviegoers who already know what the aliens look like, how they are “born” and their attack mode. But, for the storyline the film has some merit, although it may give most fans déjà vu.
This episode takes place ten years since space travelers of the spaceship Prometheus had a run in with aliens and nearly killed the whole crew. After a brief intro featuring the android David (Michael Fassbender) and Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), we find the android Walter (Fassbender) aboard the spacecraft Covenant. He is overseeing the ship that’s on a course to bring 2000 colonists in suspended animation to planet Origae-6 where they will start a human colony with the aid of hundreds of human embryos.
The crew is also in suspended animation for the long multi-year trip. It’s made up of Captain Jacob (James Franco) and his wife, Daniels, head of terraforming operations (Katherine Waterston); second-in-command Christopher Oram (Billy Crudup) and his biologist wife Karine (Carmen Ejogo). The pilots are Tennessee (Danny McBride) and Faris (Amy Seimetz) with head of security being Sgt. Lope (Demián Bichir) assisted by Sgt. Hallett (Nathaniel Dean).
Still 3 years from their target, part of the trip includes spreading special umbrella-like wings to recharge the ship. At the peak of the charge a solar flare damages the spaceship and Walter has to awaken the crew members. It’s the start an adventure that will take the crew to a different planet and face the horror beyond Prometheus.
Director Ridley Scott who brought the original Alien to the screen in 1979 and the recent thriller Prometheus (2012) continues his deep seeded monster feast with Alien: Covenant. Noted for his shock and grisly thrills in films like Hannibal, Blade Runner, and Black Hawk Down to name a few, he puts a lot of energy in Covenant. However, if you are familiar with Prometheus and Alien you may not be as shaken or stunned as you were when these same alien creatures present their ugly forms and attack their prey again. That said, like most sequels including Predator 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 you can live with it as long as the story has merit. That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself when you see this sequel.
The acting is as good as it gets with the Alien franchise and the return of Michael Fassbender as the androids Walter and David that’s saying a lot. Although a bit forced in his characterization of the updated Walter android, it’s a cool depiction of what a synthetic would look like and perform in their duties for their existence. Here he’s not only a high intelligent functioning computer in a human form, but a strong combative as well. When his crew gets attacked by creatures, Walter faces off against the heinous beasts to try and save his crew.
The very cool part of the production of Alien: Covenant is the special effects by the CGI masters, puppeteers, make-up artists, sets and wardrobe crew. The film has a seamless brilliance and gives the feel of reality, not only on the uncharted planet that initially gives the allusion of paradise, but in the space scenes as well. The fighting scenes are well choreographed in caves and surrounding area using excellent green screen effects.
Alien: Covenant has been rated R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity. Although your pre-teens may want to see the film, the guts and gore may be too much for the immature.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A fun terror ride that extends the life of the Alien franchise.
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollet, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity
Running Time: 2 hrs. 2 min.
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox
Released in: 2D and IMAX where available
The comments within this review are the critic’s expressed opinions