Alien: Covenant absolutely delivers on blood, horror, and lots of impressive aliens. The latest movie in the franchise is a tribute to the original Alien while building on the knowledge from Prometheus.
Alien: Covenant might be the latest movie in the Alien franchise. However, chonologically speaking, it takes place 10 years after Prometheus. In other words, we’re still in the prequel world of the original 1979 Alien story. The publicity for Alien: Covenant has been pretty focused on Katherine Waterson’s character. It would seem like she’s supposed to be the “new” Ripley (Sigourney Weaver’s iconic character).
She definitely manages to deliver an intense and real portrait, but her storyline isn’t as big as you would expect. This movie does feature a pretty large cast and all the characters are interesting and valid to the story. Still, Daniels (Katherine Waterston) is at the heart of the story in many ways.
In that sense, she certainly is very much like Ripley. And really, I should be honest and admit that I had my reservations about this movie and her charater in particular. Fortunately, those were put to shame as Waterston makes this character her own in every way.
Also, we watched Prometheus, Alien, and Aliens the day before the press screening of Alien: Covenant. Having the stories and universe of the franchise fresh in mind, it’s a true pleasure to state that this latest movie fits perfectly!
Fassbender in absolutely brilliant!
If one actor is given extra time and attention in Alien: Covenant, then it has to be Michael Fassbender. Afterall, he does portray two different characters; David – his Prometheus character – and Walther, who is onboard the Covenant. This opens up for many intense and impressive scenes with double up on Michael Fassbender. In fact, he does become a key figure since he covers two different angles of the story.
Still, the attention quickly goes to the ever impressive aliens once they appear. And with Alien: Covenant we get various versions of the Xenomorph. Including the “Neomorph” which is an entirely new beast to experience.
This may sound like a bad thing, but I assure you it is not!
Alien: Covenant is not the slow-burner that Prometheus was in some ways, since it was an origin story. The first 30 minutes or so, we get to know the new crew of the Covenant ship. Especially how they work socially and the role of Walther with the crew.
However, it’s also within these first 30 minutes that the crew finds the new planet and arrive on its surface, so plenty happens during the crew introduction phase.
Alien: Covenant definitely isn’t holding back on aliens
Within that first half hour of the movie, we also see crew members interact with the black stuff that we know from Prometheus is the origin of Xenomorphs. And about 45 minutes into the story, the first aliens appears. From that moment on, you will not be missing the xenomorphs (or neomorphs) much as they appear several times in different ways.
But don’t worry, the story is still there, so it doesn’t become just a visual horror show. And to me, the story was really intriguing and engaging. Without giving away too much (we don’t do spoilers here at Heaven of Horror), the focus is on human nature. The good and the bad parts and in particular our strengths and weaknesses.
Ridley Scott is still smashing stereotypes
In many ways, Alien: Covenant is the most brutal story in the Alien franchise. Since the “Covenant” is a colony ship, the crew members are always aware that they’re responsible for thousands of lives. And they also know, that they’re on their way to a new world and life.
For this reason, many of the crew members are couples on their way to build a future together. And in true Ridley Scott style, diversity and inclusion is a big part of this, so the couples in the crew vary in race and sexuality. As most people should know, procreation is already possible in many ways. And even more so in the future during the Alien timeline.
Also, women and men are doing whatever job they’re good at. Not what someone would deem a male or female profession. Something Ridley Scott made a pretty big deal of when he made Ripley a female character back in 1979. The script was originally written with all characters being unisex, so the casting could go whichever way worked. However, the scriptwriters have admitted that the only character they had imagined as male was Ripley, which Ridley Scott made female.
And just like back then, the diversity and inclusion is an organic part of the story. It’s never out of place or feel like a politically correct move. Just like when Ripley became an icon almost 40 years ago, so mission accomplished. Again.
As I mentioned earlier, my expectations weren’t really that great for the story of Alien: Covenant. I expected the visuals to blow me away and the story to just sort of “be there”. Fortunately, both the visuals and the story massively exceeded any expectations I had. In fact, I can’t wait to go watch it again!
Alien: Covenant premiered in London on May 4, 2017, and will be out in theaters worldwide during May 2017. The US theatrical release of Alien: Covenant is May 19, 2017.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: John Logan and Dante Harper, Story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green (Based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, Billy Crudup, Amy Seimetz, Callie Hernandez, Demián Bichir
The crew of the colony ship “Covenant” is bound for a remote planet. However, before arriving, they discover an uncharted paradise and decide to investigate it as a possible new home. Unfortunately, it comes with a threat beyond their wildest imagination.