Review - Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant (2017), R, 122 minutes - With Alien: Covenant, director Ridley Scott gives us the second prequel film to the horror franchise he launched nearly forty years ago.  Covenant takes place ten years after the events of 2012's Prometheus, a rapidly anticipated film, that didn't quite seem to live up to the public's lofty expectations.

Covenant opens with a quiet scene that takes place long before the events of Prometheus between Peter Weyland (Guy Pierce) and his newly created synthetic David (Michael Fassbender).  The scene acts as a summary of that film's events (man's search for their creator) as well as a prologue for this film.  We then begin following the Covenant, a colonization vessel on course for Origae-6 carrying a crew of around fourteen members (all couples), two thousand would-be-colonists, over a thousand human embryos, and the latest model Weyland synthetic Walter (also Michael Fassbender).  Their mission is to colonize Origae-6 upon arrival in order to re-boot a dying human race.  After an unexpected neutrino storm hits and damages the Covenant, the crew is forced out of stasis ahead of schedule in order to assess and repair the damage.  While repairing the ship, they intercept a human radio communication.  Tracing the signal's source, they discover it originated from a nearby planet that appears to have the perfect ecosystem to support human life.  Despite disagreement among crew members, specifically from terraforming specialist Daniels (Katherine Waterston), who protests that stumbling upon the seemingly perfect planet is too good to be true, acting captain Oram (Billy Crudup) decides to investigate the planet in question.  After all, it's seven years closer to their present location than their original destination of Origae-6.  An expedition crew including Walter arrives on planet where they encounter what the Covenant's computer had reported: an ecosystem virtually identical to Earth's, although they do notice one oddity: there appear to be no animals, no birds, no lifeforms of any sort.  Shortly thereafter, things begin to go south.  They were bound to right?  This is an Alien film after all.  After losing four crew members (two to Xenomorph body-bursting) and surviving a Xenomorph attack, they learn that David has been stranded alone for ten years after the ship he and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) had escaped on crash landed there (following the events of Prometheus) .

I really liked Alien: Covenant and I feel as though this was the Alien film that the world was expecting five years ago when Prometheus came out.  I enjoyed Prometheus previously, but it is strengthened even further by this film.  Covenant provides a number of answers to questions that were left unanswered by its predecessor.  Both films work really well together to establish the back story of the Alien universe and appear to leave room for a third prequel leading up to the actual events of the original Alien (1979).  Any fan of the Alien films will enjoy Covenant.  It is full of suspense, and has a dash of deceit for good measure.  If you are not already on the edge of your seat prior to the crew's discovery of David, you will be from that point through the end of the film.














*****SPOILERS*****

- Micheal Fassbender's portrayal of both David and Walter was excellent.  He was easily the best part of Prometheus and that carries over to this film as well.  The film becomes not just a suspenseful horror flick, but also a character study of David and his quest for discovery and creation, an inquisitiveness inadvertently instilled in him by his creator Peter Weyland, that basically turns him into a mad scientist (as well as filling in an origin story for the Xenomorphs that have haunted us for decades).

- I didn't mention them all in the main body of my review, but I did enjoy the chemistry among this particular crew which was comprised of the following: Danny McBride (Tennessee), Amy Seimetz (Faris), Demi├ín Bichir (Lope), Nathaniel Dean (Hallett), Carmen Ejogo (Karine), Jussie Smollett (Ricks), Callie Hernandez (Upworth), Alexander England (Ankor), Benjamin Rigby (Ledward), Uli Latukefu (Cole), Tess Haubrich (Rosenthal), and James Franco (Branson), along with the aforementioned Fassbender, Waterston, and Crudup.

- I like that Walter is a newer version synthetic, but is more android-like than David.  The reasoning being that David was so human-like that he made people uncomfortable.  It also fits in well with the overarching Alien timeline as Ash (the synthetic from the original film) was humanoid, yet obviously an android, a result of the Weyland Corporation dialing back the authenticity of their creations.

- The small twist that all of the crew members were couples worked well.  It added another element of emotion when things went to hell as characters had their personal feelings interfering with logic as the fates of their loved ones were involved.  The diversity of the crew and the couples was also impressive and did not feel forced or blatant in any way which was nice.

- Facehuggers!  We learn that David's experimentation with the Xenomorphs led to his 'perfect' organism: the facehugger that attaches to a host and implants it with a Xenomorph embryo.  

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