When we at Barking Mad About Films sat down and made our list for the 10 films we most wanted to see, Alien: Covenant (AC) made our list at number 2 due to the promise that the Aliens we so wanted to see in Prometheus would return.
AC as a title, is very misleading, in our opinion Prometheus 2 or Prometheus: Alien Origins may have managed our expectation better.
The film opens with a flashback to newly created android, David (Michael Fassbender) asking (thankfully a young version, rather than the former film’s CGI aged one) Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) questions that would send him on the path that AC takes us on.
We then jump past the events of Prometheus, to the Starship Covenant which is heading for a remote planet ready to colonize a planet with the 1400 embryos it has onboard.
When the Covenant is struck by a shockwave, it causes major damage. This results in the crew being awoken from hypersleep by Walter (also Michael Fassbender) an upgrade on the David unit.
The ship’s captain is killed within this damage, putting Oram (Billy Crudup) in charge, he quickly tries to rally the crew to get the repairs done, he somewhat loses his crew other this, as appears they would sooner give the deceased captain a proper funeral first, in part for his wife, Daniels (Katherine Waterston)
This would also be in part that the small crew are all in couples, so they can feel her loss. Whilst repairs are being carried outside in deep space, Tennessee (Danny McBride) being further afield picks up a distress signal from a nearby planet, singing and believed to be human.
When they research further the origins of the voice, they discover the planet is not only habitable for the crew it is 6 years nearer to reach than the planet they are heading for.
Oram, against Daniels concerns, suggests they investigate its validity, as if it is as it seems, it would take away the need for the crew to go back into hypersleep for the duration to get to the 6 years away alternative planet. By now, however we know the voice is of Shaw (Noomi Rapace) the last survivor (along with David) from the Prometheus and going to the planet would not end well!
When they send a small search party to the planet, they release some alien spores which inhabit crew members, and it is not long before Aliens attack. The crew seemingly in peril are however saved by a lone stranger, who we learn is David!
What we then learn is David released those Alien spores onto this planet, home of the ‘engineers’ from Prometheus wiping out all on the planet. He has also been creating hybrids of the Alien we saw at the end of that first film.
He has also used Shaw for these experiments and slowly but surely, aliens kill the crew in some pretty gory sequences, we also see a return of the Facehugger, albeit from a much larger egg it would appear.
The survivors on the planet return to the Covenant, with a little bit of help from Walter stopping David, but one of these crew members has an extra passenger. That of course being an Alien, and the film then almost turns into a greatest hits of the first 2 films, with the crew hunting it down and a sequence in a cargo hold.
We also get to see more crew members killed (including Jussie Smollett, who we know from TV’s Empire as Jamal Lyon) as the film reaches its climax. We also get to see some sequences from the Alien’s point of view.
We honestly would have enjoyed this film a lot more had it been marketed as Prometheus 2, rather than heavily focusing on it being an Alien Xenomorph movie.
The Alien sequences are great, although the tension of the 79 film seems to have been replaced with fast sequences and gore. We also thought some of the CGI creatures are no match for the original movie Aliens
The film is also weighed down by the same struggles as Prometheus with its clunky who are we, how did we get here dialogue. Far too much of this is put on Walter/David and luckily Fassbender is that good, he just about keeps our interest, but it means whilst rest are good, we don’t really bond with them.
Yet when you consider Alien, I could probably name all the crew Dallas; Ripley; Parker etc. Of those we do get more of, McBride, who we knew mainly for comedy roles is good and Waterston is an adequate Ripley clone yet we still feel disappointed by this franchise, which in all fairness has struggled to reach the high of Aliens.
If a fan of the Alien universe, you will enjoy this instalment, with the aliens it has and the various kills, it does feel more like an alien film whilst retaining the Prometheus story. We also felt it was far too long and felt we enjoyed Life a little more for the creature in space film.
The next instalment has already been agreed, again with Ridley Scott directing and the ending of this film will see you wanting that conclusion. We should see the Alien fully evolved into the one we know and love and bring up up to date with the crew of the Nostromo.
If it expands on what was done here it should be the film we have been waiting for, rather than these 2 new films set in the same universe, yet feeling they have had something missing. Overall we enjoyed it, yet hoped for more at the same time. If anything it just made us want to watch Alien again!
You can view the Alien: Covenant trailer here
Buy the film at Amazon here:
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