Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.
The year is 2104, exactly 11 years after the events of Prometheus, where we find a crew on a starship called the Covenant. Headed on a long journey the Covenant is a colony ship carrying 2,000 frozen souls and 1,140 embryos on a mission to a planet called Origae-6. Soon after, a neutrino burst damages the ship and an android on board named, Walter, wakes the crew up early. The captain, however, has been killed in his sleeping pod by some strange malfunction, leaving his first mate, Christopher, in command. While the crew attempts to repair the damage to the ship, the pilot, named Tennessee, detects a signal from a nearby planet. This planet appears to be more suitable for colonization than the ship’s original destination, and the crew decides to reroute and find out what’s going on.
Once there, they stumble upon tiny fungoid spores that burrow into the sinuses and ear canals and quickly gestate into vicious beings that rip their way out of their hosts’ bodies and eats everything they come across as they grow bigger and bigger. The fanged creatures erupt through chests, spines, and necks, covering the floors with enough blood that characters repeatedly slip as they run. As for the survivors, help arrives just in time from the android David. David has been stuck on this planet since crash landing 10 years ago, or he says. He leads the group to his hideout that’s piled high with the corpses of burnt humanoids.
The landscape is beautifully done, the kind that Ridley Scott does very well. Of course, the expedition eventually goes very wrong, resulting in the film’s most exciting and shocking sequence – a grueling, extended, panic-addled introduction to the planet’s wildlife that, while echoing the series’ traditional, brutalist body-horror, shifts the tone towards something much more malicious. Here, as on multiple occasions, Covenant plays with the visual grammar of Alien but speaks in a different voice. A much angrier, more aggressive, more threatening one. One that definitely commands attention.
The main focus is on David and newcomer Walter (both played by Michael Fassbender). Twin androids of differing generations, they have an immediate, instinctive brotherhood between them, alongside a great deal of philosophical conflict. Walter is happy with loyal servitude, while his doppelganger has cultivated a greater sense of individuality and purpose in the years since founding his new home. But their differences are tempered by the fact that upon meeting, both have finally ceased to be effective, inalienably alone.
There are a few long sections of Alien: Covenant that you can consider to be the best filmmaking Scott has produced in years, like the provocative space of David’s lair, which is part alchemist’s laboratory and part macabre shrine, decorated with hand-carved musical instruments and precise illustrations of insects drawn from memory. These dark trappings are more along with the Lovecraftian aspects of H.R. Giger’s designs for the series’ extraterrestrial creatures and environments. For those who still take pleasure in its customary mood, set design, and abrupt spasms of body horror, there is plenty to enjoy. If Prometheus, Scott’s Alien prequel, often resembled a grandiose homage to Planet Of The Vampires and other sci-fi B-movies in that vein, then Covenant is the storied British director’s tribute to Hammer horror.
Title: Alien: Covenant
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Ridley Scott
Reviewed by: Dr. Butcher
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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