While really just a Prometheus sequel, we all know in our heart of hearts that had this film been called Prometheus 2 it would’ve got no funding and people would’ve raged hate upon it. So, what does director Ridley Scott do? Brand it as a straight Alien film, and yet still use the script we all know was originally just a Prometheus sequel.
Alien: Covenant is set ten years after the events of Prometheus, which puts it about twenty years before Alien. The Covenant is a colony ship, headed to a new planet. When a shockwave hits the ship, the crew are forced to wake early to repair the ship, and as they do, they receive an unmistakably human transmission from a previously unknown planet.
Captain Oram (Billy Crudup) decides to investigate the nearby planet, as it looks as though it’ll be better for colonisation. Second-in-command Daniels (Katherine Waterston) vehemently objects but to no avail. From there, various forms of xenomorph, battles between faith and science, and the moralities around bio-engineering are explored.
I am a huge 1979 Alien fan. I’ve watched the film what I’m sure is a reasonable number of times (read: 30). I even like Aliens. The next two – meh. But as an avid Alien lover, it’s really hard for me to sit still in a darkened cinema for two hours and still not know what exactly is going on. Scott’s return to the xenomorph universe raises as many questions as it answers. The storyline is complex and logic is occasionally left behind.
James Franco offers a spectacularly brief cameo in the first ten minutes, we can speculate largely due to Danny McBride’s casting – which is brilliant, as I can’t even think of a film that I’ve seen him in that wasn’t a comedy. Michael Fassbender returns as synthetic David, but also plays the joint role of synthetic Walter; two completely different robots. Waterston ticks off what is obviously a must-have scene: her running through corridors in the spaceship in a tank top and suspiciously Ripley-inspired haircut.
What’s most exciting is the fact that Scott has promised us another two Alien films that will eventually come full circle with the first Sigourney Weaver flick. For all its murky confusion, Alien: Covenant redeemed itself with its 21st century remaking of a few iconic original Alien scenes, and left you in suspense. I swear, the last five minutes of the film I was on the edge of my seat, mid-cringe, screaming, “No, don’t you see what’s happening, you fool!”