Alien: Covenant (2017)

Movie Title: Alien: Covenant

Year Released: 2017

Rated: R

Runtime: 2h 3min

Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, Guy Pearce

Review: 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.

Alien: Covenant is the sixth installment in the Alien franchise, and the second in a series of prequels that precede the 1979 classic, Alien. Following the events from Prometheus (2012), the colonization ship, the Covenant, is seven years from reaching planet Origae-6 with 2,000 colonists in stasis and 1,140 human embryos in cold storage. The ship is monitored by Walter (also Michael Fassbender), an advanced android model that physically resembles David. When a solar flare hits the Covenant, Walter wakes up his 14 human crewmates, who must now decide what to do after a stasis pod malfunction causes the untimely death of their captain, Jacob Branson (James Franco). Assuming the role of captain is Christopher Oram (Crudup), who's first big decision is to investigate a nearby planet after picking up a signal of a human voice singing a John Denver song. As with all things in the Alien franchise, it's decisions like these that ultimately lead to disastrous encounters with aliens -- in this case a protomorph. I'd explain it, but really all you need to know is that it's a big, imposing, murderous alien. What unfolds is an exciting tale of intrigue and mystery, as the crew of the Covenant not only goes toe to toe with aliens, but also with a surprising character who does not have their best interests at heart.

While I normally enjoy films in this franchise for their amazing special effects and action-packed sequences, this film does a great job focusing on the aforementioned anti-hero who's storyline really kept me interested. Those coming for crazy extraterrestrial action shall not need to fret, as there is no shortage of alien carnage to go around. Plus, Ridley Scott makes a concerted effort to give you an expansive backstory as to how the xenomorphs in Alien came to be. Without giving too much away, we get a very intriguing existential storyline of creator vs. creation.

I think the de facto Ellen Ripley in this film is Katherine Daniels (Katherine Waterston). There are many similarities to Sigourney Weaver's iconic character, but Waterston does a good job filling the large shoes while also making the role her own. I also really liked Danny McBride as chief pilot, Tennessee Faris. It's a role that is much different than we typically get from McBride, and I think he did a great job.

The protomorph alien that hunts the crewmembers of the Covenant in the last act is a menacing, terrifying creature, however I felt the climax ultimately came and went rather quickly. I guess I was hoping for a longer, drawn out showdown between the alien and its prey, but the scenes were entertaining nonetheless. This film wasn't perfect by any means, but I found it enjoyable, and think it's a worthy entry into a storied horror franchise, that Alien fans will surely appreciate.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Alien: Covenant begins on December 5th, 2104 and ends a few weeks later in 2105. This is 17 years prior to Alien which takes place in 2122.


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