Since 1979, the Alien series have scared audiences. The tale of a crew’s fight against a seemingly unstoppable alien captured and spooked the imagination. It made stars out of Sigourney Weaver and director Ridley Scott. Returning to science fiction with the Alien prequel Prometheus, Scott unwrapped a new chapter in the saga. Alien Covenant is the 6th film in the series with his abilities in telling an effective story still evident. His latest should raise a shackle or two with space still a place where no one can hear you scream.
The colony ship Covenant is looking for a habitable planet. Among the crew are android Walter (Michael Fassbender), Jacob (James Franco) and Daniels (Katherine Waterston). Attempting to form a cohesive team, their personal issues are put aside for the mission. When discovering a planet looking like nirvana, they think they have succeeded. They quickly discover they have walked into peril. As an army of evil creatures begin hunting them, the crew do everything to survive a potential alien onslaught.
Alien: Covenant is an intense ride echoing the original Alien. Its plot is almost an exact copy going for a simpler narrative than Prometheus’ muddled one. Whilst fans may deride the increased focus on action than drama, Alien: Covenant works due to Scott’s lean storytelling style. There’s an engrossing tale to discover even if it doesn’t have much personal depth. It’s as emotionally distant as many of Scott’s movies as his talent for atmosphere and action rarely fails to craft engaging characters. He puts them through interesting situations with Alien: Covenant providing new wrinkles on classic deadly scenarios.
The biggest asset of Alien: Covenant is the CGI, which is amazing. You genuinely feel you are on the otherworldly plains along with the Covenant crew. The attention to detail is staggering and the action set pieces are expertly realised. The performers bring stoic conviction to their roles despite none of them truly standing out. Most seem fodder for the expected deaths although how they die conjures morbid fascination. It’s tough being original in a 6th film of a franchise but, to its credit, Alien Covenant brings new ideas to the table.
A reasonably scary alien space yarn Alien: Covenant does what it promises. It has a bit of everything to satisfy most tastes in spite of not having much happening underneath its action-smothered veneer. Scott has promised at least three more entries in the series proving an alien’s menace is a match for the lure of further box office dollars.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 7