Film Review: Alien: Covenant (2017)

Film: Alien: Covenant (2017)
Director: Ridley Scott

Alien by name, Prometheus 2 by nature. Director Ridley Scott delivers his visually stunning third installment, further deliving into the Alien mythology. The storyline is cleaner than its predecessor and provides new and interesting layers to what was started in Prometheus (2012). It’s a trim beard that’s starting to get a little unruly (3.5/5).

The film is set 10 years after the events of Prometheus and centres on the crew of the ship Covenant and it’s cargo of some 2000 colonists on their way to Origea-6, an Earth like planet they plan to call home.

After being introduced to Walter (Michael Fassbender), a synthetic looking after the ship as it travels through deep space, things quickly take a turn for the worse prompting the crew to be awoken from hyper sleep early with the exception of the ships captain (a very brief cameo by James Franco) who takes a very early exit.

We once again have a strong female lead in the form of the captain’s widow, Daniels (Katherine Waterston) who quickly comes to odds with the new acting captain Oram (Billy Crudup) after the ship intercepts a signal coming from a nearby planet. After finding that the planet is habitable, Oram takes the decision to investigate further, taking a small group down to the planet but as expected, things don’t go exactly to plan.

The plot is much cleaner than Prometheus, if not a little predictable, but this doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story. The focus of the Alien prequel series does seem to be on a certain character’s evolution so it will be interesting to see where this goes beyond Alien: Covenant.

Scott has always had a brilliant eye for style and visuals harking back to his TV advert days and he does not disappoint here. My only gripe would be the questionable CGI for the alien creatures earlier in the film.

There are solid performances from the cast and it was great to see Danny McBride who plays the ships pilot Tennessee, stretching his acting muscles beyond comedy. 

For all intents and purposes, this is a natural successor to Prometheus, but the film does start to merge the Prometheus and Alien (1979) Universes. There are some nice nods to the original Alien film from the opening titles, musical score and lets not forget the drinking water bird toy! There are also some later plot developments that I shan’t discuss further here, but bring us ever closer to the original Alien film. 

Overall Alien: Covenant is an entertaining sci-fi horror that comes to a satisfying conclusion, if not quite obviously leaving the film open for a sequel… but that was to be expected.

Scott has stated in interviews that Alien: Covenant is the first of three Prometheus sequels before linking up to the original Alien film, we won’t have to wait much longer as the next installment is scheduled to go into production in 2018.

Alien: Covenant is out now in the UK and due for release in the US on 19th May 2017.