In the latest entry into the franchise Alien: Covenant, the crew of the colony ship Covenant are transporting 2000 passengers to Origae-6 when they take a detour to investigate a distress signal. The landing party, including Daniels (Katherine Waterston), Sgt. Lope (Demian Bichir) and Captain Oram (Billy Crudup) head to the planet to see what’s up.
In 1979, Ridley Scott gave us an instant sci-fi horror classic, introducing the xenomorph into the lexicon of monsters destined to give us nightmares for decades to come. The torch was passed to James Cameron who took a genre detour and gave us on of the best sci-fi action movies of all time.
Since then, the systematic destruction of the Alien legacy has taken place. Yes, we’re including you, David Fincher, even though some kind of memo went out asking everyone to reconsider how terrible it was after it turned out you were, in fact, a great director.
What really rankles is the last two gut-punches to this franchise have been delivered by Scott himself.
Still, Alien: Covenant is light years better than Prometheus, but largely thanks to modelling itself on Alien, ramping up the atmosphere and sense of dread within the haunted metal framework of the planet’s structure.
The crew of the Covenant are the likeable yet disposable monster-bait you’d expect and Michael Fassbender’s double turn as the ship’s artificial lifeform Walter, and his evil robot doppelgänger David is excellent.
What about our favourite space monster? Well, you won’t be disappointed as the xenomorph we know and love is back here. Though not utilised particularly well and shunted into the background as the plot dictates. For all its faults, there are some genuine moments of claustrophobic terror and Fassbender, Waterston and Crudup are all engaging in their roles.
Much better than Prometheus, Alien: Covenant models itself too much on the original in a desperate effort to redeem itself. Do yourself a favour and watch that instead.