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Alien: Covenant

With the 2012 release of PROMETHEUS, director Ridley Scott stepped back into the driver’s seat of his legendary “Alienverse.” According to Scott, the film wasn’t meant to be a direct prequel to the original ALIEN. Instead, it was an origins story that began to lay the foundation of what was to come. The reaction to the film was mixed from audience members and critics alike. For the most part, at least in my opinion, it was much more “hit” than “miss,” and I was blown away by Scott’s lofty scope and vision.
Set more than 10 years after the events of PROMETHEUS, ALIEN: COVENANT provides far more thrills and chills than its predecessor. The Xenomorphs, which were virtually non-existent in the previous installment, plays a major role in COVENANT, and displays a shocking savagery that will certainly make its audience jump and squirm.

The year is 2104 and the Covenant is a space craft on its way to a distant planet of Origea-6. With 2000 colonists, 1000 embryos, and 15 crew members (including an android name Walter,) it is a journey that will establish a settlement well beyond the confines of Earth. When the ship passes through a solar storm, it suffers catastrophic damage. Walter (Michael Fassbender) is unable to do anything to protect the vessel, and its crew is awakened from its prolonged slumber. Unfortunately, the ship’s captain (James Franco) is gruesomely killed in the accident, and it is up to Christopher Oram (Billy Cudrup) to take the reins. While he understands that crew, particularly the captain’s wife, Dany Branson (Katherine Waterston) is upset, he needs them to remain steadfast and vigilant. They need to ensure the craft is functioning properly in order to guarantee that the colonists and embryos survive.

ALIEN: COVENANT is certainly not for the weak of heart (or stomach) but for those who enjoy their horror films with a bit of guts and gore, you won’t be disappointed.

Though it appears Oram will be steadfast in adhering to the established protocol, he is intrigued when a rogue signal is picked up from a nearby planet. Due to its seemingly habitable environment, he decides that it is worth investigating. Dany protests, but the captain cannot be swayed.

The planet, of course, is where the events of PROMETHEUS unfolded. It doesn’t take long for two crew members to become infected with a deadly virus, and to paraphrase Ron Burgandy, things escalate very quickly. One cataclysmic event after another befalls the crew, and it isn’t until they are rescued by an android named David (Fassbender, once again) that they begin to realize the true scope of their perilous predicament.

For those who felt that the pace of PROMETHEUS was too slow, rest assured that you are unlikely to feel the same way about COVENANT. From the moment that the ship is rocked by the storm, until the final moment when the credits begin to roll, Scott’s film speeds at a colossal clip. While questions surrounding the origin of man and our place in the universe are still ever-present, there is no shortage of sequences that are fueled by alien-induced carnage. The Xenomorph creature, which became an instant cinematic villain in 1978, is as terrifying as ever. With dazzling speed and an insatiable appetite for blood and carnage, its nightmarish fury is endlessly shocking.

Michael Fassbender continues to prove that he is one of the best performers working in Hollywood today, gives a dual performance that almost overshadows the Alien itself.

ALIEN: COVENANT is certainly not for the weak of heart (or stomach) but for those who enjoy their horror films with a bit of guts and gore, you won’t be disappointed. Beyond these shocking moments of shocking brutality, Scott’s technical wizardry is on full display. From the striking visuals, to the skin-crawling sound, COVENANT sucks you in and pushes you constantly towards the edge of your seat. It is, in every conceivable way, the type of blockbuster that demands to be seen in the IMAX format. This isn’t merely due to its stunning special effects and incredible set pieces, but, perhaps more than any film in recent memory, the immersive audio enhances the experience beyond any reasonable expectation. It is, in a way, a character in itself. There is no better example of this than the unsettling clicks and chittering from the Xenomorphs. These sounds, in this particular format, will make your skin crawl and your heart jump.

The Xenomorph may be the reason that many audience members buy a ticket, but the true star of COVENANT is Michael Fassbender. The actor, who continues to prove that he is one of the best performers working in Hollywood today, gives a dual performance that almost overshadows the Alien itself. David and Walter have their own distinct personalities and traits, and Fassbender finds far more subtle ways to separate the two. The moments they share the screen together are brilliant, and these moments progress the backstory of the “Alienverse” more than any others. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of this prequel series plays out, I’m even more intrigued to see what role Walter and/or David have to play in the ALIEN evolution.

The Xenomorphs, which were virtually non-existent in the previous installment, plays a major role in COVENANT, and displays a shocking savagery that will certainly make its audience jump and squirm.

Alien Covenant

RATED: R

RUN TIME: 2h 2min

GENRE: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

STARRING: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup,

Danny McBride, Demián Bichir

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

Writers: Jack Pagle, Michael Green, John Logan, Dante Harper

Based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon  & Ronald Shusett

GRADE: B+

A special thanks goes to Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA for allowing me to see this month’s film in the IMAX format.

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.