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article imageReview: ‘Alien: Covenant’ gets closer to the truth Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 20, 2017 in Entertainment
‘Alien: Covenant’ is everything ‘Prometheus’ wasn’t and more as the film further explores the origins of the formidable xenomorph.
As many fans learned thanks to George Lucas, going back to reimagine a beloved series’ origin story is a tricky business. While the creators have unrealized ideas regarding where it all could have started, these are not always in line with audience theories nor is it simple to recapture the essence of what drew viewers to the original films to start. Ridley Scott began this journey with 2012’s Prometheus, which now continues with its first sequel, Alien: Covenant.
Fifteen years after Earth lost contact with Prometheus, another ship is making the decades-long trip to the other side of the galaxy in an effort to find a habitable planet to colonize. When a destructive anomaly occurs, the slumbering crew is forced out of stasis to repair the ship. However, their awareness leads to the discovery of a nearby, Earth-like planet that could save them years of travel if it proves viable. A reconnaissance team led by the ship’s captain (Billy Crudup) is deployed to explore the planet. The first threat they face is an invisible one that infects some of the crew. Soon they are attacked by a variety of alien creatures before they’re miraculously rescued by someone whose intentions are more mysterious.
Where Prometheus felt like a film treading on the outskirts of the franchise, its follow-up takes audiences closer to the lore with which they’re more familiar. It also circles back to the end of the previous picture to answer some of the questions it created. In this movie, the alien form is more familiar — though they still find an abundance of room to play with its appearance. Facehuggers return to the fold as do recognizable variations of H.R. Giger’s original creature designs. This connection to the earlier films and their captivating evolution are definitely one of the most intriguing aspects of this film, and one of its greatest assets.
While the plot is somewhat less dense than its predecessor’s, the character development is uneven. The exploration of faith in science is once again present via Crudup’s character who was a man of God prior to becoming a spaceman, though his past remains somewhat of a mystery. Focus is placed on select other characters as well, particularly the women, but their presence or backstory is only important as it relates to the film’s desire to trace the aliens’ origins. Interestingly, the crew consists of several heterosexual couples, which gives the ship somewhat of a Noah’s ark feel since populating their new planet would be one of many priorities. It also opens the door for more emotional drama.
There’s a slight bait and switch that occurs with one of the actors’ appearance in the film, but it’s all but forgotten fairly quickly. Danny McBride is an unexpected standout in the picture as his character Tennessee is by far the most engaging of the crew. Katherine Waterston is this installment’s Ripley and though her character gets off to a bit of a rocky start, she eventually takes charge and has some interesting one-on-one battles. Michael Fassbender reprises his role as the ship’s artificial intelligence, this time named David. This version is noticeably different than Walter, but he still plays the role impeccably.
This movie is unquestionably an improvement over Prometheus and it will be interesting to see how its events play into the final film in the trilogy of prequels.
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and Billy Crudup
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