Instead of an optimistically bright vision of the future, director Ridley Scott presented a grungy slice of 22 century life with his dark sci-fi horror tale. It's nearly as if Ridley Scott focus grouped or Gallup polled this movie into existence, grabbing all the best elements of the classics and stitching them together into an "Alien" movie highlight reel. These Alien-philes who recognize terms such as the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, Engineers and Xenomorphs will love this film and the universe it lives in.
Generally, the movie is an interesting watch with scenes that are far out of the normal imaginations and expectations of alien movies.
If Michael Fassbender's "synthetic" character David didn't seem Batty-esque before, he sure as hell does in Covenant. Roused from sleep, the crew deals with the emergency and picks up a mysterious transmission seeming to emanate from a nearby earthlike planet. The film, directed by Ridley Scott based on a script from John Logan and Dante Harper, stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Demian Bichir, and Amy Seimetz. But soon an exploratory landing party is planetside, trudging through swampy undergrowth and checking out the local flora and fauna without the benefit of protective gear. Even Alien gathered the latter point, if not the former. It sounds a lot like the "Alien" we know. There are also a lot of unanswered questions, and audiences don't learn enough about the individual characters. The larger issue with Fassbender as the lead is that it makes the crew members of the Covenant basically set dressing. Will this lead to almost-certain death at the hands of ruthless aliens?
"Alien: Covenant" is a prequel to the classic film, and a follow up to 2012's "Prometheus". It's too good to be true, of course, since there are facehuggers and chestbursters and all kinds of goopy, ectoplasmic bad guys on there - and David (also Fassbender), the android who proves to be the sole survivor of the events from Prometheus. The film ends with David upchucking two alien embryos, which he places alongside the 1,140 embryos headed to humanity's new home. (It is there for a reason, people!) Folks die in a most unpleasant way.
"Covenant" doesn't explicitly address the concept of the uncanny valley but it's certainly exploring it with the Walter/David dichotomy.
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But "Covenant" isn't all pondering and philosophy, not by a long shot.
In space, no one can hear you yawn. "Maybe I come back as Ripley?" he jokes referencing the original film's heroine, played by Sigourney Weaver.
Forget what you know about Alien; forget what you think an Alien movie should be.
Covenant ripped into theaters last night at 7 PM with previews of $4.2M from about 3,000 locales, promising a strong Friday and weekend ahead. Considering one of the recurring criticisms of Prometheus was its almost-complete abandonment of horror tropes, no one is particularly surprised that Covenant returns to the well, but the result is extremely familiar. And everyone can take away some important lessons from "Covenant", starting with this one: when a mysterious android shows you a creepy alien plant and says "It's perfectly safe, I assure you", you might want to think twice before taking a closer look.
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