By Bradley Griffith
“Alien: Covenant” is the most recent prequel made by Hollywood for a film series that was thought to be dead. The last movie of the series, “Alien: Resurrection,” (if you don’t count “Prometheus”) was released 20 years ago. If you already enjoy sci-fi horror you will most likely love this movie. If you’re not a fan of the genre, “Covenant” will not be the movie that changes your mind.
The year is 2104 and the colony ship Covenant is in the middle of a long journey to a remote planet to colonize it and begin human civilization. During the flight of many years, the ship is monitored by the on-board computer and by the ship’s resident android, Walter (Michael Fassbender). A sudden neutrino burst in space damages the ship and brings most of the crew out of hibernation from their sleep pods. However, the captain and several of the over 2,000 colonists on board are killed in the accident.
The Covenant has over seven more years of space travel before reaching its destination. The crew, led by newly-appointed Captain Oram (Billy Crudup), must complete repairs to the ship before returning to cryosleep. The former captain’s wife, Daniels (Katherine Waterston), along with the rest of the crew, is devastated by the death of her husband. No one seems to have any confidence in Oram to lead the crew.
Despite their personal feelings the crew, led by pilot Tennessee (Danny McBride), begins to make the necessary repairs to complete their journey. Before they can get underway they intercept a rogue transmission from a nearby planet. The transmission appears to be a young girl singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. Oram makes the unpopular decision to investigate the signal.
Oram leads an expedition team to the surface of the nearby planet. They find what they, at first, believe to be an uninhabited planet, until two of the expedition crew are infected with an airborne pathogen that leads straight to disaster.
“Alien: Covenant” is dark and dreary without even an ounce of humor or a hint of optimism. From the moment the crew is awakened from their hibernation the characters are gloomy and downtrodden, as is the mood of the entire film. Which is the perfect setting for a sci-fi horror flick. The movie is filled with action with little time for the characters to think between scenes. It’s an intense movie from beginning to end.
“Covenant” is very much like the other movies in the series. Picture aliens growing inside humans before bursting out in the most gruesome and gory way possible, the same as the other Alien movies. It’s disgusting and completely unoriginal when it comes to how the aliens are able to germinate inside human bodies.
As far as the acting is concerned, the entire movie seems to be a vehicle to showcase the considerable acting abilities of Michael Fassbender. There is more than one android in the movie, and they are both played by Fassbender. The special effects when it comes to Fassbender talking to Fassbender are pretty incredible.
The opening scene of “Covenant” is strange, though nothing nearly as bad as the opening scene of “Nocturnal Animals.” Perhaps the best aspect of the movie was the ending. No one in Hollywood seems to know how to end a movie, but “Covenant” nailed it while at the same time leaving the storyline open for yet another movie in the saga.
Whether you will enjoy “Alien: Covenant” is simple. If you enjoy sci-fi horror movies in deep space, you will love this movie. If that genre is not your thing, “Alien: Covenant” is a movie you can skip.
Rated R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language, and some sexuality/nudity.