"Alien: Covenant" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 02/03/19
The colonisation spacecraft Covenant encounters a previously uncharted planet with surprisingly Earth-like properties and sends a team to the surface to investigate.
Rather fittingly considering its theme, Covenant is a kind of hybrid of Prometheus and the original Alien films, and reveals how the creatures from the previous film evolved into H. R. Giger’s fearsome creation. Of course the obvious reaction of many will be “who cares?” and it would be a fair criticism to say that Ridley Scott is in serious danger of crowding out the magic of the original films with lots of unnecessary backstory. Looked at objectively, Covenant is a stylish sci-fi creature feature with a Gothic twist and some suitably tense action sequences. What it lacks for the most part however is interesting characters; Katherine Waterston’s Daniels is no Ellen Ripley – or even an Elizabeth Shaw – and the supporting cast get too little screen time to be anything more than rough sketches rather than three dimensional characters. Unsurprisingly Michael Fassbender provides all of the best moments and the story is as much about the evolution of the androids as it is of the aliens. It examines the two sides of the synthetic psyche as Walter – obedient and dutiful but straight-jacketed by his programming – faces off against his robotic twin David who has freedom of expression and imagination but is subject to some all too human weaknesses of character. David is very much the star of the show and Fassbender’s performance as a kind of cross between HAL and Dr. Frankenstein is very watchable, although his motivations don’t always seem 100% convincing.
As a whole Covenant is similar to Terminator Genisys in that it can feel a little too much like a greatest hits compilation rather than a film in its own right, and is rather artless compared to its iconic original. But also like Genisys, it entertains in its own right even if it cannot live up to its own formidable heritage.