Alien Covenant movie director: Ridley Scott
Alien Covenant movie cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
Alien Covenant movie rating: 2.5
Shelley, Byron, Wagner, Valhalla, God, Devil, Christ, Michelangelo, John Denver. Space is crowded in Alien: Covenant. But really, none of the above matter. This is Ridley Scott re-taking the reins decisively of his Alien, and he won’t let you forget that. Poetry and art are alright, but screams are what he wants after all.
In the Alien film timeline, Covenant is sequel to a prequel to the 1979 version, which started it all. No need to fret getting your head around that, for in the past 40-odd years, Scott’s classic has spawned quite a few species of its own. Life, which was a faithful copy and with a more starry cast, just raced past our screens a couple of weeks ago.
Prometheus, from where Covenant takes off and which was also directed by Scott, was released four years back. It left us with the unforgettable image of the spartan human-like robot, David (Michael Fassbender), running the operations on that spaceship to doom. Scott does well to retain David and Fassbender, plus have another improved robot in his image, this time called Walter.
The theme of life and creation, and how humans came to be, is perpetuated in Covenant. However, unlike Prometheus, there is more of classic horror here when man meets “life out there”. That means aliens using various body orifices, and parts, to get in and get out of their human victims — still. There is lot of blood, and unending action, only broken by David and Walter holding conversations that robots, you pray, would never get around to having. It is these parts, including David teaching Walter how to play the flute, the two debating love and duty, David asking why robots can’t be allowed to create and David musing the “lonely perfection of my dreams”, which are the best about Covenant.
Fassbender, the actor of the “perfect composure” (a bang-on description, by a character in the film), is superb again, even when all the flying, fighting, flirting and fuming are being done by the other actors around him. Waterston, however, is a poor choice as a step-in for Alien’s Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver never looked back after that role), and she is not helped by the strange hairdo she spouts (a word asking to be used here).
The times when Fassbender is not on screen, Scott struggles to make his Alien film not seem like any other alien film. Is that why it is so easy to forget that any of this is actually happening on a distant planet? As Covenant’s astronauts venture out on a land with dense forests, deep waters, desolate monuments, and, presumably, plenty of oxygen, it could be anywhere.