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Film: Alien: Covenant
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Jack Paglen and Michael Green
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and Billy Crudup
This film begins with a conversation between Michael Fassbender, who is an android and reprising his role from the previous film Prometheus. He is talking with the head of the Wayland Corporation, played by Guy Pearce. Their conversation is about Pearce being Fassbender’s creator and what the meaning of life is.
We then shift to the future. There is a ship that is full of colonists, equipment and a crew that are trying to get to a planet that is similar to Earth. They are looking to set up a new colony there. The captain of this mission is played by Billy Crudup. They are forced to wake up early when a shockwave hits them. There is damage to their ship and they need to fix it. The second in command of this mission is played by Katherine Waterston. She is depressed that her significant other passed away when they had plans for the new planet.
The pilot of this mission is played by Danny McBride. He goes out with another member of the crew to fix part of the ship so power can be restored. On his way back to the ship, he receives a scrambled transmission. Once back on board, Fassbender who plays another android as well named Walter, takes his helmet. McBride picks up from it that the person is singing ‘Country Roads’ by John Denver. Fassbender also finds the origin of the transmission is from a nearby planet. This one didn’t come up when they were searching for a new Earth, but it is much closer to ours than the one they are going to. Crudup decides against Waterston’s wishes to check this one out.
Part of the crew goes down to check it out and two members of this ingest these spore-like substance. This causes them to become violently ill and then a creature emerges from their body. Amy Seimetz is the pilot of the ship that comes to the planet as well as McBride’s wife. She panics, starts shooting at the alien and ends up blowing herself and the ship up. They’re now stranded.
There is another of these creatures that attacks when the rest of the group gets to the ship, but they are saved. Their savior turns out to be other Fassbender, David. He takes them back to where he has been living on this planet. He also takes interest in the Fassbender from this mission, Walter.
How did David arrive on this planet? What secrets is he hiding? Where did these new aliens come from? Are the Xenomorphs on this planet as well? Can they get off the planet before it is too late?
I want to lead off stating that Aliens was one of my favorite films growing up and I’ve been a big fan of the series. This one had an interesting story to me. Prometheus happens before this and is a prequel to Alien. This is a direct sequel to Prometheus. I didn’t mind the scene that started this film, as it plays a major role at the climax and helps the film make sense. What I didn’t like was that it wasn’t part of the Prometheus story. This is part of my problem at times with sequels. In order to deepen the story and enhance it, they go back to add things that were not there previously. David’s decision in the previous film seemed to be a choice made during that mission, but this one makes it seem like something more. Now I will admit, I loved David’s character and what he is doing on this planet. I thought it explained the new aliens very well. I also predicted the twist at the end, but I still liked that they did it.
The acting in this film I felt was good. I’m a big fan of Fassbender and I thought this film definitely utilized what he can do by having him play two characters. What makes it even better is that they are both android, just different models. One of them has been given special instructions that make him a mad scientist that has lost his grip with reality, while the other wants to defend his crew and help them with their mission. This is very comparable to Lance Henriksen in the earlier installments to this franchise. I really liked Waterston as well. I haven’t seen her in a lot, but I was impressed. McBride was great in that he added some comedy to this film, while still being pretty solid in my eyes. I also thought Crudup did well. He played the role of the leader who doesn’t seem to have a lot of confidence and is over compensating by being too hard. It seemed natural. The rest of the cast rounded out well in my eyes as well.
The aliens in this film were all CGI, but I wasn’t bothered by this. I thought they looked realistic enough. I thought they did enough to make the Xenomorphs look just enough different from the Neomorphs that were introduced in this film. Where the original films did more with practical effects, this one utilized computers to make them be able to do more and didn’t have to hide them in the shadows as much. Now this last part can make them scarier at times, especially in the original. This one does do some of that as well, which I liked. I didn’t see any issues with the editing; I thought that was well done. The soundtrack didn’t stand out to me, but decision on what was used fit the scenes and didn’t take me out of them. I do want to congratulate them on using Country Roads as well, as I’m a big fan of that song.
Now I have heard there were a lot of people that didn’t care for this film. I happened to enjoy it. It doesn’t rival the original or the first sequel, but I thought that it is continuing with the story from Prometheus, helping to build toward Alien while still giving the franchise room to add more films. The story of this film I happened to like as well. Felt the acting was solid around it and I had no complaints there. The aliens looked good for being CGI and the use of computers helped them to move around while still looking realistic. The editing and the soundtrack didn’t stand out, but it also didn’t take me out of it. I feel this is slightly above average and entertaining. You can come in to just see this film, as I feel it fills you in with enough that you need to know, or it can be watched as part of the series as well. I would recommend giving this film a viewing if you like sci-fi horror or alien horror films.
My Rating: 7 out of 10