Grosse Point Geek – Alien: Covenant
On their way to colonise a new world, the crew of the starship Covenant intercept a signal from a nearby planet and go to investigate. Upon arrival they discover a crashed Engineer spacecraft and the android David (Michael Fassbender) who has been marooned there since arriving some ten years previously. Soon things take a turn for the worst as one by one the crew become infected with an extraterrestrial virus that spawns the xenomorph aliens. With time running out its now down to the remaining survivors to escape before they too fall victim to their hellish surroundings.
When Prometheus was released in 2012 audiences found themselves split down the middle – some absolutely hated it, whilst others (like me) thought it was a well made but deeply flawed film that somewhat squandered its admittedly fascinating story line which ended up posing far more questions than it did answers. For example – why did the Engineers create humanity only to end up hating it? Why did they create the virus in the first place? Finally why on Earth did Ridley Scott edit the life out of the films finale which meant the whole thing ended on a staggeringly disappointing anticlimax?
These are answers that i hoped would be put right in this latest entry in the long running Alien franchise. Sadly this was not the case. Yes i will admit that some areas were covered. We do get to find out the origin of the Xenomorphs – however this is another let down, we also get to see the Engineers, but this is so fleeting that it ultimately proves to be pointless plus we dont get to see them again which infuriated the hell out of me.
What also struck me was that upon meeting David none of the Covenant crew seem to ask who the Engineers are, or what the mission of the Prometheus was in the first place – its almost as if Ridley Scott is deliberately avoiding the incredibly interesting story from the first film and just concentrating on the next chestburster scene or an appearance from one of the Aliens. This for me was totally the wrong way to go as its all been done many times over in all the previous Alien films , which sadly meant that there is never any sense of tension, shocks , or most importantly – originality.
In addition, whilst it is very well acted by the entire cast, we never get to really know anything about them. Whereas this worked well in Scott’s original Alien, it doesn’t here at all. Indeed the only characters with any real depth are the Androids Walter and David – both played by Michael Fassbender. Speaking of which it is he who is the films one saving grace – putting in a brilliant dual performance that is simply flawless in its execution – one has to say that Fassbender is rapidly becoming one of the greatest actors of his generation – one can only hope that he appears in the recently announced next chapter of this franchise.
I would also like to say how disappointed i am in Ridley Scott. At times he has made some truly astounding films – Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and The Martian were all absolutely brilliant – but there seems to be another side to him that means we get stuck with the likes of The Councillor, GI Jane, Exodus and Hannibal – all well made but staggeringly average efforts that appear to have been made by a director on autopilot – and this is what seems to have happened with Alien Covenant. What Scott needs to do is step off this franchise and let someone else have a a go as his heart clearly isnt in it anymore and there are too many Alien fans out there (me included) that deserve far better.
Very disappointing – do better next time please
Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek