Any film within the Alien franchise obviously has big shoes, or I guess space boots, to fill based on the legacy the original 1979 Alien and its sequels created, and its fair to say the most recent reincarnations of the franchise have left some fans wanting more, with the entertaining yet totally stupid Alien vs. Predator films irritating more fans than they did excite them and Prometheus dividing opinions of fans straight down the middle. Alien: Covenant does a good job at giving fans what they have been waiting for in some respects but still leaves you wanting more.
Alien: Covenant follows the crew of the, aptly named, Covenant spaceship, a colonist ship whose mission is to reach a remote planet in the far distant reaches of the galaxy and build a new civilization. However, the crew are awoken early from their cryo-sleep and come across a more efficiently accessible planet which they believe to be a perfect fit for their colonization, but upon arrival realise that they were very wrong.
The plot of the film, in particular the Covenant ships crew and mission, is a very standard plot that has been seen numerous times before in science fiction so it can feel quite uninteresting for the early parts of the film, especially with the slow build up that this film has in the beginning, leaving you wondering how long its going to take until the action kicks off. However, this sub par plot is helped along by its cast, with the performances of Danny McBride, Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston & Billy Crudup keeping you keeping you interested in their respective characters fates, however for the rest of the Covenant crew, it is quite easy to tell most of them are disposable characters so won’t be around for long.
The plot of the film does start to improve once the crew have made it to their mysterious destination and following their exploration of the planet does lead you to become very intrigued in to what has been happening on this planet and, more importantly, what is going to happen? The film doesn’t keep you waiting any longer with the long awaited Xenomorph being introduced in brutal fashion, all be it a little baby Xenomorph to start, but it still has the same brutal, intense effect and this is something which carries on until we are then introduced to Michael Fassbender’s character of David.
When we are introduced to David, the sole inhabitant of the planet and lone survivor of the previous Prometheus outing, whilst the fast paced intensity that we just experienced with the Xenomorphs dies down, a dark, mysterious and strangely creepy atmosphere is built, this is very much due to Michael Fassbender’s brilliant double performance, with him playing two very intriguing, eerie and ominous characters who have a strangely entertaining dynamic. This part of the film works to expand the scope of the story and build more intrigue and anticipation into what is happening, therefore taking what once was a very standard plot to the next level, leaving you waiting impatiently to see where the story is going.
After this peculiarly dark and deep part of the story brilliantly lead by Fassbender, we then follow the remaining crews planetary escape, which is where we get to see a fully grown Xenomorph hunting the crew down, and after waiting the majority of the film to see this, the action scenes involving the Xenomorph really lack intensity as it is clear to see that the main crew have the situation pretty much under control, leading it to feel quite predictable as to how everything is going to play out regarding the Xenomorph, and even though the action is visually immense and extremely well made, the way it plays out is very underwhelming in the end.
Overall, the film is a really a story of two halves, the first half being a very standard story which you will feel you have seen numerous times before just with different backdrops, but the second half really takes the film to a next level, mainly due to Fassbender’s character of David creating this extraordinarily creepy and mysterious world in which you don’t fully know what to expect, but this still is scuppered by the lack of intensity that comes from the big action set pieces, meaning its a real mixed bag of hits and misses, but overall, a film I would definitely recommend to any science fiction fans.
So, so close to being full on Gubby