Alien Covenant (REVIEW)
5 years after the polarizing Prometheus we have arrived at Alien Covenant. It is definitely a sequel to Prometheus but maybe a bit closer to Alien than originally intended. We find our crew of the ship Covenant looking to inhabit a new world for a chance at colonization after presumably Earth is no longer sustainable. What they find is something they weren't expecting.
This is a pretty cut and dry Alien movie, bad things happen in space with monsters. It is however a hybrid of Prometheus and Alien bridging the two in an interesting way, you can even hear in the score the main motifs are included at various times, and even get diegetic at one point. There are the classic horror Alien moments here and there and some solid deaths but I think it isn't hitting as hard as it once did. It has sort of been done so many times it's no longer shocking, but instead just assumed and that is no where near as interesting. Where Prometheus felt like a big set up with this mythos and mystery, Covenant is a a continuation that isn't as expansive in mystery and has more of a plot behind it. We don't necessarily get answers to Prometheus but the theme of finding your creator is again a main element in the film and that, not the Alien was by far the most interesting part of this film.
What is interesting is one of the plot points which I am about to spoil.
When we arrive at this new planet we see David, the android from Prometheus, he has rid the planet of the "Engineers" that created, presumably humans by mixing there bodies with these spores. The ones that if humans get in contact with creates Xenomorphs, as the next evolution. It turns out David has a God Complex. He believes that humans are inferior and he has been breeding the Xenomorphs to create a new race controlled by him. I thought this was a really clever thing to do. At the start of the film we see a younger Weyland talking to David about find "the creator" and now we see David has found them and decides that he wants to be that now. He is a father and a superior being to humans and wants to feel that power and if the engineers lead to humans and the humans lead to xenomorphs than the humans must be cultivated and evolved into their greater beings at the hands of David and I thought that was an interesting direction to take the mythology.
There is a fantastic movie in here it is just a shame it was a bit stuck in it's ways but such is life, you get Prometheus, people don't like it because it's too different,so you get Alien Covenant and it's too much of the same. There is a sweet spot that just wasn't hit and thats a bit of a bummer. As it is though Michael Fassbender really brings it carrying basically all the weight of the film on his shoulders, being by far the most interesting character in the film. The rest of the cast is just sort of ok, no one really stands out to me other than Catherine Waterson, and even so she is a bit of a bland character going through the motions along with Billy Crudup and Danny McBride. It's an Alien movie so people are going to be disposable but that doesn't mean they can't be interesting characters.
It's really well directed even if some of the tension is sucked out of it from the "same-y" vibes it gives off. I was rarely surprised and the thrills just weren't really there. The cinematography, set design and overall world creation is pretty fantastic and it felt lived in and not really otherworldly but more like an abandoned Earth which worked just as well in my mind.
If you thought the ideas behind Prometheus were interesting, some of the set up of that gets explored further in this film providing a new chapter to the story and while it does have a lot of the same beats as a space horror film it does enough with it's specific lore to have a few stand out scenes that make it worth the Prometheus set up. I just want a Michael Fassbender doing his android thing more because that is where this and Prometheus really shined.