The spaceship Covenant is on its way to a distant planet carrying as its cargo 2000 humans and embryos frozen in a state of suspended animation. The purpose of the trip is colonization. On the way an accident occurs which endangers the mission and creates a devastating loss of life. While repairing the ship a signal is encountered that causes the crew to chart a new course to investigate the source.
Alien Covenant picks up 10 years after Prometheus leaves off. Covenant hasn’t garnered many very good reviews, mixed I’d have to say, and I think I know why. Most sophisticated movie goers who love movies usually don’t like sequels and prequels. I must admit I don’t either. So Covenant automatically loses points just for that. But come on, this is Alien, and it’s Ridley Scott in the director’s chair, so I am willing to cut it some slack. I love science fiction and I love horror films, there just aren’t too many good ones out there. So happens Alien is one of my favorite all time science fiction flicks and so is Blade Runner. Both Ridley Scott enterprises.
Now, back to the movie. I don’t often go to the movies for my philosophy. I usually go to philosophers for that, like Wittgenstein or Sartre. It’s nice if there is an element of philosophy in the movie, especially if it’s science fiction. But I am not going to get all worked up if it doesn’t deliver. The philosophy is only as good as the writer and there aren’t that many Philip K. Dicks or Issac Asimovs out there. In science fiction horror films what you want and come to expect are science fiction theories and horror film tropes. That’s what you get in Alien, and with Ridley Scott you get the best. No one does it better.
With all that said, I loved this movie! The film was two hours long, but you didn’t notice as the time flew by. The aliens were scary and the atmosphere was dripping with human gore imbued. The encounters were exciting as the creatures picked off the married crew members one by one (they were all married.) There was even an obligatory sex scene in the ship’s shower. Yes, Virginia, there is sex in deep space, where the lovely couple is joined by an unwanted intruder.
The last man standing was actually a woman, Daniels, played convincingly by Katherine Waterston. Not quite Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, but close enough. Strong female leads are a recurring theme of the Alien franchise which is a good thing. In an exciting battle with the alien on the deck of the freighter craft we are treated to not one but two climaxes : “Give a girl a hand?” Most satisfying.
Michael Fassbender plays the androids Dave and Walter in a neat bit of acting that is totally believable and uncanny . He truly runs away with the show. This is the heart of what Alien is all about and the real philosophy behind the film raising questions about creation, gods, and monsters in the fashion of Mary Shelley in Frankenstein.
While not perfect I give this film high marks. Ridley Scott remains at the top of his game. Can’t wait for Blade Runner 2049.