Alien: Covenant is a follow up to Prometheus which was a prequel to Alien and Aliens. I couldn’t understand the hate that Prometheus got from the viewers and critics alike. Personally, I liked the film quite a bit and the reasons were the visual effects, the engrossing tale and above all the captivating look and feel of the film. Alien: Covenant has a very similar feel to it at least for two third of its runtime after which it takes a path very similar to the Alien and Aliens. The million dollar question still was whether it was better than Prometheus and as good as Alien and Aliens?
Alien: Covenant tells us the story of the ship Covenant that is en-route to colonizing a planet with 200 souls on board and a 15 member crew including a synthetic Walter (Michael Fassbender). The ship is hit by an energy surge that kills its captain in cryo sleep and wakes the rest of the crew. Once saved from the debacle, the new and somewhat confused captain of the ship decides to re-route the ship to a little-known planet from which they receive a rouge communication. The idea is to cut short their journey after the sudden disaster and it also seems that the new planet has a better reading on its biological factors than the one they were en-route to. Once the crew land on the planet, they soon realize that they were coerced into landing on the planet and that they are in grave danger. What follows next is relentlessly entertaining and deeply horrifying.
Alien: Covenant answers many of the questions that Prometheus had put forth but never answered. To start with for the first time, the Xenomorph life form and its life cycle is properly explained and it is done so in such an effective manner that even the most ill-advised of viewers will find meaning and closure. They also do a great job in explaining the fact that why the Xenomorphs are of different shapes and sizes. Next, they beautifully tag this story to Prometheus using just one character and give you a feeling of seamless attachment. Yes! This is a genuine sequel to the Prometheus and it has a very similar vibe to it. It takes the concepts expressed in Prometheus and builds a world out of it. It’s a world that we are bound to love and it’s also a believable world.
Alien: Covenant is a gorgeous looking film. It’s a film that easily overtakes Prometheus in terms of visual finesse. There are sequences that are so breathtakingly beautiful that they will be burned into your memory. The first shot of the spaceship entering the new found planet, the whole portion involving the team members exploring the planet, the sequences in the innards of the shelter where the team takes refuge are some of the highlights of the visual poetry. I was also highly impressed by the manner in which they rendered Covenant, the ship. It felt real and organic. The action sequences are a picture of beauty. There is a lot of blood and gore but most of it is aesthetically done. The creature design is terrific and they are bound to send shivers down your spine. I was also able to notice a lot of in-camera visuals which made the look and feel even more authentic and relatable.
Performances are never a forte of films of this nature but Fassbender takes his character of David and Walter to a whole new level. While Walter is an unapologetic, feeling-less synthetic, David is curious as we had seen him to be in Prometheus and his curiousness has taken a whole new proportion in this film. The sequences that he shares with Walter are wonderful and thought provoking. The film also makes it a point to touch on his relation with Elizabeth Shaw from Prometheus. This leads to some interesting dynamics and revelations towards the end. The rest of the cast members are apt and they all do their parts but unfortunately, none of them make any impact that is worth mentioning.
However, some issues are still there pertaining to the stupidity of the explorers which has to be accredited to the writers. Multiple cliché moments can also be noticed wherein everyone who goes off for a smoke or to a secluded place is hunted by the alien. That was way too convenient and done to death. The film also is unable to add anything new to the existing repertoire of action/violence or storytelling for that matter. There are no surprises and you can actually predict which way the story is headed quite easily once some basic issues are dealt with. And it leaves the story on a hinge again clearly making way for another sequel which I learned will be called Alien: Awakening. Nothing is confirmed at this point though.
Final words. Alien: Covenant is a notch better than Prometheus because it offers closure in terms of some key story elements. It is a better looking and a better-edited film with a better performance from Fassbender. It has better action and better visuals but it also has some of the lingering issues of Prometheus. Do the pros, in this case, outweigh the con? Yes! Definitely.
Rating : 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)