HOLLYWOOD—“Alien” is one of my all-time favorite horror classics. There is something about that movie, and Ridley Scott’s ability to capture a level of suspense and tension to a movie that I have yet to see recaptured in the sci-fi universe. Yes, many would argue that “Aliens” is a classic, but beyond that sequel, the rest of the movies in the franchise are so-so. Even “Prometheus” which was prequel to the original 1979 classic, caused more mental stress than scares.
Well, look no more because it appears Scott has returned to his roots and in a deliciously terrifying way. The latest sequel in the intergalactic saga, “Alien: Covenant” delivers precisely what fans have been eagerly waiting for: pulse-pounding thrills, stunning visuals and a twisty narrative. However, the question remains rather it’s better than its predecessor? The answer is: YES! Is it better than the original? Not quite. One does not need to see “Prometheus” to fully understand “Covenant,” but it wouldn’t hurt, but be warned, “Prometheus” is a twisted, mind-bending flick to say the least.
This flick begins with the spaceship, known as the Covenant encountering an intergalactic phenomenon that leads to the crew members aboard being awakened from their sleep on their 7-year journey to establish a new civilization. Amongst those crew members include Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo and Danny McBride. Yes, this flick has an all-star cast, and surprisingly it works; there are plenty of players, all get ample screen time, some a bit more than others, but this is a sci-fi/horror flick so that should be expected people.
The crew decides to venture off course to their final destination to explore a distress call they receive. Bad idea, really bad idea! That departure leads the fateful ones to a planet of inhabitable sorts, where they discover they are not alone, and a creature with an epic defense mechanism and the thirst for blood begins its slaughter. Now here is where I have a few gripes with “Covenant” in its attempt to try to make sense of what “Prometheus” attempted to do. The audience gets a further backstory to the alien, but at the same time we discover the creatures to be much smarter than we expected. It’s hard to reveal those details without spoiling the movie, but there are some nifty ‘chest-buster like’ moments that will indeed shock the audience.
Scott, who in my opinion is a director who understands the element of suspense all too well, carefully builds the moments in this movie. It’s slow, slightly tedious in the beginning, but once things get moving, it’s so much fun to watch. Waterston takes on the role that is reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver’s character in the 1979 classic, while Fassbender takes on double duty as android David and Walter. Yes, David is as suspicious as ever before people, and his true agenda is not revealed until the final moments in the movie which starts to put the pieces to the original movie.
However, a true fan of the saga will still have questions that don’t quite add up, not certain if the script took that into consideration. One familiar to the franchise, will know exactly what I’m talking about. The level of blood and gore in this installment is visceral, at times uneasy to watch, and without a doubt returns to its original roots. “Covenant” at times screams remake to the 1979 original “Alien,” even the credits echo what that flick did the first time out.
McBride provides comic relief; Waterson takes on the role of hero with her portrayal of Daniels, who is well aware a venture off course is not a wise idea. And Fassbender, the guy sure knows how to eat up a role, especially while playing dual roles, but characters that couldn’t be different: one shows emotion, the other not so much. The visual effects will leave sci-fi fans salivating, and the narrative is solid; nothing spectacular, and a bit more direct unlike its predecessor.
“Alien: Covenant” sure delivers an ending, that leaves the audience telling itself, “I can’t wait for the next movie!” A few jump-out your seat moments, and echoes of the original make “Alien: Covenant.” the third best in the franchise, sorry, but “Aliens” is indeed a classic people!