If you haven’t seen Prometheus before watching this, don’t worry you have now. The sequel to the prequel, Ridley Scott has taken us back to the series that started it all for him. In an obvious cash-grab, (sorry Riddles I love you but admit it) we are given the most unnecessary film in recent history.
It floats somewhere in the cannon between the 2012 iteration and connecting to 1979s original movie. Yet this one doesn’t even get us there, so we’ve likely got a prelude trilogy coming our way. Again I wonder why, but I digress. Following the events of 10 years earlier when the sole survivor of the Prometheus and her A.I robot companion David escaped, we get to see the fall-out since then, where they have crashed on an unknown planet with the capabilities to house and nurture life.
We find all this out onboard the ship ‘Covenant’, following their crew who are awoken from their cryo-sleep early whilst en-route to a new habitable planet, to deal with a cosmic event. Eventually this leads them to discover a radio signal emanating from nearby that is unmistakably human. Risking the lives of all 2000 souls on board for a wild goose chase, Captain Oram (Billy Cruddup) steers the ship to the mysterious signal.
And we haven’t even got to the alien part yet. Once Covenant and crew (comprised of a bunch of people and names you’ll quickly forget) land on the remote planet what follows is your typical thread-less horror slash film. What used to be tasteful and restricted scares in previous installments utilising shadows and darkness is instead replaced with mediocre action set pieces where all the mystery shrouding the aliens is gone, but at least they still look good – we could have been stuck with sub-par visual effects that would have removed from the whole experience… lucky this is a film with Ridley Scott money to get it done properly.
I’d like to delve further into the plot, but unfortunately that about covers it. A ship lands, the ship is destroyed., crew is stranded, and by act three the crew is saved. There’s some talking in between that and the aliens begin to grow stronger and evolve, becoming pervasive on this planet and inevitably infecting the crew who will spread the creatures across the stars, setting us up for the movies we already know and love. The rest is padding.
Not much makes sense about Alien; Covenant. The characters, their motivations, the general setup of the narrative, the Xenomorphs and their cinematic timing to aid jump scares. We aren’t invested in anyone or anything and I question again the film’s purpose. It’s not enough to say, ‘Well at least the effects were good’ because that is the equivalent of a polishing a turd. Disappointing.