Review: Alien: Covenant — Tale of Xenomorph’s origins continues

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Alien: Covenant (2017)

Movie review

Directed by Ridley Scott (The Martian, Prometheus, Alien, Gladiator) once again, Alien: Covenant is a sequel to Prometheus (2012) and the second instalment of the Alien prequel series. The story takes place over 10 years after the events in the previous film following a new group of characters who’re on an expedition to an uncharted planet carrying a large number of colonists in hibernation. However, due to an incident, they land themselves on a different planet where hostile creatures and infectious organisms exist.

Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Steve Jobs) stars as Daniels, one of the crew members of the Covenant ship and this edition’s heroin/”white virgin”. She doesn’t seem to do much other than being lucky until she has a chance to get her hands dirty. Michael Fassbender (Assassin’s Creed, X-Men films, Steve Jobs) reprises his role as Prometheus survivor David while portraying a new android character named Walter who’s part of the Covenant crew. Billy Crudup (Spotlight, Watchmen, Almost Famous) plays Christopher Oram, the new captain of the crew and a man of faith although the subject of religion isn’t really explored on the film’s surface. The performances of the cast are commendable, particularly Fassbender’s sophisticated double role.

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If you’re a hardcore fan of the Alien franchise and didn’t dislike Prometheus, you’d be at least somewhat pleased with this film. It’s pretty much a Prometheus sequel packaged with the now-very familiar formula of the original Alien films. It provides clear answers to the origins of Xenomorph (the alien species itself) with dots left to be connected. I wasn’t convinced by the motivation of certain characters but I believe it’s one of the things that Scott probably wants the fans to figure out on their own. The film has its own creator vs. creation theme that we’ve seen a lot since Terminator till the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe. I enjoyed the story and character progression as a prequel like it’s a TV series but I wasn’t as thrilled or terrified as much as I wanted to be.

The film’s pacing is slow at the beginning to develop the new, likable characters and compel us with the mystery, which I enjoyed before all hell breaks lose where the film becomes more of a fan service — Facehugger gradually but surely tearing out of a victim’s body while another poor fellow is trapped in the same room, bathroom deaths, heroin vs. creature with an “ejection” plan, etc. — we’ve seen it all before. Also, the Neomorphs (albino aliens) look very CG and the full glory of Xenomorph/Protomorph, which was done with a mix of actor Goran D. Kleut in costume and animatronic head, somehow fails to match the horror presence of that something else (can’t say what ’cause it’s a spoiler). However, although the film’s thrills are unengagingly tropey and predictable, it’s better than what we got from Prometheus.

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What I would’ve named the film: “David: Road to Becoming a God II (not a spaceship name)”

Malaysian censorship: There is one scene that’s obviously censored due to nudity or sex. Other than that, it’s fine.

Verdict: Made with fans in mind but only slightly more satisfying than Prometheus.

Rating: 3 / 5

Alien Covenant movie poster malaysiaGenre: Sci-fi horror
Running Time: 123 minutes
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir

Malaysia Release Date: 10 May 2017
Rated: 18
Local Distribution: 20th Century Fox Malaysia
Production: 20th Century Fox, Scott Free Productions

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