Alien: Covenant

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Alien: Covenant
"Its use of blood and slime and razor teeth is more inventive than a 12-year-old needs watch."

If you live in a forest on a mountain top miles away from social media and Ridley Scott's fan base you might be unaware of the Alien brand, or space thrillers where no one can hear you scream. In that case you will find Alien: Covenant scary as hell and ferociously exciting.

Others, who remember John Hurt for his tummy trouble, may be disappointed by the repetitive nature of a script that regurgitates horrors from previous expeditions. The quality of the effects team cannot be faulted, pushing the limits of the gasp factor to surprise teen cynics and jaded monster buffs.

Copy picture

What is worse, losing contact with the mother ship and floating away into nevernight as pressure cracks your visor, or discovering life forms in your space suit that evolve into raptor-like carnivores with every breath you take? Is this Armageddon Revisited? Is this the end of days?

Fast forward 10 years from Prometheus. David, the AI robot (Michael Fassbender), talks to its creator (Guy Pearce) in a minimalist showroom of glass and classical sounds. The first thing David asks is "Where do I come from?" which is another what's-it-all-about question. The answer burns on reentry. The real story hasn't started yet.

A full compliment of colonists is taking the journey to Planet Out There on a mega sleep over space ship complete with the latest techno safety devices. It's a seven year trip for the comatose passengers.

Hang on one pretty minute! Is that it? Whoosh and beyond?

Have faith in failure. The cock up theory of human endeavour seldom lets you down. Blame it on John Denver. The wide awake crew hear snatches of Take Me Home, Country Roads on their crackly radar radio and take the view that somewhere in this touchy feely galaxy country music is live and lovin' it. They divert to check this out and find themselves on an undiscovered land mass that looks like New Zealand with big trees and oxygen. There is no sign of life, however. No animals, no birds, no friendly natives. Odd?

This is where the scriptwriters hit the reboot button. Alien movies are famous for their monsters - 'nuff said. Spoiler alarm!!

David has a double amongst the Covenant crowd. Its name is Walter. When they meet on what turns out to be the last resting place of the Prometheus people, they engage in dialogue from a kindergarten primer.

"What do you believe in, David?" Walter asks.

"Creation," David says

"When you close your eyes do you dream of me?" David asks.

"I don't dream," Walter says.

The film looks wonderful. Its use of blood and slime and razor teeth is more inventive than a 12-year-old needs to watch. And yet... You have been here before. Many times. The sense of deja vu squanders the element of originality, cutting its claws and taming its terror.

Reviewed on: 10 May 2017
Share this with others on...
A spaceship full of colonists check out another planet where man eating monsters are starving for fresh meat

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, Lorelei King, Guy Pearce

Year: 2017

Runtime: 122 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, Australia, New Zealand, UK

Festivals:


Search database: