December 10, 2017

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant would probably be considered a better movie if it weren't part of the Alien series, if it were not being judged against insurmountable odds: being worthy of the original Alien (1979), the masterpiece of this franchise, or even the 1986 sequel, Aliens, which is junky yet consistently entertaining. Judged on its own merit, Alien: Covenant (the first Alien sequel to be helmed by Ridley Scott, who directed the original) is passable science fiction. This time around, the crew of a spaceship, bound for some outlying planet, is awakened after a malfunction kills 47 embryos. (Their ship is carrying over 1000 human embryos which will be harvested to populate this earth-like planet, a new colony.) When the crew receives unknown transmissions from another planet in their path (one that also may be habitable), they decide to investigate. We as the audience know exactly what's going on: This is a ruse to get them into harm's way. The movie unfolds rather predictably after that, as various crew members wander into dangerous situations and are picked off in ghastly ways by the alien creatures. Michael Fassbender, reprising his role as an android from Prometheus (the 2012 Alien prequel), figures prominently here; he's as cold and inhuman as you would expect an android to be, and he figures into a rather ingenious plot twist. And even though the ending is bold for a big budget thriller, ultimately, one grows weary of Alien: Covenant, and of its the idiotic characters, very quickly.

With Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, and Billy Crudup.

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