Alien: Covenant (2017)

RIDLEY SCOTT

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  USA/United Kingdom/Australia/New Zealand/Canada, 2017.  , , , .  Story by , , Screenplay by , , based on characters created by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , Ridley Scott.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Guy Pearce and Michael Fassbender in Alien: Covenant.

We move ten years past the events of Prometheus and find ourselves aboard the Covenant, a vessel carrying colonists to a distant planet where they will create a new civilization.  A series of circumstances interrupt their voyage and force a landing on an unknown planet that turns out to possess a very dark secret: despite wearing fancy spacesuits and carrying big guns, these guys merely kick over the wrong plant and become infected with a nasty parasite that produces some vicious creatures bursting out of their bodies.  Further investigation by the increasingly dwindling crew members also reveals a connection between their own devoted android Walter () and the robot David (also Fassbender) we met in the previous film, who has a few more surprises in store for them.  If elements of the plot sound familiar, that’s probably because just about every step of this dull and passionless film is a rehashing of previous films in the series told with not a bit of irony, including the march into the alien spaceship that yields rows of eggs and a well shot but dissatisfying action sequence aboard an airborne vessel that is annoyingly reminiscent of James Cameron’s classic sequel.  Most aggravating is the fact that the human crew members never behave the least bit rationally or bravely, it’s pretty much a weepfest from beginning to end with all of them, including a third act surprise that is telegraphed to the audience well in advance but that lead , who gives the most unreliable performance in the film, stupidly cannot see coming.  Most surprising is the flimsy quality of the visual effects, the few appearances of the alien as disappointing as a number of environment designs that also backfire.  It’s important to note that Prometheus manages so much atmosphere and mystery even at its most illogical, not to mention plenty of excitement and fear; here the narrative is a lot clearer than its predecessor, but the secrets it reveals to explain the origin of the entire Alien mythology are dull and simplistic and there are very few moments that actually induce panic or terror.

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