Ridley Scott has done it again. Reminding us just what an extraordinary visionary movie director he continues to be.
For the record, I must confess how much I love his previous movie, Prometheus (2012), Where Scott attempted to reclaim control over the Alien franchise (Ridley Scott directed the original Alien movie back in 1979).
Prometheus is one of my favorite science fiction films of all time. The whole ancient alien creationist plot was visually gorgeous and revolutionary — it was the first time (that I can recall) where a film flat-out opened with visually stunning sequences of extra-terrestrial engineers terraforming life on Earth. It was just a tremendous filmmaking achievement. Needless to say, I went into Alien: Covenant expecting something similar.
Ridley Scott continues reinventing the Alien franchise with an “origins” plotline, which according to Scott, it will take about 6 films to complete the reinvention of the series.
In this new film, we have a new diverse crew of colonists venturing deep into space when they suddenly stumble upon some type of solar radiation that damages the ship and wakes up the entire crew from hyper-sleep. Upon awakening, the crew receives a mysterious signal from a nearby planet, which according to their records, was uncharted. They realize this undiscovered planet is within a habitable zone, and obviously, the crew decides to take a closer look and further explore this potentially habitable planet.
Once they arrive on this new planet, they track down the source of the signal they received, which leads them to a ship that appears to have crash-landed. We immediately recognize this ship as the same ship the engineers had in Prometheus, the same ship David & Shaw took off from at the end of Prometheus in search of the engineer’s home planet. At this point in the movie, things begin to take a familiar turn like in previous Alien movies — crew members start to become infected, and just about everyone becomes expendable.
But here is where the script begins to disappoint me a bit. First, we get to see the return of David, the synthetic life form created by the Weyland Corporation, followed by a brief flashback to David’s arrival on the engineer’s planet. We are shown how David unleashed the Xenomorphs on this planet’s population, which I assume is the planet Paradise, referenced in Prometheus. We also don’t get the full story of what happened to Dr. Shaw; all we know, according to David, is that she is dead.
Another plot issue I had, was how easily the engineers were wiped out from what seemed to be a vast planet; there was no hard-fought battle for survival, especially considering all their advanced technology. All we see is just a town square type of setting where the entire planet’s population was concentrated while expecting the arrival of their fellow engineers.
The most exciting thing is that we can now clearly establish David as the real villain in the series, and the Xenomorphs, in a way, are just his killing tools.
I guess, in a way, I wanted to see more of what we got in Prometheus. I wanted more than just flashbacks. Just like Dr. Shaw did in Prometheus, I wanted answers, and I all got was more questions. Nevertheless, this is a delightful film, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.
Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿