2.5 stars
In the cinema, no one can hear your internal scream of disappointment. It’s true, they can’t.
And ultimately, that’s what this sixth (excluding a woeful encounter with Predator, and I think we should) outing for Alien amounts to. The third, I should add, from its once revolutionary director Ridley Scott who, in a pre-preview pre-record hoped Covenant would ‘scare the shit out of us’.

In recreating his world of shiny space ships, dark corners and sinewy aliens, paradoxically he’s upped the character intrigue by doubling the cyborg count (an android Michael Fassbender stars opposite his older, android self). It’s a good thing, for this strangely human encounter – one of them has developed a sizeable God-complex – gives Covenant a much needed shot of human interest in a sequel that is otherwise a none too interesting variant on the prequel Alien: Prometheus.

One could argue that there are spoilers ahead, although one could also argue that if you consider these spoilers, you’ve not been paying attention. The spaceship Covenant is a human ark enroute to a far off galaxy when the crew hears life signals they feel compelled to explore. It takes them to the planet where Prometheus had crashed five years earlier and where android David (Fassbender) is waiting to complete a very personal mission. Cue slime and spit as he unleashes baby aliens on the unsuspecting crew including the Covenant’s android, Walter (Fassbender).

Whilst there is nothing tangibly wrong with Alien: Covenant, the tech-spec are excellent and the cast are uniformly fine, there’s nothing especially right about it either. Too much of the story has been seen before, the aliens no longer terrify as they once did (sorry Ridley, my shit remains intact), while the all too familiar divide-and-die routine is exactly that, a routine. There’s some interest earned in the face-off between David and Walter, especially given David’s learned motives and evangelical zeal. Fassbender walks a fine line between man and machine, it pays off and gives the film its best scenes. Yet Covenant is not a variant on 2001 and not what audiences came for.

It’s a sizeable shame that the filmmakers didn’t make this much more interesting film within the film, instead of retreading a concept that should have been blasted out of an airlock and left to die in the vacuum of space some years ago. But they didn’t, and given Scott’s tease ending, I wager we haven’t head the last of him or Alien yet. Sadly, it’s enough to make you want to scream...


Previewed at Hoyts EQ, Sydney, on 6 May 2017.

Michael Fassbender
Katherine Waterston
Billy Crudup

Ridley Scott

Dan O’Bannon

USA / Australia / NZ


122 minutes

May 11, 2017
Alien: Covenant (2017) on IMDb
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