Alien: Covenant is a masterful resurgence for the Alien franchise; nearly 40 years after the 1979 classic Alien, Ridley Scott returns the series to its roots with a scary, exciting, and emotionally stimulating film. The film combines’s the horror elements of 1979’s Alien, the thrilling action of 1986’s Aliens, and the cerebral search for a creator seen in 2012’s Prometheus, creating a well rounded film with few dull moments. Scott never loses touch with the breathtaking practical visuals, but it’s the strong story that makes the film such a revelation amongst this summer’s films.
Ten years after the Prometheus vessel was lost, the Covenant vessel travels into deep space to set up a civilization on another habitable planet. After the ship suffers serious damage, the ship’s crew, including Captain Oram (Billy Crudup), First Officer Daniels (Katherine Waterston), and the android Walter (Michael Fassbender) lead a crew to explore a nearby world that has the possibility of sustaining life. But when the planet proves to be a hive of treachery and danger, the crew must discover the secret behind Prometheus‘s disappearance, and find a path to survival.
What Scott does so brilliantly here is combine the simplicity of the original films with a genuinely interesting, and simple enough, discussion of evolution and humanity. While Prometheus worked brilliantly because of its ambiguity, Alien: Covenant offers much more answers; while this could easily limit the imaginative nature of the universe, the thrilling nature of the story, and Scott’s relentless emphasis on action and tension, allow the film’s answers to become more poignant. Enough cannot be said of Michael Fassbender’s performance here; his contemplative, complex portrayal of a man meeting his maker is worthy of an Academy-Award nomination.
Alien: Covenant is more than just a repetition of Alien cliches; it’s a modernly made and completely satisfying film that perfectly bridges the gap between Prometheus and Alien. Rarely are blockbusters like this so thought provoking, but never does the religious or fantastical imagery distract from the thrilling, sweeping adventure of the film. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, exciting film, and yet another bold film to put on Ridley Scott’s undeniably masterful filmography. Grade: A-