5 years since Prometheus released, and Ridley Scott is finally set to take us back to that world and answer our many questions. The only difference? This time, it's also more of an Alien film as we bridge the gap between the aforementioned prequel and 1979's original Alien.

We pick up a decade after the events of 2012's Prometheus; the ship Covenant is heading on a colonisation mission. However, after a technical fault wakes everyone up from their hyper sleep and kills their captain (James Franco), the remaining members Covenant crew - Daniels (Katherine Waterston), android Walter (Michael Fassbender), the newly-instated Captain Oram (Billy Crudup) amongst others - decide to change course and head for another Uncharted planet closer to them. However, upon arrival, they realise it may not quite be the paradise they first thought it would be when they discover a harrowing threat inhabiting the planet. And things quickly go awry and the crew find themselves having to fight for their lives to escape unscathed.
The original Alien, and even it's sequel Aliens, are arguably two of the best sci-fi films ever made; they're certainly two of my personal favourites. Whilst the rest of the franchise dipped, and Prometheus was slammed, I found myself in the minority that enjoyed and appreciated Ridley Scott's 2012 prequel. However, it is a film that did leave most people with more questions than they walked in with; for that reason, Covenant had a lot of weight on its shoulders to not only answer all of those questions but also to live up to Alien mantle in its title. Its perhaps the 'Alien' in the title that had many excited? That had me excited. And, thankfully, its a good Alien movie. However, that's all it really is: merely good. Nothing more, nothing less.

For starters, the action is great. Everything involving the Xenomorphs and the newcomer Neomorphs is great; Scott does not hold back with the gore or the violence and it's all just brilliantly brutal and harrowing to watch - the way it should be. Whilst the film never quite reaches the heights of 1979 Alien's "horror", Scott is a master at orchestrating tension and creates a genuinely unnerving and nail-biting, white-knuckle atmosphere. The visual palette only adds to this - always so bleak and dark. The visuals are arresting, however. This is beautiful looking film; with jaw-dropping cinematography and some slick visual effects too. Right from the opening scene, this is a visual delight that just pops. Again, Scott is a genius in this genre and he really does create a wholly immersive and stunning sci-fi world here. The direction is impeccable and it's clear, from the get go, that we are not only watching an Alien film but, more importantly, a Ridley Scott film too.
The film also does a good job of expanding on the lore and all the unanswered questions left by Prometheus. However, I feel as though the film also doesn't expand on anything enough. When not focusing on crazy action sequences and aliens, Covenant's strongest scenes are those in which it touches more upon the questions fans have been asking - a scene involving the engineers; where David (Michael Fassbender) has been the past decade - yet they are brief and few and far between. The film devotes a lot of time to its characters and, whilst they're by no means one-dimensional, there isn't enough weight or development given to them for us to really care and invest in their stories. Ironically, the strongest two characters in the film aren't humans and are both androids, both played by a scene-stealing Fassbender who turns in a (two?) career-best performance as David and Walter.

The performances are sufficient enough for the film, with no one really standing out other than the aforementioned Fassbender and, perhaps, Danny McBride as the pilot Tennessee. The comedic actor shines in a more dramatic role, showing he has a lot of range and depth as an actor within him. Its just a shame that he feels underutilised. I think Scott's biggest fall with Covenant isn't all of the Alien stuff - that's all thoroughly satisfying to watch - but it's rather a lack of originality. When the first two films in your franchise are Alien and Aliens, no follow-up can ever live up to those and exceed the overwhelming expectations fans have after seeing those films and there just becomes a grander sense of déjà-vu to all sequels that do try and come afterwards and it all just becomes predictable and often tedious at times too. Alien: Covenant is by no means a bad film; far from it, in fact, this is a very good and very entertaining film - certainly a step up from Prometheus too. And the premise and lore is certainly fascinating enough. It's just predictable and too familiar to standout in the years to come.

Whilst it's certainly flawed, Alien: Covenant is a dark, intense thrill ride - better than Prometheus and still a very solid entry into the Alien canon.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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