Alien: Covenant ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
The year is 2104. A disparate group of characters are traveling on a gigantic spacecraft (called the Covenant) to a new, distant planet to start a colony. (Earth, you see, is dying.) It’s a long journey and a hazardous one because there’s no telling what these travelers might encounter in the vast, uncharted reaches of space. When they are still a long way from where they’re going, they receive a mysterious, seemingly human, transmission fairly close to where they are. They veer off-course for a few weeks to investigate the source of the signal and we, the audience, know it’s a mistake because we’ve seen this plot device before.
Some but not all of the travelers get on a smaller spacecraft and land on the alien planet where the mysterious signal originates, not knowing what they’ll find but hoping it’s something good, like an appealing, habitable place where they can start their colony and not have to go on to their original destination. Among the group is a “simulated human” (they never use the word “robot”) named Walter, the only non-human on the mission.
They find the alien planet earth-like but with no birds or animals. Soon two of their number become mysteriously ill and we witness, once again, the hideous creature come bursting out of their bodies. The thing has been incubating inside them, don’t you know, and when it comes out, it’s fully formed, though miniature-sized, and ready for killing humans. In this instance, it’s rather lizard-like, moves with lightning speed, has an elongated head, multiple limbs, a slobbering mouth, and a tail. If you’ve ever seen any of the Alien movies going back to 1979, you are familiar with this creature and hope you never meet one.
Once on this alien planet, the travelers discover the wreckage of an enormous spacecraft called the Prometheus. If you saw the movie Prometheus in 2012, you may remember what happened at the end of it. Well, this movie picks up the thread from that movie and continues the story in a way, or, as the saying goes, after a fashion. You may remember from Prometheus a “simulated human” named David. Well, it turns out that Walter, the simulated human from the current movie, is identical to David, meaning, I suppose, that they originated from the same source or the same creator. The only difference is that David can “create” and think on his own, while Walter is only compliant with the humans he works with. (You got that?) It seems that David, in the ten years since the Prometheus crashed, has become an amateur zoologist and, more to the point, he doesn’t think much of humans.
Alien: Covenant is pretty standard stuff. Nothing new here. After the initial banal “setup” that takes a half-hour or so and shows us lots of space hardware and contains lots of difficult-to-understand dialogue (and, really, who cares what they’re saying?), we find ourselves in another who-will-die-next situation. And, of course, there’s the usual claptrap about the “origins” or human life. (Will that question ever be answered to our satisfaction?) The most interesting characters by far are the two simulated human “men,” Walter and David (both played by Michael Fassbender), who show us the conflicting sides of good and evil. And, as you might expect, the story is left at the end for yet another installment to come in the ongoing saga.
Copyright © 2017 by Allen Kopp