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dir Ridley Scott
scr John Logan, Dante Harper
prd David Giler, Ridley Scott, Walter Hill, Mark Huffam, Michael Schaefer
with Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Tess Haubrich, Guy Pearce, James Franco
release UK 12.May.17, US 19.May.17
17/UK Fox 2h02
We have an intruder: McBride and Waterston
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
Set 10 years after Prometheus (2012), Ridley Scott's new sci-fi horror movie plays freely with big, meaty themes as it picks its cast members off one by one. Scott has made another slick, efficient thriller with characters who are easy to identify with, even if their inner lives are somewhat simplistic. While the narrative steps in the direction of Alien (1979), it also sometimes feels like a remake.
It's the year 2104, and the crew of Covenant is escorting a few thousand sleeping colonists to a new planet with the help of android Walter (Fassbender). After being awakened by a space flare, Captain Oran (Crudup) decides to investigate a rogue transmission from an eerily inhabitable planet very nearby. Although first officer Daniels (Waterstone) has a bad feeling about about this. On the mountainous surface, they discover an alien ship and remnants of the Prometheus crew, including android David (Fassbender again), who is running some sort of nefarious experiments in a long-dead city.
Where this goes won't be surprising to anyone who has seen an Alien movie. Various versions of murderous creatures with clawed hands, banana-shaped heads and acid-dripping teeth emerge to cause scary mayhem. It's fiendishly gruesome, with gun battles, fist fights, desperate aerial manoeuvres and, yes, monsters bursting out of human chests. The wide variance in how these creatures look and develop once again seems oddly random. But at least it keeps us on our toes.
Fassbender is terrific as both calm, cool-headed robots: the gentle Yank Walter and sinister Brit David. Scenes between them suggest a purring bromance that may erupt into sibling rivalry at any moment. Waterston has the tough-smart warrior role, and brings some welcome emotional resonance to the early scenes. Other crewmates offer solid support. Crudup makes his insecure alpha male intriguingly complex, while McBride emerges with the beefiest role, as it were.
Scott is becoming increasingly playful as a filmmaker, throwing all kinds of entertaining elements at the screen to keep the audience both engaged and wrong-footed. The central creation-creator theme is little more than wallpaper, and the big twists are fairly predictable. But the smaller wrinkles are entertaining, as is the off-handed comedy, personal drama and some very brief steaminess. Whether this adds to or further muddles the over-arching Alien mythology is a question that can be left to the fanboys. On its own terms, this is a solid sci-fi adventure.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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