When an Alien prequel was mentioned all those years ago I don’t think anyone expected it to look like Prometheus. We all expected romping aliens (as per the original HR Giger design) throughout with Face-huggers flying through the air. What we were given was an unexpected story, a VERY different alien and a Space Jockey which did not live up to the expectations of the original 1970’s film. Prometheus, was very much a dull affair desperately trying to tell a story which just wasn’t there. Or so I thought…
Alien Covenant is a wonderful sequel to Prometheus which expertly starts to explain and bridge the gap to the original Alien. The first act is well paced, very relaxing (after the initial encounter with a space storm), getting us used to the crew and laying the ground work for where the film was to go, in many ways this did mirror the original Alien – which I believe to be a very clever idea, as this makes us think of the original while still holding on to the story of Prometheus and hoping for a better future. As you will see, the main theme throughout is how this film links to not only the prequels but also to the original Alien movie.
During the trailer we see a scene in the shower with two of the cast (I was very worried at this, as it reminded me of Creepozoids! Gratuitous breast shot etc), and my fears of a bad scene were alleviated early on. The ship is a colonisation ship, full of 1,000’s of humans in stasis, and 100’s of human embryos. We then learn the crew are also married or in a relationship with each other – which would make sense, when colonising a world it would obviously be a one way trip and for mental and social ability it would make sense. So in short, the shower scene would be understandable.
When a prequel comes along, the most difficult transition is to make the equipment look older than the ‘what we thought was modern’ back in the 1970’s, this is where many prequels fall short. Alien Covenant had the same issue, an although there is some modern looking equipment/technology etc, Ridley Scott had the foresight to use the sounds from the original Alien and Aliens to compensate for the more modern looking set. This also worked to yet again link this film to the original Alien.
The crew initially became infected by the alien virus though the ear and noise cavities, by a very similar organism to that of Prometheus. What about the Face-hugger? You will find out! Although there is a new way for the Alien to be born, the first is violently ejected from the back of a crew member – you may have seen the trailer – at this point one of the crew are covered in a spray of blood, I would presume they were not aware of this just like the original Alien movie, Ridley taking a dark approach to method acting. The second is violently vomited up. Very different ways of emerging and very different to Prometheus, however this is expertly explained, which goes to show there was a lot of thought given to the story and also to link from Prometheus through to the original Alien.
We do see a chest burster and a face-hugger, yet again this is very well considered in the film which again provides a great link from Prometheus to Alien.
The first aliens we see (yes there are two!) are reminiscent of the one from Prometheus, a far cry from the menacing Alien that Giger thrust upon us in the 1970’s, but thankfully this is yet again explained very well, and David (he has survived) has continued Weyland’s mission to become the human is just wasn’t made to be. Through modification and gene splicing David, has created the first face-hugger in an egg, resulting in the terrifying alien we all have come to love and fear at the same time.
Towards the end, we all know David is David and not Walter, but there is compelling evidence that it really is David, as he helps to kill off the one true genetically modified alien. As Daniels goes in to hyper sleep, we sense the concern about Walter, but why would it not be him? He helped her kill of the alien and protect everyone. Only as the hyper sleep pod closes, Daniels gets a glimpse of David behind Walters’ eyes, and there is nothing Daniels can do but go to sleep.
David regurgitates 2 alien embryos which are promptly put in to stasis, ready for the waking colonists in 7 years time.
The attention to original sound effects and the original alien for linking purposes is outstanding, and this deserves far more credit that it has actually received. It does prove how much of a forward thinking visionary Ridley really is.
The cinematography is outstanding and Katherine Waterston, provides a Ripley style character, to yet again easy our transition in to the next prequel.