For fans of Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise who were alienated by the complex, multiple storylines unveiled in Prometheus, Alien: Covenant answers most of the questions raised in Prometheus and links with its narrative threads.
The Covenant is a spacecraft delivering a colony of humans in hibernation to a new planet where they plan to reinvigorate the human species and start a new epoch in human evolution.
Their journey is disrupted by a crackly, barely discernible signal that intrigues the Covenant’s crew.
Their reaction to the mysterious transmission is to divert their journey to the source of the signal rather than continuing to their scheduled destination.
The world from which the signal originates is more like Hell than Paradise and inhabited by prototypes of the acid-dripping alien creature.
Ridley Scott has heard the disaffection of his fans after the spectacular visuals yet muddled ideas in Prometheus and returns with a film fuelled by alien face-huggers, chest-bursters and morphing adult creatures that are furious in their intent to devour humans.
Also, we are reacquainted with the omnipotent Engineers from Prometheus, the supposed overlords of human creation.
Alien: Covenant leans towards the horror and exuberant militarism of Aliens rather than the controlled and modulated tension of the original Alien movie.
All of this sounds similar to the structure of the original Alien films and that is exactly Scott’s intention. It is difficult to relive the shock of the first film because we are now so familiar with the daunting alien threat to humankind.
Scott still manages to deliver a frightening vision of an extraterrestrial virus that gestates and mutates in human hosts. The ensuing emergence of the chest-bursters and their hunt for human prey stains the screen with copious amounts of blood.
At times, the audience is spellbound by the beauty of the aliens as much as they are repulsed by the gory despatch of their victims.
Ridley Scott has steered the Alien world back on course and we can wait expectantly for the next film in the series that should connect the dots to Scott’s original Alien.