“Alien: Covenant” is a strong stand-alone film. If you knew nothing about the Alien franchise, we have here a set of characters worth getting to know and a plot that holds it own. This time around, it seems that the space inhabited by the crew has opened up a little more and there’s more light. It’s not by any means as perky as Star Trek but the crew feels a bit closer to each other. Everyone seems to trust each other with one exception: Walter, the ship’s android. He’s sort of like Spock but not quite enough.
Michael Fassbender knocks out a devilishly good performance. Or, should I say, two performances. He is Walter, the ship’s android. And, later on, we see David, the “synthetic” crew member from “Prometheus” also played by Michael Fassbender. David, the lone survivor of the Prometheus, has what you can call some major AI problems: too smart for his own good, too idiosyncratic. And when was it ever a good idea for a robot to have too much independence?
As for the newer version, Walter, he can think for himself but knows how to hold back. Bots are spooky to begin with so it’s no surprise that humans don’t warm up to him. However, there is one crew member who genuinely finds Walter to be good company. Daniels (played by Katherine Waterston) is a young woman who just lost her husband in a serious accident on board. Captain Oram (played by Billy Crudup) blames Walter with no real basis to do so. Then there’s Daniels who tries to comfort Walter, and herself, by confiding in him about the plans she had for building a real log cabin on the next space station they settle.
The dynamic of Fassbender, Waterston, and Crudup serve as our foundation. Let the Alien critters descend from wherever they please! You can expect Alien embryos to burst forth from all the bloody spots they usually like to emerge from. Katherine Waterston does a fine job of channeling her best Sigourney Weaver. Billy Crudup is a lot of fun as the captain without all the answers. But it’s Michael Fassbender who is this movie’s undisputed quarterback. If ever Ridley Scott’s more esoteric ruminations on existential matters had a more apt orator, it is, without a doubt, Michael Fassbender.
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6 responses to “Movie Review: ‘Alien: Covenant’”
Good review. I thought Fassbender was excellent and totally agree with the Ripley comparison for Waterston. This was a fun movie and can stand alone but I’m glad I made sure to see Prometheus first.
I did feel like I was walking in on a bigger narrative but, at the same, the movie exercised its own independence. The two high points in the franchise: Sigourney Weaver, and now, Michael Fassbender.
It was an exciting flick to me. Nice review.
Thank you. It definitely delivered.
The Alien franchise has kinda disappointed me as time went on, but what I’ve heard and now this review gives me new hope. I also heard that Danny McBride was pretty amazing, too, of all people.
That’s true. Danny McBride does play a very important role–and he does really well with it. Makes you want to see him in more demanding roles, like this one.