Ridley Scott has always been one for pomp and having taken back control of his Alien franchise he’s been more interested in ideas of creation and power than of simply giving people a fright.
Here, a colony ship, The Convenant, is on a lengthy mission to find a new planet, loaded with a cargo of frozen humans. When the ship runs into a storm the crew are woken from deep cryogenic sleep to tend to the emergency. Why it’s only they who wake, I’m not sure – it might be to do with the only alert presences being that of the ship’s main computer, Mother, and the on-board robot Walter (played by Michael Fassbender, a direct descendant of his “synthetic” David from the last Alien reboot, Prometheus.”
The usual space drama ensue and Billy Crudup is installed as Captain. He decides to visit a nearer planet which looks habitable and from where they’ve intercepted some radio noise, of John Denver’s Country Roads, actually (s there a secret John Denver revival going on – Ben Wheatley used his songs twice in Free Fire last month?).
They land there and immediately it doesn’t look right. YOu can tell this because Katherine Waterson’s face is all trembly. She does a lot of worrying in this film. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley looked scared on occasion but it never anything she couldn’t handle. Katherine just can’t cope, always on the verge of tears, and she shouldn’t be wandering around in just a vest.
The planet they’ve landed on has spores that get in your ear and pretty soon, various space soldiers are convulsing and having life forms burst out of them in the usual manner. Haven’t they seen any of these movies before? (er, no – this is a prequel, so technically that’s impossible..)
Soon they discover an ancient stone city but don’t seem to inquire much about it. I know they’re busy fending off face-hugging foetal dino things, but still…
To say more might be classed as spoiling it but just be prepared for another Michael Fassbender – at least he’s one actor you can’t get enough of and he basically saves the movie from its own grandiosity and familiarity.
It’s all very slick and neatly designed (I like the crew T-shirts) but there’s a soul and spirit missing, a simplicity and consistency of purpose that dilutes the terror and replaces it with a Wagnerian, show-offy rumble.