Sunday, May 21, 2017


          Like George Miller with Mad Max, Ridley Scott isn't just mining his own franchise from nearly forty years ago, he's legitimately expanding it.
          The 2012 film Prometheus sets the sci-fi stage for Covenant, which in turn does the same for Alien (1979).
          Strong on character, visually compelling, and boasting an epic feel, Covenant gives us all of the gross-out "chest-bursting" moments we expect, while further exploring the disturbing implications and possibilities of artificial life.
          When ship crew members awaken prematurely on a journey to a new planet for the 2,000 passengers aboard sleeping in hibernation pods to colonize, they find their captain has died, and their new captain is unsure of himself.
          After receiving a mysterious transmission, the new captain deviates from the original mission and charts a course for a planet which looks like the natural world on Earth. The crew soon find a huge crescent-shaped vessel that crashed against a mountain, and are exposed to spores that use humans as fast-acting incubators for an extremely vicious, violent species.
          The compelling result is polished sci-fi gold.
          Fans of the 1979 original, a film resplendent with the dark art of H. R. Giger, will appreciate the visually consistent look and ominous appeal from the director of Blade Runner (1982). In keeping with that film, Covenant features artificial life. Michael Fassbender, in a dual role, plays a "synth" named David, and the newer, updated version, Walter.
          Those new to the franchise won't be required to see the other films, but they'll want to.

Starring Michael Fassbender,
Katherine Waterson,
Billy Crudup,
Danny McBride,
Carmen Ejogo,
Jussie Smollett,
Callie Hernandez
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett,
Jack Paglen, Michael Green, John Logan, Dante Harper
Runtime 122 minutes
Rated R

Stewart Kirby writes for

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