Alien: Covenant

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Alien: Covenant
A black-and-white poster of a mass of humanoid figures being surrounded/tortured by aliens, not unlike Renaissance depictions of Hell, with one alien at the center highlighted by a shaft of light from the upper-left.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on
Starring
Music by Jed Kurzel
Cinematography Dariusz Wolski
Edited by Pietro Scalia
Production
companies
Distributed by 20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
  • May 4, 2017 (2017-05-04) (Odeon Leicester Square)
  • May 12, 2017 (2017-05-12) (United Kingdom)
  • May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19) (United States)
Running time
122 minutes[2]
Country
  • United Kingdom[3]
  • United States[3]
Language English
Budget $97–111 million[4][5]
Box office $240.9 million[4]

Alien: Covenant is a 2017 science fiction horror film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, from a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen. A joint American and British production, the film is a sequel to Prometheus (2012) and is thus the second installment in the Alien prequel series and the sixth installment overall in the Alien film series (the eighth counting the two Alien vs. Predator films), as well as the third directed by Scott. The film features returning star Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston, with Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and Demián Bichir in supporting roles. It follows the crew of a colony ship that lands on an uncharted planet and makes a terrifying discovery.

In 2012, prior to the release of Prometheus, Ridley Scott discussed the prospects of a sequel and new trilogy, and the film was confirmed that August. Principal photography began on April 4, 2016, at Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand, and wrapped on July 19, 2016. Effects houses Odd Studios and CreatureNFX provided the film's makeup and animatronic creature effects. Scott said that the first cut of the film was two hours and twenty-three minutes long, and was eventually edited down to the two hours and three minutes of the released version.

Alien: Covenant premiered in London on May 4, 2017. It was released on May 12 in the United Kingdom, and on May 19 in the United States. The film received generally favorable reviews from critics, who praised Fassbender's performance, and grossed a worldwide total of $240 million against a production budget of around $111 million.

Plot[edit]

Business magnate Peter Weyland speaks with his newly activated android, who chooses the name "David" after observing Michelangelo’s statue. Weyland states that one day they will search for mankind's creator together. David comments on his own unlimited lifespan as compared to Weyland's, which unsettles Weyland.

In 2104, ten years after the Prometheus expedition, the colonization ship Covenant is still seven years from reaching planet Origae-6, with 2,000 colonists in stasis and 1,140 human embryos in cold storage. The ship is monitored by Walter, an advanced android model that physically resembles David. When a neutrino blast damages the ship, Walter reanimates his 14 human crewmates, themselves couples/colonists. Ship's captain Jake Branson dies when his stasis pod malfunctions. While repairing the ship, the crew picks up a transmission of a human voice from a nearby planet, which appears eminently more habitable than Origae-6. Despite the protests of Daniels, Branson’s widow, that this new "perfect" planet is too good to be true, newly-promoted captain Chris Oram decides that they will check the new planet.

With pilot Tennessee Faris maintaining Covenant in orbit, his wife Maggie flies a small lander to the Earth-like planet's surface, where an expedition team tracks the transmission's signal to a crashed alien ship. Crewmates Ledward and Hallett are infected by spores from fungus-like organisms. Oram's wife Karine helps the increasingly ill Ledward back to the lander, where Maggie quarantines them inside the med-bay. A small, pale, alien neomorph bursts from Ledward’s back, killing him, and then mauls Karine to death. Maggie returns and attempts to kill the creature with a shotgun, but triggers an explosion which kills her and destroys the lander. Nearby in the fields, another neomorph bursts from Hallett’s mouth, killing him.

Neomorphs attack the remaining crew, killing Ankor. The crew manages to kill one before David, who survived the Prometheus mission, appears and scares off the neomorphs. He leads the crew to a temple in a city full of dead humanoids. David tells them that upon his and fellow Prometheus survivor Elizabeth Shaw's arrival at the planet, their ship accidentally released a virus which annihilated all fauna on the planet, and that Shaw died when the ship crashed.

Attempts to radio Covenant are stymied by ion storms. When a neomorph infiltrates the temple and kills Rosenthal, David tries to communicate with the creature, and is horrified when Oram kills it. Oram questions David, who reveals that the aliens are a result of his experimenting with the pathogen to create a new species. He manipulates Oram into being attacked by a facehugger alien. An alien Xenomorph later erupts from Oram's chest, killing him.

As the others search for Oram and Rosenthal, Walter finds Shaw's dissected corpse, used by David as material for his evolving creature designs. David states that his designed creature is a "perfect organism". When Walter disagrees, David disables him, then threatens Daniels. Walter’s advanced systems self-repair, and he attacks David while Daniels escapes. Crewmate Cole quickly cuts a new facehugger off security chief Carl Lope, leaving Lope with acid burns on his face. The now fully grown Xenomorph kills Cole, while Lope escapes and meets up with Daniels. Tennessee arrives in another lander to extract Daniels, Lope, and Walter, who says David has "expired". They successfully kill the attacking Xenomorph and return to Covenant.

The next morning, Daniels and Tennessee find out that another Xenomorph burst from Lope's chest, killing him, and is loose on the Covenant. It matures, and kills crew members Ricks and his wife Upworth. Final crew members Tennessee and Daniels lure the creature into Covenant's terraforming bay and kill it.

Covenant resumes its trip to Origae-6. As Walter helps Daniels into stasis, she realizes that he is in fact David, but is unable to escape her pod before falling asleep. David regurgitates two facehugger embryos and places them in cold storage with the human embryos. He poses as Walter to record a log stating that all crewmembers except Daniels and Tennessee were killed by the neutrino blast at the beginning of the film and that the ship is still on course for Origae-6.

Cast[edit]

Waterston received positive reviews for her Ripley-like role as Daniels.
  • Michael Fassbender as David 8 and Walter One,[6] who are synthetic androids; David is an earlier-made android, who was formerly a crew member of the destroyed Prometheus,[7] and Walter is a newer model who assists the crew aboard the Covenant.[8]
  • Katherine Waterston as Janet Daniels, the chief of terraforming for the Covenant mission and the wife/widow of the ship's captain, Jacob Branson. She's the third in command after Branson and Oram.[9] Waterston said she was well aware of the comparisons that were going to be made between her and Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley, but that she tried not to think about it too much while filming for fear of being intimidated.[10]
  • Billy Crudup as Chris Oram, the Covenant's first mate and Karine's husband. Oram is a self-serious man of faith who believes their role on the Covenant is an act of destiny, and shares a "contentious" relationship with Daniels.[11]
  • Danny McBride as Tennessee Faris, the chief pilot of the Covenant and Maggie's husband.[12]
  • Demián Bichir as Carl Lope, the head of the security unit aboard the Covenant and husband of Sergeant Hallett.[13][6]
  • Carmen Ejogo as Karine Oram, the Covenant's biologist and Chris' wife.[11]
  • Jussie Smollett as Ricks, the Covenant's navigator and Upworth's husband.
  • Callie Hernandez as Upworth, the Covenant's communication officer and Ricks' wife; she also has paramedic training.
  • Amy Seimetz as Maggie Faris, the lander's pilot and Tennessee's wife.[14]
  • Nathaniel Dean as Hallett, a member of the security unit and Lope's husband.[13]
  • Alexander England as Ankor, a member of the security unit.
  • Benjamin Rigby as Ledward, a member of the security unit.
  • Uli Latukefu as Cole, a member of the security unit.
  • Tess Haubrich as Sarah Rosenthal, a member of the security unit.[6]

A number of actors appear in uncredited roles. Guy Pearce reprises his role as Peter Weyland, the trillionaire founder and CEO of Weyland Corporation (the Weyland-Yutani Corporation in "later" storylines) who died before the destruction of the Prometheus.[15] James Franco appears onscreen in photos and a video as Jacob Branson, the first captain of the Covenant and husband of Daniels; he also appears in deleted scenes.[16] Noomi Rapace had played archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw as a member of the destroyed Prometheus in the prequel film, and appeared in a short promotional prologue to Covenant that was set in the period between the two movies,[17] but does not act in the final cut of the movie itself, though her voice is heard from the planet early in the film and her image and voice appear later. Logan Marshall-Green's character Charlie Holloway, also from Prometheus, also appears in an archive image alongside Shaw.

Other credited parts include Lorelei King as the voice of the Covenant's computer "Mother"; King was a colleague of Helen Horton (1923–2009), the voice of the Nostromo's "Mother" in 1979's Alien.[18] Goran D. Kleut is credited in two roles, as both a neomorph and a xenomorph,[19] while Andrew Crawford is credited as a neomorph.[20]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In 2012, prior to the release of Prometheus, director Ridley Scott began hinting at the prospects of a sequel.[21][22][23] Scott said that a sequel would follow Shaw to her next destination, "because if it is paradise, paradise cannot be what you think it is. Paradise has a connotation of being extremely sinister and ominous." Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof cast doubt on his own participation, and said, "if [Scott] wants me to be involved in something, that would be hard to say no to. At the same time, I do feel like the movie might benefit from a fresh voice or a fresh take or a fresh thought."[24] Scott said that an additional film would be required to bridge the thirty-year span written as the transpiration gap between the Prometheus sequel and Alien.[25]

As of August 1, 2012, Fox was pursuing a sequel with Scott, Noomi Rapace, and Michael Fassbender involved, and was talking to new writers in case Lindelof did not return.[26] In December 2012, Lindelof ultimately chose not to work on the project.[27] Early on, Scott stated that the film would feature no xenomorphs, "The beast is done. Cooked."[28] However, Scott later made contradictory statements, confirming the xenomorphs' presence in the film.[29]

On September 24, Scott disclosed the film's title as Alien: Paradise Lost.[30] In November 2015, Scott revealed the new title to be Alien: Covenant, and filming was set to begin in February 2016 in Australia.[31] An official logo, synopsis and release date were released on November 16, 2015.[32] During an interview concerning the development of the character of David since Prometheus, Scott indicated the dark turn which David would take in Covenant, saying, "'He hates them. He has no respect for Engineers and no respect for human beings.'"[33]

Writing[edit]

After the early participation of several screenwriters, John Logan wrote the final script for the film.

The initial screenplay was written by Transcendence screenwriter Jack Paglen in June 2013.[34] In March 2014, Michael Green was hired to rewrite Paglen's script.[35] Dante Harper later wrote a new script but an extensive rewrite was performed by screenwriter John Logan. Logan had previously worked with Scott on Gladiator. For Logan, the main concept was to adopt a dual plot line for the film which would combine the horror elements of Alien with the philosophical elements of Prometheus. He said, "With Alien: Covenant, I just really wanted to write something that had the feel of the original Alien, because seeing that movie was one of the great events of my youth. It was so overpowering in terms of what it communicated to me and its implications, that when I started talking to Ridley about what became Alien: Covenant, I said, 'You know, that was a hell of a scary movie.' I wanted to write a horror movie because the Grand Guignol elements of Alien are so profound. We tried to recapture that with Alien: Covenant, while also trying to pay homage to the deeper implications of Prometheus. In terms of tone, pace, and how we chose to play this particular symphony, we wanted to create a really frightening movie."[29]

Pre-production[edit]

In late August 2015, Scott confirmed that he had started scouting the locations for the film.[36] In October 2015, the Australian government attracted the production of the film, and of Thor: Ragnarok, to Australia by providing $47.25 million in grants.[37][38] Woz Productions Ltd., a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox, visited Te Anau, New Zealand on March 28, 2016 for a location scout, for filming in Fiordland.[39]

Casting[edit]

In August 2015, it was announced that the film would star Rapace and Fassbender, while Rik Barnett was in talks to join the cast.[40] That December, Katherine Waterston was cast in the lead role of Daniels;[41] it was Waterston's second film alongside Fassbender, after 2015's Steve Jobs. Dariusz Wolski, longtime collaborator with Scott, was confirmed to serve as the film's cinematographer.[42] In 2016, Ridley Scott stated that Noomi Rapace would not reprise her role of Elizabeth Shaw. However, in June, it was announced that Rapace would shoot weeks' worth of scenes (though no new footage of hers appeared in the final film).[43] In February 2016, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Callie Hernandez, Billy Crudup, and Alexander England were reported to have joined the cast.[12][44][45][46][47] In March 2016, newcomer Benjamin Rigby also joined the cast.[48] In December 2016, it was announced James Franco had been added to the film, as Captain Branson, husband to Daniels and captain of the Covenant.[49][50] The role of Branson in the film was limited to a cameo appearance of the deceased captain.

Production design[edit]

In an article for Cinemablend from May 2017 titled "Mythbusters' Adam Savage Toured The Set Of Alien: Covenant, And It's Wonderful", Connor Schwerdfeger included a five-minute short video of Savage's discussion of several of the props and stage sets used in the production design for the filming of different scenes from the film.[51] In an article for The Hollywood Reporter on May 18, 2017 titled "'Alien: Covenant': How the Xenomorph Continues to Horrify Audiences Decades Later", Patrick Shanley interviewed the art director for the film, Damien Drew, and creature design supervisor Conor O'Sullivan, regarding the involvement of the San Diego Zoo and its representative Rick Schwartz as a consultant for the design of the realistic effects of the creatures and Xenomorphs appearing throughout the film.[52] HBO First Look presented a 12-minute documentary of the production design and some of the stage sets used in the production of the film, including interviews with Scott and several leading actors in the film.[53]

The VFX supervisor Charles Henley summarized the several vendors that were used to support production of the visual special effects seen in the film when the selection process was discussed, stating: "Both history and need guided the decisions on which vendors we used. Ridley had worked with MPC on many previous projects, in particular Prometheus for which I was MPC’s VFX supervisor as well as The Martian. There had a been a lot of great digital double and creature work done at MPC on recent projects so there was confidence they should be the lead facility. Framestore had recently worked with Ridley on space for The Martian, similarly Animal Logic now had the original crew who did the holograms for Prometheus. Also as we were shooting in Australia there was good reason and incentives to use Australian-based companies and so Luma and Rising Sun came on board."[54]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the film began on April 4, 2016, at Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand,[55][56][57][58] and wrapped on July 19, 2016.[59] On November 18, 2016, additional photography took place at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire.[60]

Effects houses Odd Studios and CreatureNFX provided the film's makeup and animatronic creature effects, respectively,[61][62] while Australian-based effects house Animal Logic provided the film's digital visual effects.[63] Approximately 30 people from CreatureNFX worked on the project for almost six months building animatronics.[62] Actors wearing creature suits with animatronic heads were used to portray the aliens,[62][64] and casting calls for the aliens specifically asked for people between the age of 8 and 40 who were skinny, very tall or very short, strong and physically agile, and preferably skilled in fast movement, acrobatics, dancing, gymnastics, contortion, and "Cirque du Soleil-type performers."[65]

Scott reported that the first cut version of Covenant after filming went to two hours and twenty-three minutes, eventually edited down to the two hours and three minutes of the released version.[66] The eleven deleted scenes were reported to be planned for release on home media, though no news was given of the release of a possible director's cut of the film.[66]

Post-production[edit]

Pietro Scalia, the editor of the film, spoke of the structural difficulty of integrating the two story lines in the final editing of the film in an interview with the ProVideo Coalition stating: "We moved some pieces around structurally dealing with when do we leave, what action or story beats on the planet and when to go back onto the spaceship. There were several longer beats between Farris and Tennessee trying to establish communication. Going back and forth too many times tended to make the journey to the Juggernaut and the Engineer's City belabored and tedious. We combined certain scenes between Farris and Tennessee, eliminated the walking and talking through the forest, getting the ground crew up the mountain quicker. Later on, after the attack in the Med Bay on the lander, we held back going back to Tennessee, for the part where he says: 'I never heard my wife so scared before', not after her death as scripted but after the second Neomorph birth as to not interrupt the momentum. The middle part of the film was more challenging after the reveal of David. Once the Covenant story merges with the Prometheus storyline, finding the proper structural order of the scenes proved to be difficult because of the distinctive dynamics of the two story lines in addition to the separation of the two locations of the action. In one sense, the action, the tension and unfolding drama going from one group to the other had to be balanced and spaced properly as not to lose the connective tissue of the film."[67]

Filming countries[edit]

The complete list of countries representing the origin of the film was identified by BFI at the Sight and Sound as: United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and New Zealand.[68] Previous partial lists often listed only one of the four countries involved in the development and production of the film.[69][70][71]

Music[edit]

The musical score for Alien: Covenant was written by Australian musician and composer Jed Kurzel. Initially, Harry Gregson-Williams was selected as the film's composer,[72] but confirmed in November 2016 that he was no longer working on the film, stating that "schedules and one's expectations of scoring a film don't always fit and this one wasn't going to work out."[73] When the first trailer was released in late 2016, it was at this time that Kurzel was revealed as the replacement for Gregson-Williams.[74] Themes of Jerry Goldsmith's original score to Alien were incorporated, as well as Marc Streitenfeld's and Harry Gregson-Williams' score to Prometheus.[75] A version of "Nature Boy" sung by Norwegian singer and songwriter AURORA was used in the first trailer, while another song, "Under the Water", was used in an extended promotional footage featuring the character Daniels portrayed by Katherine Waterston battling a xenomorph.[76]

Additional song credits include: "Theme from Alien" composed by Jerry Goldsmith, "Das Rheingold, Scene 4: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla" composed by Richard Wagner,[77] "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" by Fred Gilbert, "Ancient Flute", "Life" and "We Were Right" composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, and "Let Me Down Easy" by Paolo Nutini.[78]

Release[edit]

Alien: Covenant premiered on May 4, 2017, at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.[79][80] The film was released on May 19 in the United States, in 2D and IMAX 2D.[81][82][79] It was originally set to be released on October 7, 2017 before being moved up to August 4, and then again to its final date.[83][84]

The film was released in Mainland China on June 16, 2017, but is trimmed by 6 minutes, leaving the film total released length in China at 116 minutes. It is very likely that the move was due to usual censorship by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, because of the monstrous violence depicted in the movie[85] and the removal of the David-Walter 'kiss' scene which was deleted due to LGBT censorship sensitivities in China.[citation needed]

Alien: Covenant was released in Japan on September 15, 2017.[86]

Novelization[edit]

The release of the film was accompanied by a novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster, who also authored the novelization of the original Alien film from the 1970s.[87] A companion volume of the art and stage design of the film was released at the same time, written by Simon Ward and titled The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant.[88]

A second Covenant novel authored by the same writer of the film's novelization was initially billed as a book sequel to the film to be released in September 2017, before being revealed as a direct prequel to Covenant under the title Alien: Covenant – Origins.[89] Titan Books, as the publisher for this direct prequel, released a plot summary promoting the release of the book on September 26, 2017, stating, "As the colony ship Covenant prepares for launch, and the final members of the crew are chosen, a series of violent events reveals a conspiracy to sabotage the launch. Yet the perpetrators remain hidden behind a veil of secrecy. The threat reaches all the way up to Hideo Yutani—the head of the newly merged Weyland-Yutani Corporation—when his daughter is kidnapped. Is the conspiracy the product of corporate espionage, or is it something even more sinister? While Captain Jacob Branson and his wife Daniels prepare the ship, Security chief Dan Lopé signs a key member of his team, and together they seek to stop the technologically advanced saboteurs before anyone else is killed, and the ship itself is destroyed in orbit."[90] The novel's first edition mistakenly refers to Jacob Branson as Jacob Brandon throughout the novel.

Home release[edit]

Alien: Covenant was released on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on August 15, 2017. The home release includes an audio commentary by the director, and 22 minutes of missing scenes and unused footage from the first cut of the film.[91]

Virtual Reality Experience[edit]

On April 26, 2017, 20th Century Fox released Alien: Covenant In Utero, a virtual reality interactive demo teaser for Alien: Covenant for the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR. The experience was produced by RSA, FoxNext VR, MPC, Mach1, AMD Radeon, and Dell Alienware.[92][93] The trailer is a first-person experience in which the viewer plays the role of a neomorph. The experience was executive produced by Scott, and directed by David Karlak.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Alien: Covenant grossed a worldwide total of $240.9 million, including $74.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $166.6 million in other countries, against a production budget of $97 million.[4][94]

Fox released the film in several countries before the United States.[95][96] It was released in 34 markets, where it debuted to $40.1 million, opening at number one in 19 of them. Its overall rank for the weekend was second behind the continued run of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.[97] The top openings were in South Korea ($7.2 million), the UK ($6.4 million), France ($4.5 million), Australia ($3.1 million), and Mexico ($2.5 million).[97] In China, the film was released on June 16 and grossed $30 million, topping the box office.[98]

In North America, the film was released alongside Everything, Everything and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, and was projected to gross around $40 million from 3,760 theaters during its opening weekend.[99][100] It made $4.3 million from Thursday-night previews at about 3,000 theaters, and $15.4 million overall on its first day, which was below the $21.5 million Friday of Prometheus five years prior.[101] It went on to open to $36.2 million, down 34% from Prometheus's debut, but still finishing first at the box office, as the second-highest debut of the canon series.[102] In its second weekend, the film grossed $10.5 million, finishing fourth at the box office and dropping 70.9%.[103][104] The film was pulled from 1,112 theaters in its third weekend and dropped another 62.3%, finishing sixth at the box office with $4 million.[105]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 67% based on 344 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Alien: Covenant delivers another satisfying round of close-quarters deep-space terror, even if it doesn't take the saga in any new directions."[106] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 65 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[107] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, the same score earned by its predecessor.[102]

The film was praised for its visual aesthetic and design, cinematography, production design and the acting, with Michael Fassbender's dual performance as androids David and Walter receiving acclaim. However, the plot, including the mix between monster violence, character motivations, and plot reveals, drew a more mixed response.[108][109][110][111]

Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw gave the film a positive review, praising the performances of its actors, and comparing it to other entries in the series, stating that the film is: "…a greatest-hits compilation of the other Alien films' freaky moments. The paradox is that though you are intended to recognise these touches, you won’t really be impressed unless you happen to be seeing them for the first time. For all this, the film is very capably made, with forceful, potent performances from Waterston and Fassbender."[112]

Geoffrey McNab writing for The Independent found the film to be adequate in presentation and production, though not as strong in its writing, stating that Alien: Covenant: "…certainly delivers what you'd expect from an Aliens film—spectacle, body horror, strong Ripley-like female protagonists and some astonishing special effects—but there’s also a dispiriting sense that the film isn't at all sure of its own identity. The very portentous screenplay, co-written by John Logan (Coriolanus, Skyfall), throws in references to Shelley and Byron, Wagner and Michelangelo, and lots of philosophising about human origins and identity. In the meantime, the crew members pitted against the monstrous creatures are trying their darndest to blast them to kingdom come, just as they would in any run-of-the-mill sci-fi B movie."[113]

A. O. Scott of The New York Times said: "Alien: Covenant is an interesting movie … for all its interplanetary ranging, [it] commits itself above all to the canny management of expectations."[114] Trace Thurman, from Bloody Disgusting, gave the film a mediocre review, noting that although watching Alien: Covenant will make viewers appreciate Prometheus more, "…this is a film that was made as a response to Prometheus critics but tries to appease fans of that film as well and it doesn’t fully work." He also criticizes the overfamiliarity of the climax and insufficiently developed characters.[115]

Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com highly praised Alien: Covenant, giving it four out of four stars, and stating that the film's structure, although repeatedly borrowing from the Alien films, serves a purpose not unlike the James Bond film series or Star Wars, "where part of the fun lies in seeing what variations the artists can bring while satisfying a rigid structure." He also emphasized that like previous films of the series, real-world logic should not be applied to the film, and "[i]nstead you have to judge it by the standards of a fever dream or nightmare, a Freudian-Jungian narrative where the thing you fear most is what happens to you."[116] Seitz later voted for the film in the film magazine Sight & Sound as one of the five best films of 2017.[117]

Michael Fassbender as David/Walter[edit]

Fassbender's portrayal of two similar androids with different programming, David and Walter, was highly praised by reviewers.

In New York magazine, David Edelstein commented on David the android as representing a new generation of monster villains in the tradition of Frankenstein, stating: "In Star Trek, that man-machine nexus was…hopeful. Here, there's some doubt about David's ultimate motives, which puts Alien: Covenant squarely in the tradition of the Terminator and Matrix movies. And, of course, the novel Frankenstein, which carried the subtitle The Modern Prometheus. No less than Stephen Hawking—who survived with the aid of machines—has predicted that we have 100 years to live before evolved machines take human imperfection as justification for destroying humanity".[118]

Kevin Lincoln, writing for Vulture magazine in an article titled "What Other Blockbuster Villains Can Learn From David in Alien: Covenant", gave a strong endorsement of the depiction of David as an arch-villain in the film stating: "… one franchise is showing it's still possible for a modern blockbuster to have a great villain. In Alien: Covenant, David—the android played by Michael Fassbender, first introduced in Prometheus—comes into his own as a fleshed-out, dynamic, and genuinely striking antagonist, one who isn't just an equal match for the heroes, but even becomes the central thread of the series. He's a huge part of what makes Alien: Covenant work."[119]

Writing for Vox, Allisa Wilkinson said that "Alien: Covenant is too muddled to pull off its deeply ambitious Satan allegories". She emphasized the Miltonic demonic aspect of the android David, stating: "But David is a better Satan than Satan himself… It's as if in the Alien universe, the devil has evolved, thanks to humans creating him. David, fatally, has the ability to create—something Satan never had—and he will use that power only to destroy. He doesn't have any real need to rebel against his maker, since from the moment he became sentient, he knew he'd already won. He is indestructible, and determined to make creatures that imitate his drive for total domination."[120]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Saturn Awards June 27, 2018 Best Science Fiction Film Alien: Covenant Nominated [121]

Sequel[edit]

In September 2015, Ridley Scott said he was planning two sequels to Prometheus, which would lead into the first Alien film, adding, "Maybe [there will] even [be] a fourth film before we get back into the Alien franchise."[122][123] In November 2015, Scott confirmed that Alien: Covenant would be the first of three additional films in the Alien prequel series, before linking up with the original Alien[124][125] and stated that the Prometheus sequels would reveal who created the xenomorph aliens.[126] The screenplay for the third prequel film, called Alien: Awakening, was written during production of Alien: Covenant and was finished in 2017, with production scheduled to begin in 2018.[127] In March 2017, Scott said, "If you really want a franchise, I can keep cranking it for another six. I'm not going to close it down again. No way."[128] In May, Scott announced that Neill Blomkamp's sequel to James Cameron's film Aliens had been cancelled. In a later interview, he said he would have participated as a producer but that 20th Century Fox had decided not to pursue the project.[129][130]

Ridley Scott has confirmed in an interview the return for the next film sequel of surviving engineers who were away from their planet while David had destroyed the indigenous population of their planet.[131] Michael Reyes, writing for Cinema Blend in July 2017, quoted Scott stating that if Sigourney Weaver could reprise her role as Ellen Ripley in the prequels, then "Well, we're heading toward the back end of the first Alien so [using CG] may be feasible. Ripley's going to be somebody's daughter, obviously. We're coming in from the back end. The time constraints of what's the time between this film, where we leave David going off heading for that colony, I think you're probably two films out from even considering her."[132] According to reports, there will be only one additional prequel film (Alien: Awakening) before a soft reboot is made to the Alien universe, consisting of a new series of films with brand-new and original characters as well as a new setting.[133] In the audio commentary for Alien: Covenant, Scott confirmed that a sequel to Alien: Covenant, tentatively referred to as Alien: Covenant 2, is being written by John Logan, with Fassbender, Waterston, and McBride reprising their roles. Scott also confirmed that the film will cap his prequel series, leading directly into the events of Alien.[134][135] Michael Nordine, writing for Indiewire in October 2017, quoted Ridley Scott stating that Alien: Covenant 2 will focus more on the androids and A.I.s as opposed to the xenomorphs. Scott said, "I think the evolution of the Alien himself is nearly over, but what I was trying to do was transcend and move to another story, which would be taken over by A.I.s. The world that the A.I. might create as a leader if he finds himself on a new planet. We have actually quite a big layout for the next one."[136]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]