By Jay Hunter – After the alienating reaction to Prometheus, Ridley Scott returns with the movie monster that made him famous and buckets of gore, if nothing else. In the year 2109, the crew of USCSS Covenant, sidetracked from their colonisation mission answer a rogue transmission from a seemingly sustainable planet. When the crew discover David (Michael Fassbender), a survivor of the ill-fated Prometheus mission, terror ensues.
Marking Scott’s third return to the Alien franchise, Covenant breaches in classic fashion as the title slowly materialise in deep space scored by Jerry Goldsmiths eerie score. It’s an opening that clearly proves Scott heard the fan-backlash from the much more philosophical Prometheus, but Covenant goes in a direction that feels forceful for Scott. Clearly he does not want to let go of his previous – evolved – artistic vision as he haphazardly throws buckets of gore at the screen in hope of pleasing fans of the original.
Much like it’s predecessor, Covenant has heavy-handed ‘profound’ messages a plenty. Images of Wagner’s Entry of the Gods into Valhalla come off as clumsy and Scott’s attempts to recapture the horror of his 1979 classic totally miss the mark, as the attempts have more in common with a slasher film than a claustrophobic juggernaut of horror. It’s a worry that audiences have voiced since the shower scene was first aired on a trailer many months ago, unfortunately it’s a totally warranted concern.
Where Covenant does succeed, is in universe building. All your favourite Alien tropes are back: an altercation over quarantine, eggs, facehuggers, chesterbursters, xenomorphs, MOTHER, flashing lights and corridor runs are all back. But there are twists to the DNA, with new-morph creatures proving that there is plenty of room for expansion in the franchise.
Scott has gone on record to say that he has plans for a further six Alien movies and whilst he would serve well as an advisor, it’s clearly time to give the franchise to a new director who could inject some fresh ideas. Can we give David Fincher another pop?