Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, Lorelei King, Goran D. Kleut, Andrew Crawford, James Franco, Guy Pearce.
Perhaps once upon a time it would have been too much for a cinema audience to ask that the phenomenally superb and Box office smash Alien would ever get the treatment it deserved in sequels; to think it could happen in a prequel was beyond even the stretch of imagination of many a die-hard fan and yet lurking in the shadows, skulking with shiny black skin and acid for blood is the 21st Century equivalent of a nightmare made real, the outstanding Alien Covenant.
To play two parts on screen, even if at the very basest of levels they are similar and related, is to be congratulated, it is still a rare skill to be able to carry off perfectly and it demands such crucial attention to the scenes that it happens in that one mistake, one flicker of the eye out of place and the audience will feel cheated, a sense of betrayal of the willingness to believe in the characters portrayed and in the film in general. For Michael Fassbender, continuing the story from Prometheus of the android David and incorporating it into the world of Walter is a work of genius, Ridley Scott’s vision of the Alien world held in a microcosm of the interaction between the more human and devious like David and the amiable and loyal Walter.
To have Ridley Scott at the helm of the film and the resurgent franchise is a must, his vision was paramount in making the original Alien film a huge success and whilst Aliens and Alien Three were visually o.k., they were not intoxicatingly smooth or robust as the first. With Prometheus the bar was reset, the images of Alien 4 could somehow be eradicated from the mind, now with this sequel to the aforementioned film and prequel to the classic, there is a story that stands up to the original and looks straight into its fire laden eyes and can be seen to offer itself as a worthy equal, a successor that the fans would scream for.
Much of the praise must go to Ridley Scott and his vision of course but in Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup and Goran D. Kleut especially as the terrifying Xenomorph who will invade a lot of nightmares and to whom made the alien become much more deadly than possibly believed.
The relationship between the alien and the crew is the most important, the stuff of nightmares is all well and good but it takes an actor to a place of dread if they don’t convey the right atmosphere, the right mood when confronted by something they know to be out of the Director’s imagination but they need to show the terror for us; in that the cast were on absolutely on top of their game
A true masterpiece worthy of its parent film, Alien Covenant is a truly brilliant nightmare made disturbingly real, a fright from start to finish.
Ian D. Hall