“Covenant” is the long awaited sequel to Prometheus, the latest in the Alien movie franchise. If you haven’t seen Prometheus, then you should before watching Covenant.
The film begins 100 years in the past with a conversation about creation between Peter Weyland and his newly made android David. It’s clear David detests humans. Fast forward to 2104, 10 years after Prometheus disappears. A colony ship (Covenant) carrying 2,000 colonists, 183 embryos, an emergency crew consisting of 6 couples, and an android named Walter is hit by a nutrino burst halfway through their 14 year journey in space. Walter wakes up the emergency crew to repair the ship but the captain’s chamber malfunctions and he is incinerated. While repairing the ship the crew receives a random transmission from a nearby planet. The new captain, Orem, anxious to please the crew who don’t want to go back into crysoleep for another 7 years, orders them to check out the planet for a possible colonization site. His second in command, Daniels, objects.
The planet, which resembles the Pacific Northwest, has no wildlife at all and wheat. They come across the engineer’s ship from Prometheus and Dr. Shaw’s dog tags. While hiking on the surface back to the landing ship, 2 crew members become infected with black spores they inhale. One is taken to the medical bay where an alien bursts from his back. This alien looks different and it kills everyone on the landing ship. While trying to kill it the crew sets the ship on fire and it explodes. There goes half the landing crew and the landing ship. The other half reaches the landing ship just as it explodes and a second alien erupts from the second infected guy’s mouth. It runs into the woods. Minutes later dozens of these aliens attack the group until David appears with flares and frightens them away. He takes them through the engineers’ city to a building he now uses as his laboratory. But as they are walking you see hundreds of dead engineers all crisply burned black.
David tells them a believable story about how he and Dr. Shaw crashed on the planet, accidentally releasing the deadly cargo which killed everyone. Dr. Shaw was killed in the crash. Dani and Walter are the only two who don’t believe David. Meanwhile, the rest of the emergency crew on Covenant head through an ion storm toward the planet to rescue their spouses, ignoring all safety protocols to protect the sleeping colonists. While David teaches Walter to play the flute we learn that David’s generation of androids was so idiosyncratic the manufacturers destroyed them all and removed the ability to create from Walter’s generation. Smart move.
While Walter is with David we see what really happened to the engineers. Dr. Shaw was in cryosleep when the ship approached the engineers’ home world. As the ship hovered above, David intentionally released all of the deadly cargo and watched the black spores decimate the entire engineer population within minutes. Meanwhile, larger versions of David’s pet aliens start attacking the remaining ground crew. David takes Orum into his lab and shows him all the little monster aliens he’s created. Orum follows him to the basement where there are large eggs. Then David intentionally gets Orum infected with a face hugger.
Separated from the captain (Orum), the rest of the landing crew panics and Daniels asks the flight crew on Covenant to rescue them. (Ripley and Shaw would’ve done the opposite and told them to fly away.) A different alien erupts from Orum’s chest. Meanwhile, Walter comes across Dr. Shaw’s grotesquely deformed body (shades of Alien 4 all over the place). David experimented on her to create aliens. She didn’t die in the crash. Walter tries to kill David and fails. While Daniels comes across David’s drawings in which he chronicles his many experiments on Dr. Shaw, another crew member is infected by a face hugger. While trying to save him a third crew member is killed. David catches Daniels looking at his sketches and tells her he is going to experiment on her the way he experimented on Shaw. Walter stops him and tells Daniels and the infected crew member to run. They run and are joined by Walter just as the leader of the flight crew, Tennessee, lands a loading dock to save them. Only it’s David, not Walter (obvious). An alien jumps on board and they eventually get him off. Then they reach Covenant.
Almost every alien film has followed this setup: landing crew gets infected and brings aliens back to the ship.
Back on Covenant an alarm goes off that an alien is in the medical bay. Daniels and Tennessee find the infected guy and the doctor treating him both dead. The alien kills two crew members having sex in the shower, then Daniels and Tennessee (the last two crew members) trap it in a vehicle in the cargo bay with Walter’s help. They jettison the vehicle into space and all is well. Tennessee and Daniels get into their hypersleep chambers and Dani is saying goodnight to Walter when she realizes he is David. Too late. She’s locked inside. David puts her asleep and goes to the embryo chamber where her regurgitates two alien embryos and puts them alongside the other embryos. Then he goes to look at the 2,000 colonists he has to experiment on. It’s going to be a long seven years.
What I liked:
1. Lots of pieces of other alien films in this film, especially Alien 4.
2. The engineers’ home world. Not so different than our own.
3. Dead engineers. They created the spores. They had it coming.
What I didn’t like:
1. Daniels. Such. A. Wuss. She was supposed to sacrifice herself. Instead she begged for help and put all the colonists in danger.
2. In every previous alien film, the aliens that erupt from humans have been tiny limbless aliens. In this one, we get a miniature complete alien with limbs and tail. So what were the others? Mistakes?
3. Grotesque experimentation on a heroine. Did they have to go there again? Alien 4 was very unpopular for that very reason.
Loved it. 10 out of 10 stars.
Reviewed by Devin.