There are certain things you just know about yourself – like whether or not you’d be cut out for daring interplanetary exploration. Personally, I can confidently say I wouldn’t be much good.
However, in this sci-fi franchise, I’d be well-qualified. From the hardscrabble marines of Aliens to the inept scientists of Prometheus, Xenomorph Expedition’s workforce aren’t exactly first draft.
This brings us to the Covenant, a beautiful hunk of a ship housing a crew of married couples, jolted out of hypersleep by a neutrino burst. (Yes I totally know what that is.) Playing nursemaid is Walter (Michael Fassbender), the nice android brother/updated model to Prometheus‘ smarmy malcontent David.
Now, I loved Prometheus. I loved David (the crew were so stupid and hostile he had to murder them) and sole human survivor Shaw (Noomi Rapace); I loved the blueness, the weirdness of it. I was probably alone in the universe in just wanting Prometheus 2: More Dodgy Philosophizing.
Instead we’ve got Covenant. Its newly-awakened crew are lured from their target planet by an eerie transmission of Shaw singing John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads‘. Upon hearing her, I realized I didn’t care about these new Covenant losers, and I never would.
The only person against deviating from their planned course is the boring Ripley stand-in Daniels (Katherine Waterston). Widowed when Captain James Franco got Anakin Skywalker’d in his malfunctioning sleep pod, she’s now second-in-command to Billy Crudup’s wimpy Captain Arm (OK it’s Oram, but it sounded like they were saying ‘arm’).
Daniels and Arm lead some of the other marrieds and a security team to explore this strange new world. Despite knowing nothing about it, they’re soon moaning and stopping for cigarette breaks like it’s a routine manoeuvre.
Luckily David (minus Shaw – sob!) is back, so ha-ha for our marrieds! Bye, suckers! David’s been busy experimenting with the Engineer’s black goo, which infects the Covenant idiots, who are so rubbish with firearms they shoot up their own landing craft.
We know where this sequel-prequel is headed: a CGI face-off with an Xenomorph in the halls of the Covenant. It’s Aliens, minus the snappy dialogue and (my earlier disrespect notwithstanding) the cool supporting cast.
People who didn’t like Prometheus (there were a fair few) have got their way: Alien Covenant is a return to typical, hardcore blockbuster terrain. They should back away from this franchise and send it back to a permanent cryo-sleep.