Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Alien: Covenant brings in $4.2 million at Thursday box office


A genuine prologue to Alien: Covenant, "The Last Supper" is a scene prominently used in several of the trailers. You would be wrong.

Will you be seeing Alien: Covenant this weekend? Watching Mr. Fassbender share the screen with himself is a treat, and the scenes where David and Walter discuss their maker, immortality, and the creative impulse, culminating in a quotation from Shelley's "Ozymandias", really highlight the nuances of the actor's work here. David meets his creator, Peter Weyland, and pinpoints an irony: the mortal Weyland wants to meet whoever created humans, while David has already met his creator and has a potentially infinite lifespan. Billy Crudup? Danny McBride? Roused from sleep, the crew deals with the emergency and picks up a mysterious transmission seeming to emanate from a nearby earthlike planet. Will this lead to almost-certain death at the hands of ruthless aliens?

Of the colonists, only the now-widowed Daniels (Katherine Waterston) is aware of possible terror on the planet.

Maddy, who hasn't left the house in 17 years, is remarkably poised, articulate, well-adjusted and smart - a poster child for, presumably, home schooling who, having just turned 18, whiles away her time by reading, drawing, writing sassy, haikulike classic-movie reviews on her personal website and taking online architecture classes, for which she builds surprisingly accomplished scale models, all of which include a small astronaut figurine.

That's just one of the big, existential questions "Alien: Covenant" has on its mind, though there's plenty of blood as well, for those who thought "Prometheus" was a bit too head-trippy. The connections between this and Alien are there, but they're more incidental than anything else. Neither film is Alien nor do they ever try to be. No, it's the scene where David (whose presence on this mysterious planet is a signifier of the film's reticence to be more than a Prometheus sequel) teaches Walter how to play the flute. "You just put your lips together and blow".

As this film clearly sets up a sequel/sequels, maybe that can happen next time. His talent aside, the problem is twofold.

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The interaction between Fassbender's two charcters make for some of the movie's more absurd moments, including potentially meme-inspiring silly dialogue, an awkward semi-romantic encounter and a silly bout of robot-fu.

Along with making "Covenant" more accessible to the mainstream, Scott also does his best to clarify some of the perplexing plot points of "Prometheus" for the benefit of fans who know that there is a such a thing as Alien Day and that it's on April 26.

Alien: Covenant opens in theatres on Friday, May 19.

As directed by Alien maestro Ridley Scott, the film's action sequences are often shot in a way that makes it impossible to know what's going on, but you know it's bad. This, of course, makes it easier for said characters to make dumb decisions - Crudup's choice to land on this unusual planet is more logical than stupid, but most of the decisions he and others make afterwards are just idiotic.

Meanwhile others from the crew have tracked the mystery signal to a crashed ship, and it's here that viewers unfamiliar with the "Alien" franchise, and recent entry "Prometheus" in particular, may start to feel lost.

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