Alien Covenant movie review: Twice the Michael equals twice the terror. How could an alien race – which, for the sake of this argument, we must assume is far more advanced than ours – be even slightly interested in colonising us? How could a people whose understanding of life – in addition, of course, to the magical technology that has allowed them to travel to our remote corner of the universe, perhaps even through time – even consider ‘ruling’ us, the petty, violent blobs of insignificance that we are?
To wipe us out – every tiny sign of our brief, inconsequential existence on this little blue dot – our past, present, and future, would probably take them a week. And it would require roughly the same level of mental (and physical) effort as you squeezing sanitizer onto your hands.
So the only realistic situation in which these… Aliens… would even bother to waste a reflex glance in our direction would be if Trump accidentally lobs a nuke at Texas. Or if, like Douglas Adams wrote, Earth was getting in the way of a massive intergalactic highway, and building a bypass was too much of an inconvenience.
Alien: Covenant does the only logical thing: It makes us, the delusional schoolyard bullies that we are, still thinking we’re the centre of the universe, the aggressors. It makes us the colonisers. Like the pilgrims who crossed the Atlantic to populate/desecrate the New World, the humans at the centre of Alien: Covenant travel in a spaceship with the intention of colonising a distant planet.
Obviously, things don’t quite pan out as pleasantly as they’d expected.
History, and the movies, haven’t been particularly kind to colonisers – except, in a classic American move, Christopher Columbus, who was, by most accounts, a rather evil man. And nature finds a way of punishing the Covenant’s crew.
But watching them die, the terror of the buildup, and the release of the gore, that is when the film works – and not when it is posing, and failing to answer the biggest questions of them all: Who are we and why are we here… And this is unfortunate, since we so often complain that movies nowadays are designed in boardrooms by ruthless corporations with third-quarter targets.
Here’s Alien: Covenant, a film brave enough to have one Michael Fassbender driod kiss another full on the lips, opening up a world of philosophical debate, but we sit there impatiently wondering if the Alien only eats humans.
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