Space for un­pre­dictable

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film - FILM with Ju­lian Wright

LIKE the xenomorph it de­picts, the Alien se­ries is con­stantly evolv­ing.

The crea­ture starts out as a scur­ry­ing face hug­ger, then a chest-burst­ing killing ma­chine and egg-lay­ing Queen, and in turn the se­ries has gone from thriller, ac­tion, apoc­a­lyp­tic and wacky clone saga to ex­is­ten­tial­ism with 2012’s sort-of Alien pre­quel Prometheus.

Orig­i­nal di­rec­tor Ri­d­ley Scott has well and truly taken own­er­ship in re­cent years of the al­wayschang­ing fran­chise and en­sured it con­tin­ues its un­pre­dictable arc.

In Alien: Covenant, a crew trans­port­ing more than 2000 colonists to pop­u­late a dis­tant planet veers off course to in­ves­ti­gate a trans­mis­sion com­ing from another, un­known planet.

Cap­tain Christo­pher Oram (Billy Crudup) is keen to check it out, with data show­ing it could be a more hab­it­able planet, while sec­ond-in-charge Daniels (Kather­ine Water­ston) is deeply trou­bled by the risk be­ing taken.

Re­gard­less, they land on the un­charted planet that has a few sur­prises in store – breath­able air, veg­e­ta­tion, wheat, Prometheus sur­vivor David (Michael Fass­ben­der) – and an alien virus that wreaks havoc on the crew when dis­turbed.

In a bid to make amends to fans alien­ated by Prometheus’ barely-there link to the se­ries, di­rec­tor/pro­ducer Scott has in­cluded a more fa­mil­iar crea­ture de­sign and plot beats, ob­vi­ous nods to other se­ries entries.

While the ref­er­ences to our favourite mo­ments from the se­ries are abun­dant, some­times an­noy­ingly so, there is much more at play here.

There are much grander ideas than sim­ply the xenomorph’s chang­ing ap­pear­ance, ex­pand­ing upon themes raised in Prometheus and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween cre­ator and its cre­ation.

Some may think this se­ries has com­pletely lost the plot, with long stretches of di­a­logue be­tween short bursts of alien-re­lated gore, but the un­pre­dictabil­ity is what makes it fas­ci­nat­ing.

Kather­ine Water­ston in Alien: Covenant.

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