Five things you should know about Alien: Covenant

Kingston Whig-Standard - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Af­ter Ri­d­ley Scott’s pre­quel

Prometheus in 2012 comes his fol­low up, Alien: Covenant. In the new flick, the crew of an in­ter­stel­lar colony ship in­ad­ver­tently dis­cov­ers a space par­adise, and one thing leads to an­other un­til things go hor­ri­bly wrong. Here’s a look at what else you should know about the movie, writes Bob Thomp­son.

It’s a mon­ster mash up ori­gins story

The lat­est pic­ture is Scott’s third in the Alien se­ries and tends to ref­er­ence his 1979 orig­i­nal in tone and in­ten­tion. That means the film has a high body count, lots of splat­ter, dimly lit kill spa­ces and a birth­place con­ceit.

Call it cast­ing a wide net as a de­mo­graphic menu

The ensem­ble of ac­tors fea­tures a range of per­form­ers. Billy Crudup is aboard for the stage and screen folks. Danny McBride and James Franco at­tract the R-rated hip­ster doo­fus crowd. The new mil­len­nial maven Kather­ine Water­ston does her Ri­p­ley im­per­son­ation with apolo­gies to Sigour­ney Weaver. Back from Prometheus is Michael Fass­ben­der who’s an­other synth-fel­low with the ca­pac­ity for sneak­ing rogu­ish asides into con­ver­sa­tion.

Stretch­ing a cin­e­matic ref­er­ence to the be­yond zone

McBride’s talk­a­tive Ten­nessee char­ac­ter wears a cow­boy hat. It is sup­posed to re­call Slim Pick­ins’ B-52 bomber pi­lot from the an­ti­war satire, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Wor­ry­ing and Love the Bomb.

The cast and crew filmed in a land down un­der with a lit­tle Québé­cois as­sis­tance

Alien: Covenant filmed for 74 days in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, and on lo­ca­tion in Mil­ford Sound, New Zealand. Some of the movie ship was con­structed on Syd­ney sound stages with the rest filled in with dig­i­tal ef­fects. Three spe­cial ef­fects com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Frame­store from Mon­treal, han­dled the task. The Que­bec ef­fects shop re­cently worked on Guardians of the Galaxy

Vol. 2 and will do some up­com­ing high-pro­file films, in­clud­ing Blade Run­ner 2049.

The po­ten­tial take for the lat­est Alien

While Prometheus man­aged an OK open­ing week­end near US$51 mil­lion, Alien: Covenant is ex­pected to hit around $40 mil­lion, and fall short of the Prometheus global to­tal of $403.4 mil­lion.

MARK ROGERS/TWEN­TI­ETH CEN­TURY FOX

Kather­ine Water­ston in Alien: Covenant.

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