Michael Fassbender stars in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant
MICHAEL FASSBENDER is twice the man he wasn’t in the latest space beastie encounter
FOUR DECADES ON from 1979’s epochal Alien, Ridley Scott returns to the primal terrors of chestbursters, facehuggers, and slavering xenomorphs with the series’ sixth instalment.
A direct sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, Alien: Covenant looks stupendous, as you’d expect from Scott; it chews over some hefty philosophical ideas, and it has a stunning dual performance by Michael Fassbender as a pair of eerie androids.
But for all the new film’s strengths, the qualities that made the 1979 original so effective are largely missing. Here, if no one can hear you scream, it is because the movie just isn’t that frightening.
The trouble is, we know exactly what grisly encounters lie in store for Katherine Waterston’s Ripleylike heroine and her crewmates on the spaceship Covenant – including Billy Crudup’s queasily insecure first mate and Danny Mcbride’s good old boy pilot – when a mysterious radio transmission entices them into taking a detour to a seemingly hospitable, Earth-like planet.
This may be terra incognita to them, but we’ve been here before. So when a crewmember gapes curiously at the pulsating membrane inside an alien egg, what happens next is an unpleasant surprise for him, déjà vu for us.
Of course, Waterston’s heroine is resourceful and resilient, but she is no substitute for Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, despite the matching singlet she strips down to when the going gets hot. Most of the other characters are so nondescript they blur into one another. Mere alien fodder, their fates are all too predictable.
Thank goodness then for Fassbender’s androids. Forget being chased down a spaceship corridor by a xenomorph for the umpteenth time. It is their chilly, uncanny assurance that is really scary.
MICHAEL FASSBENDER IT WAS THE AGE-OLD PROBLEM OF HAVING DENTURES THAT DIDN’T QUITE FIT