As a fan of film, growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s was quite an amazing experience. I was able to latch onto both the horror and sci-fi genres at a very early age, starting with the classic monster movies from the ‘30s and ‘40s like “Dracula” and “King Kong,” continuing on to the sci-fi mutated giant monster movies from the ‘50s like “Godzilla” and “Them,” and culminating in the “Planet of the Apes” series in the late ‘60s. After “Jaws” brought horror and “Star Wars” brought sci-fi to new extraordinary levels, studios were looking to capitalize on the craze they started.
But how do you reinvent the wheel immediately after it’s been reinvented? Easy: you scare the CRAP out of everybody. Setting a gothic horror film in space with a ravenous other worldly beast tearing people to shreds was the ideal recipe for success, and that’s exactly what Ridley Scott did with “Alien” in 1979, kicking off an enormously popular franchise that he’s decided to revisit with the overly ambitious prequel “Prometheus,” and now with its direct follow-up, “Alien: Covenant”.
The film takes place about ten years after the events of “Prometheus” with another interstellar mission of Earth scientists attempting to leave their home planet behind looking for a new utopia to begin a brand new civilization, carrying several colonists and embryos in stasis. Things quickly go awry when an anomaly in space cripples the ship and the crew seeks the solace of a nearby planet to consider setting up shop there instead of their original destination, which is several more years in hypersleep away. If you have seen at least ONE film in this series, you can pretty much guess how things are going to wind up, with all manner of chaos and bloodshed splattering across the screen in copious amounts.
This is an incredibly welcome return to what made the original film such a rush to watch. Has the formula become slightly predictable? Of course, but I don’t know if that’s really a bad thing here. With different filmmakers have taken a swing at this series over the course of the last almost four decades with varying degrees of success, some have ended up severely alienating (no pun intended there, I swear) TONS of fans in the process. This is the first film that truly feels like it belongs in the pantheon since the phenomenal “Aliens” in 1986. I appreciate and admire everything the filmmakers have tried to do since, but they just have fallen woefully short. Even Ridley’s own “Prometheus” didn’t fulfill the promises that were made, broken, and made again. This feels like the film that Ridley meant to deliver with the previous installment, giving a very well rounded, extremely fast paced, and enormously satisfying film that answers some long standing questions, as well as asking some very interesting brand new ones. Thank you, Ridley, for making things right this time around, just keep it up and don’t let us down with the third chapter in this trilogy and beyond.