Home Reviews Entertainmnent Blu-ray Review: Alien: Covenant

Blu-ray Review: Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant is an unrelenting action movie where the horror arrives from unexpected quarters. But more importantly Covenant pulls together some of the story threads thrown our way with Prometheus.

The Blu-ray release includes a series of refreshing extras to explore that further flesh-out the Alien ecosystem.Alien: Covenant is an unrelenting action movie where the horror arrives from unexpected quarters. But more importantly Covenant pulls together some of the story threads thrown our way with Prometheus.

Looking like a HD version of an elongated Eagle spacecraft from the 70s TV show Space 1999, the Covenant is a colony ship, ferrying 2000 souls to the promise of a new life on a terra-formed planet far from Earth.

Of course, things go a little awry and the newly awoken (from cryo-sleep) crew of 15 need to both repair the ship and investigate a strange transmission from a hitherto now unknown planet that seems to be a perfectly set up paradise for human habitation.

Magnificent visuals, mayhem and buckets of gore ensue.

This sixth movie in the venerable Alien series is a return to form, owing more to where James Cameron took the series with Aliens than perhaps director Ridley Scott’s original 1979 space horror. 

In fact, there are many Alien tropes that don’t see a great deal of air time, whilst there is plenty of water dripping from high above, there are less clanking chains and retro-tech than ever for an Alien flick.

The idea of a colony of humans being fodder for Alien incubation was part of the Aliens tale, and becomes the core threat during Covenant as well. However, the source of that threat is a fresh take.

I really enjoyed Covenant, but I lament movie making in this day and age. Alien was a masterpiece of cinema, but similar to Scott’s other seminal sci-fi cinematic Blade Runner, the pace was rather sedate. There was a great deal of character definition around the crew of the Nostromo and a lot of artistic cinematography that preluded the running around and screaming.

Here, the action comes reasonably thick and fast. However, there is still room to explore the larger questions around life in general. Most of the character development however is centred around Walter, the ships synth played by Michael Fassender reviving his role of David, but in an updated synth model.

Terror and gore wise, there is plenty to experience, almost to the point of desensitisation.

It is a credit to Scott and his team that they find time to not only explore the Alien prequal story started with Prometheus in an unsteady way, introduce a number of new situations and characters and yet find a great deal of time to maintain tension and horror within a two-hour structure.

The Blu-ray is available (from 16 Aug) in 4K Ultra HD version and includes more than 100 minutes of surprising extra content. There are the usual deleted and extended scenes and cinematic trailers, but refreshingly no staid “make of” documentary.

Instead, the Master Class: Ridley Scott documentary explores more about how Scott goes about the business of crafting this release in a way that ensures the usual tropes of how to make a movie. Scott gives commentary insights over the main movie and other producers make rather promotional statements rather than direct observations about Covenant. Stick to what Ridley Scott says.

Other highlights are an interesting Covenant crew recruitment testing vignette called Phobos where the hopeful crew members go through a series of psychological testing which is disturbing and funny at times.  

Then there is a Meet Walter vignette which is like a music video set in a future AI driven world.

I was expecting the worst, having felt the excitement that Prometheus would provide redemption for the Alien franchise, and being bewildered and disappointed coming out of that experience, I was worried Covenant would not be able to pull the prequel story back, but by and large Covenant is a good middle movie that with any luck the team can tie off with a final prequel.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.