Words by Ed King
At one minute past midnight on Friday 12th May, Alien: Covenant will be screened at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, in The Custard Factory.
Out on general UK release from 12th May, this special late night/early morning screening will be Birmingham’s first chance to see the latest film in the Alien franchise.
The ‘build up’ will start in The Mockingbird front bar from 10pm on Thursday 11th May, with people taking their seats to watch Alien: Covenant as the clock strikes twelve. Tickets are priced at £9.50 – available for advance purchase from 26th April.
Alien: Covenant will be further shown at The Mockingbird from 12th to 18th May, with four daily screenings at 12:40pm, 3:15pm, 5:50pm, 8:25pm. For direct event information, including full venue details and online ticket sales, click here.
Something’s are a good idea. Whoever decided to schedule a screening of ‘the latest Alien film’ at midnight, as we enter the first minute the UK is licensed to see it, deserves a hearty pat on the back.
Seldom does a sci-fi franchise accumulate such a polarised audience; from the brooding genius of the 1979 Alan Dean Foster adaptation, to the fast pace farce that was Alien Vs Predator, the H.R. Giger inspired Xenomorph has been talked about for nearly forty years. So come and see the new film before anyone else in England, a week before the USA/Canada, then walk home through a pitch black empty city. And at 3am on a weekday in Digbeth, no one can hear you scream…
Although technically Alien: Covenant (or Prometheus 2, as it was called before a working title was attributed) is not a direct descendant of the original Alien. It’s the side spin-off from the Alan Dean Foster narrative, which focused on the zenith of evolution’s apex predators, human hubris and why the two should stay pretty well away from each other.
Ridley Scott, the director who brought Foster’s first novel to the silver screen and who’s been at the helm of the franchise, wanted to move his Alien away from the horror genre – to explore the existential conundrum of who, what and why? Prometheus was born, no pun intended, with the ill fated crew (a constant throughout all the films) whittled down through their own decisions or predilections, as The Engineers (or ‘Gods’) destroy one of their creations with another. Why are we here…? To get the fuck away from here as quickly as possible. And stop asking questions.
But with any good existential crisis, some questions were left unanswered – enter Alien: Covenant. Scott’s latest film follows a unit of terraformers and colonists, like the unseen mass on LV426 that had been systematically impregnated and ripped apart in Aliens, as they travel a decade in stasis on ‘the first large scale colonization mission’ aboard the good ship Covenant. What is their mission? To recreate the Garden of Eden. Cue a happy collection of blue collar couples adrift in deep space, the obligatory alcohol, hope and excitement, an android who’s a little too quiet for comfort and everyone into suspended animation… Oh look, there’s a planet; trees and everything. What could possibly go wrong..?
Due to a bit of a high brow backlash from the Prometheus storyline, i.e. not enough blood, Alien: Covenant has reportedly returned to the more slasher based approach to horror. But it’s continuing the tale nonetheless. In Alien: Covenant some of the cast have even resumed their roles from Prometheus – with Michael Fassbender portraying both the solo surviving android (David) from the former and the oh-so-helpful ship’s companion (Walter) from the latter. So there’s a palpable attempt to tie the stories together, with Ridley Scott and crew already in pre-production for Alien: Awakening – the final piece to this dystopian triptych. There’s even talk of three more films to follow, picking up where Alien Resurrection left off.
But for now all we have are garrulous online chat rooms and marketing hyperbole – until the bells chime twelve on Friday 12th May. That and a couple of trailers to start the balls rolling. What’s the Alien like, who will be first for the face huggers, is the new android a goodie or a badie? Questions…
My guess, Occam’s razor, nearly everyone will die.
Alien: Covenant (official trailer)
Alien: Covenant (extended trailer)
Alien: Covenant will be screened at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen at Midnight on 12th May, with a ‘build up’ in the front bar from 10pm on 11th May. For direct gig info and online tickets sales, click here.
For more on Alien: Covenant, visit www.foxmovies.com/movies/alien-covenant
For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.mockingbirdcinema.com