Words by Ed King
I thought there’d be more people here. I thought there’d be more Aliens; apart from a beautiful but woefully unsupported bust on the counter, this could have been any other bar on any other night – complete with the ‘80’s New York drunk’ that staggered by the pumps. Where’s a murderous Xenomorph when you need one. But it’s a shame; this was a pat on the back idea. I thought more people would have shown up to agree.
I loved Alien, and, as teenage appreciation took hold, Aliens. Tonight is my Star Wars. I’ll probably say something similar when the new Blade Runner is played on screen, but for tonight I’m childish with excitement. Plus the writer and professional (excuse) hat I wear gives me carte blanche to pick, this, to, fuck (did I say, ‘excuse’?). And with pen in my hand that’s what I set out to do.
I don’t. At least, I don’t step by step. My overriding response is ‘job well done’; they give the studio what they want in the last twenty minutes, but my knee jerk is ‘good save’. It brings the de facto blue collar slaughter in line with an elevated premise, or question at least. Like a Scotameron baby ran away with the notebook. I watched Prometheus on Sunday, for the second time, and the infantile handling of any even remotely acceptable narrative (let alone the garrulous approach to inter-planetary anthropology) made me curse. And made me curse Ridley Scott. Which just felt wrong, and a little like an overzealous school teacher. But also right, like an overzealous school teacher. And whilst I enjoyed it more than the first time, when you sit down you to write Covenant…
So, bog standard, everyone dies – quicker than you’d think, later than you’d think, and eventually as you’d think. Good luck with that. The Engineers get a satisfactory, albeit a film in itself, explanation. And the beauty of twisted morphology gets a lovely slide by slide. Although various crisp fucking audience members (it’s all I can imagine they were doing to create such a sound) were apparently less than impressed. But they stimulate snacks; not my bastion of reasoned opinion.
Better script writers tie up some of the fumbled loose ends from Prometheus, whilst allowing for a (possibly self defeating) start to the final in this triptych. Whilst Michael Fassbender takes what Ian Holm started and marches one more step down the macabre, bleeding Lawrence of Arabia into the mind of a genocidal killer. Like Lawrence of Arabia. There’s also a warm nod to the first ship’s overriding/controlling computer, as well as the ship drops in the second. Not overdone, but a handshake to homage.
We are given a starting point. We are given an end. Alien: Covenant delivers a well carried, and narrative following, plot. And I promise you Charlize Theron won’t say “…father”.
I’m re-engaged with the franchise now, but when you’ve sent the body blows that were Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection you’ve still got some apologies to make. But Alien: Covenant serves as the film Prometheus wanted to be, but for some reason wasn’t. If they nail Round Three we’ll all be golden.
So feel safe, go and watch Alien: Covenant – you’ve got just under two weeks to see it at The Mockingbird. There are some great set pieces and Michael Fassbender does his work, twice, with aplomb. Just switch yourself down during the penultimate twenty minutes. But back up for the last five. Enjoy.
DROP IN T MINS 20… 19…
Alien: Covenant (official trailer)
Alien: Covenant (extended trailer)
Alien: Covenant will be screened daily, except on Sunday, at The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen until Thursday 25th May, For more from The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.mockingbirdcinema.com
For more on Alien: Covenant, visit www.foxmovies.com/movies/alien-covenant