Remember Prometheus? Remember how excited all fans of Alien were to hear that there would be a new movie? And how unimpressed they were? The general response seemed to be approximately along the lines of, “huh?” Which is kind of a shame, right? I mean, I wasn’t one of those kids who was really into the Alien and Predator movies – P got me to watch Aliens at some point and it was, admittedly, pretty good, but I’m not a true fan. Perhaps, as a result, I thought Prometheus was ok, just as a stand-alone movie unassociated with the franchise.
Having now seen Alien Covenant, the movie that follows on from Prometheus, I get it. Prometheus is totally necessary to make Alien Covenant happen and to make it make sense and, you guys, it’s totally worth it. Alien Covenant has redeemed Prometheus.
The story follows a ship of colonists and crew members, some decades after Prometheus. They have a carefully charted route but part-way to their destination a disaster strikes – a sudden neutrino burst* damages the ship, killing some colonists and the ship’s captain. In the aftermath, when everything is settling down and repairs are being carried out, one of the crew members picks up a stray signal. On investigation of the signal, the crew realise it’s coming from a potentially habitable world, much closer than the one they originally planned to go to. They decide to check it out.
Obviously, this is an Alien movie, so that turns out to be a terrible idea. The result is the wonderful blend of terror and suspense that fans of the Alien series were hoping for in Prometheus and sadly missed out on. There are nods to the original creeping-around-in-barely-suppressed-panic scenes of the original movies, and almost all of the confusing elements of Prometheus slip into place.
Micheal Fassbender’s performance as David and Walter is a particular highlight and it’s fascinating watching him play two different releases of the same AI. Likewise, Katherine Waterson is wonderful as a touch but scared crew member and an obvious nod to Ripley.
The movie goes straight back its original pitch of “Jaws in Space”. Which is all any of us really wanted.
*Yeah, I don’t think Ridley Scott knows what a neutrino is, either.