Ridley Scott’s original “Alien” remains a standard bearer for the horror genre that morphed into a blockbuster iconic franchise among horror and sci-fi fans. In Scott’s latest “Alien: Covenant” to hit Philippine cinemas this May 10, the Oscar®-nominated filmmaker sought to recapture the same foreboding atmosphere of constant danger and dread while also offering new insights that would add richness and depth to the larger Alien mythology.
The film opens with a peaceful mission designed to take humanity beyond the confines of Earth into a settlement among the stars. On the manifest of the spaceship, Covenant is couples who will populate the planet Origae-6, along with dozens of embryos to help establish the new colony. Charged with their protection is the ship’s crew: Captain Jacob (James Franco) and his wife, Daniels, head of terraforming operations (Katherine Waterston); second-in-command Christopher Oram (Billy Crudup) and his biologist wife Karine (Carmen Ejogo); boisterous pilots Tennessee (Danny McBride) and Faris (Amy Seimetz); head of security Sergeant Lope (Demián Bichir) and his second-in-command and husband Sergeant Hallett (Nathaniel Dean). With them is one non-human, Walter (Michael Fassbender), the Covenant’s loyal synthetic, keeping watch as the passengers remain locked away in cryosleep until they reach their destination.
All is quiet aboard the spaceship Covenant. The crew and the rest of the 2,000 souls aboard the pioneering vessel are deep in hyper-sleep, leaving the synthetic Walter to walk the corridors alone. The ship is en route to the remote planet Origae-6, where, on the far side of the galaxy, the settlers hope to establish a new outpost for humanity. The tranquility is shattered when a nearby stellar ignition shreds Covenant’s energy-collection sails, resulting in dozens of casualties and throwing the mission of course.
Walter, who no doubt look familiar to audiences. He’s the next evolution of David, the Laurence of Arabia-obsessed synthetic Fassbender portrayed in “Prometheus.” Although he is technologically superior to his predecessor, his emotional range is somewhat restricted. He cannot fall in love, and he has been programmed to be unfailingly loyal to the Covenant crew—Fassbender describes him as a “super butler.”
“He is first and foremost there to protect and to serve, like a good police officer,” the actor says. “He’s purely logical and devoid of emotion, even if those around him, particularly Daniels, search for some sort of emotional connectivity with him, it’s not really there.”
Fassbender continues to be in awe of the movie’s production, “I felt like I was on a functional spaceship,” Fassbender says. “The corridors, the bridge, and the sleep chamber—all these production design elements were so detailed and sophisticated. It’s a rare thing with fantasy films or high-concept action films. We used some green screen, but a lot of it was there for us to explore, to touch and to interact with and that’s a real rarity these days.”
“Alien: Covenant” opens in cinemas nationwide on May 10 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. (will also be available on IMAX screens).