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FILM REVIEW Alien: Covenant
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2017-05-16

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Director: Ridley Scott. Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterstone, Billy Crudup. Running time: 123 min. Release Date: May 19

Five years after Promotheus, the sequel is finally crashing into theaters for this summer. It is the second part to an Alien prequel series that is intended to recharge the franchise.

The story follows a crew ready to land after an early wake-up call. Instead of going back to hypersleep, the members decide to touch down on a random planet. By coincidence, this stop is already inhabited by aliens and the return of past robot character David, played by Michael Fassbender, although there is a new model named Walter that takes care of the crew. The duo's names are actually a tribute to David Giler and Walter Hill, who have written every Alien film so far.

Without giving too much away, the expedition doesn't go as planned.

Watching Promotheus beforehand is important or be ready to be lost in the dark with the plot. This is a six-picture franchise that, in this critic's mind, went off the track when Winona Ryder joined the pack.

This film is full of nostalgia with familiar tricks and stunts. There are not many new tricks to chew on, but the old ones will still satisfy many appetites.

Director Ridley Scott once again combines horror with science fiction to create pitch-perfect suspense. Things begin slowly and build to a deadly pace where no one is safe. The ending is predictable, but the ride along the way has many fun twists and turns. The film feels claustrophobic at times with pop out scares that will make some scream.

Covenant contains man-on-man kissing and a gay man ( Jussie Smollett ) playing straight. There is more diversity than in some of Scott's previous films, but not enough variety. He has an insatiable taste for oozing acid and seems to have a genuine love for short-haired brunette heroines. Wide-eyed Katherine Waterstone does a solid job fighting slimy aliens while harkening back to Sigourney Weaver's performance ( as Ripley ), including her character's foul mouth. Smollet's performance is quite stiff and doesn't go anywhere. Fassbender makes up for it, playing dual roles. He hits just the right notes on his flute in a charming scene that is mesmerizing. It is little moments like this that show the skills of a well-matched actor and director.

There are several cameos to watch for, such as James Franco and Guy Pearce, among others.

Alien: Covenant bridges the 50-year gap between Promotheus and Alien for fans, keeping them entertained. The script has just been finished for another Alien movie after this one and is scheduled to begin filming next year. It looks like these slimy creeps will never stop their invasive reign of terror.


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