A remote message is received through the circuitry of a space helmet following a space walk repair of the Covenant, a colony ship on its voyage to the far side of the galaxy.
The message leads the crew to what they believe is an uncharted paradise, an ideal home.
But it is really a message of doom, of mistaken hope and untold carnage following a decision to land & settle on this remote planet.
Ridley Scott’s Alien movies hardly need introducing. Covenant, the most recent instalment harks back to the original classic in its vivid sense of mystery and dark foreboding. Scott has an ability to hone back the superfluous while introducing layers of complexity in the storyline. Much has to do with his editing style as it has to do with storytelling. And the film is beautiful to look at which is what you’d expect from him.
Shelley’s Ozymandias (Byron misattribution) and Wagner’s Entry of the Gods into Valhalla Leitmotif from Das Rheingold are included in the context of an android (David, played by Michael Fassbender) adding a peculiar resonance liken to Blade Runner’s poetry speaking replicant. Scott employs this device to connect the storyline with his former film Promethius exploring existential themes such as the origins of humanity and the folly of creation.
Horror and suspense within Science Fiction sets Ridley Scott above the plethora of trash between then and now. The original Alien was a seminal work for its time if only for its absence of portrayal; everything that wasn’t, as apposed to was- too many aliens jumping from the walls in forgettable followups. I remember attempting to freeze frame the creature on a clunky old video tape machine in order to actually see it- the terror and suspense achieved through its very absence.
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.