One of 20th Century Fox’s most intriguing upcoming releases has to be Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott‘s follow-up to 2012’s Prometheus. As the title suggests, this prequel ties more closely into the Alien franchise — but it also picks up where Prometheus left off, with the further adventures of the android David (Michael Fassbender).
I was lucky enough to attend an early presentation of footage from the film, featuring stars Katherine Waterston, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, Danny McBride, and more. Below, read an Alien: Covenant footage recap and my thoughts on what I saw.
Alien: Covenant Footage Recap
The clip we saw opens on the colony ship Covenant, which has discovered a promising new planet. The plan is to orbit the planet for a bit to get a general look at the place, and then to send a small shuttle down for more in-depth exploration. The crew seems like they’ve been doing this together for a long time — they seem comfortable with each other and comfortable with their jobs. Which isn’t to say they aren’t a bit nervous. One crew member asks, “Will it be safe to land?” The not-very-comforting reply: “Depends what you call safe.”
But everything looks to be more or less in order, so the Covenant proceeds with its plan and sends a shuttle down to the surface. It’s a rough ride for the crew on board (including Katherine Waterston’s character, Daniels), as there’s a lot of turbulence. Meanwhile, the crew back on the mother ship (including Danny McBride, who plays the pilot) is monitoring the shuttle’s journey and joking around in the meantime. There’s a worrying moment when the mother ship loses communication with the shuttle, but eventually the craft lands safely in the mountains.
At this point, it seems like the footage skips ahead a bit. The team up on the mother ship hears someone screaming on the communications line to the shuttle, and we cut back to the action on the ground. There’s a trio rushing back to the shuttle, including one very sick male crew member. He’s wheezing, he looks gray and sweaty, and he’s vomiting black. The other two (played by Amy Seimetz and Carmen Ejogo) drag him into the sick bay.
Seimetz makes Ejogo stay with him as she rushes out to try and contact the mother ship. When she reaches them, she sounds panicked and incoherent. Then she hears a scream and rushes back. Ejogo is also freaking out, in no small part because she’s trapped in there. The man gets worse and worse. He’s convulsing and it looks like there’s something inside of him. Ejogo screams and cries and pounds on the door, demanding to be let out, but Seimetz tearfully refuses.
Ejogo then turns to the man and tries to hug him to comfort him. At that moment, a creature — a neomorph — bursts out of its back, killing the man. Seimetz runs away, but Ejogo is still trapped inside.
The neomorph has seen Ejogo and starts charging toward her. It’s small, but it’s agile and fast and vicious. She grabs a knife and tries to defend herself as it attacks her, and even gets a couple good kicks in. There’s blood everywhere.
The door opens and Seimetz tries to shoot at the neomorph. When that doesn’t work, she tries to close the door to trap it inside, only to get her foot stuck in the entry. When she finally does manage to close the door, it’s still no use — the neomorph attacks the glass until it breaks. She flees the shuttle, still shooting at the creature. Eventually, she manages to escape the craft and blow the whole thing up. It’s a spectacular finish to that battle… only the neomorph manages to get off in time and escape into the wild.
The whole time, Seimetz’s character has been making repeated attempts to contact another group on the surface, which is heading back to the shuttle with their own sick crew member in tow. They arrive just in time to see the shuttle blow up.
The sick crew member collapses and begins to convulse, just like the other one did. As his teammates look on in horror, another monster bursts out of him and scuttles into the woods.
Alien: Covenant Footage Reaction
As someone who’s never been a particular fan of the Alien franchise (I like it fine but don’t have a strong emotional attachment to it or anything), I wasn’t especially invested in Alien: Covenant. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, and I didn’t have any specific hopes for it. But after seeing this footage, I can’t wait to see the rest of this movie. I suspect anyone disappointed by Prometheus will be back on board with Alien: Covenant, which looks more in line with the first two films.
Alien: Covenant looks intense — it’s scary and action-packed and plenty gory. The baby neomorphs are almost cute because they’re so small (they’re maybe the size of a rat when they first emerge from their human hosts), but they’re also quite scary because they’re so fast and so vicious. They’re hard to chase down and hard to hit. Alien: Covenant has an R rating, and it feels like it does. This film does not hold back on the blood and gore.
While the clips we saw were focused more on plot and action than on the characters or the overarching themes, we saw enough of the Covenant crew to make me look forward to getting to know them better. There’s a lot of crude but affectionate banter between the crew, especially when Danny McBride’s character is involved. He’s not goofy enough to be called the “comic relief,” but he does seem like the wisecracking type. We didn’t see a lot of Waterston’s character, but the glimpses we saw suggested a fierce performance with plenty of action. Still unclear is how exactly the android David ties into all of this, but Michael Fassbender’s performance looks just as chilling as it did in Prometheus.
Alien: Covenant drops into theaters May 19, 2017.
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