Saturday, August 19, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 46
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Weekly Poll
Do you think the Carrizo Plain should stay a national monument?

Absolutely. The Carrizo is one of the last undeveloped areas of the San Joaquin Valley, a protected habitat for endangered species, and a natural wonder for the public.
Yes, but I don't think it's as clear cut as some think. The Trump Administration should take a look at its status.
The feds should consider reducing the size of the monument.
No. The Carrizo should be privatized. Allow the market to tap into its natural resources.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Film

This weeks review
A QUIET PASSION
ALIEN: COVENANT
BAYWATCH
CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
IT COMES AT NIGHT
MEGAN LEAVEY
MY COUSIN RACHEL
PARIS CAN WAIT
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
THE CIRCLE
THE LOVERS
THE MUMMY

ALIEN: COVENANT

PHOTO BY 20TH CENTURY FOX

ALIEN: COVENANT


Where is it playing?: Stadium 10, Galaxy

What's it rated?: R

What's it worth?: $ Matinee

User Rating: 4.00 (2 Votes)

Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down) helms this sequel to his 2012 film Prometheus, part-two of a three-part prequel to his original 1979 film Alien, which was about a spaceship crew’s encounter with a highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature. In Covenant, a neutrino burst damages a colonizing ship, forcing the crew to awake early to repair damage. However, a signal from a nearby planet that appears to be hospitable causes the crew to send a landing party, where they discover the remote planet is a deathtrap from which they must escape.

The basic set-up is that the crew of Covenant, a ship whose mission is to colonize a far off planet, happens upon a planet formerly inhabited by the so-called “Engineers,” a race of beings that purportedly “seeded” Earth, leading to the creation of humankind. When the Covenant’s landing party arrives, however, what they find is a vast courtyard filled with the preserved corpses of the Engineers in a scene right out of Pompeii.

It doesn’t take long for a couple crewmembers to be infected by alien spores, which quickly gestate inside the crewmembers’ bodies, causing vicious alien creatures to burst out of their hosts’ bodies and go on a killing spree. They’re saved at the last minute by David (Michael Fassbender), a “synthetic” who was along on the Prometheus mission 10 years earlier, which set off to find the Engineers’ home planet by following archeological clues discovered on Earth. Yes, it’s pretty complicated.

Covenant’s mission has its own synthetic named Walter (also Fassbender), a new and improved model, and as the crew hunkers down in David’s compound and tries to contact their orbiting mother ship for rescue, the real mystery of how David landed on the planet, what happened to its Engineer occupants, and what the alien species really is and how it came to be begins to unfold.

Ridley Scott’s now 79 years old, but he’s lost none of his edge as a director capable of conjuring tension, a lot of which is derived from the relationships among the crew. They’re not comprised of combat soldiers—they’re colonists hoping to continue the human race on a new world. Each one is traveling as a couple, and their cargo includes 2,000 humans in stasis as well as over a thousand human embryos. Think of the crew as pilgrims driving a wagon train across the cosmos in search of a better life.

Also keep in mind, their original captain (James Franco) never made it through the neutrino burst, and Oram (Billy Crudup)—though technically captain—isn’t well respected by the crew, in part because he’s a man of faith in a world where most believe the “creator” is actually a species called the Engineers. It’s sort of like the preacher of the wagon train finds himself in charge after the true leader is killed, and the people he’s leading think he’s weak and misguided.

The central question is can they escape the deadly world and continue onto their goal, and the key to that question is David, who somehow managed to survive among the aliens for 10 years. He and Walter, both being nonhuman, aren’t potential targets for infestation, but as mechanisms programmed by the corporation that makes these missions possible, there’s some question about where their loyalties lie.

To be honest, the twist ending is too easily telegraphed, but this is still a gripping ride as long as you’re well versed enough in the Alien mythos to follow along. (122 min.)

—Glen Starkey