This latest chapter of the Alien series - Alien Covenant - is a departure from the usual horror that accompanies this franchise, into a more subliminal dramatic delivery that is capable of taking this prequel of this well-established franchise to new directions. This time around, Covenant is more nuance than noise, more philosophy than horror, more classical literature than sci-fi. The terror is more chilling than shocking, thanks to the strong performance of lead actor, Michael Fassbender. Fassbender, who performs in two roles as both David and Walter, the synthetic androids, is delicious to watch.
The film begins as David, the first "Adam" of the synthetic androids, meets his creator, scientist businessman, Weyland, founder of Weyland Industries. In a chilling conversation which sets the tone of the film, Weyland attempts to answer David's question on who created Man, since Weyland created him, and is "Father". As Weyland shuts him off by telling him to serve him tea, David's hesitation to serve him hints the first signs of his rebellion. The scene then shifts to a ship that is carrying 2000+ people plus embryos to colonise a new planet and that's where we meet Walter, an android many versions later.
When Walter and David eventually meet, the scene where David teaches Walter to play the flute takes the film's midsection to a completely different sensual feel, which is intense. We discover that Walter, as the new version, is unable to play music nor dream, unlike the first Adam, David, as Weyland sought to remove the idiosyncrasies found in David, which made him too human. David declares that he was not made to serve, unlike Walter, whom he considers his weaker brother and attempts to win him over.
For die-hard fans of the Alien franchise, there is the obligatory version of a Ripley version, dotted with the gore of face hugging and body bursting spawns. Director Scott borrows heavily from biblical ideas, exploring the relationship between the Creator and his creation. Interestingly, David's desire to be creator and be served, leads him to create these face hugging xenomorphs, including destroying the very Engineers who may have had a hand in creating Man. Scott references Shelley's Ozymandias poem, which becomes an omen that provides a hint of David's end in the future series. David's incorrect attribution of the poem to Byron reveals the kink in his make up, to which Walter reveals, "One wrong note eventually destroys the entire symphony", where Walter sees the full face of the unhinged David.
Scott's attempts to steer this Prometheus 2 flick into a new direction is laudable, as the film attempts to draw both empathy and anger for its characters. A sci-fi Shakespearean epic in the making? Possibly. Scott attempts to deliver an elegant allegory of the world today, which raises questions of man's creations to himself and its grave implications on the outcome, pitching despair vs hope, good vs evil. Feel your hair rise and your anger build, when you hear the symphony of "The Entry of the Gods into Valhalla" as you leave the theatre.