Alien: Covenant review
A couple of years ago, Ridley Scott returned to the Alien franchise with Prometheus. The movie was meant to be a story set within the same universe to dive into some of the more mysterious elements of Alien like the fossilized space-jockeys and what they were doing with a bunch of facehugger eggs. The response from fans was mixed. Some thought it a nice return to what made the Alien series work. Some thought it was a boring and pretentious story that only asked more question. I still stand by the beauty of Prometheus and the material that it expands upon.
The newest movie is something of a response from Scott to some of the complaints from before like the lack of xenomorphs and more of a connection to the earlier films. I think Scott realized that in order to keep his fanbase, he had to be sure that the new stories wouldn’t steer too far from the original. The problem that I see is that despite the addition of new characters and more background on the company that wants the alien, the film is going to succumb to it’s horror-like slasher clichés. Does Alien: Covenant add anything new to this world?
In 2104, a ship called the Covenant is bound for a remote planet for a colony mission. Though the overall trip is being maintained by android Walter (played by Michael Fassbender), the crew, the two thousand colonists and a thousand embryos have remained in hyper sleep for some time. A sudden neutrino storm hits the ship, forcing the computer to awaken the crew and stabilize the craft, but not before the captain dies when his hyper sleep pod malfunctions. This makes Christopher Oram (played by Billy Crudup) the new captain with his first orders to make the necessary repairs to continue.
The ships picks up a signal from an unknown planet that not only seems to be habitual for human use, but is close enough that the crew would not have to go back to sleep. Despite objections from the former captain’s wife Dany (played by Katherine Waterston), the crew vote to head down to explore the new region. Except for the pilot Tennessee (played by Danny McBride) whose still in space, the crew finds a world that seems to be breathable along with plentiful sources of water. They then come across a similar ship that had been found in Alien and Prometheus. Looks like we’ve got trouble.
I can already say that Alien: Covenant is an entertaining movie that’s ultimately good. Good but not great. In fact, this has the same distinction of the original Alien where the first half, before the aliens appear, being better then the action orientated second half. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Scott not only knows how to build a high sense of mysteriousness with such a beautifully shot world to dive into, but he always casts well to build a set of likable characters.
Much of what we see deals with the relationships the characters have with each other and their significant others. Danny McBride and Michael Fassbender bring a lot of needed humanity and occasional humor. The only one who I wanted more time with was Dany. You get a background of her, but I don’t know what I could tell you of her personality.
Without giving anything away, the plot dwells into territory that makes it an interesting sequel to Prometheus. We definitely get some more answers about the past of the space-jockeys and even some background on the xenomorphs. This unfortunately does clash with some of the established continuity.
The xenomorphs looks amazing and are fun to watch as they make their kills. Scott still understands the rule that you never give away too much too soon. I wish that not only more new elements were brought to the monster, but the final fight does seem too familiar of the previous films. It gets trapped within its own slasher tropes when you can kind of tell which characters are going to die. I would think that Scott would be able to bring a new spin to how the Alien movies can conclude.
I’ll give this four facehuggers out of five. Rather then offering a major game changer to the science fiction genre, Ridley Scott has given us an entertaining Alien movie. There’s nothing wrong with a movie that seems to exist to make the fans happy and I hope this entertains a lot of people. Take a look for yourself (but watch out for the facehuggers).