Ridley Scott is a name synonymous with the Alien franchise. You could say that he’s the father of our beloved ‘starbeast’ for introducing us to that intergalactic fear of being trapped in the silence of space since 1979.
As much as his credit is due, Alien Covenant takes a step forward from Prometheus in hopes of tying the loose ends from the prequel to its legacy. But does it really succeed?
To be honest, I consider the Alien (as well as the Predator) franchise to be the movie monsters of my era. People had Godzilla, Gremlins, and maybe even Attack of the Killer Tomatoes as their choice but these two space terrors have been a solid favourite which has lasted the test of time.
I respect Scott as the pioneer but I’m more towards James Cameron’s expansion (1986’s Aliens) which has definitely elevated the Alien status from space horror to sci-fi kickass-ery.
In truth, I wasn’t much of a fan of Prometheus. I was excited to know that Scott was returning to helm this aged menace but it wasn’t until I sat through everything and thought about how it was nothing new.
The story was the same formula as most Alien movies or more accurately, the plot to Alien Vs Predator, which simply came 10 years too late and though you could debate about the birth of a new monster, it doesn’t quite bring anything new to the table.
Alien Covenant brings a new take of the formula. You recognise a lot of what needs to exist in these movies – the expendable crew, exploration of a new planet, human ignorance etc, but there is a point where the dynamics change to bring a whole new element that would be injustice to define as simply a plot twist.
PS: It would best to catch the Prologue to Alien Convenant which features a bit of an extent scene after Prometheus that also connects directly to Alien Convent. ()
The crew of the Covenant holds a few familiar faces; you have names like Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts), Billy Crudup (Watchmen) and of course, Michael Fassbender (The Light Between Oceans, X-Men First Class) who share the spotlight quite fairly.
But the trouble is, you barely get to know the rest of the crew. They are so expendable that you won’t even care about them enough to invest any amount of attention in them throughout the film.
Fassbender carries much of the movie’s weight, delivering a stunning performance while playing two sides of the coin. His role in the movie does get confusing at times but at pivotal moments, he reels you in with an eery yet captivating performance as the new/old synthetic.
The story itself leaves you with a lot to be desired. On one hand, you get a more visually stunning performance by the alien(s) (I didn’t spoil it, everyone saw the trailer!) that was definitely missing from Prometheus but you will also be left hanging with a lot more questions than actual answers – quite similar to how Prometheus was.
This may be a ploy by Scott in giving us just bits of a overall story, but leaving the cinema without any resolution really is an itch you can’t scratch. It’s hard to further elaborate some of the direction they choose to take this movie without spoiling it but it is worth noting that much of it remains a mystery.
To be fair, it is a refresher to see the Alien back on the silver screen once again. Its menace in presence speaks volumes to my inner fanboy but doesn’t quite have the cheer I had when I saw the king of kaijus in Godzilla (2014).
I got nitpicky with how they portrayed the alien in this movie. Seeing its life cycle altered was something that didn’t really sit right with me and seeing how certain plots contradicted some of the previous facts about the alien was off-putting enough for me to feel like I didn’t know what I was familiar with anymore.
Alien Covenant is a breathtaking movie as Ridley Scott delivers his keen eye for captivating sceneries and visually stunning sets. Surely he deserves better praise in certain aspects as a filmmaker but I feel as if his input on this franchise has only further complicated its future.
Enjoy the movie for its pros but remember that we won’t be seeing Alien 5 because of this or any future installments while the focus is now shifted to the prequel era of Alien.
As of today, any hope of a sequel or retcons after Aliens is gone along with any chance of seeing Ripley, Hicks and Newt take on a new adventure.
Now the chest is well and truly burst. Alien Covenant gets a 6/10 from me but not all is bad if you’re in for a good gory flick and leave any fanboy antics at the doors.
Also this is definitely not something you’d want to bring your kids to watch!