Let me give you my description of Alien: Covenant right upfront. It's like your parents telling you you're going on an exciting vacation to a new place . You're all excited and fired up as you jump in the car. When you pull up to the destination, you hang your head in disappointment. It's just another McDonald's in another city.
That's how you feel when you get the "payoff" most of you have been waiting for since the end credits rolled on Prometheus. I wasn't as disappointed as most of you will be. I never had any hope Scott could take the Prometheus storyline anywhere else interesting anyway. Thus, the reason all the sudden the movie went from being referred to as Prometheus 2 to Alien: Covenant.
Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival in Alien: Covenant.
Alien: Covenant is basically a mish-mash of all the original four films in the franchise and a pinch of Prometheus. It's as if Scott took all the elements he could tolerate from the sequels he wanted to "erase" and tried to make sense of them in his own mind.
For the most part, Scott does his best to breeze over all the metaphysical nonsense he established in Prometheus and just keep the malicious android and Engineers. Take a bit of the military angle of Aliens, complete with very foul-mouthed folks touting guns and rifles and riding inside a dropship to the planet. Add a shake of Alien 3's shots from the point of view of the Xenomorph. Toss in a hint of Alien: Resurrection's mutation plotline and... Voila! You have Alien: Covenant. There's nothing new under the sun. Even another planet's sun.
Alright, so maybe there are a couple of new concepts to be found in Alien: Covenant. First, the way you can be "infected" by an organism is expanded. Secondly, an alien isn't just "hatched" one way. However, it's still just not enough to push this into the forefront of sequels for this franchise.
The acting in Alien: Covenant could've been better as well. There are several moments where I felt like a few of of the actors were just delivering lines they were fed on-set. Michael Fassbender was fine, but how much effort does it really take to play an android with no emotions.
Honestly, it's not so much that Alien: Covenant retreads familiar ground. It's that Ridley Scott does exactly what he says he doesn't want to do in the process. He hates on any of the sequels after Aliens, but delivers the exact same type of product after all his big talk about breathing new life into the franchise.
When the Xenomorph is onscreen, there's a good level of excitement and tension. I'll give Alien: Covenant that much. Most of the action involving the creature takes place in the last act, which is sabotaged by one big problem. It is almost an exact carbon copy of how the original Alien ended. Sure, Scott threw in some tanks and bigger special effects to update it and give the film a bigger "blockbuster" feel. Everything still pans out the same, though.
Of course, just like all horror movie these days, Alien: Covenant can't just wrap itself up. We have to be left with the door wide open for another movie. That's to be expected. However, if you're going to attempt to deliver some sort of "surprise" ending, try not to make it so predictable.
There's a ton of great gore and some fun kill scenes in Alien: Covenant that merit the film an R-rating. You get chest-bursters and so much more. Someone is swearing at least every minute or so. An unnecessary nude scene could've easily been avoided, as it is a quick flash of a breast and adds nothing to the plot of the film.
In the grand scheme of things, Alien: Covenant is worth a view or two. After that, it will just become filler in a Blu-ray collection of all the movies in the franchise five or ten years down the road. You won't be flipping through the set and go, "Oh, I want to watch this one!" It'll be the disc stuck to the inside of the sleeve because it's never pulled out to be revisited.
P.S. I want to see Neil Blomkamp's Alien movie Ridley Scott stole from us!
Alien: Covenant comes out May 18th, 2017. It was directed by Ridley Scott. The cast includes Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterstone, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, and Callie Hernandez. The running time is 122 minutes. It's rated R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality / nudity .
Rating: 🌟🌟 and three-quarters.