Directed by Ridley Scott, Alien: Covenant is set 10 years after the events of Prometheus, the crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. The cast stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup. Danny McBride. Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, and a cameo from James Franco. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape. Though I know this is the direct sequel to Prometheus, this is still an official Alien movie. An Alien movie by director Ridley Scott? The man who brought us the original? Is it Christmas already? I love it when a director goes back to the franchise that they created. You can either go George Miller or you can go Bryan Singer. You’ll be surprised where Ridley Scott lies.
THE GOOD: Well, Alien: Covenant lands itself in the middle of the SUPERSAM scale, swaying more towards positive than negative but not by much. With what worked well, its genre elements did its job. ‘Alien: Covenant’ delivered vibes of sci-fi, horror, thriller, adventure, mystery, and more. Overall, what you could expect from an “Alien” film was presented; unrelenting and vicious terror from otherworldly lifeforms and nature. Sporadic scenes of tight quartered shot locations. It can not get much better than that when it comes from an Alien series… Beyond genre, the pacing of the film did well for me. I never felt bored, honestly. Right out of the gate, curiosity consumed me as I watched the opening events unfold and it quickly turned into fast-paced intensity. This pace would continue throughout the film, invoking curiosity through the duration, then slamming you with terror and action suddenly. If anything, the film will keep you on your toes, whether you like what is necessarily happening or not.
An absolutely shining gem within the film is Michael Fassbender’s performance as he played androids, David and Walter. Without diving into major spoilers, he simply puts on a show through two characters that make you truly question what their purpose is. Very complex and interesting characters that could be discussed for hours. It will be interesting to see how these characters may influence the series or not. Another standout is Daniels. Daniels is just Ripley in the body of Katherine Waterson. She gives a great performance and proves to be an action star by the third act. She inherits all of Ripley’s character traits which are not a bad thing, for a character like that is desperately needed. Like Ripley, she is a humanist and cares about the bond between people but uses her knowledge based on logistics. When it times to get serious, she uses her brain to get out of tough situations. She’s not a memorable character by any means but is a good one to follow. Daniels is the smart one that even when the worst happens, she gets back up again. I love that in the beginning, this shows that abruptly waking up from hypersleep isn’t as peaceful as its depicted in other Sci-Fi space films. Right when this crew is awoken the captain’s pod instantly catches on fire where he, of course, burns to death. This kicks off the story for these characters especially for Daniels due to the Captain being her husband.
THE BAD/DECENT: The film starts off slowly, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The original Alien starts off slowly as well. This one mixed tones from both Prometheus and Alien in how it started. You again get an opening focused on a synthetic while all the humans are asleep, but this sequence is not drawn out nearly as much. Soon after this sequence takes place the ship has an accident and the crew is woken up. From this point on the film is just one death after the other in too quick a succession. There are only like 12 crew members in the whole movie and by the end of it, only two have survived. The other ones are killed off like a line of dominoes. In one scene, maybe 5 of them are killed off in seconds.
While the alien is finally in this film, it’s actually not fully about it/them. The villain of the film is actually David, the synthetic from Prometheus. In a very cheesy, but borderline original, plot the film tells us that David is basically still a malicious child that hates humans. What was well done about David’s presence was the choice to cast Michael Fassbender as two different synthetics. Seeing him talk to and interact with himself was actually very well done. Too bad it wasn’t enough to save this film though.
The real problem with Alien Covenant is that it doesn’t really commit to being any one type of film. Instead, it tries to mash together multiple films in the Alien franchise, ultimately adding up to a mediocre film that ends up being more about David than the Alien itself. This isn’t the drawn out survival horror you get in the original Alien. The pacing in this film is all wrong as well. It starts off slow and then speeds up way too much, leaving a bunch of additional questions left unanswered.
Alien: Covenant does what it is supposed to do and as expected, has given us a prequel Alien film. It glorifies itself with multiple genre elements that keep an audience on their toes, not knowing what to expect next, yet still, delivers a very complex and mysterious story. The story leads one to wonder what could possibly happen next, given the common knowledge that it must lead to the events of Alien eventually, but does it cause people to wonder too much and/or has this prequel series already gone too far away from its originals? Regardless, although the elements of a complex story do well for the film, they do not mask the plot holes presented and definitely do not mask the absurd stupid decisions these characters come up with on screen.
Capable of greatness, destined for mediocrity; Alien: Covenant lands in the middle of the road again with yet another filmmaking me strangely curious to wonder, “Alright, what is going to happen next?”
SUPERSAM RATING: ★★★½