Alien: Covenant Movie Review
Written by R.J. MacReady
Released by Twentieth Century Fox
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by John Logan and Dante Harper
2017, 122 minutes, Rated R
Theatrically released on May 19th, 2017
Michael Fassbender as David / Walter
Katherine Waterston as Daniels
Billy Crudup as Oram
Danny McBride as Tennessee
Demián Bichir as Lope
Ridley Scott returns to what he promises will be an actual Alien movie, and not just some loosely-connected plot with Alien-like creatures, AKA Prometheus. Does he deliver? Read on to find out...
To start, Alien: Covenant is definitely a sequel to Prometheus, and it does reveal what happens after the end of that movie. Those of you thinking—or hoping—that they’d jettison all of that are going to be disappointed.
The film starts off with a credit sequence that flashes back to shortly after the creation of David, the android played by Michael Fassbender. He’s having a conversation with his creator, played by Guy Pierce. Then we dissolve to the deck of the Covenant, a starship reminiscent of the Space: 1999 Eagle, on its way to colonize a planet. All of its occupants are asleep for its seven-plus year journey except for an android named Walter, played by Michael Fassbender. Basically a newer model of the David android from Prometheus.
There’s an unexpected space anomaly that causes damage to the ship, waking up all of its crew that consists of mostly-forgettable characters. The ones you’ll remember are Danny McBride (basically playing Kenny Powers just SLIGHTLY more mature), Demian Bechir, Billy “No, I’m not the guy in Rocketeer” Crudup, and Katherine Waterston. The rest are just meat for the grinder.
The crew decides to stop at what appears to be a hospitable planet to investigate a mysterious signal (has that EVER gone well?), and the bad stuff starts to happen. That’s as much as I’ll say about the plot because I’m not a spoiler kind of guy.
“But is it good?” That’s what you want to know, right?
To tell you the truth, I’m still wondering that a few hours after seeing the movie. I can tell you that it’s better than Prometheus for sure. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad:
- As always, Ridley Scott knows how to frame a shot. He also knows how to hire a good D.P. to get him some gorgeous imagery.
- After the first 10 minutes, you are not going to be bored. Scott and the screenwriters have decided that character development is secondary to bad shit happening, and in this movie that might have been the correct way to go.
- There are actual Alien aliens in this movie. Not goofy hybrid things. Actual eggs with chestbursters that grow into full Aliens. (Though they grow from tiny to full grown way too fast...like in less than an hour.)
- The gore. There’s a lot of it, and it’s pretty badass. There are some savage attacks here, and I’d guess quite a bit of it was practical.
- They try to explain the black goo again, and just end up making it more confusing. At this point, I have no idea whether the Alien is just an Alien, or whether it came from the black goo originally. I’d like them to just get rid of the black goo idea and go back to where this is just a race of hateful, destructive Aliens.
- The CGI Aliens. They look pretty CGI, especially when they’re small. It’s not that it’s poorly-done, but the choice to make the Aliens move super fast makes them look super fake. I wish Hollywood would learn that faster isn’t scarier.
- Script choices. There are a few times that things happen because the script wants them to, and not because the characters would act that way. In particular there’s a scene where one character decides to go out on the deck of their “shuttle” to get an Alien off. This ship is heading off planet into space, so here’s an idea: Stay inside where it’s safe and leave the Alien alone. When you’re in space, it’ll die. But they wanted an action set piece of this character trying to kill the Alien while the shuttle almost crashes into mountains. Looks cool, but completely unbelievable.
- The ending. Super predictable. I get the impression they thought they’d deliver this amazing surprise at the end, but I saw it coming about a half an hour in.
On the whole I’d guess I am a little disappointed in the movie, but that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable. Alien fans will probably have a good-enough time as long as their expectations aren’t too lofty.
I should mention that I saw this in 2D, but there was a lot of shots that seemed like they were set up for 3D. I can’t find any information about whether it’s getting a 3D release or not, but you might want to consider it if you’re going.