Alien Covenant

After questioning where human life came from in Prometheus, director Ridley Scott continues the narrative in the prequel sequel Alien: Covenant. But the trailers have indicated that this is an Alien movie that also goes back to the monstrous roots of the original 1979 movie that introduced audiences to xenomorphs. The truth is that it’s both. The question is whether that results in a cohesive, thoughtful, suspenseful sci-fi flick that’s worth your time.

After the jump, those of us on the /Film crew who saw the movie already offer their own thoughts.

First up, our own Ben Pearson says:

“For me, Alien: Covenant shares many of the same problems of Prometheus before it: moronic scientists and too much of a fascination with Michael Fassbender’s David. The best moments in Covenant involve Ridley Scott showing us he can still stage a scene with the best of them at age 79. The bursts of action when alien creatures attack the crew members are full of intensity and terror, but I’m just disappointed that I find myself so utterly uninterested in the mythology Scott clearly finds so fascinating.”

Our editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta was also less than impressed:

“Alien: Covenant makes it clear that Ridley Scott is not really interested in making Alien movies anymore, but is using the opportunity to tell his own stories about the responsibilities of a creator and artistic skill vs. trade. I was one of the few who really enjoyed Prometheus, and the subtle ideas that it hinted towards. Covenant has full-on hammer-on-head conversations about these themes, leaving nothing up for speculation and foregoing all mystery. The last thirty minutes of this film finally gives fans the Alien action they came for, but the off-ramp that you must take before arriving at that destination is not the movie I wanted to see.”

As for myself, I found the balance between a monster movie and contemplative sci-fi to be rather challenging, and not in a good way. Alien: Covenant gains steam whenever the xenomorphs and/or new neomorphs pop up, but then slows down drastically for the tour de force that is Michael Fassbender‘s double performance as the two androids Walter and David. These scenes are certainly interesting, but they’re not nearly as engaging as part of the narrative as Ridley Scott seems to think they are. It gets to the point where we’re being told things that longtime Alien fans would probably have been better off never knowing.

At the very least, the blood and gore side of things is extremely entertaining and the alien creatures killing off crew members haven’t been this gruesome in a long time. But at the same time, the crew of the Covenant make some of the dumbest decisions, making the kills almost less satisfying. The crew basically deserves to die for being so mindless about how they explore a planet meant for colonization. They’re reckless, irresponsible and just plain poor scientists with the exception of Katherine Waterston‘s Daniels, who makes for a decent Ripley substitute who deserved much more screentime.

In the end, Alien: Covenant has some interesting elements and the development of Michael Fassbender’s android character David is engaging on some level. But the way it meshes with what we’ve come to expect from an Alien movie feels contrived and never comes together to form one cohesive narrative.

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That’s enough from us, but what about you? What did you think of Alien: Covenant? Did it go back to the roots of the Alien franchise in a satisfying way or did the continuance of the story that began in Prometheus hold it back? Sound off in the comments below!

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