Movie Review: Alien: Covenant
Alien: Covenant was on my most anticipated list of 2017 this year, so needless to say, I was there opening night to check it out. The pressing question I needed to be answered: Is this a return to form for Ridley Scott? Will this film be a repeat critical success like The Martian, or is it more like Exodus: Gods and Kings? The latter was a film with so many white men covered in liquid tanning that the world’s supply must have dried up for those weeks of production.
My answer? Neither. Before I dive in, though, some history is needed.
I’m one of the few that actually really enjoyed Prometheus. It’s not a perfect movie, and neither is this one, but it had some fantastic performances, breathtaking visuals, and dared to ask some philosophical questions amongst the thrills. Plus, the surgery pod scene is still one of the most intense scenes I’ve witnessed in recent years.
Alien: Covenant tries to answer some of the questions provoked in Prometheus and does manage to answer a few. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen the film, but Covenant just seems to waste other moments I was looking forward to. The film doesn’t always seem to know what its purpose really is apart from looking cool.
The film begins with yet another prologue in addition to the two released before the movie came out, and in this opening prologue, we find David and Peter Weyland discussing creation and culture. After that we begin in the year 2104 aboard the Colonization ship, the Covenant, with a crew of couples bringing 2,000 frozen colonists to a new world. Of course, everything goes to crap fairly soon, as you can imagine.
I found some scenes to be outright boring and unfortunately mixed with some flat dialogue. There were also points of the film where it felt as if they were winking at me. Like, hey remember this “wink”, bet you didn’t see this coming “wink.” The list could go on and into more detail, but I don’t want to ruin any moments of the film. I just found most of the movie shockingly predictable, which makes me think that maybe I should not have watched any of the trailers. It was at least worthy of the R rating with the violence and language, but honestly, it wasn’t that scary to me. The scenes that were scariest were because of lighting and some buildup, which the movie needed more of in my opinion. It also doesn’t help my opinion that all the best scenes were previously shown in the trailers.
Before I enter some of the next nick-picky points, yes, I know this is a movie about aliens and space. With that said, I should probably check my brain at the door, but Ridley Scott has taught me over the years to bring it with me into his films, especially Prometheus. So, the fact that they aren’t wearing suits or helmets on an alien planet bothered me incessantly. You mean someone is sick? Who knew? It’s like we should be prepared that an alien planet might have some harmful crap floating around on it. Also, can we just agree that every time someone goes for “a smoke” or leaves to “take a leak” they are instantly dead? Every single adventure movie has shown me that troupe. Also, another interstellar travel tip, don’t stare into alien eggs that open right before your face.
All of these things not-withstanding, there are certain things I loved about this film, and most all of them are in relation to the impressive visuals and cast performances. Katherine Waterston was very convincing as Daniels, Michael Fassbender was a beast as usual in his synthetic role, and the biggest shock of all was Danny McBride, who ended up giving the best performance of all. This film is also beautiful in every way, and a lot of that credit can go to the tremendous set design. Ridley excels in producing visuals in camera along with smooth CG work that he is known for in my opinion.
To wrap-up my long-winded point, I was kind of disappointed from a story and plot standpoint, but the visuals and performances were strong. This is not a bad movie, but I had some major issues with it. So, in conclusion, I’m giving Alien: Covenant a rating of 6/10.