Ridley Scott once again returns to the Alien universe for the 3rd time with the sequel to Prometheus and the prequel to Alien. Alien is considered a masterpiece in science fiction and horror while Prometheus divided viewers. Note: At the time of writing this, I have not seen Prometheus. I promise I’ll get to it. Let’s dive in!
Alien: Covenant is set 10 years after the events of Prometheus and follows the Covenant, a colony ship on its way to a new planet. After an accident forces the crew, composed of Daniels (Katherine Waterson), Tennessee (Danny McBride), Oram (Billy Crudup), and synthetic Walter (Michael Fassbender, who has a double role, also reprising David). Upon waking up, the crew finds a signal that leads to an uncharted planet that has Moreno than they initially bargained for.
Alien: Covenant is a good, albeit flawed continuation of the Alien franchise. It chooses to continue the events of Prometheus and give a nod to Alien. This film’s major task is to balance the progression of the new series and acknowledge the existence of the old one. It tends to answer more questions from Prometheus than gracefully lead us into Alien. There are distinct pros and cons here. Let’s begin with the pros.
The design in this movie is stunning. Ridley Scott has a distinctive eye for design, using strong framings and a cool, clean color palette that dominates the majority of the movie. Ridley Scott came from an advertising background, filming for rich design and style and with Covenant, it shows. With Alien: Covenant, every shot exudes beauty. The set design is impressive, with the environment that feels lived-in and easy to see. It was honestly one of the few improvements I saw from Alien. I liked being able to see the mysterious ship and its interior in full clarity. Also, Michael Fassbender was really good in this movie! He played a dual role that led to some interesting twists and turns in the film. Fassbender really emulates Ash from the first Alien film in voice and behavior.
Now for the cons. Alien: Covenant tries to hit the same notes as Alien. The premise is near identical. Now, I don’t typically have a problem with this, but Covenant doesn’t hit the mark as it tries to emulate the first film. The biggest problem comes with the characters. The crew of the Covenant is not the most compelling crew. They are all couples, which should make them more interesting, as there are higher stakes for them to survive. Not so. They introduce certain things that don’t go anywhere or don’t deepen our understanding of the crew. The Nostromo crew wasn’t developed too much either, yet their plight was more compelling. Each member of the crew there is distinguishable and we root for each of them. Here, there were too many members of the Covenant to keep track of and to truly get an attachment to. But
In addition, the film also had a few inconsistencies that didn’t line up with the other films. I had a long conversation with my dad (who I saw the movie with) about some of the questions and inconsistencies. Maybe Ridley Scott will clear up these things as he continues to develop this story and provide answers.
Overall, Alien: Covenant is not a perfect film. It’s flawed, especially with character development, but still enjoyable to watch. It is an interesting blend of the horror of the xenomorphs and the scientific discoveries about the creation of the xenomorphs. Scott was not trying to tread new ground in his work. He already did that in 1979 and with his other films. Covenant is purely meant to be enjoyable. Be prepared: this film is 2/3 a Prometheus sequel and 1/3 an Alien prequel. For me, Alien: Covenant gets a B.
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