Alien: Covenant Review
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by: Jerry Smith
When fans heard that ALIEN director Ridley Scott would be returning to the series he kickstarted, with PROMETHEUS, a brand new film set within the same world as his 1979 classic, naturally interest was high. A good 32 years between ALIEN and PROMETHEUS had taken place and in that time, we had received James Cameron’s ALIENS, David Fincher’s ALIEN3 and AMELIE director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ALIEN: RESURRECTION. All across the board as far as quality was concerned, those films are offered a very different approach to the mythos and tons of the first film and having Scott back at the helm sounded like a dream come true. When PROMETHEUS finally did arrive, audiences were pretty divisive, either really liking it (like this writer) or downright loathing the film. Naturally, fans were pretty bummed that in place of Xenomorph-filled horror, we were given heavy doses of philosophy and more questions that answers. Hearing the cries of the fans, Scott has now returned with the second in his “ALIEN-prequel” series, in the form of ALIEN: COVENANT, a film that utilizes the loftier ideas of PROMETHEUS and gives fans one hell of a horror and alien filled ride.
What COVENANT does very well is pulling the hints of sinister intentions that Michael Fassbender’s David character from PROMETHEUS had and elevates those to downright scary proportions. There’s no subtly this time around, we know the synthetic human tires of someone else playing god with him and wants to do the same with his creations. With that established, we know that the crew of the doomed Covenant is in for some hell and when a huge accident claims the lives of a couple of their members and they’re left to discover, like the first film in the series, something alive on a planet they’re not familiar with, we know right from the beginning that things are not going to end well for any of them. Playing like a new take on the first film’s plot points, crew members are accidentally infected, we see some familiar chest bursting greatness and then we’re given a good rest of the film that plays out like a horror-filled, alien-heavy version of And There Were None, with crew members being picked off one by one by the fan favorite Xenomorphs and the new Neomorphs, which are quite a sight to behold.
ALIEN: COVENANT isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s what we WANT to see again, returning the series to a horror-heavy tone, with blood soaking the screen, the thriller elements kicked up quite a few notches and though it isn’t very character development, it’s the kind of sci-fi fun that audiences have been missing from quite some time. The film won’t change history or go down as a classic, but it was most certainly entertain and the cast of COVENANT does an excellent job of giving their best doomed crew performances, though I’m still confused why James Franco was cast in the film being that he has a total of maybe two scenes in the entire film (maybe we were given the classic Ridley Scott editing).
What’s interesting about the film is that it’s not just an alien as the antagonist type of film. We’re given quite a few shriek-inducing moments with our favorite creatures, but Fassbender really steals the show as David but also as a new, almost identical synthetic named Walter, who seems like the yin to David’s yang. One wants to help while the other wants to destroy and create, to infect and blossom. The actor does one hell of a job playing both roles and like PROMETHEUS, it’s really the Fassbender show every single time he’s on screen, he lights everything up with his acting chops.
ALIEN: COVENANT follows many similar beats and paths we’ve seen before, but it’s an interesting time, filled with more questions, more answers this time around, some beautiful cinematography and the aliens we all wanted to see more of. While it’s not perfect and could use more development and a bit more in most capacities, we’re at least closer to what everybody had hoped for over the past couple of decades and with Scott back at the helm, the next film in the series will most likely be a full return of what we all loved about ALIEN.