Alien: Covenant is Ridley Scott’s attempt to reinvigorate the Alien franchise after the somewhat cold reactions received by Prometheus (2012) and some stinkers from the past (Alien: Resurrection, AVP), unworthily labelled as Alien movies.
In the film, we follow the crew of the Covenant – a spaceship on the way to Origae-6, a remote planet, to colonise it with some two-thousand colonists and a thousand embryos on-board. After something goes terribly wrong, the ship catches a human message from another unknown planet and, therefore, the crew decides to land there and see what’s going on.
Needless to say, the crew happens to be the target of creatures interested in nothing but ripping them apart in all manner of devastatingly inventive new ways.
After hanging over five years for answers that Prometheus set for us, Alien: Covenant only provides the viewers with some of the posers.
Instead, the result of the latest Scott’s movie appears an amalgamation between Alien and Prometheus, a mixed-bag that doesn’t satisfy neither the fans of the first nor the supporters of the latter.
Having high expectations for this film, I was very let down by it. In all honesty, Covenant is a convoluted, bloated mess that attempts to recreate the most successful chunks of both the first two Alien movies and Prometheus, failing, though, almost on every single level.
In all fairness, though, visuals and acting are the saving grace of the movie.
The cinematography is gorgeous and, once again, Ridley Scott proves to be a master-class Sci-fi director in terms of visual effects. Some of the shots are breath-taking and eye-grabbing, that’s undeniable.
Plus, the acting is very good on everyone’s part. Although Katherine Waterston as Daniels is decent, Danny McBride in an unprecedented role for him and Michael Fassbender – who carries the plot along throughout the entire two hours or so of runtime – stand out and are worth praising over the other performances.
However, these two elements only can’t save the movie from being a big let-down.
My main disappointment with Alien: Covenant revolves around the tone. The Prometheus-like vibe never matches with the Alien-like tone, providing a very contrasting feeling throughout the whole film.
Yet, the camera-work is sometimes frustrating: certain shots seem directly extracted from a videogame and there are scenes where it’s impossible to understand what’s going on because of the use of the infamous shaky-cam. Which I was really surprised Scott got away with, since it’s a technique such a good director should shy away from.
In terms of camera-work, I was also disappointed by the fact that some gruesome and bloody sequences were made hard to look at, whereas would have been great to appreciate their effectiveness in this type of film.
Again, the CGI doesn’t blend with the practical effects and shots on location. It looks already fake and dated even in comparison with the astounding special effects of the first Alien (1979)! Ridley Scott, where did you go?
All in all, I would have preferred to see a straight-up sequel to Prometheus – which, although not perfect by any means, is an entertaining, challenging piece of cinema – rather than a bloated flick where direction and production company aimed to please the mass audience’s requests for more xenomorphs and brutal killings.
In conclusion, give Covenant a chance if you have to, but I personally wouldn’t recommend to watch this film, especially to those who love the first two movies and hope to see their beloved franchise to be reinvigorated. Cheers!