Alien: Covenant - Movie Review: "Alien" meets "Prometheus"

May 19, 2017

7.5/10 Ridley Scott takes us back to the terror of the Alien. 

This post includes minor spoilers about the films characters. No major story spoilers.

Fans of the original Alien rejoice! This entry in the prequel series gets back to the true terror of its title character; The Xenomorph. And since we're in 2017, the effects/set design are an impressive and gorgeously terrifying feat.

The story is set on a new group of "Searching for a home beyond earth" characters who are on a colonization mission aboard the "Covenant." Set 10 years after the events of Prometheus. They come across a transmission from a planet that seems very promising for colonization. Despite their original plan, they head there instead, without any knowledge beyond knowing its habitable. Now, this is my major gripe with the film. The characters are rash, and sometimes completely unaware of their decision making. They are forgettable, often dumb, and seem to play out decisions simply to push the narrative or create scenarios for scare opportunities. Despite that, the film works. This isn't about establishing characters, it isn't about rooting for our new crew members of the Covenant. This is a continued story of Prometheus; the origin of Xenomorph. About humanities questions of existentialism. About David's (yes you read right) questions of existentialism. Speaking of which, Fassbender plays with great fervor in contrast to this story's new synthetic, Walter. It's a fantastic narrative choice, and in my opinion, drives the film and redeems every other character flaw. 

What this film does do well is bring back the terror we all know and love from the original Alien films. A midway scene in particular really amps up the horror. It's the first kill in the film (certainly not the last) and it is bloody brilliant. What follows is a terror filled action packed highlight of whats to come later. Scott sets this up extremely well and it is a pivotal point in the films bigger and most relevant reveal. Ironically our first Alien is a new one, properly named a Neomorph, which in my opinion is more terrifying than the Xenomorph. The Neomorph serves as the films bridge between Prometheus and Alien, and honestly I would not mind a spinoff of these creatures as well. However this is where Alien: Covenant suceeds on all levels. It's deeply terrifying, and it leads into the mythos of the Alien franchise, further explains David's motives, answers questions we had from Prometheus, and creates new ones that definitely hint at more to come. 

The first half of this film is incredible and although its third act seems a bit "big studio climax decision making" it is irrevocably redeemed by Fassbender and a very satisfying ending. It's an eerie look into the mind (of lack there of) of the show stealing synthetics, and a deeper look into the Xenomorph. It's a scary and satisfying film and a good entry in the Alien franchise. I am a fan of Prometheus in that it does bring something new to the table. Alien: Covenant is more of the same and doesn't try anything new. Which ultimately both it's upside and downside. Despite it faults, I enjoyed Covenant, and relished in its visuals, score, and horror. Go see this in theaters, and if you can, it warrants an IMAX viewing. 

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