Starring: Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Amy Seimetz
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: Jack Paglen (story), Michael Green (story), John Logan (screenplay), Dante Harper (screenplay)
Review by Stephanie Cooke
Alien: Covenant is the much awaited sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus. You know, not to confuse you or anything. The film isn’t a continuation of the Alien franchise where those left off but rather where Prometheus ended things, although not quite immediately.
Covenant is the name of the ship that’s carrying over 2000 colonists for a new planet that the humans plan to terra form and start anew.
From there, there is a lot of build-up as we spend time with the crew and wind up on a planet that’s NOT the one they’re meant to be going to after responding to a beacon… nothing good ever comes from being a Good Samaritan in horror movies. Nope. Not ever.
10 years has past since the events that transpired in Prometheus and then here we are…
Let’s take a quick timeout before carrying on and give a warning for the kiddies out there:
Alien: Covenant is rated 14A for strong use of language, scurry aliens, robot sexual assault, robot on robot twincest, and other robot related deviancies resulting in feeling dirty literally all over including inside.
Yeaaaaaaaaah. I just have so many icky feelings about a lot of the film here. It’s not enough in Alien: Covenant that human men are filled with rape culture bullsh*t that the writers of the film felt the need to take it one step further and make the robot AI of the film disgustingly rapey as well. Even in the future, on distant planets with aliens and crazy new technology… men AND AI robots will apparently always be prone to sexual assault. Ew.
I don’t know here. I don’t. I left the film and avoided talking to the reps because I didn’t know how I felt about the film and as I write this before I head to sleep for the night, I find myself thinking that I could sleep on it but I don’t want to. I don’t know if my thoughts digested will ultimately make the film better or worse in my eyes.
Prometheus was a mess. I watched it once in theatres with great disdain and then waited 5 years before watching it again at home where I proceeded to dislike it only slightly less. To me, it felt like the film ruined its own franchise continuity which as a writer just feels stupid and sloppy. If you can’t be bothered to keep literally the one or two things that you needed to keep in place for the pre-existing movies then maybe you shouldn’t be written something that ties into an extended universe.
So I came to Alien: Covenant feeling like “Well Prometheus set the bar real low here…” and that certainly helped with my overall opinions because as a start to the positive things, Alien: Covenant is better than Prometheus.
Like Prometheus, Covenant is a visually stunning film that paints for us a beautiful picture of what an ideal alien world could look like. However, as beautiful as the landscapes are, I never buy that anyone in the film is excited about this. They’re on a BRAND NEW UNDISCOVERED PLANET and none of them even seem to care. Like, AT ALL. Rey from The Force Awakens looked like she was about to burst into tears in the best kind of emotional bliss when she discovered what the universe looked like beyond her small, sandy world. Every single person aboard Covenant looks bored, even. Each discovery they make doesn’t warrant any real reaction from any of them. Wheat grown by a human? Whatever. Dog tags belonging to a human? Whatever.
No one seems to give a damn, even when shit hits the fan and loved ones start dying (since most of the crew came in pairs), no one really seems to care all that much. I don’t buy any of their damn emotions, not even fear when they’re faced with creatures that are beyond terrifying. Pretty well all of the performances fall flat for me and with a talented cast including Billy Crudup, Katherine Waterstone, and Michael Fassbender, I have to believe that the fault doesn’t lie with them so much as the script and with the direction that they were given.
The story is subpar and like with Prometheus, doesn’t add or give us anything new and exciting for the Alien mythos… it gives us more questions that I honestly don’t even care to have answered.
Like with Batman vs Superman, there are a couple of random scenes thrown in (ie. Batman’s weird nightmare sequence) that just straight up don’t make sense. The scenes in question are meant to provide us with context to what we’re seeing but they don’t and leave you scratching your head.
As mentioned, the special effects are fantastic though and if there is any kind of shining light to be taken from Alien: Covenant it is that because let me tell you… Michael Fassbender’s character comparing Xenomorphs to horses that you can tame by blowing gently into their nostrils was definitely not.
See it. I know literally EVERYTHING I just said is contrary to this, I do. However, I still generally feel like it was good even though it was a very subpar kind of good. I just expect more from this franchise, which is shocking given the fact that it’s produced more bad movies than good ones at this point but I keep thinking things will turn around. Alien: Covenant wasn’t quite the change in quality that I wanted but again, it wasn’t Prometheus so I guess that’s something.