Alien: Covenant


Director: Ridley Scott.
Screenplay: John Logan, Dante Harper.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Guy Pearce, Demián Bechir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, James Franco.

“No one understands the lonely perfection of my dreams”

When it was announced that Prometheus would would have Ridley Scott revisit the Alien world of his 1979 classic, there was much anticipation. However, the end result caused huge disappointment for fans and many were left wondering why Scott even bothered in the first place. Alien: Covenant was a chance for Scott to right some wrongs and have another go but, unfortunately, he doesn’t achieve that. If anything, Covenant is an even bigger misstep.


Plot: The crew of the deep-space colony vessel Covenant are bound for a remote planet to build a new life. En route they intercept a transmission from a nearby planet that may resemble Earth and decide to investigate. What they find is a dangerous world that they must escape as soon as they arrive.

It has been said that Ridley Scott is on a collision course with his own franchise much in the same way that George Lucas did by delivering three unnecessary Star Wars prequels that were less than the sum of their parts. Scott’s decision to claim that Prometheus wasn’t actually part of the Alien storyline was such a confounding claim that it verged on being insulting by trying to pass it off as something that it obviously wasn’t. That has seemingly all but been forgotten, though, as Alien: Covenant makes no such claim. In fact, it’s so much like previous Alien films in its structure that it becomes apparent, very early on, that there’s no originality here. Scott’s original film hangs heavy over the proceedings and he has no shame in also stealing from James Cameron’s sequel when it comes to action set-pieces and David Fincher’s third instalment by showing us the occasional point of view of the alien itself. These approaches are glaring and despite trying to bring the best of these three films, Scott is unable to make them work or improve upon them at all. After a laborious first hour, it’s apparent that Covenant is going nowhere fast and having an assorted cast of characters with little to no characterisation doesn’t help matters (why James Franco even makes a cameo appearance is also pointless and off-putting). Much like Prometheus, the only saving grace is having Michael Fassbender (in a dual role) trying to hold this mess together. As good as he is, though, even he can’t rise above the woefully lazy script.

The biggest problem for me, however, was the special effects. For a big-budget science fiction there really is no excuse for having such shamefully sub-par CGI. Scott manages to deliver an Alien film where the aliens themselves simply don’t work. They are so laughably bad that they ruin any attempt at tension or suspense – the very bread and butter that Alien films thrive upon. There is one important and crucial piece of dialogue in the film whereby Fassbender informs us that “One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony“.  At least Ridley Scott and I can agree on that and when you reflect on this film, it’s wise words that Scott should have paid closer attention to.

With the Blade Runner sequel due in a few months, I’m actually much happier now that Scott has passed the reigns to Denis Villenueve. Scott may be a visual master but his ability to provide overall quality anymore is seriously in question. It’s fair to say that Scott has further plans for this franchise but after the disappointment of Prometheus and the ineptitude of this, it’s a series of films that I’m finding it increasing more difficult to invest in.

Mark Walker

Trivia: Each “Alien” film features a different type of group interacting with the Xenomorphs, which were miners in Alien (1979), the military in Aliens (1986), prisoners in Alien 3 (1992), smugglers in Alien: Ressurection (1997), archaeologists in Alien vs. Predator (2004), a combination of normal suburban humans, police force, and military in Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2007), and research scientists in Prometheus (2012). While the main characters in this film are scientists, they are also colonists.

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21 Responses to “Alien: Covenant”

  1. Nice review Mark. While I liked this more than you, I too felt disappointed in Covenant. Although I came out of the film thinking it was an improvement over Prometheus, after a while it felt pretty empty, and as you said essentially rebaked moments from the previous movie. I thought Danny McBride gave a surprisingly solid dramatic performance, but Covenant was a lackluster picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found some positives in Prometheus, man. I really did. But I thoughts Scott would’ve learned from his flaws and mistakes and remedied them with Covenant. He didn’t! I really wasn’t keen on this at all. The first hour was a waste of my life and I held in there thinking it would pay-off. It didn’t. I was even more disappointed in this than I was Prometheus, if I’m honest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • To some extent, it does feel like Scott is self-correcting after Prometheus (there are much fewer “why did they do that?” moments), but from interviews, it seems his main takeaway from that movie was that there should have been a greater focus on the xenomorphs. I wish he focused more on creating a more original and thought-provoking narrative rather than giving audiences an origin story.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, a much better story overall would have been much more preferable. Even though Scott focused more on the xenomorphs, I thought the CGI was terrible. As a result, this had none of the tension or excitement that Alien and Aliens had. Even Alien 3 was more exciting than this.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a good piece of trivia Mark. I didn’t hate the film but the best stuff is involving the androids and that’s a problem. I also think its what appeals to Scott too. Still The Martian was good, he needs good scripts to adapt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was all over the place for me, Lloyd. I enjoyed Fassbender (as always) but even he couldn’t save this mess. It was shocking to have an Alien film where the Alien was the worst part about it. I hope Scott stops all this nonsense. And soon!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with the sub par graphics! I saw so many review lauding it for the effects and I thought they were dodgy as hell more often than not. Great review Mark, sorry you didn’t like this more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The graphics were terrible weren’t they? I honestly couldn’t believe how bad they were. Scott should have stuck to the old approach of just having a guy in a suit. It’s much more realistic. I really didn’t like this much at all. It was that bad, it was insulting! Cheers Zöe!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a rather depressing thought that Scott has said he’s got many more Alien movies he wants to make…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very depressing, man. I’ve just about had enough already. Scott is no longer a director that I get much excitement for. Bizarrely, I think the best film he’s made in ages was The Counselor – and everyone else hated it 🙂

      Like

  5. Sad to hear that the film isn’t up to much. I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scott, but he has had a few misfires lately. Hope that’s just temporary.

    Liked by 1 person

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