It’s been 38 years since Ridley Scott’s Alien rolled into cinemas, setting a benchmark for the sci-fi horror genre. It was followed by 1986’s Aliens, which took a remarkable shift in tone from the first film and miraculously managed to top it somehow. Since, the franchise has taken quite a beating with the studio-ravaged Alien 3 and the hilariously terrible Alien: Resurrection severely damaging it’s one legendary reputation. To compound matters, a crossover of sorts was created with the Predator films which only helped stick the knife in deeper and create an awful cinematic experience for every fan and non-fan alike.
But in 2012, Ridley Scott took over the mantle once more and Prometheus landed in cinemas that very summer, leaving a very divisive fanbase along it’s wake. Personally, I enjoyed Prometheus a lot and is still a film I occasionally revisit from time to time. What pertrubed many fans from the series served as points of intrigue for me so when Alien: Covenant was announced, the excitement was certainly palpable.
Having just gotten back from a screening, here’s what I thought about it.
Now, Alien: Covenant is fun. It’s two hours of watching a stupid crew make stupid decisions and as a result suffering the consequences of it. Inspite of it’s recycled plot structure, there’s still a very good time to be had. The film tells the story of the fifteen crew members of ship Covenant, that are traveling to a colonize a new planet in order to restart once more. Halfway through their journey and one personal tragedy later, the ship picks up a rogue signal somewhere in deep space and stupidly decide to pursue it. What unravels makes up for the rest of the movie.
Now the movie attempts a few new things and for that it deserves it’s props. The crew members for the first time ever are married couples, so when things start to go haywire, the death of an individual is felt more, but only for certain characters. You don’t really seem to care about most of the extended crew who make brief appearances before being categorically taken down by the xenomorphs(but are they?). Once Scott kicks into third gear, he barely slows down and keeps the pace steady as the film cruises through to it’s third act. It’s the second half really, primarily the third act where the film tends to nosedive a little. The movie shifts tonally from Alien to Aliens and back to Alien again and for some that can be very jarring. Scott tries to go down a different route every five minutes before giving up and throwing them altogether. The CGI is mostly top notch, but I’m a bit of a purist and will almost always prefer practical effects to digital, especially when it comes to close-ups. There are a few places where you can tell that the CGI needed more work, but those moments are very few and far between.
Out of the cast, Katherine Waterston is good but Danny Mcbride is better.
On the poster, Mcbride’s name sticks out like a sore thumb but he probably delivers miles more than what was expected of him. He’d have been the standout performer had it not been for Michael Fassbender who carries the film from the opening shot right to it’s closing. Fassbender looks like he’s having fun here and that carries through to his performance, easily making him one of the better parts of the film.
In the end, Covenant is a fun ride that’ll keep you entertained until the credits roll and is definitely worth catching on the big screen. It’s visually stunning, boasts some decent performances and most importantly, will not bore you. If you’re a fan of the series, you’re going to watch it regardless of this review. If you aren’t, you’re still guaranteed a good time and a great entry-point into a beloved franchise. Going with 3 out of five for this one.