Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollet, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
2 1/2 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
While the Alien Covenant film is tolerable, mostly due to the visuals, the crew you should be rooting for during any crisis they may be facing is less than memorable. None of the characters are especially noteworthy and you won’t grow particularly fond of anyone as the story progresses. It’s this connection that’s needed and is so important for a story like this to propel you into the world they inhabit. Fearing for a character’s safety, especially in this particular franchise, is paramount to it being a success. Though Covenant does bring back the horror element that was more dominant in the first film, Alien, it doesn’t quite capture the consternation that the original had. That said, it is more on the gory side of the horror, sci-fi genre. It’s set about a decade in the aftermath of Prometheus, a film not well loved by the Alien faithful. Though the film may not have been well received, Michael Fassbender was and is in this film, as well. He’s back as David and also as Walter, another synthetic. Walter looks like David, has many of the qualities of David except for one little important difference. I’ll let you discover that on your own.
Walter Minds the crew and the ship, Covenant, as its crew members and cargo of pilgrims make their journey to another planet similar to our own in the hopes of colonizing it. A short time passes and, of course, insert one of the typical problems that happen in films where spaceships are floating along in deep space; they’re hit by something that does damage. This also awakens most of the crew who have been in a deep sleep… killing a few along the process.
They receive a strange message from a planet closer to the one they had originally charted their course for. This seems a little too convenient but the captain (Crudup) says it’ll be worth a shot and they set out for this planet instead. This is where it really gets sloppy because the things these skilled professionals are doing say to a filmgoer that the filmmaker doesn’t take your intelligence into consideration when creating a story. Several things happen that get different members of the crew ill when they land on this unknown land. They aren’t really quarantined which leads to more devastation but at least it’s entertaining. Per usual, the effects are great and the visuals of the first person, who shows signs of being taken over by a foreign entity and thusly being killed by it, is ghoulish and eerie… everything you could have hoped for.
Eventually they find David who has been alone here (obviously he’s the one who would have sent the message for them to pick up) and he and Walter get to know one another; and as long as you don’t get lost as to which is which it’s fairly easy to deduce that one is up to something and the other is now a useful pawn.
A spaceship has issues; check. We have aliens; check. The film has formulaic touches you’d expect it to have; check. Unfortunately, its pacing is slow and flat in the beginning and the characters so drab, (which is sad because one is supposed to be the descendant of Ripley from Alien) that it’s hard to really get into it. There are so many, if you really want to tear it apart, problems with it that if you concentrate on them, your brain will explode so, best not to. One specific thing I feel I must address, though, is their brains. This crew does this for a living and they just disregard all policy, procedure, rules and… all common sense the minute they land on a strange planet?! It makes no sense so try not to think about it too much. Just let things that defy logic or are the completely unexplained go. If you love sci-fi films and the Alien franchise as a whole, you might have some need for this. You’re not going to totally dislike it, you’re just not going to love it. It’s not the worst of the bunch; however, it’s certainly not the best. Rumor is there will be a few more of these… I hope Scott turns the helm over to someone who can steer a little better.
ALIEN: COVENANT Official Channels