Alien: Covenant is both pioneering and familiar, returning to the franchise's horror roots, with blood, gore and B movie monsters, yet it's beautifully shot and ambitious in its attempt to further expand the Alien mythos.
Ridley Scott returns to his precious Alien franchise nearly five years after receiving mixed to negative reactions from his expansive and ambitiously flawed Prometheus. That film attempted to break tradition as it put the Alien focus on the back burner, while attempting to dive deeper into the mysteries of the universe, asking big questions, put not providing enough answers.
With Alien: Covenant, Scott steps back into familiar territory, re-capturing the essence of the original Alien film, while still expanding on the Alien mythos. In doing this, he also manages to create the perfect sequel to Prometheus; a film that answers those big bold questions, in complete detail.
Those of you that disliked Prometheus, yet liked the original Alien series might find comfort in Alien: Covenant, because it returns to the gory B movie nature of the series, blending in suspenseful horror with the mentality of a bloody sci-fi creature feature. Yes, Scott’s film uses a little too much CGI compared to previous installments, but the technology has advanced enough to hold its own quiet well.
Those of you that loved Prometheus and thought that venturing further away from the Alien series was a good thing might meet Alien: Covenant with mixed reactions. I personally enjoyed Prometheus and learned to accept its flaws and lacking logic, because I saw what Scott was trying to do with the film and I still think its ambitiously flawed and unique. Sometimes, finding the answers to life and existence can come off as a bit underwhelming and frustrating if you find out that it all could have happened by chance or by accident.
Scott’s obsession with finding out why led to a messy film that was still very much full of heart. It didn’t deliver on the Alien quota of chest-bursting monsters, but it did hint at the series and what might’ve came before it.
With Alien: Covenant, Scott straight-up answers all of the dying questions. He closes all of the gaps left behind from Prometheus and neatly ties into the original series in ways that some might consider a little too detailed.
I personally think Alien: Covenant works. It’s bloody, gory and full of that B monster movie violence that we haven’t seen in some time. It’s also beautifully shot, capturing space and the unknown through Scott’s clean and crisp visual aesthetics.
Everything from the musical score to the final act showdown feels like classic Alien, yet modernized and taken a little further.
Speaking of further, actor Michael Fassbender turns in an extraordinary double-performance that continues to show his incredible range and skill as an actor. Alien: Covenant has Fassbender playing two androids: one by the name of Walter, a newer model that’s more robot-like, while also turning in a creepy performance as the android David, from Prometheus.
Watching Fassbender go back-and-forth with himself and with other key characters is a real treat that leaves you with conflicting emotions. I wouldn’t mind a follow-up that consists of 3/4th’s performances by Michael Fassbender — he’s that good.
Likewise is Katherine Waterston‘s Daniels. She’s tough-as-nails, yet tender and vulnerable, having suffered a dramatic loss rather early on in the film’s opening moments. Waterston isn’t just a carbon-copy of Ripley or an extended version of Shaw, but instead an entirely new character that leads the film with confidence and calmness.
Lastly, Danny McBride must be welcomed to the Alien franchise with wide open arms. Watching his character Tennessee go through equally emotional states, yet come out with his trademark humor and good senses was a treat. I knew McBride had it in him to expand beyond playing just a raunchy comedic character and finally he’s able to prove himself on the big screen.
Ridley Scott is an extremely versatile director that consistently turns in quality films. Occasionally, he delivers a dud like Exodus, but he’s mostly a reliable director, especially when dealing with sci-fi. Alien: Covenant is one of those films that shows his true talents and makes him shine as a visual storyteller with an eye for capturing both horror and emotion.
Alien: Covenant filled a chest-bursting void in my heart that I’ve missed for quite some time. It’s gory good sci-fi that I had a blast with and absolutely plan on re-visiting before it leaves theaters. It follows up Prometheus in a big way, tying together the nagging questions, while amping up on the gore and alien violence that made the original series shine. The tension is back, the effects are superb and the performances are all very strong. Fassbender without a doubt steals the show, revealing a range of emotions that we’ve seen him deliver before, only with the addition of having to act against himself on several occasions. It works and it makes the film that much more memorable, while Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride give the film two strong supporting characters that go toe-to-toe with a terrifying and ruthless alien.
I’d recommend a quick re-watch of Prometheus before embarking out to the theaters for Alien: Covenant. I can’t wait to see what Scott has in store for future installments, because Alien: Covenant proves that the Alien franchise is far from dead.