My expectations were high for this one. After Prometheus, I was excited for the franchise to go back to what made it great. The trailer showing off the Xenomorph going into a frenzy, smashing its head against the ships window gave me goosebumps. The R rating it received was also promising. We were going to be getting some of the crazy, violent Alien action we fell in love with before. After watching it though, I have to say; as a prequel, Alien: Covenant falls a bit flat. It answers a few questions we’ve had since the start of the series, but brings up a ton of new ones. As a sequel to Prometheus though, it actually excels, and compliments Prometheus really well. It’s strange. When the movie was over I thought it was really amazing, but the more I thought about how this film fit into the entire Alien timeline, that feeling of amazement started to slip away. There are mild spoilers ahead so BEWAARE.
The story begins with tragedy. The colony ship Covenant, which is harboring thousands of colonists & embryos in stasis, is hit by a sporadic burst of energy from space. Walter (Michael Fassbender) wakes the crew up from stasis to try and deal with the ships damage. Daniels (Katherine Waterston) and the other members wake up amidst the chaos, and try to free her husband/captain of the ship Branston (James Franco) from his stasis pod. They can’t manage to get it open and he burns alive inside his pod. With the death of Branston, the Covenant is left in charge with their new captain, Oram (Billy Crudup). He’s a man of faith, which made him unfit for the job to begin with, but here we are. The crew does their best to forge ahead and repair the ship. When Tennessee (Danny McBride) is outside the ship doing repairs, his suits headpiece goes haywire, picking up an unknown signal from a planet they’ve never seen or heard of before. After some quick research, they come to the realization that this planet could work as their new home. So it’s either continue on with the mission they’ve trained for and wait 7 years to get to the planet they know everything about, or take the risk and go to this new planet they know nothing about. Take a guess at what Oram decides to do….
The cast does a great job, but they’re expendable. They pretty much amount to nothing more than food for the monsters, and die in some pretty gruesome ways. Michael Fassbender is amazing and the star of the show as David. He reminds me of some of my favourite villains. He’s like the Joker, you love to hate him. The new creature, the Neomorph is terrifying. They burst out of peoples mouths and spines after their incubation in bloody fashion. They’re creepy bastards, whether they’re infants or fully grown, they’re vicious little creatures. Covenants version of the Xenomorph is awesome, it’s really intimidating. I do wish they would have gone with the creepy sneaking around one, but this relentless one is still cool. It amazes me, that Ridley Scott can continue making these films and still keep them intense and interesting. It’s a miracle considering the same thing happens in every damn one of them. It’s like Ridley just checks off a list. Signal coming from unknown planet? Check. Malevolent synthetic human? Check. All hell breaks loose shortly after arriving on new planet? Check.
The story does falter in some spots, continuity wise in the whole scheme of things. Like, why do the Xenomorphs in this film evolve faster then the ones in the first Alien? If David was a mass produced synthetic human, why have we never heard of him in future Alien movies? These are minor issues, but if you’ve watched the earlier films there’s a lot of things that don’t fit together here. I know we’ve got like 4 more movies coming or something like that, so maybe all these questions will be answered.
Overall, I did enjoy the film. There are plenty of intense/gruesome moments to make up for the stories short comings. If you’ve only watched Prometheus, you’ll dig this one. It follows up on the events of that one really well. If you’ve seen all the Alien movies, you’ll either love or hate this one and you’ll have a ton of questions after it’s finished. You’ll be trying to put the story pieces together in your head, to see how they fit with the rest of the timeline. Creature wise, the Neomorph is a terrifying new edition to the Alien family. Hopefully they continue to add more fucked up little creatures to the roster. Despite its flaws, I’m looking forward to seeing where Ridley Scott goes with the films next, leading up to the inevitable first Alien. If they can explain certain plot threads that are popping up in these prequel films and tie them into the original lore, I’m on board. – NVJ