Let’s face it, ‘Prometheus‘ was a disappointment. It was half billed as an ‘Alien‘ prequel that would explain the origins of the xenomorphs, despite the fact we didn’t really need to know. However, it didn’t answer anything and only left us with more questions. ‘Alien: Covenant‘ is definitely an attempt to course correct this franchise. Well, slightly anyway, considering the fact that there may be anywhere between 1 and about 6 more movies according to various comments from Ridley Scott.
Years after the crew of the Prometheus disappeared, the colony ship Covenant is headed through space to a new world with over 2000 sleeping passengers to create a new settlement. Some of the crew wake up and soon receive a strange signal which leads them to a different, seemingly more suitable habitable planet. The planet seems empty, but soon they find one inhabitant: android and Prometheus survivor David. What follows is some crazy alien madness. Look, ‘Prometheus‘ had some interesting ideas about our creators and faith and science crossing over, and that bleeds through to this film pretty well. There’s some interesting conversations, especially between the two Fassbender characters, David and newer model Walter.
Speaking of which, Michael Fassbender is great in this. His dual roles really do feel like individual characters with different personalities. Katherine Waterston does well as Ripley 3.0, showing off some real emotion. The rest of the cast is decent, but perhaps the biggest surprise is how good Danny McBride is. His casting seemed a bit out of left field, and I was worried he’d just be some comedy catchphrase machine, despite the fact I like that. But really, he is great. He’s funny still yes, but he’s also quite a good actor too. And this time the characters at least aren’t as stupid as the ‘Prometheus‘ crew.
But the real question is, is the film any good?? Well, yes. Sort of. It’s a step up from the previous entry, and it’s definitely better than ‘Alien 3‘ and ‘Resurrection‘, but it doesn’t get near the heights of the first two. Does it answer any questions? Erm…. Yes? Maybe slightly. Does it raise a ton more questions? Yes it does. It is definitely still setting up for more entries into the franchise so some open questions are okay I guess. But it’s just not entirely satisfying. That being said, it definitely satisfies on the xenomorph front in a way ‘Prometheus‘ didn’t.
There’s a couple of different types of aliens, facehuggers and gallons of blood. There’s lots of gory deaths, lots of screaming and some reasonably decent horror stuff. It still doesn’t provide the scares of the original, but that might just be the changing times and the way we know movies nowadays. It is still kinda scary and does a good job of the slow burn build up of tension from the beginning. It’s a step towards the classic ‘Alien‘ movie vibe and for the most part it does work well. Ridley Scott has done a good job of directing and making it seem a little more claustrophobic in a way the previous film wasn’t. The music is eerie and conveys that sense of isolation in space and some of the beats are very reminiscent.
But when all is said and done, I just feel like there is something missing. It just doesn’t have that big scare factor, that real sense of dread or characters that I really really got to know. It’s good, but it’s not great. It promises more to come, but I do have slight reservations about whether it can deliver on those promises. Whilst these films are not ‘Star Wars‘ prequel level disappointments, they aren’t exactly doing a great job of elevating the original ‘Alien‘. If they’re all this level of good, then I guess a prequel series won’t have been the worst idea ever. Enjoyable, but slightly worrying. However this film is at least a couple of steps in the right direction.
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5