Alien Covenant is somewhat of a sequel to Prometheus, the next film in this Alien-verse. It is again directed by Ridley Scott and follows the crew of the ‘Covenant’ Colonisation vessel who are on their way to a planet that they believe is habitable for humans. However, they find a closer planet that seems to fit every criterion needed for human life, how fortunate! On this planet, there may or may not be an Alien and craziness may or may not ensue.
I feel, maybe apart from the Xenomorph, the crew of the ship is the most important part of an Alien film. In the case of Alien Covenant, the cast is a strength and sometimes is it a weakness. Ripley 3 (Katherine Waterson) is great, a good and strong female character. Probably lacking the arc that Ripley had but she is still good. Danny McBride, Tennessee, might be the best character in the film, he has most of the humour but he isn’t just a one trick pony he has a very admirable story throughout the film and he pull that off very well. However, some people are saying he is outstanding and I’m not sure he is in the film or does enough in the film to warrant this praise, no to the detriment of McBride but more of the writing. Another stand out is Amy Seimetz, although she is not a major character she may be the smartest or at least most competent one in the entire film. Billy Crudup is also good with what little he has to work with, all you know is that he is a man of faith and this is only really mentioned twice. As for the rest of the crew, meh. I look at the cast and I don’t even recognise some of their faces, there is some definite cannon fodder in the cast. For a lot of the people in this film, you just don’t care, it’s awesome watching people getting brutally murdered but it would be better if you at least knew their name. One of the prologues they put out ‘The Last Supper’ I feel Is an absolute crucial watch before you see this film, I can’t think why it isn’t included in the actual film. It introduces you to all the main characters and the relationships they have with other characters. This 2-minute scene improves the film massively because you don’t know who anyone is when emotional things happen that is supposed to make you feel for a certain character. You’re confused as you’ve only just realised that this character had a relationship with that character. Aside from the crew, Michael Fassbender is in this film playing an android incredibly, he really is an amazing actor no matter the film he gives 110% and it always pays off.
One thing that is carried through every single Ridley Scott film, it looks beautiful. Every shot is lovingly crafted and executed to perfection. There are a couple scenes that I will be thinking of for weeks after seeing the film. The design of everything is mind-blowing: form the Covenant its self, to the planet and the many iterations of the Xenomorph that you see. The CGI of the Alien is surprisingly great, it gets to the point where you can’t tell when it’s a practical or a digital effect. And every style of Xenomorph looks so cool and more importantly terrifying. The gore in this film is close to vomit inducing and that is exactly what I was hoping for.
I feel like Scott attempted to take Alien, Aliens and Prometheus, chucked them all in a bowl and give them a good mix. Mostly I think it paid off. The Alien parts of the film are chillingly scary I had my eyes closed for more time than I want to admit to. Ridley Scott said himself “I wanted to scare the shit out of people” and he definitely does. When it comes to Aliens, I think he accomplished what he wanted but for me there was an imbalance in the way of trying to make a Prometheus sequel sometimes the film gets dragged down and becomes slow. If you were going into the film with the expectation of a non-stop action thriller alien blood fest, you may be disappointed. I could’ve done with a few more actions scenes and when it comes to the third act it just kind of ends and I felt it was a little bit anti-climactic and this is the worst way to finish a film, it left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I was watching and really enjoying a film but then I just had the overwhelming feeling of “owhh” when it finished. However, after having a few days to stew on the film the flaws are nonconsequential to my enjoyment of the film and when I thought about the third act, there are reasons for the way it ends and it all makes sense. I do feel that reflection is required to properly enjoy this film and maybe even a second viewing. If that doesn’t sound like you’re thing then maybe this film isn’t for you.
I almost feel quite bad for Ridley Scott as I don’t think this is the film he actually wanted to make before the reaction to Prometheus hit. There is a lack of the wide reaching philosophical questions that that film was attempting to ask. I think that the Xenomorph bursting out of the engineer’s chest was meant to be just a nod to the fans and this film would be a completely different film if Prometheus was received better. To be honest I’ve only ever seen Prometheus once, I remember being rather bored and confused. So, the lack of the Prometheus through line was a good thing for me but even though the story is carried through it is dealt with very quickly and fans of that story line may be disappointed with how it is handled. I do love me some mythology and lore but when it comes to Alien I don’t really see the point can’t they just be, because why not? Ripley stumbles across them by complete accident and I just hope it just doesn’t get to the point where they say it was all fate and destiny because that would be dumb.
I seem to be focusing on more of the negatives of this film and I do this a lot with films, I get bogged down with nit-picks and tiny little problems. I think I need to remind myself that movies are really experiential events and they needed to be treated as such. Who cares if there is some faceless characters whose sole purpose is to move the plot along and get destroyed by an Alien because when it comes down to it, that doesn’t matter. What matters is if you enjoy the film, if you are smiling or exhibiting the emotion the director was hoping for the whole time. Then that is what matters and when it comes to Alien covenant I was smiling, trembling, getting upset and hiding behind my t-shirt and it was completely awesome. And that is why I think that Alien Covenant is…