If you were amped for Alien: Covenant because people kept saying that it was a lot more like the original film then you would be wrong and they’re either liars or people who don’t know why the first one was so good in the first place. Sure this film doesn’t shy away from a little gore here and there, but that’s not what made the original a cult classic. Any scraps of oppressive claustrophobic thrill of the original found in Covenant are few and far between. Even when it starts to move in this direction Ridley Scott yanks it back to what he really wants to talk about. That is to say, the nature of creation.
This sudden tone change that deflates the impact of the horror of the scene before it is going to rankle people for sure. But I respect Ridley for not resting on his laurels and instead moving the narrative in an interesting direction.
This isn’t to say diehard fans of the franchise are going to hate Alien: Covenant. There’s a motherload of lore dumped into this film, and there are tie ins to the original with subtle nods to Ash the Android from David that make the whole thing worth it. The movie also deftly explores the sexually charged and perverse artwork of H.R. Giger and the design of the Alien itself, with an inworld explanation.
Matt, our resident professional with an opinion had griped to me before the film started that he hadn’t liked Prometheus because no one had died early on. This is apparently discounting the Engineer who melted into a waterfall.
“He’s not important. That’s barely even the movie, that’s a prologue.”
After we got out of Covenant he turned to me with a satisfied expression. “I was just glad that someone important died in the first ten minutes”.
The script and acting in the movie are great, the small quips characters make to each other makes them more natural. Billy Crudup does a standout job as the replacement captain thrown in the deep end and Katherine Waterston follows on the rich tradition of kick ass protagonist chick.
Michael Fassbender carries the film as the two androids, the flamboyant David from Prometheus and the updated and less humanlike Walter.
The movie ends with the same Alien formulae you’re already used to, but this feels like it was put it in just so people wouldn’t come out of the cinema ripped off. Our expectations are banking on a particular thing, and I think that’s a detriment to our enjoyment of the movie.
It’s easier to sell a movie about a rape monster than it is to sell a movie about two robots slowly philosophising together.
People going in wanting high adrenaline action will be disappointed and even bored. The action scenes that are in the movie are awesome, but few and far between. Go to the movie with a more thoughtful drawn out pace in mind and you won’t be disappointed.
As an aside, the two trailers I dropped into this post aren’t shown in the actual film. Apart from a brief clip from “The Crossing”.