Review – Alien: Covenant

It is hard to believe that the original Alien movie came out 37 years ago – not just because the allure of the film is still alive and well today, but also because the original has aged so gracefully.  I watched it on TV not too long ago, and it didn’t feel like I was watching a movie from the 1970s.  It’s also kind of hard to believe that Prometheus was already released five years ago.  Nonetheless, here we are in May of 2017, and the latest film in the Alien saga, Alien: Covenant, is here.

This is a big year for director Ridley Scott.  Alien: Covenant is his first of two major blockbuster films due for their respective renaissance in 2017.  Blade Runner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to the cult-classic film Blade Runner, is set for an October release.  In addition, he will also be producing Murder on the Orient Express, a film based on the legendary novel that features an all-star cast, which is set to be released in November.

I’m a big fan of Ridley Scott’s films, and while I am not the biggest Alien franchise fanatic, I respect the series and admire its originality.  As a result, I was excited to see this film.  Not only is Covenant a long awaited follow-up, but it also is one of the films that is kick-starting the 2017 blockbuster movie season.

With all that said, I was a little disappointed with Alien: Covenant.  The premise of the film is that a crew on a spaceship equipped with preserved humans and embryos are heading to an unchartered planet for the purpose of colonization.  However, as we would expect, something goes wrong and the crew finds themselves struggling for survival.

Not long after the movie began, I could already tell this would be a mess as far as quality acting was concerned.  The script was weak, and the acting subsequently followed suit.  As much as I love Michael Fassbender, I thought even his performances as both David and Walter (both are robots created with the likeness of men) were well below his norm.  There are too many talented people associated with this film for the performances to be so sub-par, so it leads me to believe the film may have been rushed along in production.  I’m not sure if it was due to the schedules of the actors, Ridley Scott, or Fox Studios, but it felt like the script was written impromptu for each scene prior to filming them.

The crew aboard the colony ship didn’t know what they were in for in Alien: Covenant.

Katherine Waterston played Daniels, one of the crewmembers on the spaceship.  Daniels’ character is assumed to be replicating a similar role to Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s classic character from yesteryear in the series.  Waterston had big shoes to fill.  Unfortunately, I think she left too much space in the toe.  Daniels is nowhere near as charismatic as Ripley, mainly because Waterston is nowhere near as charismatic as Weaver.

Alien: Covenant
also features Danny McBride as Tennessee (yes, that’s really his character’s name), a crewmember who is the primary driver of the vessel.  I didn’t expect much from him in a serious role, and I didn’t get much, either.  I like Danny McBride, but I like him as the type of character he portrays best – the guy in a funny movie who comically takes himself too seriously.  Ironically, in Covenant, he plays a character in a serious movie who does the exact opposite.  It didn’t work for me.

I didn’t appreciate the action scenes in this film, either.  Several of the scenes were shot so close that it made it hard to make out what exactly was going on.  The villainous creatures were definitely menacing, though, and the violence level was high.  If you cringe at blood, vomiting or vomiting blood, then this film may not be for you.  I will say, though, that as creepy as the aliens were in Covenant, they were adorable compared to that uniquely gross thing from Life.  Special effects and makeup each earned a plus here.

Alien was ahead of its time when it was originally released back in 1979.  Unfortunately, its latest edition, nearly 38 years later, was very pedestrian.  Alien: Covenant was not the worst movie I have seen this year, but I definitely don’t need, nor want to see it again.