Alien Covenant is a very ambitious film. Throughout its two-hour run time it attempts to answer questions about human responsibility, the origin of life and artificial intelligence (to name a few). But if you’re seeking out Alien Covenant in the hopes for closure following the events of Prometheus, you will surely be disappointed. Not to say that the lingering questions left from the events of Prometheus go unaddressed, but this film only adds more mythology and confusion to an aging franchise, with now six films and counting.
Before the proverbial shit even hits the fan we can already tell that the crew of the Origae-6 is different from crews past. This is a crew on a colonization mission, whose motivations are fundamentally different. When the first crew member falls ‘ill’, the immediate reaction is to bring them aboard the ship, to comfort and to heal, not to quarantine. When the crew becomes stranded on the planet, the acting captain risks the life of thousands of colonists so that he can rescue the woman he loves. It’s an interesting dynamic, and it’s how we come to understand most of these characters: by seeing them through the eyes of their loved ones. It makes every decision made seem all the more desperate, and everything that goes wrong all the more disheartening.
This theme of love is prevalent throughout the movie, and when the film’s ultimate antagonist reveals himself toward the end, as the architect of this crew’s pain and suffering, you realize he was merely motivated by the same emotion as the others - love. It’s an arresting dichotomy, one that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from an alien movie.
Fans of Ridley Scott and the Alien franchise will appreciate all the usual quirks of an Alien movie - badass females, chest bursting aliens and claustrophobic chase scenes on spaceships. However, the final movie feels more disconnected from the Alien franchise than ever. This is a bit worrisome when you consider that Covenant is a pivotal film in a planned prequel trilogy, all supposedly leading up to the events of the first Alien film.
Alien Covenant is not the first film to fumble with a mythology-laden past. But if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, it’s Ridley Scott. A lot can happen in future films. If Scott can improve some of the weaker aspects of the film (such as the clunky jargon-filled dialogue and lingering plot holes remaining from Prometheus) and leverage some of the stronger aspects (including a great cast and stunning visuals) then we could merely be looking at the first part of a potentially great trilogy, and we should wait to pass judgment until we see the whole picture.
Theres a sense of creepiness to the whole film and a general fear of the unknown but don’t plan on it keeping you up at night.
Nothing quite as traumatic as what Ripley (or even Shaw) had to face but this is an Alien movie so there is plenty of trauma to go around, especially when you have to watch your loved ones get ripped apart by aliens.
Its the question that any Alien fan wants answered upfront: yes, there is a chest burster scene. And yes, its pretty cool. However this happens pretty early on in the movie, and after that theres actually not a lot of memorable gore with the exception of violence that looks like it came from a video game. Also, the alien parasite that infects the crew resembles the creature from Splinter (2008), which is superior to Alien: Covenant in every way, but especially in its goriness.
In the midst of all this chaos two people actually manage to get some shower time in. But it definitely doesn’t end well.
The average moviegoer should be appeased with the level of scares on display, and Ridley Scott knows how to build suspense to really scare an audience. Theres no cheap jump scares, but the lingering dread should stick with you at least until the movie is over.