‘Alien: Covenant’ Plays By Fassbender’s Rules (Movie Review)

Six years ago I fell in love with the Alien franchise when I was forced to tackle the Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set in my complete review of it all here.  I had never seen the third or fourth flicks before then.  Two years later I became of a bonafide disciple of Ridley Scott’s franchise with the release of Prometheus (as reviewed here).  No dispute here that the original four Alien films are legendary.  You’d be hard pressed to find anybody trash talking those, but Prometheus well that’s a whole different ball of wax.  If you want to talk about a completely divided movie, look no further than 2012’s Prometheus.  Holy hell either people loved it or long time Alien fans completely loathed it.  There was no middle ground whatsoever.  Like it or not it made enough money for Fox to green light a sequel.  That’s the reason we are all here today too, but is Alien: Covenant really a sequel to Prometheus or is something all completely different?  That’s what I was most interested in learning going into last week’s press screening.

It should come as no surprise that Scott is back in the director’s chair once again here helming this science fiction horror film.  After all, what shouldn’t he?  His vision brought us the first film in this historic franchise.  Now if you’re counting at all, then you will now this is the third installment that Scott has directed, the second in the Alien “prequel” series and the eighth overall in the Alien film series.  The movie stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, James Franco and many more.  Now before we move on and talk plot let’s briefly chat about this whole prequel versus sequel stuff.

Alien Covenant

In September 2015, Ridley Scott revealed he was planning two sequels to Prometheus, which would lead into the first Alien film.  Therefore that makes Alien: Covenant both a sequel and a prequel.  Then in November 2015 Scott confirmed that Alien: Covenant would be the first of now two additional films in the Alien prequel series, before linking us up with the original Alien.  Say what?  I know.  If you ask me, it’s actually quite confusing to keep up with the man.  Best of all for me Ridley states that these sequels will reveal who created the xenomorph aliens.  And supposedly the screenplay for the third prequel film was already written during production of Alien: Covenant and finished this year.  Production of said film is scheduled to begin in 2018.  So now that I got that out of the way let’s talk some Covenant.  What say you?

So you remember David (Fassbender) from Prometheus?  Well he’s back in this one, sort of.  Meet Walter (also played by Fassbender), he’s an android very similar to David, the survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.  He’s part of the crew on the colony ship Covenant bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy with intent to you guessed it, colonize.  On the way to their destination trouble awakens them and they find what they believe to be an uncharted paradise that could be…you guessed it…suitable for colonizing.  However, said planet full of Earthly wheat and not soon reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous world inhabited by a dangerous nemesis and monsters that make my nightmares seem funny now.  Game on!

Alien Covenant

Now what I love most about Alien: Covenant other than the bad-a$$ kill scenes is its direct lineage to Prometheus.  After the backlash of Prometheus from long time Alien fans I feared the worst.  I loved the film, but I thought for sure they would forget it ever happened and that Covenant would simply be a new beginning to launch a new trilogy from.  I was so wrong and in cases like this I’m happy to be proven such.  Nothing is forgotten about Prometheus and without venturing into spoiler territory here all I can say is Covenant is a direct descendant of Prometheus and for that reason and more I have nothing but mostly warm things to say about the film were gathered here today to discuss.  I don’t love it as much as I do Prometheus, but it’s strangely kind of a hybrid that fuses Prometheus and the original Alien films together.  I hate to say it but it kind of reminded me a bit of the quirkiness of the 3rd film.

So first and foremost what I love about Covenant are the creatures.  Holy hell!  This is how you do it!  They seemed almost genetically engineered to thrill here.  The kill scenes and chest bursting moments are bonafide crowd pleasers.  I know we have years and years between this one and the original four films, but I can’t help praising modern day technology.  The aliens are polished and dope.  Even the newborns looked adorable and detailed.  Make no mistake though these aliens are on speed or something.  They kill with the utmost of swiftness and precision.  You don’t even stand a chance of seeing them coming.  Oddly though they also seem to die rather easily, but I digress.  One other thing you’ll really be like a kid in the candy store over with here is the film’s audio mix.  At times I swear it sounds like the aliens were racing on top the ceiling at you in this.  You just have to love modern day tech.  Scott does and it shows in the way he embraces it all here.  Covenant is both a homage to the old and the new and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next in the franchise.

Alien Covenant

I have to commend all the new faces Covenant introduces us to here.  Yes some are a lot more memorable than others, but the ones that surprised me the most were McBride and Waterston. Notice I’m not saying anything about Franco?  For some reason and I know this sounds mean I just didn’t think I’d get along with Waterston’s dopey looks, but she gelled nicely.  Furthermore, I didn’t think I could take McBride seriously after hysterically enjoying him so much in HBO’s Vice Principals.  However, he turned out to be a bonafide action hero in this one.  And then there’s Michael Fassbender.  What more can you possibly say about the man that hasn’t been said already?  He even managed to make Assassin’s Creed at least somewhat watchable.  However, I know that’s not really saying too much when you’re talking about that film.  Ha ha.

Now that’s not to say there aren’t a few problems here.  For starters, anyone that hates the Prometheus storyline or quirkiness of the third film will probably not dig this one.  I know my fiancee wasn’t a fan either.  She claims this bored her.  And second the resolution is a little too familiar and weak, but let’s face it even Ridley Scott has to run out of ideas sometimes.  When  I say weak I mean if you didn’t see what was coming a half hour before it was over, then this must have been the first movie you ever watched or something.  Last but not least, I do fear that people who scorned the way Rob Zombie humanized Michael in his take on Halloween instead of leaving him purely an enigma will also dislike Covenant.  Sure the film furthers the mythology of the franchise, but does it show too much?  That’s up to you to decide.  I for one loved the shower scene and that’s all I’ll say.  My lips are sealed.  They did a great job of not showing too much in the trailers and thus provided us lots of surprises.  So needless to say try to enjoy this one folks!




Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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