Alien: Covenant (2017, Ridley Scott) Review
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup
Alien: Covenant follows colony ship Covenant which is bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy. As they arrived in the planet, they noticed a beautiful landscape. At first of what they think is an uncharted paradise, they soon discover that it is actually a dark and dangerous world, rampant with mysterious creatures and a sole inhabitant who has been hiding for years after a doomed explosion.
The first few sequences of Alien: Covenant are breathtaking, the movie quickly establishing an ambitious tone with elaborately conceived visuals. That’s the best thing about it. The production is as great as it can get. It is a marvelously realized vision. The design of the Alien is also great, both leaving me terrified and fascinated by its beautiful design.
The rest of the movie, though, doesn’t exactly follow suit. The ambition is still there, and the movie continues to delight with its sci-fi flourishes. The thing is, amidst the grandiose tone and spectacular visuals, the characters end up feeling pretty thin, cardboard cutouts doing what they have to do just for the sake of it. There is quite a huge cast here, and none of them really get any attention. They just feel like bodies waiting to be killed. In addition, some of them are actually dumb for doing what they did throughout the movie. It sometimes doesn’t make sense, their actions just a device to hurl the plot forward, making it hard for me to suspend my belief. I also felt the script to be clumsy, not reaching the heights that its visuals have intended it to. The actors weren’t anything special except for Fassbender, who gives David both a sinister and a sympathetic outlook.
As a sequel to Prometheus and a prequel to Alien, it did its job as it answered some of the questions I had; however, the answers are really vague. Some of the motivations of the characters aren’t well-explored. It also doesn’t really provide a huge revelation of what’s actually going on, but one can see the connections between the three. I wouldn’t call it a “direct” prequel and/or sequel, but it’s all through the tiny links and loose threads in which they are interconnected.
Having said all that, Alien: Covenant is worth seeing for its scale, and for the ambition that’s embedded through its spectacle. It is as good-looking as a movie could possibly be at this point, the technology all put towards bringing sci-fi concepts to life. Even the gory sequences are great; they’re genuinely terrifying, the movie raising the bar up a notch. Though as stunning as the film is, it might leave audiences a little cold. There’s no underdog, the characters all feel thin, and their decisions may question the viewer on why they are there on that specific mission in the first place, given their idiosyncrasy. Alien: Covenant is still worth a look, but it’s not so special in its entirety.