Alien: Covenant – review

Ridley Scott directs the latest instalment in the Alien franchise with Alien: Covenant, sequel to Prometheus and prequel to Alien, with us now being on a journey with the colonising ship the Covenant, bound for a planet with the aim of well, colonising it, travelling to a seemingly perfect planet throws the mission into jeopardy as alien creatures are discovered. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo.

Ah the Alien franchise, it’s many things, a long running series of high highs and very low lows, films of varying quality to say the least but I’d hoped the more recent films would turn things back around and raise the quality a bit, Prometheus did just that I think, a great thinking persons’ film with action, suspense, great visuals and a lot of mystery and intrigue to be continued… and what we get with Covenant is sort of the continuation to that, but not exactly.

You’ll need to watch the whole film to really understand that point but if you’re looking for answers for most of the questions you had from Prometheus and the bigger picture, you will be probably disappointed, though what is present is an Alien film, very much in the vein of Aliens with the set up and how things play out and while that’s not a bad thing per se, (Aliens is a great film), Covenant just feels like retreaded ground. Ridley Scott’s now adept at making Alien films but I found myself wanting something a bit more following on from the big scale of Prometheus, with the final result of Covenant being a pretty generic horror film that just isn’t that satisfying.

And horror film this is, deaths are predictably gory and if that’s your thing, you’ll like it, with the sort of new xenomorphs doing their usual thing and being creepy as ever.

What’s somewhat good about Covenant is its ambition, with some big themes that are a bit on the nose, there are some great visuals and generally good acting, Katherine Waterston is good, as is the now dual Michael Fassbender as the new android Walter and the incumbent David, he gives a good performance, as robotic and steely as in the last film with a real presence about him, though unfortunately other characters barely get fleshed out and serve as nothing but easy targets for you know what.

Ultimately I feel like Covenant is a bit of a missed trick, a film a lot of Alien fans were looking forward to, to delve more into the mythos of the world Scott created and while things are touched on, the reveal around the xenomorphs and a twist in the final third is a decidedly wet blanket, changing the tone of the film and watering down the tension and making everything feel far too formulaic. It’s almost as if Scott felt like he had to take the the film in a certain direction to adhere to horror tropes and keep the audience on their toes but things just felt far too familiar, uninspired and a bit aimless, how this film ties into Alien is beyond me and at this point, I’m not sure what else there is to explore in a subsequent film. I feel it’s a shame that Covenant didn’t resonate with me and I left my viewing only looking back more fondly on previous films like Prometheus.

6/10

. Has some solid acting

. Feels far too tropey, formulaic, retreads parts of previous Alien films

. Addresses parts of Prometheus but not all which will feel dissatisfying

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