Alien: Covenant

Posted May 22, 2017 by in

Quick Stats

Genre: science fiction, horror
Director: Ridley Scott
MPAA Rating: R
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup
Length: 2 hours 2 minutes
Release Date: 5/19/2016
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Brandywine Productions, Scott Free Productions, TSG Entertainment
What We Thought

Indeed, a franchise low outside of the AVP films, and that’s saying something after Alien: Resurrection.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Imagine what a conversation would be like between man and God, or whatever beings created us (if not evolution of course).  Science fiction enables us to witness that conversation, with aliens standing in for God.  An easy question is to ask is, why are we hear?  A better question is, why are you here?  A film like Arrival answers those questions.  A movie like Alien: Covenant refuses to do so, almost out of spite.
     Alien Covenant is a sequel to Prometheus, whose conclusion promised an encounter between humans and the aliens who gave us life, the Engineers.  You’re going to be disappointed, it does not happen.  Instead, Covenant is a tired retread of scenes we’ve seen again and again in the franchise.  The egg scene.  The chest-bursting scene.  And finally, the Old Airlock Trick.
     Is there anything new?  Yes.  There is a silly kung-fu fight between a crazy evil robot and a good-but-dull robot.  Both are portrayed by Michael Fassbender, reprising his role as the android David from Prometheus, while also playing a new android, Walter, who looks after the crew of the Covenant spaceship, who are too many in number to keep track of and too underdeveloped to care about.  Many are portrayed by actors you might not have heard of, with the possible exception of Danny McBride as the ship’s pilot.  Compare this to Prometheus, which had considerable star-power for a film with far more ambition and inventiveness.
     Events conspire to bring the Covenant to the Engineer’s homeworld.  We see nothing of their civilization, which must be millenia old.  A world this ancient must be teaming with cities and structures such as we’ve never seen, but they are not revealed to us.  It is the job of science fiction to envision new worlds, but all we see here are the remains of a single city.
     Covenant does depict a new way for the xenomorphs to enter the human body, which makes more sense than anything did in Prometheus, considering that they are instruments of biological warfare.  The xenomorph occasionally takes a form not seen in previous installments, and there are several of them this time, which makes the film closer to James Cameron’s Aliens than Ridley Scott’s original Alien, another similarity being that it’s more of an action movie than a suspense film, but Covenant is nowhere near as good as either.  Indeed, it is a franchise low outside of the AVP films, and that’s saying something after Alien: Resurrection.
     If the film is about anyone, it’s about the android David, whose contempt for humanity (or really, for life itself) drives the story.  David claims that his motivation is the creation of life, but if anything motivates his actions beyond mischief and madness, it’s death.  The world the crew-members come to is barren of life beyond vegetation.  Not a bird in the sky, nor a beast on the ground.  Alien: Covenant is just as lifeless, barren of that which is essential to science fiction:  imagination. 1 star out of 5.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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