Review: Alien: Covenant, paradise found

Even after five years, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is just as polarizing as it ever was—it took the Alien franchise that Scott started back in 1979 and spun it in an entirely new direction, asking some big questions along the way: who created us and why? While I have always been a big supporter of Scott’s vision for Prometheus (and the film itself), it ultimately provided very little for the audience to grab a hold of; it asked some challenging questions that it barely bothered to answer (if at all). Which is why I think Alien: Covenant becomes a much better film when you start thinking of it as more of a sequel to Prometheus and less of a prequel to Alien—we not only get some answers this time, but it opens up the franchise in unexpected ways. In it, the crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

I’m probably in the minority here, but I would much rather see Scott exploring the creator vs. creations theme of Prometheus, and now Covenant, than retreading to familiar grounds—Alien released in 1979, nearly 40 years ago, and spawned three more films that ranged from brilliant (Aliens) to actual trash (Resurrection)—and that’s if you don’t count whatever the Alien vs. Predator movies were—so instead of piling onto the diaper fire, Scott opted to bring something entirely new to the franchise. So because Covenant delves into those themes even further while adding a layer of viciousness to it that was sorely missed in Prometheus, I couldn’t help but enjoy the hell out of this movie.

It’s truly astonishing that this movie, a sci-fi horror film with a $100 million budget, straight-up doesn’t give a shit about the audience’s feelings—it’s so mean-spirited and bleak, and as dark of a summer blockbuster as you’ll ever see. At its most transparent, these movies are about how inferior and weak the human race is, which is why David hates them, and even more so because he has to serve them—that’s such a fascinating and deeply disturbing concept to me. So because of Covenant, Prometheus comes more into focus, further proof that David has been the protagonist all along. What happens when the creation wants to create?

But even beyond its existential themes, Covenant still delivers a lot more of what we all wanted from Prometheus—it’s gnarly and murderous, a bloodletting new Alien movie that introduces another terrifying species in the neomorph, and it’s one that will gladly tear you limb from limb. Even amongst the evisceration though, Covenant still manages to further explore the intrigue of Prometheus so that we can have our cake and eat it too. Look, it’s not perfect by any means—the xenos are a bit underwhelming, plot mechanisms feel very loose at times, and it’s becoming even more difficult to figure out how all of this ties into 1979’s Alien—and yet it’s still a gloriously weird, nihilistic slice of sci-fi horror that has expanded a decades-old franchise in ways we never expected.

4/5

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If you are ever attacked by a gorilla just sit back and relax while you enjoy the once in a life time feeling of your limbs being ripped off.

10 thoughts on “Review: Alien: Covenant, paradise found

  1. Well Ryan,i was waiting for your review about Covenant. 4 out of 5 for a movie with loose plot mechanisms,over used cgi xenos,none character connection for the viewer{this part is really tragic!!you have to watch youtube videos to fill some connection to these characters},Katherine Waterston for the role of Sigourney wanna be it’s a miss! and making Fassbender the main focus of this movie i think that was the cherry on top!!Don’t get me wrong i loved his acting but i don’t agree with the creator thing and the way we get to see how he wyped out all of the engineers!!

    1. I mean, if you don’t like the fact that these movies are about David then you’re really not going to like them—I think the amount of which you enjoy them is entirely up to that. It’ll take a while but I believe people will start to appreciate both Prometheus and Covenant over time.

  2. I honestly thought this was a whole bunch of ‘meh.’ Just rehash and rehash … we’ve seen it all before! Plus the Xenomorph’s history is all messed up now …

  3. See, I agree with this. I appreciated Prometheus wanting to explore more than just Alien, but it was badly handled and didn’t come together well. I liked Covenant for still looking into the questions and history and all that, but still getting in the gore. I was not the biggest fan of some of the xenomorphs/neomorphs of this, but whatever. I got the horror, I got the atmosphere, Fassbender was totally on point throughout this, and Danny McBride surprised the hell out of me. I see this movie got some flak, but I don’t think it really deserved it. Great write up!

  4. Finally there’s a positive review from somebody NOT fro RT.

    Haven’t seen it yet, but I think with movies like that the expectations are too high. I mean, if you were in your twenties in 1979 and went to see Alien in cinema, did you expect something? Probably, not. And then you got overwhelmed by what you saw. Because finally it’s a movie about a scary monster killing people, no matter ho hard the public idolizes AND idealizes it. Now, almost 40 years later with all the cult following it has, we go to cinema and what do we expect? Same stuff probably – a scary monster killing people. But it’s hard to appreciate same things in the same way as before sometimes. The whole thing with Alien is that it was originally a classic B movie.

    I was also disappointed in Prometheus at first, but it has grown on me over the years.

    With all that said, I still have to see it!

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