‘Alien: Covenant’ Non-spoiler Review
I’m going to be honest, I have never seen Alien or Aliens. As a cinephile and a lover of sci-fi, it’s a bit embarrassing for me to admit that I’ve never seen one of the pinnacles of 80s cinema. It’s not that I don’t want to watch these classic films, it’s more to do with me being lazy as both films are in a stack of films I have to watch sometime. However, I did watch Prometheus in preparation for this film because the trailers for Alien: Covenant really excited me and I thought if there was a movie I needed to see before Covenant it was Prometheus. After watching Covenant, I would say that I still probably have understood quite a bit of Alien: Covenant without watching any of the films, but I’m very glad that I watched Prometheus beforehand.
Alien: Covenant is about the crew of a colony ship (called the Covenant) who discover a remote planet which seems to be perfect. However, when they get down to the planet they realize it’s not as perfect as it seems and they must escape before they are all killed. This film is very similar to Prometheus right down to the Michael Fassbender bot (this time called Walter). It’s similar visually (but that’s really to be expected as Ridley Scott directed both films) and has similar problems. I liked Prometheus, but most of the crew wasn’t very likable and by the end I just wanted the aliens to kill them because that was more entertaining than watching them on-screen.
Alien: Covenant has the same problem in my opinion. Apart from Daniels (Katherine Waterstone) and Tennessee (Danny McBride), most of the other characters came off as dumb, unlikable, or a mix of the two. There were times in this movie that I just wanted an alien to come and smash out of some of the characters stomachs instead of watching them for a few more minutes.Another problem this movie shares with Prometheus is it’s first thirty minutes are very long and quite boring as they try to set up the rest of the film. An incident happens in the second scene which is quite cool and very interesting, but the resolution to the incident takes far too long and the action doesn’t come in quick enough to save a boring first act.
Another problem this movie has is that there’s a weird thing said to Billy Crudup’s character after the incident in the second scene about why the crew doesn’t respect his authority. Without spoiling too much, it’s a comment about his faith, and whilst I’m not religious, it bothered me because it made almost no sense. We don’t see him practicing his faith and his faith is barely mentioned throughout the film. This leads to another problem with this film as the script is pretty boring throughout the film. Pretty much when there isn’t Michael Fassbender or an alien on screen, there’s dialogue between two or more characters which is pretty boring and not very engaging. I’m not 100% sure this is all the script’s fault however because the actors (on the whole) weren’t very engaging, but it’s an issue with the film.
Talking about Michael Fassbender, he gave a very strange performance, but it was so mesmerizing and engaging, that I loved it. He was the best thing about this film. In Prometheus, he played David, a robot who reminded me a little bit of HAL 9000. In this film, he plays Walter, a less human robot, and returns as David. This time David is much stranger, colder and a much more psychopathic robot (I don’t want to say much more as I’d probably ruin parts of the film). When David interacted with Walter, it was very very interesting. They were some of my favorite parts of the film as I think David was given some of the best lines of the entire film and the interactions between both the robots was so engaging and really sucked me into the film. This movie has problems, but Michael Fassbender wasn’t one of them!
Another positive part of the film was the aliens. I’m going to be honest, about 60% of the reason I wanted to see Covenant in the first place was to see aliens killing people. It’s not that I don’t like philosophical movies where the aliens don’t jump out of people’s stomachs like a scary parasite, it’s just that I haven’t seen a film like that for a while and my brain was needing that! I’m glad to say there are quite a bit of aliens attacking people. Especially in the third act, a lot of the alien attacks were full of tension and it was almost like watching a horror film but I couldn’t take my eyes away from it.
However, some of the CGI on the aliens was a bit off at times and took me out of the film. The first alien scene was fantastic and was a really cool use of CGI. Somewhat related to the aliens in this film, it was really gory. I expected some blood and usually, I’m fine with stuff like that, but even I felt a bit queasy when watching certain parts of this film. I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone who doesn’t like gore because you’re probably not going to be a big fan of this.This film built a lot of tension, especially towards act three, but the ending is very predictable. However, even though I predicted the final twist, I was satisfied with it because it made a lot of sense and leaves room for a sequel.
Overall, I really liked Alien: Covenant. Even though the cast of characters isn’t very interesting (personally I think they should have had the Last Super prologue in the movie as I think that would have connected the viewers to the characters more) and the first act is quite boring, Alien: Covenant is a lot of fun. Michael Fassbender steals the show and the aliens are really good (when the CGI isn’t spotty). Katherine Waterstone is good as Daniels, but she seems so reminiscent of Ripley. Even someone who hasn’t watched the first two Alien movies can see it. The film builds a lot of tension but with a predictable ending and a few other issues, it’s not the next sci-fi classic. It’s pretty much Prometheus with more questionable actions, a less well-known cast but a less complicated story, so if you liked Prometheus you’ll probably like this too.
Overall, I’d give Alien: Covenant 3.5 out of 5.
It’s a solid movie with an awesome performance from Michael Fassbender. It’s definitely worth checking out if you liked Prometheus or liked the ad campaign for this film. The film comes out May 19th in the U.S.
Chelsea Baines covers Entertainment for MFST, you can follow her on Twitter @ChelseaBaines
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