Alien: Covenant Review – Promises, Promises

Alien was a franchise in which each sequel was the distinct vision of its filmmaker. Now Ridley Scott is the only director to have made more than one, let alone three, and the series is in a decline more drastic than Alien Vs. Predator. Alien: Covenant is full of bad decisions, both by the creative team and by the characters themselves.Alien: Covenant

There are good set pieces in Alien: Covenant, but the story connecting them is nonsense. Explaining how the xenomorphs were created is a mistake itself. Now it’s not some unstoppable force of nature. It’s some convoluted exposition that can’t possibly be satisfying, even if it were better than this. A prequel doesn’t have to explain its successor. In fact, it shouldn’t. If the original worked, then that’s all the explanation that was ever necessary. Just be a new story set earlier in the timeline.

The end of Prometheus gets Alien 3ed in a line of dialogue. It’s fine if Alien: Covenant wants to distance itself from the previous film, but be clever about it. They did not distance themselves from dumb scientists though. I know Chris Oram (Billy Crudup) just got the captain job due to a tragedy, but he is not only the worst captain ever, he’s a terribly crew member to begin with. Every decision he makes is bad. I don’t understand how he got any job on a spaceship. A monkey would be more useful. At least a monkey can be trained to follow orders.

Faris (Amy Siemetz) panics when she first sees an alien. That’s understandable, even if she’s an astronaut and medic. But then her husband says he’s never seen her scared before. So the first time in their married life she’s ever been scared, she turns it all the way up to 11?

Under Oram, the entire crew of the Covenant goes off on an unauthorized mission to this planet. So the crew has awoken from hypersleep because of an accident, and because the accident killed some crew members, they’re reluctant to go back to sleep for the 7 year trip to the planet they’re assigned to colonize. Excuse me, do the 2000 colonists who signed up to go to the 7 years away planet get a vote? Even if there are no aliens on the new planet, those colonists signed up for a different planet. If they wake up from hypersleep somewhere else, that sounds like a lawsuit to me. Or even in the future, are space colonists still at the mercy of whatever the crew decides to do? It’s United Airlines in space.

Oram’s crew certainly answers to someone. They didn’t plan this colony. They’re just hired to execute the mission. And I’m sorry, you think a random new planet you just found out about sounds like a better option than the one they spent years studying and proving could support life and facilitate your mission?

How does any of this lead to the Space Jockey from the original Alien? Alien: Covenant already takes place long after the giants went extinct. So what, are we going to find out someone brought the giants back, or there’s ANOTHER race of giants who became space travelers who encountered the xenomorph on LV-426?

There’s a “twist” that could not have been revealed as anything else, since an earlier scene blatantly cuts away from the resolution. The only reason not to show the end of that scene is so that they can say the outcome wasn’t what you expect. But because they didn’t show the scene, you expect the outcome anyway.

Alien: CovenantI don’t get how they’re naming androids now. It was alphabetical with Ash, Bishop and Call. David is sort of anachronistic because he predates Ash, but we allowed it because his movie came after. Now they’ve jumped to Walter (Michael Fassbender)? Androids now do martial arts too. Forget that this upgrade was removed from subsequent Ash, Bishop and Call models. Cinematically, this is more than a decade too late from the post-Matrix boom. Are we still supposed to be impressed to see martial arts in a Hollywood movie?

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that any Alien movie now is going to have CGI aliens. It’s not ideal but the set pieces with them are still good. It’s just the CGI aliens look more like a guy in a suit than the actual guy in an alien suit at the end of Alien. They definitely show the creature too much, and one of them makes Predator mouth sounds, so I guess Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is canon after all.

There is a silver lining though. Every bad Alien movie makes my beloved Alien: Resurrection rise in esteem. Now it’s not even in the bottom three! Well, well, well, Neil Blomkamp’s idea is looking pretty good right now.

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  1. “my beloved Alien: Resurrection rise in esteem. ”

    Alien Resurrection gets trashed more then it deserves IMO
    Its more watchable then prometheus

    “Well, well, well, Neil Blomkamp’s idea is looking pretty good right now.”

    I heard recently that ridley has sunk his teeth back into the franchise now and Blompkamps movie has been pretty much snuffed out
    But I just read that somewhere, I hope I’m wrong

  2. “Alien: Covenant is full of bad decisions, both by the creative team and by the characters themselves.”

    Thank God you say this at the beginning of the review. After hearing people say the same thing about Prometheus, this is the best recommendation for Alien: Covenant. I’m looking forward for it to be another great Ridley Scott movie.

  3. “so I guess Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is canon after all.”

    Is this guy a retard? AvP is not canon. Who doesn’t know that by now?

  4. prometheus is worst in the franchise of Alien. or this new one. Alien: Resurrection is 4th or 5th

  5. Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is NOT A MOVIE even

  6. So… the FOSSILILZED Space Jockey in the already eggfilled fossilized ship in Alien, was just a bit dusty and a few decades old!? What???

  7. No, that may have been ancient, and one reason the Engineers treat the xenos with fear and/or reverance.

  8. It’s also up there with Jurassic Park as far as scifi movies go.

  9. But now David created the xenos as we know them..?

  10. Given that there were xenomorph heiroglyphs on the walls in Prometheus, I think it’s safe to assume that xenos as we know them are the inevitable outcome of repeated mutation/exposure to the mutagen.

    Since the substance appears to accelerate mutation, xenomorphs are therefore the ultimate evolution of life (melding humanity with our own natural viral and bacteria-infested biomes then rapidly iterating on that)… ergo, something to be feared but also respected and revered.

  11. lol.

    do you think it will share with Prometheus other “achievements”? Eg biologist trying to pet alien snakes or geologist getting lost in cave thoroughly mapped hours before by their very own gadgets?

    After all those were some aspects of Scott’s “greatness” in the previous movie.

  12. And the “Engineer” (including his chair) in the first Alien film is so much larger than how Scott portrayed them to be in “Prometheus”. Scott is clearly trying to smash his “Chariots of the Gods” movie into the “Alien” franchise and the pieces just do not fit. It’s a mess. And filled wit the most idiotic characters doing the most idiotic things just so the plot can move ‘forward’ (or is that backward?). lol

  13. I think your review is more entertaining than the actual film will be.

  14. And no one on the ship even bothers to check in with them the ENTIRE TIME they are trapped in that place overnight, during the storm. I could go on & on & on about “Idiotic People Doing Idiotic Things in Outer Space”, er.. I mean “Prometheus.”

  15. FWIW, the adorable little alien at the end of Prometheus was a rod puppet, not CGI. CGI gets a bad rap, the apes in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes gave better performances than any real actors in anything Ridley Scott’s done in recent memory, including the over-praised “beep boop I’m an Android” David in Prometheus.

    Things will only get worse until filmmakers regard the Aliens as characters again and not props. It’s much more suspenseful when they’re actively cunning and not just KY jelly with legs.

  16. What has it being “ancient” got to with the size of ‘engineer’? Of course it is ancient. So what? It’s one of the same ‘engineers’ that came to earth to ‘seed it’ millions of years ago. They were the same size as in ‘Prometheus’ as well. And they were ‘ancient’ Ridley has said himself that is indeed an ‘engineer’ in that giant chair. He just doesn’t care that it makes ZERO sense and doesn’t line up with the original “Alien” film. And the entire concept of “Chariots from the Gods” is not Sci-Fi. It’s fantasy. And garbage fantasy at that. And cramming it into the “Alien” franchise is even more ludicrous.

  17. He was joking.

  18. his review is spot on.

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