Review: Alien Covenant
Posted: by Ryan Manns
Despite being a huge Alien and Ridley Scott fan, I have only just been able to see his latest installment in the legendary franchise, Alien: Covenant. The movie has been sold out at theaters near me, booked solid. The hype over this long awaited sequel to Prometheus has been causing fans anxiety since the very first trailer. I finally got into a show late last night so here it is, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
This film does a lot of things very right. The vast majority of the characters are very likeable and believable. The plot (unlike Prometheus) doesn’t require a PHD to get your head around, but the movie also doesn’t treat you like an idiot. The action is exciting without taking away from the horror (A huge problem with Resurrection).
The acting is great, Danny McBride, who I have to admit I doubted in a serious sci-fi horror movie, really delivers alongside the lead Katherine Waterston. Seriously, first a lead in the latest Harry Potter film and now one in Covenant? Keep an eye on her, she’s breaking out. I also finally got to see a big budget movie franchise trust its audience. The film assumes you’ve seen the previous installments, that you’re aware of how the monster works and what the normal formula is for an Alien movie. This is something you don’t get a lot out other franchises, so you end up watching the same setup for this years latest release of Transformers as you did the previous 4 years.
My list of gripes with this movie is mercifully short. Mostly, it’s all about minor things that don’t make much sense, but if you have the ability to suspend your disbelief, you can ignore the majority of them. Why does a neutrino burst that only slightly tears one sail, cause fires and death on the ship? Why does a landing party to a new planet not wear suits? Why does said landing party bring a ton of heavy, unwieldy, firearms? Why is no one creeped out about the mysterious android living on the planet with hundreds of Pompeii-style corpses in his front yard? Why can no one hit the damn alien when they’re shooting at it? Damn thing is bigger than an NBA player.
But on a more serious note, the character development is a little underwhelming. Most characters only have one trait. This guy is religious, this guy is gay, she’s hot, he likes country music, she’s tough. Even Daniels, (Waterston) leaves something to be desired. She’s clearly meant to be the Ripley-esque character from the previous installments, but she falls, just a little flat. She doesn’t have that leadership quality, there’s not enough desperation in her. To be clear I would have been on board with a different type of lead, but the fact that she’s so close, and yet so far from Ripley make me wonder if they shouldn’t have tried to break the mold a little more.
There is almost nothing ugly about this movie. Visually it is incredible. The special effects are gorgeous and I can only remember one scene when I could even tell that they were there. Particularly during the climax of the movie, when everything has to be perfect to keep you immersed, the film pulls it off with flying colors. While the color pallet leaves something to be desired, there’s no denying that on a technical level Covenant is masterfully executed.
The Round Up
A fun movie. I recommend that you see it in theaters. The big screen adds a lot to this one. Especially since it’s a little less horror and suspense like Alien and a little more action-blockbuster like Aliens. Check it out.
– Ryan Manns