Dan M., here….
A crew gets a distress signal from a planet. Crew lands on that seemingly abandoned planet. Planet has aliens. Aliens infect or attack humans. A survivor or two must fight said alien to get off the planet. Rinse and repeat. That isn’t to say the Alien: Covenant is a bad movie, it really isn’t but as far as the broad strokes are concerned it is a paint by numbers Alien movie. A marked improvement from Prometheus because it has better characters but the formula to this point is getting a bit stale for me. I didn’t hate this movie. I know it sounds like I did but really I’m just ready for it to evolve a bit more.
Covenant fills in the gaps that exist in every single Alien movie with some really great small scenes 90% of which involve one or two Michael Fassbenders. At a certain point in the movie, I found myself wanting to know more about David than getting to the next alien attack or escape plan. Fassbender continues to just put in solid work in movies like this and he is far and away the most intriguing part of the film. The other bright spot in the cast is Danny McBride who isn’t just comic relief! McBride gets to have some lighter moments for sure but he also has an emotional scene and a sort of scared/badass pilot sequence. It was really nice to see Kenny Powers branch out. Katherine Waterson plays a Ripley clone for reasons I don’t understand and the rest of the cast is your typical alien food rounded out by some recognizable solid actors.
I absolutely love the original Alien. It is a masterpiece to me. The pacing, the reveal, everything is fantastic in that movie. I also really enjoy Aliens because it was a full on action movie and I must have seen it 100 times as a kid. Alien 3, Resurrection, and the “versus movies” don’t do too much for me but I’ve seen them. I point out that I love Alien and Aliens because I’ve seen many complaints about this movie destroying the mystery of the xenomorph. I don’t give a damn where the creature comes from but the reveals in this film didn’t ruin my enjoyment of Alien or Aliens one bit. In fact, I think some of the machinations that led to xenomorphs were the most interesting parts of Covenant. The themes of creator, creation, free will, and becoming a God were really eye opening in a way that serves this story. I didn’t find it to be tedious or take away from the mythology as much as some suggest.
This is a solid summer movie with some great sequences and insane gore. When it takes a chance and colors outside the lines you’ll perk up in your seat but before long it is back inside the coloring page making another Alien story. The insanely improved cast from Prometheus lifts the plot as much as they can to the next sign post before we have to check an Alien story box. The creature design is by far the best of any of the films and the xenomorphs are truly terrifying to look at in whatever form they take in this one. There must be an awesome DVD extra coming on creature design and effects. In fact, everything about the special effects, ships, and sets were gorgeous to look at.
Ultimately, I am really just ready for a different take on this universe. Ridley Scott said he wants to make 2 more of these movies and I will see both of them opening day. I just want the writers to know that they can change the structure a bit. I don’t need to be introduced to a crew, watch the crew get attacked, watch most of the crew die, and watch the survivors escape while leaving everything open for the next crew to come along and check on *this* “infected” crew. Round and round we go. Show me marines next time who learn of this alien infection spreading and are sent to wipe it out. Show me an actual successful human colony on a faraway planet try and quarantine an alien outbreak. I am here for the ride Alien franchise but if I see every twist and turn coming I’m going to start checking my phone because I’ll be waiting until the movie is playing on TNT some rainy Sunday in April.
WORTH A LOOK!