“… made every second of Prometheus worth it, and that’s a huge accomplishment.”
Last night I saw Alien: Covenant, and I am just so fucking happy that they didn’t fuck it up again. For those who don’t know: Alien: Covenant is a sequel to Prometheus, but a prequel to the original Alien film. Alien: Covenant follows a group of colonists heading for a planet on the other side of the galaxy. Well shit goes wrong (of course) and they decide to instead land on a nearby planet that can also sustain life. Well we all know where this shit is going, don’t we? The crew encounter the insanely angry Xenomorphs, and are then forced to try and survive.
As my opening sentence would suggest I fucking loved this movie! Not only was Alien: Covenant better than Prometheus, but it is now one of my favourite Alien films. So what did I love so much about Alien: Covenant? There is so much, but let’s start with the feel of the movie. Alien: Covenant managed to take the original feel of Alien (horror), and mesh it beautifully with the tone of Prometheus (more of an action tone). This created a fucking magical experience that proves to me whole-heartedly that the alien franchise isn’t dead. Before I saw Covenant I was terrified. I was both scared at what the movie would be, and mad at Ridley Scott for essentially vetoing Neill Blomkamp’s Alien project. As it stands currently, I’m more than happy that decision was made because what we got was fucking magical. Not only was the tone of the film spot on, but there were so many little nods for fans of the original Alien. Be it the shockingly similar body-horror scenes, the inclusion of one of those “drinking bird” desk toys, or the decision to have the main character in a very see-through undershirt, it was all there. And it wasn’t just the physical references either, I would definitely count the chemistry between the crew as a reference (or at least a much needed fix) for the franchise. In Prometheus everyone fucking hated each other, so in turn we hated them too. In Alien: Covenant everyone cares about one another which then translates to us caring as well. And no matter how much of that relationship was written, it definitely came to life thanks to the brilliant performances that Alien: Covenant had to offer. I know that Daniels (played by Katherine Waterston) is marketed as the “star”, but when watching the movie that doesn’t come through at all. Alien: Covenant is very much an ensemble piece, and everyone goes above and beyond to do their part. A stand out for me would once again be Michael Fassbender, this time playing Walter. Once again Fassbender shows that he is a force to be reckoned with on the screen, and it was impressive to see him play essentially the same character from Prometheus (both androids), but have him be completely different. I will concede that Fassbender’s American accent was very weird to listen to, but I think that was due to me being so used to David’s english accent from Prometheus. Another huge props has to go to James Franco’s amazing performance as well. I knew that he had some acting chops from his other roles, but wow. I was blown away. He was really on fire throughout the entire movie, especially the beginning. One more person I have to mention is Danny McBride who played Tennessee in the film. Mr. McBride, if you’re reading this (which you most deficiently are not) I’m sorry for doubting you for even a second. Despite your mainly comedy-centric background you managed to bring it in Alien: Covenant, and I’m excited to see what you do next in your career.
Now I do want to mention the story of Alien: Covenant, but I’m going to do so in a way that doesn’t spoil it. Alien: Covenant made every second of Prometheus worth it, and that’s a huge accomplishment. Not only did the story manage to make callbacks to both Prometheus and Alien, but it also managed to go its own way as well. Unlike Prometheus it answered all of the questions that I had, and it did so in a way that didn’t give me a headache trying to do mental gymnastics to connect the dots. I will say that I was a little annoyed that Covenant once again changed the established Alien lore (specifically the creation aspect), but the film does give an explanation for that which made my anger subside. The last thing I want to talk about pertaining to Alien: Covenant is the CGI in the film. When I first saw the trailer for Alien: Covenant I saw the Alien (specifically the scene where it bangs its head on the glass) and I was scared. I was scared because it didn’t look good at all. Up until I saw the film I was terrified that they would opt for a completely CGI Alien, and unfortunately those fears were realized. The CGI in Alien: Covenant is in no way bad, as a matter of fact it is beautifully done, but as soon as you see it on screen with a human (which is about 90% of the time) is falls apart instantly. This really sucked to not be immersed in what was otherwise a really terrifying experience. As far as I’m concerned this is the one major blemish in an otherwise perfect film. Luckily the rest of the film was so good that it does a good job of masking the CGI.
Overall Alien: Covenant is what I’ve been waiting for in an Alien film since Aliens. It manages to create a beautiful mix of Alien and Prometheus, but still do its own thing story-wise. Sure the CGI isn’t believable, but the performances are great, the story is great, and most importantly it undoes the sins of Prometheus.
I give Alien: Covenant an A