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Alien: Covenant delivers another satisfying round of close-quarters deep-space terror, even if it doesn't take the saga in any new directions.
Alien: Covenant delivers another satisfying round of close-quarters deep-space terror, even if it doesn't take the saga in any new directions.
All Critics (363)
| Top Critics (47)
| Fresh (239)
| Rotten (124)
In space, no one can hear you laugh.
Yet again a crew sniffs after a mysterious ping and sticks their nose in a deadly larva pod. Are our astronauts learning? God no. And if the audience expected a different plot, we're not learning, either.
As redesigns go, Alien: Covenant is not ambitious, but it's roaringly, repulsively effective.
This may not be a movie that reinvents the wheel. But it's one that knows how to make it roll.
It's an Alien movie for our times, one in which mankind isn't just under the thumb of an oppressive corporation but sowing the seeds of its own destruction on a more sweeping scale.
There are plenty of reasons to shut your eyes and cross your legs while watching this film, but is that the same as being scared?
If there's one thing scarier than a human with a god complex it's an android with a god complex. This is a film heady with religion; the irony is that space travel relies on science and rationality yet what are colonists doing but creating new worlds?
La relación entre un dios y sus creaciones vuelve a ser el hilo conductor de la trama, pero la película no añade mucho a ese concepto o al menos algo diferente a lo que ya se vio en Prometeo.
Forget the haters. This is a fun movie.
Alien: Covenant works best as a series instalment reflecting on itself, reforming old ideas, reshaping old concepts and tropes. But as a messy, sometimes rather silly film, its reach very much exceeds its grasp...
Prometheus is David; Alien: Covenant is Walter ... The latter, in an attempt to "improve" upon its predecessor, essentially trades in its creative ambition for stodginess and familiarity.
Scott... ultimately commit[s] the sin of retracing his own steps, recreating Alien sans the claustrophobia, the mystery of the creature, or the deep investment we had in the characters from the first film.
How is it possible that the sequel to Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" could wind up being an even more debated, divisive, and controversial entry in the inherently unpredictable "Alien" franchise? "Alien: Covenant" is that film, doubling as a true sequel to the cerebral "Prometheus" and the close quarters action-terror of "Alien." But wait, this is Ridley Scott we are dealing with here! If you thought this was going to be a retread or the sequel you expected... guess again. I found just about all of it exciting, well made, and (as a huge Alien fan) a welcome bridge to the past. No, it's not in the same league as either Scott's or Cameron's original two films, and I do think "Prometheus" is superior, but "Alien:Covenant" is exactly the left field "anti-fan service" that any long-running franchise should welcome. It's not flawless, but it worked for me. Like it's precursor it's destined to be discussed and dissected for years to come. Pick a side.
After the somewhat convoluted disappointment that was Ridley Scott's lavish A L I E N prequel 'Prometheus', I was never really sure how his inevitable sequel would go. After seemingly setting up even more story lines with even more questions, the main question for me was simply, how in the hell was Scott gonna rein all this crap in?? So this time I decided to go into this sequel/prequel relatively blind, not paying too much attention to all the mass debating online.
That being said, it was still hard not to get tied up in all the hype. And with that my initial disappointment came with the plot. Set 11 years after the events in 'Prometheus', the colonisation ship [i]Covenant[/i] is en route to the distant planet of Origae-6. Onboard we also find Walter, a newer model of android series that resemble David from the first movie. His job is again to monitor the ships functions and crew whilst they are in cryo-chambers. A random space event damages the ship and kills some of the sleeping colonists which forces Walter to awaken the main crew. Whilst repairs are underway the ship picks up a distant transmission from an unknown, but habitable planet that is almost identical to Earth (yet the crew are not amazed by this). Despite some concerns the ships Captain decides to divert and check out the transmission. So put simply, its the same damn plot we've now seen twice before. Really Ridley?
OK so I will try not to make this read like a huge list of questions regarding the massively convoluted plot, but no promises. The movie opens with the exact same title sequence as the original 1979 movie. You know what I mean, the main title slowly appearing bit by bit against a backdrop of space. Yep this is an [i]Alien[/i] movie alright, and we're redoing everything you fondly remember...but this definitely isn't another soft reboot.
K so when the crew are awakened from hypersleep in an emergency, one of the pods malfunctions or something. This leads to the death of the ship's original captain played by James Franco, who we never actually see in the movie apart from a photo. For some reason he gets incinerated inside his own hypersleep pod, really not too sure why his pod did this. Maybe as a way to contain any possible unknown dangerous space bacteria and whatnot? Also a convenient way to dispose of the body? It does seem to be a rather worrying design flaw. Its also around this time we meet the stereotypical crew consisting of many faceless alien fodder characters that you will never care about (keywords being faceless and fodder). Some strong Ripley rip-off characters, a Lambert rip-off character (you'll find out later), and the obligatory white female with black male partner (never any other race, always black). Oh and Danny McBride plays a cool, bearded stetson wearing character called 'Tennessee'. You know because in the origin film there was a cool bearded character called 'Dallas'. See what he did there?
As with the previous film we also see that the technology on-board the ship is [b]way[/b] better than anything we saw in the original 79 movie. At the time this was crudely passed off with an explanation about how different ships would have different technology on-board. This has always bothered me simply because its bullshit. Why would anyone make a large spaceship and [b]not[/b] fit it with the best technology going? Even if said ship was a basic mining ship and costs were taken into account, its a bloody spaceship! not a Ford Escort. It will require good technology all round surely. So with that I still find it hard to swallow the fact that these ships are so ridiculously better looking all round than anything we saw in the original movies. Lets be honest here, its because movie effects are obviously way better today and Scott and co simply couldn't help themselves. They just wanted kewl looking spaceships.
Quick question about the ship. When they arrive at the mystery planet there is a large plasma storm over the area with the transmission. This storm prevents the Covenant from landing or going in closer when things start to get messy on the surface for the scout party. But why? OK its a storm over an alien planet but lets not forget the planet is supposedly very similar to Earth. Secondly if this ship can fly billions of light years through the universe contending with all manner of spacey things, why can't it make it through a storm cloud? Thirdly, couldn't they just go around the cloud? I realise that might have taken time but that leads me to ask why they didn't just approach the transmission area from a different angle in the first place. Surely they could of descended into orbit elsewhere and gone under the cloud or slightly around it? Its not like the storm was a surprise, they knew it was there, plus they used a drop scout ship anyway so distance clearly wasn't that much of an issue.
Again as with the previous film we have issues surrounding the intelligence of the crew and how they operate. One main factor last time was poking and putting your face up close to an unknown alien organism. This time...yup we have that again, ugh!!! But not only that, this time the entire crew wanders off the safety of their ship onto an alien planet (the one with the mystery transmission which just happens to look like where it was filmed...New Zealand) without any form of protection! No space helmets, no real protective suits, no planetary scans or scouts to check the surface, zippo. They merely stroll onto the planet and start off on a cross-country ramble. Jesus Christ some even start talking about setting up the colony there! Yeah this unknown, unchecked mystery planet will do nicely. You can get lost or killed first? First prize...errr...you die!
This unknown planet turns out to be the Engineer homeworld which is also home to David, a now dead Shaw and the black goo. If you thought 'Prometheus' was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. So David supposedly wiped out all the Engineers with the black goo when he arrived. Why? presumably because he wanted to create his own lifeforms and needed a clean slate, although I don't know for sure. All the Engineers were standing around and cheering the ship as it arrived, not sure why, was this a special ship or mission? All the Engineers also looked really different to the main chap in 'Prometheus', not as muscular or marble-like. Different in a bad makeup job type way that is. We are also led to believe that this entire planet only consisted of one major Engineer city?? No other cities or anything nearby or further away??
So David released the black goo and it wipes everything out, fine. When the humans go walkabout one male gets infected by a plant or fungus releasing a black goo spore. In turn this very quickly takes affect causing an alien to gestate and burst from within (his back this time because...changing it up a bit). So, if the black goo infected everything in this way, wouldn't there be lots of little aliens running the planets surface? And clearly those spores are [b]WAY[/b] more lethal and effective than the alien creatures. They are literally particles in the air that can enter the human body through any small orifice. The main aliens are actually less threatening! ha! Also, how fucking quickly did that new alien go through its gestation period from a mere spore??!! And speaking of gestation periods, the main alien again goes from chestburster (which looked like a children's toy) to full grown alien in no time! What has happened to the slow build up and tension?? And how exactly did David create the original alien eggs? I still don't get how he managed that. Did he somehow get to the eggs from experimenting on Shaw?
As for the finale its in three parts essentially, all of which are totally cheap cop outs (with dreadful CGI on the alien amazingly). The first revolves around a pitch battle and various large powerloader-esque pieces of equipment. As Tennessee tries to take off from the planet with Janet Daniels (Katherine Waterston) in tow, the alien tries to take her down. This involves Daniels outside the ship, trying to shoot or knock the alien off, whilst attached by a cable. For some reason Tennessee just flies around in circles whilst Daniels swings around aimlessly doing a bad job of defeating the alien. At no point did either just think to fly into space and fry the alien? Anyway, eventually Daniels operates a large crane claw, which the alien very conveniently jumps straight into, and they crush it.
You think that is the end but its not, oh no. We then get the second cheap schlocky finale. Low and behold there is another alien...because of course there is! This one decides to attack some of the remaining crew members while they have sex in the shower, in true 80's slasher flick style (just to cover all the bases). Tennessee and Daniels (who is now in full Ripley mode complete with vest) must now lure the creature into one of the ships cargo bays so they can flush it into space. Yes that's right, flush it into space, cheap ending number three. Because Scott just wants to rehash every damn thing from his glorious original. Oh and this alien seems to mature in around five bloody minutes after hatching, certainly appears that way.
What can I say about this movie?? Really what can I say??? Its so [b]so[/b] obvious that Scott was somewhat crushed by the reaction to 'Prometheus' and was literally forced into going in a new direction for this sequel. Its abundantly clear that he's added the entire alien aspect simply to appease the fanbase that demanded more alien action. But Ridley being Ridley, was never gonna completely eject his original plans. Thus we have this complete clash of ideas, two concepts rolled into one resulting in a higgledy-piggledy mess. On one hand you have this epic spiritual space adventure into the unknown; focusing on life, our place in the universe, creation, Gods and monsters so to speak. Then on the other hand you have this terribly cheesy and cliched monster movie that degenerates into a tacky slasher flick with horribly obvious twists (David and Walter switcheroo and David creating the xenomorph). You can quite easily tell from reading the films title. The film should have simply been called 'Covenant' or 'Prometheus II: Covenant'. The addition of 'ALIEN' was clearly to draw in the fanboys of the original movies in the promise of a more familiar story.
Yes Ridley provides us with top notch visuals, a masterclass in true spectacle...again. Yes the attention to detail from costumes to technology to the score, is astoundingly good. Its a sheer pleasure to simply view a Ridley Scott sci-fi movie, it really is. But the more he dabbles in this franchise the more he screws it up. From a pretty looking convoluted mess in 'Prometheus', to another pretty looking convoluted mess in 'Alien: Covenant'. The real downside is this movie is not its own film, its merely a collection of highlights that we've all seen before in previous movies. At least 'Prometheus' displayed a lot of originality, it still made a mess of everything but at least it was a brave move (much like the [i]Star Wars[/i] prequels). I do find it quite bizarre how these new [i]Alien[/i] prequels do seem to be going down hill in the same way the [i]Star Wars[/i] prequels did. Is the flute scene with David and Walter the new sand scene?
Watched under protest. I hate this type of movie.
When it was announced that Prometheus would would have Ridley Scott revisit the Alien world of his 1979 classic, there was much excitement and anticipation for him to revisiting the franchise that he originally created. However, the end result caused huge disappointment for fans and many were left wondering why Scott even bothered in the first place. Alien Covenant (the fifth film in the series) was a chance for Scott to right some wrongs and have another go but, unfortunately, he doesn't achieve that. If anything, Alien Covenant is an even bigger misstep.
Plot: The crew of the deep-space colony vessel Covenant are bound for a remote planet to build a new life. En route they intercept a transmission from a nearby planet that may resemble Earth and decide to investigate. What they find is a dangerous world that they must escape as soon as they arrive.
It has been said that Ridley Scott is on a collision course with his own creation - much in the same way that George Lucas did by delivering three unnecessary Star Wars prequels that were less than the sum of their parts. Scott's decision to claim that Prometheus wasn't actually part of the Alien storyline was such a confounding claim that it verged on being insulting by trying to pass it off as something that it obviously wasn't. That has seemingly all but been forgotten, though, as Alien Covenant makes no such claim. In fact, it's so much like previous Alien films in its structure that it becomes apparent very early on that there's no originality involved. Scott's original film hangs heavy over the proceedings and he has no shame in also stealing straight from James Cameron's sequel when it comes to action set-pieces; he even borrows from David Fincher's third instalment by showing us the occasional point of view of the alien itself. These approaches are glaring and despite trying to bring the best of these three films, Scott is unable to make them work or improve upon them at all. After a laborious first hour, it's apparent that Covenant is going nowhere fast and having an assorted cast of characters with little to no characterisation doesn't help matters (why James Franco even makes a cameo appearance is also pointless and off-putting). Much like Prometheus, the only saving grace is having Michael Fassbender - this time in a dual role - trying to hold this mess together. As good as he is, even he can't rise above the woefully lazy script and dreadful dialogue.
The biggest problem for me, however, was the special effects. For a big-budget science fiction there really is no excuse for having such shamefully sub-par CGI. Scott manages to deliver an Alien film where the aliens themselves simply don't work. They are so laughably bad that they ruin any attempt at tension or suspense - the very bread and butter that Alien films thrive upon. There is one important piece of dialogue whereby Fassbender informs us that "One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony". This is where I can, at least, find some credence in Scott's latest misfire but it's wise words that he really should have paid more attention to.
With the Blade Runner sequel due in a few months, I'm actually much happier now that Scott has decided to take a step back from his earlier masterpiece and pass the reigns to Denis Villenueve. Scott may be a visual master but his ability to provide overall quality anymore is seriously in question. It's fair to say that he has further plans for this franchise but after the disappointment of Prometheus and the ineptitude of this, it's a series of films that I'm finding it increasing more difficult to invest in.
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