Alien: Covenant

Critics Consensus

Alien: Covenant delivers another satisfying round of close-quarters deep-space terror, even if it doesn't take the saga in any new directions.

66%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 388

55%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 63,647
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Movie Info

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

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News & Interviews for Alien: Covenant

Critic Reviews for Alien: Covenant

All Critics (388) | Top Critics (54) | Fresh (257) | Rotten (131)

  • Unfortunately, it starts off like you're getting a sequel to Prometheus.

    Mar 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • In space, no one can hear you laugh.

    May 29, 2017 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 26, 2017 | Rating: C | Full Review…

    Amy Nicholson

    MTV
    Top Critic
  • As redesigns go, Alien: Covenant is not ambitious, but it's roaringly, repulsively effective.

    May 26, 2017 | Full Review…

    Guy Lodge

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • This may not be a movie that reinvents the wheel. But it's one that knows how to make it roll.

    May 25, 2017 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 24, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Alien: Covenant

  • Aug 31, 2018
    I remember saying, at the time of my Aliens review, that Alien and Aliens (what a creative title for a sequel) were the best one-two punch of any major horror franchise. Look, I love the Evil Dead trilogy as much as the next horror geek, but the original Evil Dead (IN MY OPINION) falls just short of being great. Evil Dead 2, naturally, is tremendous. But in the case of Alien and Aliens, those are two great movies for completely different reasons. The original was more tense, space horror focusing on tight, claustrophobic spaces and the sequel was a great space marine action flick, while still retaining some of that horror. I never got to finish Alien 3 when I started watching it, as a result of Hurricane Maria, and, of course, I haven't seen Resurrection. Well, I did, but I was like 9 or 10 years old when I saw it, so I don't really remember that much. I also have not seen Prometheus, which is a prequel to the original Alien and, of course, this movie. But Prometheus, at least among a lot of fans of the franchise, wasn't exactly crowd-pleasing due to the unanswered questions of its narrative. I don't blame Ridley Scott and his team for doing something different with Prometheus, but it seemed like that movie was too ambitious to be a true Alien film and too Alien to truly live up to its ambitions. So it existed in a plane where you didn't satisfy as many people as you would have hoped. Though maybe that was by design, who knows? Maybe they wanted to inspire debates about the significance behind it all. Regardless, I've always felt that a true prequel changes how you view what's supposed to have come before it. I feel that this is why the Star Wars prequels didn't work, because the end goal was always gonna be the same, Anakin turns into Darth Vader. It didn't really provide any new insight into this world or anything. The endgame was predictable and, because of that, there was no fun to be gleaned from the movies, at least the two that I saw. As it relates to Alien: Covenant, however, I do feel that it does change your perspective of the original movie, as you get to see how the xenomorphs came to be at the hands of David, the android (the only real carryover from Prometheus, along with its story elements, of course). He creates these hybrid creatures, through experiments, as a result of his disappointment in the human race and his desire to destroy them, feeling that, because of their inferiority, they are not worthy of the life they've been given. The movie is really a debate about creator vs creation, seeing as David's creator (at the beginning of this film) is searching for the answers as to who created him which, as far as I understand it, seems to be the plot of Prometheus. So the whole movie is steeped in that debate, with David as the creator of the xenomorphs deeming humans, who created him, to be unworthy of their life. I don't know, even though I didn't see Prometheus, part of me feels that this movie did a better job of handling its more ambitious themes while still, essentially, being a true Alien movie. Before we keep going, I suppose I should say that I did legitimately enjoy this movie. Alien was revolutionary at the time in terms of deep space horror and that's why, most movies within this same genre, feel like they're directly borrowing from Alien's lineage. Having said that, while this movie is set on land for the majority of it, the same place the crew of Prometheus landed on, at the same time this still doesn't feel all that different than the template Ridley Scott set for this type of movie almost forty years ago. Of course, you can't rip yourself off, so that's not even what I'm claiming here, I'm just saying that, as far as this subgenre is concerned, this movie offers very little that is new and, quite frankly, I feel that it doesn't need to. Seeing that it's supposed to be set in the same universe, some familiarity and shared themes are to be expected. As I mentioned, I did end up liking this movie in spite of the fact that it adds nothing new to the franchise or the subgenre. First of all, the movie has a really strong cast, which is nothing new to this franchise, with the highlight being dual performances by Michael Fassbender as androids David and Walter, the former being the first of his kind and therefore more human-like and Walter the more pragmatic and subservient of the two. Fassbender is tremendous in this movie Of course, David and Walter looking exactly the same, they do a predictable bit where, after a fight between the two, one of them comes back to the Covenant and you're not exactly sure as to who came back. I don't now why but, for some reason, this was a little comical to me. I don't really even know why, because there was nothing about it. But it's just sort of used for comedic effect in some movies and shows, so seeing a relatively serious horror movie use that same trope just made me smile a little bit. Katherine Wasterton is, essentially, the Ripley of this movie but, if I'm being fair to Katherine, I feel that she does a great job in spite of the massive shoes most people will expect her to fill. She doesn't imitate Sigourney Weaver, but the characters are certainly very similar. But, again, I feel that Katherine adds her own thing and, as I mentioned, I feel that she's great in this movie regardless of all that. Danny McBride is also a welcome addition to the franchise, because he plays the character completely different than what you expect of him, which is typically a sleazy, detestable ass (and he's great at it, mind). He's not the comedic relief in the slightest and, surprisingly, I liked his character a lot. It's not like there's much to him when compared to David and Walter, but I do like his character regardless. Billy Crudup is here as well and, again, he delivers the goods. There's a few more people on the cast here, but those are the ones most noticeable. Let's talk about the horror, shall we? While I do think that, as a whole, they use the xenomorphs properly, I don't think they're attempting to capture the same feeling the original xenomorph created. Don't get me wrong, the design is still grotesque and, if I came across a xenomorph in real life, I would literally shit my pants. But, of course, I don't think they attempt to recreate that. What the movie does have a lot of is gore and, let me tell you, that the gore is pretty outstanding in this movie. It's a mix of practical and CG and, surprisingly, it works really well. Most of us are cynics when it comes to substituting strong practical effects for CG, but I think this movie found the perfect balance. The scripting, while obviously not perfect, is definitely good and it captures the mood and tone of the franchise. Or at least it captures the mood of the better installments in the franchise. The cinematography is strong as well, Ridley Scott has always had an eye for visuals and this movie is no different. In short, this is just a good, solid horror movie. It's not gonna reinvent the wheel, in any way, but it's a rock solid installment in a, mostly, revered franchise. I think for those of you who were disappointed by Prometheus, because it wasn't Alien enough or because it wasn't ambitious enough, I think this movie finds a strong middle ground. Though, to me, it's leaning more towards the more traditional Alien movie. That's not a bad thing, trust me, because, and this bears repeating, this is a good horror movie. Nothing more, nothing less.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2017
    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.
    Michael S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2017
    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?
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2017
    Zzzzz. Watched under protest. I hate this type of movie.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer

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