I have never been one of those geeks super into the Alien franchise. After all, that shit is scary, and I didn’t watch horror for the longest time.
I can understand the appeal, but after Alien and Aliens, the only other film in that series I have seen was Prometheus, so there is that. Allusions and references will mean nothing to me.
So I am not excited to go into this film, but I am a bit excited it isn’t just “Prometheus 2” or anything. Because I want my scientists to be smart and not watch the opposite of that. I do want nice scares as well. But mostly, I want a shit ton of Danny McBride.
I hope this isn’t Danny McBride.
Alien: Covenant is set about ten years after the events of Prometheus, aboard the ship named Covenant. It is a colony ship, with a ship ton of bodies on board while asleep. There are also hundreds of embryos frozen and about 15 or so crew members to run the thing if problems arise or when they get close to the new planet. Lastly, they have a lovely robot helper to run their ship while they sleep in Walter (Michael Fassbender), who is totally different than David from Prometheus!
Sure enough, some bad stuff happens, their voyage gets stopped, they have to make repairs, and their captain dies! Oh no! Now Oram (Billy Crudup) is in charge, and he wants them to get back on schedule asap before more bad stuff happens. Daniels (Katherine Waterston) is the new second in command, and she was also in a relationship with the captain so she is pretty upset. Tennessee (Danny McBride) is their pilot/tech guy or something and Lope (Demián Bichir) is some sort of head of security, maybe.
While doing repairs, they received a faded distress beacon from a place not too far away, and according to scanners it is ALSO a perfect planet for them to live at. They decide it is their duty to check it out, saving them 7 years on a different awesome planet would be sweet. Once they get there though, spores, aliens, a lot of problems. But hey, they also meet David, so we get to find out what happened after Prometheus. Ain’t that swell?
And here is a bunch of the crew actors! Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, and Nathaniel Dean. With maybe, MAYBE, about 2 minutes of screen time for James Franco.
Front chest bursting is so 30 years ago.
Alien: Covenant is a film that wants to explore some pretty deep questions in a hypothetical setting. It wants to talk about Rogue AI. It wants to talk about where we came from (like Prometheus before it). It wants to talk about the next stages of evolution for beings. It wants to talk about what it means to be a creator of life, a mother, without necessarily giving birth in the traditional sense. It wants to play on human emotions at the loss of a loved one (because straight up every crew member is apparently in a relationship with another crew member). A lot of good discussions and themes can arise from this film, some of which is subtle and some of which is blasted across the screen into your faceholes.
But you know what Alien: Covenant does not feel like? An Alien movie. Oh, we get a least one Xenomorph in this film, but it kind of sucks. It is defeated easily, with the smaller aliens seemingly posing a bigger challenge. And this movie isn’t scary. We got some gross scenes? Yeah, a bit, but I have seen a lot worse. We have some people flipping their shit of course. And we have a lot of crew members make terrible decisions over and over again, a big problem with Prometheus. But I never really felt scared. I never really felt the tension.
The best elements from Covenant would fall under the Drama Genre, which would be fine if that was the goal of this film, to make it a drama. This is a franchise known for changing its genre between films, and it could have really fucking worked (although, admittedly, people would probably still be disappointed). But it still tries to hype up its action and horror moments which for the most part just fall flat.
The best part of the movie is Fassbender and Fassbender, including the best scenes where he has to act with himself. I probably said something similar in the last movie about the “best parts”. But the twists feel obvious, McBride isn’t even used as a comic relief, it is setting up for a future movie (which I will note I have no idea where it really wants go with), and above all, just not as good as most people would have hoped.
But hey, Ridley Scott wants to make like, six more of these, and he is super old, so I guess that is what will happen.
2 out of 4.