REVIEWS

Review: Ridley Scott's 'Alien: Covenant' is a Miscalculated Sci-Fi Misfire

by
May 16, 2017

Alien: Covenant

In 1977, director Ridley Scott made his feature debut with The Duelist, which won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. His next film, 1979's Alien, catapulted Sigourney Weaver to stardom and would go on to be considered one of the best sci-fi films of all time. A thriller about an extraterrestrial organism that stalks the crew of a spaceship, Alien launched a mega-franchise of movies, novels, comic books, video games, and collectibles that remains a pop culture mainstay nearly 40 years later. In 2010, Scott decided to return to the universe he helped create with Prometheus, a prequel to Alien that would explore the origins of the franchise's iconic Xenomorph creature, as well as the "space jockey"—the giant, elephantine extraterrestrial that briefly appears in the film as the deceased pilot of a derelict spaceship.

Released in 2012, the film was polarizing to fans and critics alike. Prometheus is a collection of exquisite broad strokes, with stunning imagery and a compelling performance from Michael Fassbender, who plays the android "David." And while it is an ambitious film that asks big, philosophical questions about humanity's origins and the relationship between the creator and the created, it offers little in the way of answers, or logic. Ambiguity isn't a bad thing in filmmaking, but it's frustrating when things are left open to interpretation because the filmmaker doesn't have the answers, or is purposefully withholding them so he or she can stretch out one potentially great story into a series of diminishing returns.

Enter Alien: Covenant, the sixth installment in the Alien franchise, taking place ten years after the events of Prometheus and eighteen years before Alien. Directed by Scott and written by John Logan (Gladiator, Skyfall) from a story by Jack Paglen (Transcendence) and Michael Green (Logan), this prequel-sequel attempts to delve deeper into the mythology established in Prometheus while giving fans "what they want" in the form of a traditional Alien narrative, i.e. watching scared shitless space-travel-folk get chased down corridors by monsters. In Scott's words, "They want Aliens, I'll give them fucking Aliens!" Or, to paraphrase Pimp My Ride's Xzibit, "I heard you like Xenomorphs, so we put Xenomorphs in your Xenomorph movie!"

It's 2104, and the Weyland-Yutani colony ship Covenant is bound for a remote planet, Origae-6, with over two thousand colonists and embryos aboard. While en route to the planet, a neutrino burst damages the ship, killing its captain and waking the crew from cryosleep. Among the surviving crew members are Daniels (Katherine Waterston), head of terraforming operations; first mate Christopher Oram (Billy Crudup) and his biologist wife Karine (Carmen Ejogo); pilots Tennessee (Danny McBride) and Faris (Amy Seimetz); head of security Lope (Demián Bichir) and his husband Hallett (Nathaniel Dean). Joining them is "Walter" (Michael Fassbender again), a different "synthetic" android that maintains the ship and looks after its passengers on their seven-year voyage.

Alien: Covenant Review

While repairing the ship's energy sails, Tennessee hears a cryptic transmission that sounds like a distress call. The crew tracks the source of the message and Oram, motivated by his faith, charts a new course that will take the Covenant to a potentially habitable planet that is seemingly too good to be true, and is. Upon landing on the hauntingly beautiful world, a member of the crew, Ledward (Benjamin Rigby) comes into contact with deadly spores – the mysterious "black goo" from Prometheus – and becomes ill. When he reaches the craft's Med Bay with the help of Karine, things go horribly wrong. Here we witness the birth of the Neomorph, a new breed of alien with translucent skin that shares more in common with a beluga whale or goblin shark than H.R. Giger's biomechanical design.

Things spiral out of control as the Neomorph rampages through the Lander, destroying everything in its path. Help arrives in the form of a mysterious hooded figure, who leads the survivors into an abandoned city. The unexpected savior turns out to be David from the USCSS Prometheus, who's been stranded on the dead planet after he and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) crashed there a decade ago. In his isolation, the eccentric android has been exploring the creative side of himself–playing music, painting, drawing, and performing bizarre experiments with the Engineers' virulent mutagenic pathogen. Meanwhile, back on the Covenant, Tennessee grows increasingly worried about his wife and plots a rescue mission through the planet's stormy atmosphere to retrieve the crew.

At its best, Alien: Covenant is an uninspired remix of Alien and James Cameron's 1986 sequel, Aliens. Every scene is engineered to remind you of a moment from those two films, and the characters are nothing more than shallow stand-ins for the iconic roles that came before. Take Waterson's Daniels, for example. Clearly, she is to be a Strong Female Lead™ in the vein of Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley. Unfortunately, Daniels has even less characterization than Rapace's Shaw in Prometheus. At least that character had something going on. Daniels, on the other hand, spends most of the movie as a passive background character, offering little to the narrative or the audience's emotional connection to it. Suddenly, in the film's groan-inducing third act, she becomes John McClane, swinging from a ship as it spins out of control, fighting a Xenomorph in a scene that apes the finale of Alien and the Power Loader sequence from Aliens, minus all the suspense and excitement. It's empty, ineffective, and feels like pandering.

If you thought the characters in Prometheus were dumb, wait until you witness the idiocy on display here. One character successfully locks a Neomorph in a room only to open the door, slip on a puddle of blood, shoot her gun into the ceiling, and let the creature go. Then, as she chases the monster around the Lander, she shoots directly into the ship's fuel cells and blows herself up as the Neomorph slips out unscathed. Then there's another character who goes down into a creepy cave with the untrustworthy David, who tells him it's "completely safe" to stick his head in a just-opened Facehugger egg. To quote Ripley, "Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?" It's impossible to care about anyone in this movie. Why root for humanity when characters prove time and time again how unworthy they are of saving? Like a bad slasher movie, at some point you stop caring about the kids and start cheering on the killer because at least they have some personality.

Alien: Covenant Review

If there's one thing the movie has going for it, it's Fassbender's mesmerizing peformance in a dual role as David and his benevolent successor, Walter. What's frustrating, however, is how the events of Prometheus, and what David's been up to since, are barely touched upon in this film. We are treated to only glimpses of the Engineers' homeworld and what happened between David and Shaw there. Again, everything is left up to interpretation–we're supposed to do all the heavy lifting for the writers because they're too busy rehashing every beat from every other Alien movie ever made. And when Scott and his crew do introduce something new, like a particular revelation about the Xenomorph's origins, it's largely blasphemous. The mystery behind one of cinema's greatest monsters–if not the greatest–is explained away, turning the "perfect organism" into an unscary, uninteresting, computer-generated nothing.

That's a pretty good summary of the movie itself, really. Anything worth exploring further is glanced over in favor of presenting something you've already seen done (better) a dozen times before. The special effects don't help either. While Prometheus used a combination of visual & practical effects to bring the Engineers and their world to life, Alien: Covenant uses millions of pixels to animate the Neomorph and Xenomorph, robbing them of any sense of realism. The thing about Alien and Aliens is that the effects in those movies will stand the test of time – whether it's Giger's creation or Stan Winston's Queen Alien, the creatures feel real because they are in-camera effects; they interact with the actors and their surroundings in real time. Here, the threat never feels real. The only thing these shiny, parasitic organisms look like they've burst out of is a Playstation 4. Even Dariusz Wolski's cinematography–which was also one of Prometheus' strong points–can't imbue this much artifice with soul.

With a poorly conceived story, disposable characters, and a profound resentment for the Xenomorph itself, Alien: Covenant is one of the weakest entries in 20th Century Fox's franchise. Prometheus and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's underwhelming 1997 film, Alien: Resurrection, look like masterpieces in comparison. Technically speaking, it's a better-made movie than the AVP spin-offs, but not by much. There's an argument to be made that Paul W.S. Anderson's Alien vs. Predator has more respect and reverence for the franchise, and a better understanding of why people dig it, than this film, which appears to have been made by focus groups.

Talking to Yahoo! Movies in 2014, Scott said, "The beast is done. Cooked," regarding the possibility of the Xenomorph appearing in a Prometheus sequel. He continued, "There's only so much snarling you can do. I think you've got to come back with something more interesting."

So what happened? Clearly, Scott was pressured to cram as many Ovomorphs, Facehuggers, Chestbursters, and Xenomorphs into his epic sci-fi creation myth as possible. You get the sense watching Covenant that Scott doesn't like the Xenomorph, perhaps because the legacy of Giger's creation overshadows the director's own contributions to the franchise. And that's a shame. It's a shame that Fox and Scott are willing to fuck this franchise and its fans over for a goddamn percentage. But then again, isn't that the story of this series?

In Alien, the real villain is Weyland-Yutani, the corporate entity that sends the crew of the Nostromo to their death. The sequels are about outsiders fighting the company and preventing it from acquiring the hostile organism for its bioweapon division. Prometheus changed the power dynamic by pitting man against its creator. With Alien: Covenant, it's the creator himself, Ridley Scott, against his own creation. As David says, "Sometimes to create, one must first destroy." In undermining Alien with this halfhearted compromise of a movie, it would appear that Scott agrees with the synthetic's sentiments.

Adam's Rating: 2 out of 5
Follow Adam on Twitter - @AdamFrazier

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  • pikok
    agreed. Rip Alien
  • 2/5? Wow! That's harsh. I will see it nonetheless.
  • DAVIDPD
    "...it's a better-made movie than the AVP spin-offs, but not by much." SHOTS FIRED!!!!!!!~~~~~~
  • Jon Odishaw
    I will be seeing this regardless. Prometheus was torn apart by many but I enjoyed it.
    • Efterklang
      Same. Also, the majority of critics gave Prometheus positive reviews, which is the case with Covenant too.
    • Indianamcclain
      Prometheus got better for me on rewatches, and after I checked out the 4 hour doc on the blu-ray.
  • I friggin' knew it! And man, you should consider throwing a spoiler tag on this review. Just for those folks who don't want to know TOO much about the film. I'm more so bummed that Neil Blomkamp's Alien is no more. I feel like Ridley Scott's renewed vigor for doing more Alien films was an effort to squash that project, because it's pretty much non-existent at this point.
    • MzUnGu
      Not sure what I would expect from a guy that also made Elysium and Chappie...
      • Chappie was Lucas level of direction. Simply awful.
        • deerosa
          Chappie sent him back a few notches.
          • Yep. Weaver and Jackman were totally wasted. It was embarrassing to see Jackman trying to act instead of acting. Not his fault.
          • Bo
            Hey, my friend. I was just curious if you've read what this CynaNose person wrote a few hours ago with his Bible judgments of homosexuals in this movie, etc. Also curious as to what your thoughts might be on that, tarek. I stated mine to him above right below his, to me, offensive post. It's curious that no one else has reacted to him, but perhaps that's because he's the last to post here. I hope. Cheers.
          • Hey Bo. Nope I didn't read it. Should I? ;D Cyranose is our beloved friend Bob. So don't expect any transcendetal statement from him. As for what is my opinion on that, let me check first what he and you have said. Be back after the ads.
          • Bo
            I don't know about if you 'should' or not, tarek. I was just curious as to what your thoughts and feelings on it would be. It's up there with a few other bible believers and their notions of sins and what not. And yea, I was thinking that Cyranose was good ole Bob. Alex got rid of LeoforPrez I see but you think Bob has gotten all bible thumping love jesus on us?...lol...well...probably...of course...lol...let me know your thoughts if you bother with it at all. Cheers.
      • Payne by name
        Elysium was very poor but Chappie had some gold buried in there. Yes Die Antword (or whatever their name was) annoyed me but I found it surprisingly enjoyable, the FX were excellent, the story engaging and the soundtrack just brilliant.
        • CyraNOSE
          Elysium was better than The Martian, what a turd! And how does Matt Damon keep getting work?!?
      • CyraNOSE
        Thank you.
      • Indianamcclain
        Even though I was looking forward to his Alien film, I agree. I'm starting to think he's a one hit wonder.
      • Both were better than most of any other original scifi films that have come out as of late. I remember the guy for District 9, which was amazing. Guy has talent and his concept art for what he had planned was incredible. I just wanted to see it come to fruition.
    • Yeah, I debated the spoiler tag, but then again, everything I talk about has been shown in the film's marketing, whether it's a trailer, TV spot, or prologue short , so I assume that if someone has been purposely avoiding those, then they'll avoid all reviews until they see the movie anyway.
  • Payne by name
    Spot on with your review Adam. I saw it on Friday and I have to say that it was really quite poor. Granted I didn't like Prometheus but I had watched it again before seeing Covenant, read and watched the Prometheus explained articles and videos and sought out that little prologue that they released. I only say this to indicate that I went into the film not with high expectations but with an open mind and an understanding of the film before it. SPOILERS I will be discussing the film so there will be spoilers If Prometheus was confusing and the characters frustrating, here it was a slightly simpler story but the characters flat out stupid. But stupid because the writers just couldn't be arsed to apply a little bit of logic. They like to reference other films in this but it's like none of the colonists have ever seen a scary film, read up on the dangers of contamination or considered first encounter protocols. They're on a mission and receive a strange broadcast from an inhabitable world that has no inhabitants on it. They land on this brand new, unknown planet and wander around as if they are in the Brecon Beacons. No gloves, no masks, kicking over brand new flowers, throwing cigarettes in the bushes, keeping the doors open on the lander etc. I'm not a tree hugger or anything but the apathy in their 'discovery' of this new planet smacks of blatant disregard. And because of this relentless stupidity, you just don't care about any of the characters. In one scene two separate characters slip over on the floor to make them easy bait for the Alien. The infections, mutations and eventual expulsions from their host bodies seem to happen in minutes (because waiting would be frightfully boring) and rather than generate tension or fear just seem to be a little too exploitative and some kind of torture porn. No one is thinking of contamination, no one is that bothered about the lives of the sleeping colonists of whom they have responsibility. No one seems to hear gunfire, no one picks up on individuals acting angry then them showing you their experiments and then saying 'take a look inside this egg that has just opened'. I remember watching Life and people comparing it to Alien. At least in Life, the astronauts are conscious of the danger of the alien organism getting down to Earth. In Covenant it doesn't even seem to cross people's minds. And the final 'twist' is so patently obvious it's genuinely laughable. Overall the film was a collection of loud, noisy scenes that the makers wanted to film but not properly set up. It was disconnected, unengaging and a tired lazy cash in on the Alien franchise.
    • CyraNOSE
      Nothing wrong with being a tree hugger.
  • TheOct8pus
    Jesus Frazier....a spoiler warning would have been nice!
    • Everything I mention has been shown (aggressively) in the film's marketing, whether it's a trailer, TV spot, or prologue short, so I assume that if someone has been purposely avoiding those, then they would avoid reading reviews until they see the movie anyway.
      • TheOct8pus
        I've seen all the trailers so far, and no mention of who a certain hooded figure is....anyway....you just need to type 2 words at the top and we're all good
    • CyraNOSE
      How about using Joseph Smith or Mohamed as a curse word instead of our Saviors. Barbra Streisand would work also.
      • TheOct8pus
        I'm sorry I offended you. I won't use Frazier's name in vain again....
  • Brandon Cole
    It's really not that good!? So would you say that we should've got a movie about the prologue with Noomi Rapace's Shaw and Fassbender's David instead?
    • Dominic
      hmm that was an early criticism , as we knew months ago nothing from Shaw would be in this movie . Fass in a dual role is probably to make up for that ....
  • deerosa
    Is it me or has a line been drawn between critics and fans of the franchise? Same with Prometheus? Going to see it anyway....
    • desispeed
      I went to see Prometheus by myself because I was a fan of the series and the trailers looked soo good......will never make that mistake again. Sounds like Scott vision of the Alienverse has gone seriously off track and has turned into a total mess
    • I'm confused, do you think I'm not a fan of the franchise because I'm a critic? I think the first two films are legit masterpieces and they are among my favorite movies of all-time. I've been a fan of this franchise for 25+ years, which is why I hate to see it in the shape it's in. Being a "fan" of something doesn't mean you blindly love everything that's got the logo slapped on it...
      • deerosa
        Adam not at all, sorry for the confusion. I should have been specific as I was referring to the overall criticism via Rotten Tomatoes.
        • I'm baffled by the current score on RT as well. I'm conflicted on Prometheus, but I believe an extended director's cut, or a great direct sequel, could have solved many of the film's problems and elevated it retroactively. Unfortunately, it remains a bit of a mess, but at least it isn't as offensive to the legacy of the franchise as Covenant is.
          • deerosa
            That's disheartening to hear, I guess I need to witness this hanging myself this weekend :(.
          • Maybe I've lowered your expectations enough to be OK with it, ha.
          • deerosa
            Ok after seeing it this weekend, I did enjoy it.
          • Dominic
            the extra 28 mins on the Bluray does do what u wish , for Prometheus
  • CyraNOSE
    Wait, wait, I got to the part of the article where it said "and his husband"... I was actually looking forward to this movie, but I am sick and tired of this homosexual crap being shoved down our throats (no pun intended). It's wrong, it's a demoralization of society, and children should not grow up being told it's ok. It isn't. Read and study your Bible, ask yourself where your moral values come from.
    • Dan Colón
      Alien face rape: acceptable Consensual homosexual relationship: unacceptable Yeah, that makes total sense.
      • Bo
        Good reply with a good analogy and comparison. Wow...Bible thumping is still raging on...I had a bit more to say to him, above, than you, but thanks for a reply anyway. I sometimes feel when confronted with this kind of stuff that we are sliding backwards instead of moving forward. Cheers.
    • In biblical times you'd have been a butt-boy for the local priest.
      • Bo
        Well said...I said a bit more above.
    • Bo
      Really? You're actually gonna have the balls to push your silly, vapid Bible beliefs here? A Bible loving homosexual hater! Now that's typical of most Bible thumpers I've ever run across. You're entitled to your shallow, hateful beliefs, but others are entitled to react to them. 'It's wrong, it's a demoralization of society and children should not grow up being told it's ok. It isn't'. That's what you and your ilk believe and that's what me and my ilk and common, decent, intelligent people fight against. It's all that crap you say it is only in your programmed, feeble mind. The rest of us try to love everyone, like your boy Jesus preached, which you seem to have forgotten. I've seen many of my lovely gay friends suffer because of people like you and your hatred and self-righteousness. You are filled with fear and self hatred and suffer because of it, which causes you to cause others to suffer. It's shameful and pathetic. Again, you have the right to express your shallow, judgmental and disgusting views and I thank you for revealing the kind of person you are. My moral values are so much higher than your own because they are mine and not instilled in me with childhood indoctrinations from some silly, made up book filled with nonsense by people who were trying to control the people. Seems like they've done a good job of it because here you are pouring these hateful judgments on other human beings. Again, this is what I love about movies and the cinema. It reveals people in all their raging glory and their mindless attempts to make others into what they think they should be...just because the Bible told them so. More evil and violence and killings and rapes have been committed in the name of the Bible and other shallow organized religions than any group of homosexuals and that might be worth your giving that fact some thought. I feel sorry for you, but I'll continue to love all my brothers, and sisters, and support and fight for them against self righteous robots who can't think for themselves. Peace.
      • SDC
        Every knee shall bow, You can mock God all you want but the Bible calls it a sin whether you agree with it or not. The Bible will endure even if your tiny population of non-believers slanders it. Only the fool says there is no God, And slander becomes the tool of the loser when the argument is lost.
        • VAharleywitch
          "The Bible will endure even if your tiny population of non-believers slanders it. " Strange, in most of the Western world, people are leaving the Church. The only place the Church is increasing its numbers is in the poorer parts of the world. Where they also have a strong missionary & "helpful" presence.
        • Bo
          That's ridiculous! People who believe and live their lives according to what is written in some book that's 2 to 3 thousand years old are lost souls. I don't mock. I just state the truth. Letting someone or something else dictate to you what is 'a sin' is so absurd and childish it's not worth the effort to discuss with you. As far as slander, I see bible thumpers slandering people who they 'think' are sinners all the time. As your boy once said, 'let the first among you without sin be the first to throw the stone'. In my experience bible thumpers are the biggest liars, hypocrites and immoral people I've ever met with their 'secret' lies and sins hidden behind a thick 'curtain of pretense'. And I don't believe a god damn thing in the bible! Anyone with half a brain feels the same way...or should.
    • Jesus would be sad you're so intolerant. I honestly can't fathom how people still believe in the bible, but then I read that a third of Americans believe that Noah's Ark was real and the earth is only 6 thousand years old and it makes sense. One thing I always liked about church was the little bit near the end where people said 'peace be with you' and shook hands, it seemed the most real bit in the whole service.
    • SDC
      Completely agree, What about those of us who do thinks its wrong?? I am sick of Hollywood feeling a need to ram it down our throats (No pun intended) Every show, every movie!!, I guess we know what their agenda is anyway... Just because you disagree with it and stick to your beliefs you get labeled "Bigot" by people who are too stupid to realize that bigot means one who is intolerant of another persons beliefs. 9 Million people who identify as LGB or T get to define what the 283 Million of the rest of us heterosexuals get to watch. I was 2 seasons into Black Sails pirate series on Starz then for no reason at all the lead character Captian decides he is gay? Seriously.. I am sick of this shit too. How can two men help colonize a fucking planet?? They can't!!! And its stupid that it even needed to be adding in probably due to threats from the gay mafia.
      • Josh_the_Jawa
        Having a gay person in a film is pushing an agenda? I guess having black or Latino people in movies is part of some sinister agenda too huh?
        • SDC
          Gay is not a race .. Lmao.
          • Josh_the_Jawa
            Never said it was.
      • You dumb fucking moron. Its not like they had to reproduce all by themselves. They had over 2k colonists for that reason on board. Just stfu.
        • SDC
          Triggered? Idiot..
    • Eggyweggs
      Bang on. How can a couple of homosexuals help colonise a new planet! Token characters.
    • Victor Minot
      You should point this out to the sick bastards who now control Disney. Now we have an openly gay character in its latest film. Do we have to expose our innocent children to this, Walt will be turning in his grave.
    • Indianamcclain
      I saw the film last week, and I was unaware that there was a homosexual couple in the film until I read this article. So it isn't something that the film hits you over the head with.
  • Bo
    Thanks for the review, Adam. Very well done. Very well written and articulated and I found the whole article/review very impressive. Thanks again and this from you is another example as to why I continue to visit this site. Peace.
    • Thanks for reading, Bo!
      • Bo
        My pleasure, Adam. Keep up the good work. You're a talented critic, to be sure.
    • Mortimer
      Some of the "flaws" in this review are completely misleading. It seems like author decided to hate on this movie before even watching it.
  • LovesRats
    I had a feeling it would be like this just by the previews.
  • Eggyweggs
    I thought it was fantastic. Of course it has some minor issues but as usual, these have been blown out of proportion. I remember when people when to the cinema to watch a film and enjoy a couple of hours of escapism. Now days everyone has to over analyse everything is an attempt to be relevant. Go to the damn cinema, get your effing popcorn, switch off from this self promoting society and just enjoy this film. If you're disappointed in it, no one cares. Move on.
    • Victor Minot
      Fucking A!
    • JuanBauty
      Yep, internet ruined the magic of the moviegoing. I really enjoyed Alien Covenant.
    • And yet you read it and cared enough to comment. You can't have it both way. Film criticism isn't only valid when you agree with it.
      • Josh_the_Jawa
        Plus, asking people to turn off their brains for a film is insulting to film in general. Plus, that kind of thinking encourages directors to not bother with being smart.
        • Eric Wilson
          I'm pretty sure we can all agree that summer blockbusters know what they are. No one truly goes into a summer movie expecting to have a think. It's pretty much "entertain me while I enjoy your air conditioning". I don't think it's insulting to film at all. Think of it this way; sometimes you just want a burger and fries, other times steak and potatoes. Summer blockbusters are the burger and fries of the cinema world.
          • Josh_the_Jawa
            That kind of thinking is still harmful and insulting. Why can't a summer blockbuster be smart or just competent in regards to logic or internal consistency?
          • Dominic
            you don't have to turn ur brain off... but u also don't have to expect every movie to be Oscar-Perfect , either , in order to enjoy it .. Excessive Expectations , which got dashed , are what gave Prometheus a bad name in the early reviews . esp when that key 28 mins was missing . So Eric has a point ...but also u can hate one quality of a movie , while loving it for some other quality . you can say the story sucked , while still appreciating the effort the actors put in , for one example . I hate the "60-second " abortion Shaw had and her subsequent running and jumping without effort or crippling pain ...Totally Bogus ....but I didn't let it ruin all of Prometheus for me ... ;?)) of course , running in a line straight ahead , under a ship falling on top of you , was also a pretty stupid segment . But who Didn't want Weyland's daughter dead , by then ....
          • Count me out. I don't go to the movies without my brain, and I expect some consideration for my intelligence when I pay my ticket. It's not about suspension of disbelief byt about good writing. When you see characters acting like dumb apes, you stop caring for them or for the story.
      • Eggyweggs
        So because I read something and disagree with it doesn't mean I'm against criticism. What a ridiculous reply you gave.
  • Adam Perez
    Congratulations for this review, I think it's on point. Among other flaws pointed here, I must say I honestly can't follow the Alien hosting/birth line on this franchise anymore. In Prometheus, the black goo turns the host into some kind of monster, (and one of them impregnates Shaw, who gives birth to a bodyhugger...I mean, that was a huge WTF for me), but now the black spores make them host a Neomorph just by inhalation. No eggs or faccehuggers needed? Just spores, then bam! A Neomorph is born? I'm confused. Or are they not spores? We see a plant in the shape of an...egg? releasing something in the air. Is this an egg plant mutation? Are the spores a...tiny whateverhugger? Cellhugger? The spores seem to have will. Am I right on this? If this tiny whateverhugger comes from a plant...once it's born, wouldn't it create...Groot? Ok, this was a joke. But why the spores released by David on the atmosphere above the engineers just kill them on the spot, instead of create an army of...(idk anymore)...Neomorphs? Xenomorphs? Enginemorphs?The creature we saw in the Prometheus credits? No, it just kills them. Is the goo/spore a weapon only effective against engineers? And turns everyone else a monster/host/Alien? What a shitty weapon. And why the heck David kills all of them engineers? Well ok, he's nuts. Or did he want an army of Aliens? David and Shaw wanted to go to the Engineer's origin planet. Is this the planet? Are they just a few thousands placed in one city? Do the rest on the Engineers on the planet die because of the patogen that infects one city? Do the spores create Aliens all over the planet from the local fauna, but kill the Engineers? Or then those Alien kill the Engineers? Is that right? David has many (dead) experiments with animals on his cave. Shouldn't the planet be full of different kinds of Aliens, born from those spores hosted by the local fauna? Because there is nothing out there. And, oh god, yes you are right, here comes the worst part: If David has those proper Xenomorph eggs, doesn't he need a Queen Alien? We've been told over and over (and over) there must be a Queen to lay eggs. Did he get one experimenting with Shaw? Boy, few lines on the scrip it's all they needed for this and less flute flirting. I mean, it's ok, but ten minutes? Ridley was just showing off his skills (if any) in that scene. If there was no Queen, there can't be proper Xenomorph's eggs. Maybe -ish, but not proper. And then he has two more tiny ones on his body? The eggs are laid full size by a Queen, don't they? James Cameron was nice enough to walk that extra mile and show us all. And we loved it. If David engineers those perfect facehuggers eggs himself, why doesn't he engineer a Queen? Wouldn't it be cool if he could have her locked or hidden somewhere, since it seems the Aliens like David so much they salute him at birth (hi, daddy!) and trust him at sight, as he points. And then he would have a Queen to lay eggs and impregnate the sleeping passengers, which could've been a great link to Alien, but he leaves with the Covenant instead of an Engineer's ship. Full of eggs. Whith alive engineers. But not this time. Not this time. As I said, I just don't get this franchise anymore.
  • JuanBauty
    I completely disagree.
  • Bill Windle
    While I havent seen the film yet, I was pretty much guessing (based on all the trailers) this film was going to be exactly as this reviewer described. I agree there is a balance between over-analyzing something and just turning your brain off, but (for me personally) watching essentially the same movie over and over is not enjoyable. How many times are we going to see a character peering into an opening egg? At this point, I would've thought Scott would've realized that the audience that has been following the Alien saga for decades would be more interested in exploring some of the "mysteries" behind the Alien story and not just cheap action and bloody deaths. Just disappointing...
    • LovesRats
      A mystery I would like to know is how the company knew the alien even existed.
      • Dominic
        From these " Prequel " years that Ridley is fleshing out now ...telemetry from the Prometheus and Covenant ships should have reached an earth outpost by now , if not in 16 years of the 18 we have left before Ripley .... the 3rd movie in This trilogy should tell us about the Nostromo , who crashed it , and finally give u the link to why Weyland/the government wants the Alien ..Probably about improving their androids
    • Eggyweggs
      This film covers exactly what you are hoping for. It's very limited on cheap action and bloody deaths. You won't be disappointed in it, this review is extremely misleading.
  • Indianamcclain
    You forgot to mention Tennessee's stupid wife locking Crudup's wife in with the Xenomorph, after she herself got covered in the victims blood. What a hypocrite. She's probably the dumbest character I've seen in a film since the woman in Jaws 2 who covered herself in gasoline, and then set her boat on fire causing it to explode.
  • I'm glad I got to read this before going to see the movie. I tend to lean away from sci-fi thrillers unless they have a compelling story or significant effects that are worth the watch. It is frustrating that the success of past films has such a heavy influence on the production of future films. Post hoc ergo proctor hoc. Just because Alien had the ingredients of a compelling film doesn't mean that we want to relive every aspect of it repeatedly. There is nothing but sequels on sequels stemming from this nostalgic trend recently. How about we create some new, well made films that spark inspiration for future halfhearted sequels?
  • Adam Perez
    I honestly can't follow the Alien hosting/birth on this franchise anymore. In Prometheus, the black goo turns the host into some kind of monster, but now the black spores make them host a Neomorph just by inhalation. No eggs or faccehuggers needed? Just spores, then bam! A Neomorph is born? I'm confused. Are this spores tiny huggers, since they come from an egg-shaped plant? This spore thingy has a will. And why the spores released by David on the atmosphere above the engineers just kill them on the spot, instead of create an army of...(idk anymore)...Neomorphs? Xenomorphs? Enginemorphs? The creature we saw in the Prometheus credits? No, it just kills them. Is the goo/spore a weapon only effective against engineers? But turns everyone else a monster/host/Alien? And why the heck David kills all of them engineers? Well ok, he's nuts. Or did he wanted an army of Aliens? David and Shaw wanted to go to the Engineer's origin planet. Is this the planet? Are they just a few thousands placed in one city? Do the rest on the Engineers on the planet die because of the patogen that infects a city? Dothe spores create Aliens all over the planet from the resident fauna, but kill the Engineers? Is that right? David has many (dead) experiments with animals on his cave. With what fauna? Shouldn't the planet be full of different kinds of Aliens, born from those spores hosted by the local fauna? Because there is nothing out there. Has David erradicated all life with his experiments? And, oh god, here comes the worst part. And yes, I find it blasphemous too: If David has those proper Xenomorph eggs, doesn't he need a Queen Alien? We've been told over and over (and over) there must be a Queen to lay eggs. Did he get one experimenting with Shaw? Boy, few lines on the scrip it's all they needed for this. If there was no Queen, there can't be proper Xenomorph's eggs. And then he has two more tiny ones on his body? The eggs are laid full size by a Queen, don't they? James Cameronwas nice enough to walk that extra mile and show us all. And we loved it. If David engineers those perfect facehuggers eggs himself, why doesn't he engineer a full size Alien? Or a Queen? Has he? And if so, where is she? He could have her locked or hidden somewhere, since it seems the Aliens like David so much they salute him at birth. (Hi, daddy!) And then he would have a Queen to lay eggs and impregnate the sleeping passengers, which could've been a great link to Alien, but he leaves with the Covenant instead of an Engineer's ship. Full of eggs. Whith alive engineers. But not this time. Not this time. As I said, I just don't get this franchise anymore.
  • This review is all kinds of wrong. I do agree with that the Alien creature mythology was more fun not knowing where they came from. Also I thought the CG in Covenant was subpar. However, I really see only 3 things wrong with this movie and maybe a few nitpick things.... 1. Pacing. It just felt odd at time. Don't wanna spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet. 2. Music editing. Aside from the fact that most good cues where taking Goldsmith himself (not a bad thing) I felt at times the music just misses several important marks. 3. The freedom Scott took on how to present the chestburster. I just felt it looked stupid and killed the tension. But thats just me. Don't listen to this review. Its not a complete disaster and thats coming from someone who loathes Prometheus. And no, people here do not do stupid things like in P. "One character successfully locks a Neomorph in a room only to open the door, slip on a puddle of blood, shoot her gun into the ceiling, and let the creature go." So? She freaked out. Wouldn't you freak the fuck out after you witness something like that? Blood was everywhere and it was slippery. It just added to the tension that she panicked basically. Its hystherical to think that you would compare this to the dumb morons in Prometheus who after complaining about dead engineers decide to touch that Alien snake. None of that stupidity was on display in Covenant. IMO the first hour while reminissent of Alien was almost perfect. Good tension, good cast and most of it made sense. " Then there's another character who goes down into a creepy cave with the untrustworthy David, who tells him it's "completely safe" to stick his head in a just-opened Facehugger egg." He was not trusting David. He had his weapon with him. He was supposed to have no clue whats going on. He's curious. hmmm ok. Maybe dumb or not but by far it didn't seem as dumb as anyone during Prometheus. Kane looks into the egg in Alien because? He's curious even tho the place should scare the shit out of you...anyways... I think if anything, the movie should have been called P: Paradise and not Alien. Really the Aliens are an afterthought here as the new devil is David evidently. Yes I would have liked for less CG, and the 3rd act wasn't that great but in all it was better than Prometheus. Not in the Alien(s) league but its most def not a 2 out of 5 movie. IMO.
    • Prometheus is a masterpiece if you compare it to this dung.
    • Dominic
      don't try and defend the brains of ANY Alien franchise character .... As the point of ALL the movies is that people were stupid enough to chase this thing and bring it on their ships .....more to the point , and EVERY reviewer of an Alien film should realize this , adam : There is no film WITHOUT People Acting Stupid ! ...there's No Franchise , without that . You wouldn't bring the infected aboard a ship , and u wouldn't let a creature out , Unless u need such drama that entails ....so yes , criticizing an Alien character for acting stupid , is like criticizing the wind for blowing ... So , as corollary to that , Of COURSE we root for the Alien ....why shouldn't we ? ....One might posit , that Ridley has been rooting for the Alien since he created it ....certainly celebrating its adaptivity and lethal capacity , these near 40 years ... Sounds like a film you should be very drunk , for ... Also , like Prometheus , it sounds like we should wait for the BluRay .... as who knows what "explanations" Ridley had to cut to squeeze the movie into 2:20 . Certainly the 28 missing minutes from Prometheus are crucial to a better appreciation of the film ...
      • You can have "stupid" people in your movie, but you also need a counterpoint to the stupidity. Yes, Kane investigating the eggs in Alien was careless - but you have Ripley on the ship refusing to let them back on board because of quarantine laws. She's smart, she's careful, and she's suspicious as hell of what's going on. Her intelligence is undermined by Ash, who lets them in anyway. There isn't a character like that in Covenant - they're all dummies, save for David, who is the villainous antagonist but the only character halfway realized enough to be likeable as a protagonist. There's no one to root for.
        • Dominic
          Then David is your one counterpoint Ridley provided ....which was smart because his appeal in Prom was the same .. no smart humans this time ...prob because they couldn't bring Shaw back ... Yes every movie in the franchise has one person ( Requiem has two ) not acting dumb . However , that smart person is trapped by what the dumb ones set in motion , and barely survives . The dumb acts rule , over the one " smart " person , until the last minutes .... I extend this to all of the horror genre , i.e. " don't open that door " scripting . So I don't blame Ridley for scripting how everyone else in this genre does ...it's such great sci-fi , that people forget it's actually part of the Horror genre . Is there a "Smart" horror movie ?? ..."Get Out " seems to get good press , in that regard ...
          • Dominic
            I saw a Charlie Rose interview with Get Out's Director , who noted it was a challenge to cast a Black person in such a role , and make him likable and smart , when stereotypically Blacks make fun of people in the genre running Toward danger , instead of Away . He had to try and Not dumb down the character ....
  • Doug
    Saw it yesterday. My brief comments. 1. Enjoyed it very much. Yes it doesn't offer a lot of new concepts in the Alien universe, but still good. Better than Prometheus. 2. Never picked up that there were gay partners in the crew. Everyone settle down. - Ridley was not trying to make a statement here. 3. Fassbender was terrific. 4. The review comes off as a bit venomous. Yes it is one reviewers opinion, but it comes off as the movie is not what he would like to see. Too bad. Adam seems to be trying to tear down the movie and encourage others not to see it. That would be a mistake for true Alien fans. 5. Look forward to the next installment. There are so many cool ways Ridley can take this now.
  • Colin Christian
    Perfect review,my feelings exactly. I've been a fan for nearly 40 years,my whole adult life,I LOVED Prometheus,it looked gorgeous and offered something other than bugs in coridoors,we had 4 movies of that already,I wanted to move on,it was obvious Scott did too,I was there right with him,tell me more mate! I wanted to see Engineers,the planet,the reasons,the ART. Gutted.
  • Hey Adam. I just finished watching it today. You gave it 2/5*? Too kind of you. It doesn't deserve 1*
    • The more I think about it, the more I dislike it, but I'm willing to give it 2 stars, one for each Fassbender, ha.
      • Haha! I can't argue with that. the Fassbenders deserve two stars indeed. ;D
        • Can't wait for Alien: Fingerin' Flutes.
          • And its sequel Alien: No strings attached.
  • James Re
    Damn Adam, that review was savage. I'll respect your opinion, but disagree just the same. I loved Covenant 4/5 stars. It feels right at home next to Alien & Aliens. Prometheus was as provocative as it was visually striking. However, it felt distant and posed more questions than it answered. Fans of Prometheus refer to the big philosophical question of humanities creator it proposed as fresh and ground breaking. Honestly, that coupled with the religious overtones felt irrelevant and unbecoming. It only served as a distraction from the real question, who created the Xenomorph. Thusly, in doing so, alienated itself from Covenant and almost derailed the trilogy. It's place is best served in a separate Engineer centric film/franchise. Thankfully, Covenant corrected that injustice and answered long overdue questions, while giving fans classic Alien thrills and a thought provoking plot.
  • jaws_fan
    I agree with Adam wholeheartedly.
  • Tester
    It is rare that I agree with an entire review, but such is the case here.. For me, it is so spot on that the only thing I can add is -->> Fakin studios !!!
  • foreigncontaminant
    "The mystery behind one of cinema's greatest monsters–if not the greatest–is explained away, turning the "perfect organism" into an unscary, uninteresting, computer-generated nothing." I completely agree with this. However, Prometheus ruined the mystery first. Explaining away the truly challenging biomechanical "Space Jockey" (Giger's design) as just being a big pre-human wearing an elephant suit... Explaining away the aliens themselves, as originating from engineered "Goo" (much like "The Force" being explained away with "Midichlorians"). Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic. To me, the aliens were just mysterious, lethal creatures that evolved naturally in some dark corner of the universe. To me, the Space Jockey had nothing to do with them whatsoever. It was just a hapless creature from another race who got attacked, and died... millenia ago. And was just as defenceless against this threat, as we humans are. That is what really happened in "Alien" (1979). And it is consistent with how the crew from the Nostromo behave. Prometheus and Covenant are not even canon to me.
  • I kind of enjoyed it. I'd actually thought that the black goo mixing with a synthetic android would create the xenomorph accidentally, but the direction was a bit more horror movie psycho style. At least we know now how it all happened, not really bothered about the next movie, Ridley isn't either, he's on the whiskey.
  • shiboleth
    Pretty much misleading and narrow thinking about this. Of course, everybody has right to have an opinion. This critic just doesn't like this film, but that doesn't make his opinion also a criticism. And, I don't understand why everybody (since Prometheus) thinks that there's something philosophical or religious about this idea of some creators. Science doesn't create, it helps to produce things and it discovers.The whole thing here is just some kind of reflection on today's state of affairs in ideology of science, nothing more. People believe too much in the power of biotechnology and some kind of bio-engineering. And this film uses it very good. What is really interesting, more and more in this films, are different kinds of synthetic androids. They come as different versions of human's unconscious in this franchise but also in today's world. And everything they do is to show failure of humanity and they make it aware of its futile action, or better said, their course of actions with existing ideas of science or society. I like that. Of course, genetics and xenomorphs become real economical and political questions here too, but in this world, film like these, might be one of the ways to say that science and technology don't, on the end, solve the problems of humanity. So, yes, this is not a perfect film, but gives a hint for some questions. Which is something more than desire for some unfathomable and boring ancient ideas of creators ...
  • bob rivers
    Just saw the film, what a train wreck. Killing off primary characters destroys continuity, and having an android devoid of morals, sympathy, or capacity to reason driving the narrative is not going to be appealing or compelling. Should have green-lighted Blokomp's re-boot of 3 where Newt and Cpl. Hicks continued on with Ripley. Fox is just STUPID.

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