Alien: Covenant, the followup to 2012’s Prometheus, answers many questions from the previous film and connects the film back to the original Alien franchise once again. While in many ways Covenant is the Alien film we been waiting for in terms of style, structure and thematic, it is still problematic in terms of terror, sleekness and lackluster survivors compares to the original film. Regardless of the flaws, Director Ridley Scott still manages to deliver.
The movie begins, like most Alien films, with a crew waking up from hyper-sleep. This is a group of scientists transporting colonists to a new planet looking for a new home. And just like most Alien films, the group is awaken early from their slumber and is lured to another planet that appears to be a much better site for their colony.
The film is back to its original horror movie roots and it really works. The film follows various horror tropes with clear danger creeping up to the colonists in the form of air-born parasites, and gory body mutilation. The movie, unlike Prometheus, is not shy with showing its monsters. Other than the classic Xenomorph, the film also features a new scary pale creature called the Neomorph. While the new monster doesn’t have the same aggressive tendency as a Xenomorph, it can be really creepy with a teethy mouth straight from horror games such as Resident Evil.
Xenomorph itself doesn’t show up until much later in the film, and it’s for a good reason. The eventual appearance of the classic monster is worth the wait, and the film does a great job building up the suspense and the revelation. Not to mention the film also gives a pretty good origin to the beloved monster. However, it is kind of strange to see the monster in broad daylight as we’re used to Xenomorph lurking in dark shadows. Still, it’s great to see Xenomorph back in actions again.
The weakest point of the film is the human characters. The film tries to make us care about the survival of these characters, and the stake is high too as the crew is composed entirely of married couples. However, the film failed to establish who’s who and the characters are soon forgotten. At the end, the characters being married couples does successfully explain why the supposedly smart people are acting like fools.
Aside from the obvious acting talent of Michael Fassbender (I mean come on, do I really have to explain how awesome he is?), the only character worth mentioning here is Danny McBride’s Tennessee. The pilot has only a limited screen time, but the film does a great job establishing who he is as a character, not to mention McBride’s talented acting ability. He’s a character that’s full of heart, and it is especially painful seeing him mourn over his wife’s death.
The film pays a lot of homage to the original Alien film, and it gets kind of cramped in the final act. The outdoor scenes are replaced by the corridors scenes in the spaceship, and we are once again treated with survivors trying to hunt down the creature before they’re killed instead. The method characters used to get rid of the Xenomorph is even the same too! I understand Scott tries to bring us back to the original Alien film again, but I can’t help but feel the director might be running out of ideas or something.
The revelation at the end is an obvious one, but it still sends chills down my spine thanks to Fassbender’s wonderful performance. Overall, Alien: Covenant is a great addition to the Alien franchise that answers many questions from Prometheus. The film re-established the horror tones of the 1979 film, and it’s great we finally got Xenomorph’s origins. The human characters are the weakest point of the film, but the wonderful performance from both Michael Fassbender and Danny McBride is still worth mentioning.