Title: Alien: Covenant
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Ridley Scott
Release Format: Theatrical
The Alien franchise has a storied history in regards to not only survival horror, but it’s science fiction elements as well. While Alien: Covenant had potential at the start, expanding upon a lot of the sci-fi lore set up by the originals, it plays it too close to the chest and winds up being far too predictable, while still enjoyable.
Alien: Covenant starts out with a flashback to everyone’s favorite curious android from Prometheus, David 8, as he talks to his creator Peter Weyland about creating him. Right off the bat, just like the last film, Michael Fassbender does a phenomenal job, pulling double duty as David 8 and Walter.
Alongside Fassbender, Danny Mcbride and Katherine Waterston went above and beyond, with the actress’s character Daniels “Dany” Branson feeling very similar to Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley in the original film. Despite being relegated to red shirt, expandable roles that often befell supporting casts in an Alien film, each member of the small cast did a great job with the limited time they were given.
Unfortunately, like the knowledge that the vast majority of the 15 crew members would die, a lot of scenes in Alien: Covenant were far too predictable, especially for any fans of the franchise. Face hugger eggs, blowing a Xenomorph into space and chest poppers made up most of the frights in the movie, which weren’t actually frightful since they could be seen coming a mile away.
Alien: Covenant also has the usual horror or suspense movie cliche of dumbing otherwise smart characters down as a means of executing on of those well-known sequences. Why you would feel the need to wonder off alone like an episode of Scooby-doo after half of your crew was slaughtered is beyond me.
Praise where praise is due though, as the beginning of the movie was filled with suspenseful scenes, most notably the race back to the med lab on the ship and the crane fight aboard the moving cargo ship in the second half. Seeing the Xenomorphs evolve from their pubescent form was also awesome as well, with the baby Aliens running around in knee high grass being a truly terrifying sight.
Ironically, despite having as many Alien movie cliches as they could pack into the film, Alien: Covenant’s focus may displease some fans of the franchise, as the vast majority of the exposition revolved David 8 and not fighting the Aliens. Building on the character that was established in Prometheus and expanding upon the movie’s first scene, a lot of the movie revolves around David’s creation of the Xenomorphs.
The Androids obsession with creating the perfect species is not only interesting backstory as to how the Xenomorphs came to run rampant over the galaxy but also draws interesting parallels to David’s own creation and creator. Despite his apparent hate for humanity, seemingly stemming from his treatment by Weyland, David 8 is exactly like his egotistical creator in trying to perfect specimen in the Xenomorphs, even at the expense of humans.
While many may be angry to discover the fate of Elizabeth Shaw from Prometheus, David’s relationship with her and his eventual use of her is also fascinating. He stated throughout the film that Shaw was the one human he truly loved and that show him compassion, yet we find out that he used her as a way of creating the eggs that give birth to Xenomorphs. In his own sick and twisted way, David made Shaw the mother of his children – the Xenomorphs – even though it killed her. It feels very similar to how some insects will die giving birth.
Though David’s perverse ego leads to interesting scenes like this, it’s also a big problem in the film as well. As much as I love Michael Fassbender, and feel he did a great job in the film, the scenes between David 8 and Walter were not only awkward, they were pretentious. You may say that is the point, considering how selfish David turns out to be and how selfless Walter is in comparison, but Alien: Covenant features a scene where Michael Fassbender kisses Michael Fassbender. A scene which followed a suggestive flute session where David says “I’ll do the fingering.” All in al it was just weird and misplaced.
While it was telegraphed a mile away due to a questionable cinematic choice, the implications of the final scene are haunting and brilliantly done, despite a messy third half of the film. My only qualm with the otherwise perfect ending is this, “Why did you have to swallow them, why not just put them in your pocket weirdo?”
Alien: Covenant is a fun romp that returns to its routes, but also plays it considerable safe by following a lot of the tropes known to the series. If you’re a fan of the previous Alien films there will be aspects you’ll love, aspects that’ll make you grown, aspects that will make you very confused and probably uncomfortable.
What did you think? Did you like Alien: Covenant? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check back to the site for all of your other Nerdy News and Needs!
- Michael Fassbender
- Great Suspense and Action
- Xenomorphs Evolution
- Played it way too safe
- Predictable Cliches
- Somewhat Pretentious