Alien Covenant Review – In Search Of A New Home

Alien Covenant Review – In Search Of A New Home

Spoilers for Alien Covenant follow

After the disappointing Prometheus, Ridley Scott returns to the Alien franchise proper with a new instalment that doesn’t try very hard at all to break new ground but still retains some of the iconic elements from previous entries. Starring Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterstone, the film’s plot is typical fare for the series when a ship is forced to land on an unknown world where not everything is as it seems and proceed to battle violent creatures. Alien Covenant tries to wrap up the story of Prometheus and complete the ‘origin’ of the alien creatures we know from the previous films with varying degrees of success.

Alien Covenant

Don’t expect any satisfying conclusions from the Engineer thread started in Prometheus.

The most enjoyable aspect of Alien Covenant is its recognition of the iconic scenes from past movies which it pays homage to without being too obvious. This film as the title suggests is much more of a typical Alien film than Prometheus which didn’t really mesh with what sci-fi fans had come to expect from Ridley Scott’s previous work. Featured in the film are nods to the cargo loader and a chase through a spaceship amongst other less overt references. If you found any enjoyment from the Prometheus plot thread that was left dangling don’t expect many satisfying answers. Scott provides some closure but nothing that suggests any of it really mattered with the entire mystery of the Engineers discarded without any consequence.

Much of the heavy lifting in Alien Covenant comes from Michael Fassbender who plays not just the Android Walter but also David from Prometheus. It’s compelling to watch Fassbender play two machines pondering their motivations and reason for being in this universe even if they are over-the-top. The rest of the Covenant crew are as useless as you’d come to expect from the series either simply serving as fodder for the aliens or being given some generic backstory to attempt to make their deaths more meaningful. The throwaway characters of the series are epitomised by the character of Oram, the replacement captain who is out of his depth and simply watches events unfold. Waterstone’s Daniels has more of an arc in the film becoming the heroine but isn’t particularly interesting to watch either.

Alien Covenant

Katherine Waterstone as Daniels

The aliens themselves remain cool imagery although the use of CGI for many of the scenes has the potential to make the creatures look more comical than fearsome. The sense of not seeing the creature and that being where most of the fear comes from is lost from the original film as we get a close look at the Alien in all its glory and get an answer to how the eggs with facehuggers came into being. David quickly devolves into an exaggerated villain and although his motivations are presented for wiping out the Engineers and experimenting with the aliens, the reasons he gives aren’t very original or intriguing.

When Alien Covenant tries to be an Alien film it largely succeeds with the creatures on show mostly proving a match to what’s come before in the historic series. However, when the film ties up loose ends with Prometheus it looses its grip and becomes less compelling. While Michael Fassbender is compelling to watch in his dual roles, the film unfortunately doesn’t try anything new or take any risks so if you’re a casual fan of the Alien franchise you won’t find any fresh aspects to delve into here.

What did you think of Alien Covenant? Where does it stand in the pantheon of Alien films?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Check here if you want to know how Michael Fassbender did in another sci-fi series, Assassin’s Creed.

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