After the lukewarm reception to 2012’s ‘Prometheus’, I was surprised to hear that a sequel had been given the green light. As a prequel to the original ‘Alien’ movies, Prometheus did a good job of tying into the original and answering some of those fundamental questions. But there was a lot of critique that the movie didn’t quite deliver and it seems that this feedback has had an effect on the sequel. Click through to find out whether Alien Covenant is a worthy prequel/sequel in the Aliens universe. Please be warned that this review may contain spoilers so if you want to know nothing then please don’t continue ahead.
Set 30 years after the events of Prometheus, the Covenant is a colonisation ship on route to Origae-6 when they pick up a mysterious signal from a nearby planet. Being idiots, they choose to change course to the source of the signal and all hell breaks loose when members of the crew become infected with the alien spores. There are lots of aliens bursting out of human bodies in this movie folks! The issue for me with the plot is that it’s all very been there, done that. They land on a planet to explore, they get infected, aliens come and kill nearly everyone else and a couple of them escape. I had hoped for something a little different to break up the formula.
The only returning cast member from Prometheus is Michael Fassbender who plays the new synthetic Walters and also David from the previous movie. I did enjoy learning the story of how David got onto this planet, what happened to Elizabeth Shaw, how the engineers on this planet were wiped out etc. Ultimately though, it doesn’t really add anything worthwhile to the overall mythology. Character wise, that’s about it. Katherine Waterston as terraforming expert Daniels is the most likeable and relatable of the crew but I left the cinema feeling like I didn’t really know any of the characters. There was very little backstory and nearly all of them made incredibly stupid decisions that made me dislike them. You’re on a planet where the entire civilisation has been wiped out, there are aliens trying to kill you, why would you trust anyone you don’t know?! I rolled my eyes more than once. It’s certainly a capable cast, I just didn’t feel like they were given fully fleshed out storylines to work with. I’m not saying it should be like Eastenders but some characters were nothing more than canon fodder, created simply for the purpose of a gruesome death scene.
The biggest issue for me with Alien Covenant is Michael Fassbender. He’s a good actor and I really liked him in Prometheus but this movie is very much the Michael Fassbender show. Playing two characters (which also includes a weird kissing scene between them and a line about fingering), at times it was almost as if the other characters didn’t exist. It was all about David and his experiments with the neomorphs. And it certainly seems like with the sequels that are coming that David is going to be the driving force behind how the aliens spread across the universe. I kind of hate the idea that they’ve gone with here, an evil robot causing the events of the original movie. They’ve creatively backed themselves into a corner in my opinion.
Visually, the film is stunning probably moreso than Prometheus. The sort of jungle world that they land on is vibrant but also eery and also completely devoid of life. I preferred seeing the xenomorphs in the originals rather than the new CG versions. They looked more alive and definitely seem more menacing in the originals.
It’s wrong for me to say that I didn’t enjoy this film because I did. You just need to switch your brain off and enjoy it for what it is – an action movie where the protagonists continually make stupid mistakes so you get some gore on the big screen. And that’s the biggest issue for me. This movie is an unnecessary entry in the franchise. While Prometheus had it’s flaws, it did a good job as a prequel tying into the original set of movies. Covenant just muddies the waters and is making the storyline overly complex. Rather than trying to tie in stories that match up with the original, it would make more sense to explore the franchise after the events of the Sigourney Weaver movies. This would allow them to be creatively free with their storytelling without the constraints of other movies holding them back. If you’re looking for a movie that will make you jump a couple of times then Alien Covenant is the movie for you. Otherwise, just keep on walking.