Synopsis: While on their journey through space to colonize a new planet, a crew of scientist and pilots aboard the colony ship “Covenant” discover an unknown paradise that may hold the key to their new home. They quickly realize that what was once paradise is now hell, and now they must escape the horrors that haunt them.
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
My Thoughts: Before my viewing of Alien: Covenant, I figured I’d treat myself to re-watching the classic original. And boy what a classic it is! Everything from actors, set design, mood, and story felt genuinely real and horrifying. It’s been a long time since I’d seen it, and viewing it as an adult brings new found appreciation for its influences on the sub-genre. It also gave me a set of clear critical glasses through which I’d view “Covenant” with. That maybe the reason this movie had no real lasting impressions on me. Aside from a great soundtrack, a new neat looking creature and a beautiful set design that rivals the original, “Covenant” failed to live up to “Alien” and its sequel. It even failed to live up to the promises made in “Prometheus” and it failed that in such a monumental “don’t put your face near the alien pod” way.
It starts off strong, with a tragedy that sets the mood and tone of its characters. It is established that this crew of scientist and pilots mostly consist of couples, and with a few lines and screen time, this was a perfect way for me to care about these brave men and women once the chest bursting starts. While on their journey to inhabit a new planet, they intercept a transmission that seemed strangely familiar. It is broadcast from a distant planet this crew had never seen nor had any plans of visiting. In typical horror movie sense, they decide to abandon their current course and embark on uncharted land. I smiled when this films signature female heroine (Katherine Waterston) warned the captain (Billy Crudup) of what dangers may await in unknown territory. It instantly reminded me of Ripley’s warning to her crew when she refused to let them on the ship because of the unknown species they encountered off ship. A women’s intuition never fails, am I right? Credit goes to Billy Crudup for his convincing portrayal of Captain Oram, a timid but well-intention man who seeks the approval and respect of his crew. Once landed, Oram and his crew began hiking the planet, breaking off into groups (never break into groups!) and it takes zero seconds before ish hits the fan! Apparently, the face huggers aren’t the only things infecting humans these days…it’s pollen! Or the equivalent of it in this film. This environmental infection births a new type of creature named Neomorphs. If these aliens were basketball players, the neomorph would be Steph curry and the xenomorph is LeBron James, both lethal, but one more so than the other. Not to be outdone by their beefier cousins, the neomorph burst through its victims back. This was a very delicious scene, and it took me back to when the first alien popped out that poor guys chest and starting singing…wait…wrong movie. Once the neomorphs burst (pun intended) on screen what transpires during these moments are the films highlights! I was excited, frustrated, scared, thrilled and upset that one character lost their spouse in such an unfortunate way. Another cool, well shot action scene that takes place in an open field follows.
Then that was it. After these events, the film declined in the worst way possible. It began to rely heavily on cheap horror tropes, and I mean heavy. I was stunned at what I was watching. This is Ridely Scott, he’s better than this, right? The only reasonable explanation is that the original writers were somehow infected with aliens and lye dead on the floor while they’re lesser talented replacements (a.k.a writers of Prometheus) took over. The writing intentionally puts these scientist in the most predictable and ridiculous situations, just to see them get murdered. And then there’s David and Walter. These are identical androids created by Waylon industry and both are played by Michael Fassbender. He has the best performance in this film. Mainly because he is given more to do and even a bigger, albeit upsetting, role to play. I’ll mention Walter first, because I liked Walter and he became the hero I was rooting for instead of Daniels (Katherine Waterston). At first, he seems like a robot that obeys all his master’s commands because, according to him, it’s his duty. He’s loyal to the covenant and its crew and is very empathetic, possibly romantically inclined, towards Daniels. He then meets David. We all remember David from Prometheus, right? He has an ominous scene with his creator Waylon, in the very beginning of the movie that comes full circle by its end. David ponders on creation, and the pride of seeing ones’ vison come into fruition. I remember asking my father how he felt when I was born, he said happy…very un-descriptive, but that’s my father. I asked him because I was trying to imagine what it would feel like to have my own child. I guess as creation ourselves we want to influence something or someone else. A legacy we can be proud of, a creation in our own likeness. God gave us that ability to create as humans. A luxury not provided to David. Yeah, I went all blade runner. Because that’s what this reminds me of. Ridley Scott Shared Universe anyone? Even well-respected Directors aren’t too good for a Cinematic Universe! David’s character has undergone some drastic development, since we’d last seen him. He’s now become, I assume, the sole antagonist for future films. Just wait until you see the unnecessary, foolish thing they do with his character. It will no doubt leave some fans highly upset. Star Wars prequels…. All over again. I forgot to mention the hilariously over the top homoerotic scene between him and Walter…. yep…Darn Prometheus writers! What disappoints me the most is how Ridley Scott decides to through everything that Prometheus sets up, in the trash. And then lights it on fire, while crushing it in a trash compactor. Maybe some of you didn’t care about Prometheus enough to allow this current development of the mythos bother you. I was at least interested in seeing what happened after David and Shaw took off at the end of Prometheus. Ultimately, I had a solid time with Alien: Covenant. It started off great and ended up Average. If you’re a fan of the Alien Franchise, then I recommend checking this out. You’re experience may very well be different than mine.