Alien: Covenant Review *Spoilers*

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Here we are. We’ve reached the aftermath. By now the movie has released worldwide. And there is a good chance by the time you’re reading you’ve seen the movie at least once. I caught an early showing Thursday night and again Friday late afternoon. I figured I could get a good grasp on the film after two viewings. You know what? Despite some glaring flaws I enjoyed it immensely. Let’s get to it.

One of the many criticisms of Prometheus was the dialogue and characters. This ended up being one of the highlights of Covenant. Everything felt so much more real and believable. Daniels, Tennessee, and Oram were all engaging and interesting. Props to the endlessly mocked Danny McBride for a great performance and becoming one of the most interesting characters in the movie. Katherine Waterson was wonderful (Fun fact: she jumps off buildings for fun and performed the stunts in the last sequence).Billy Crudup did a great job as a leader trying to find his place. Michael Fassbender was awesome as always. He really was Walter and David.

Another strength were the visuals, a Ridley Scott staple. Another absolutely gorgeous film. The set pieces were incredible! The lush green planet, David’s exterminating their inhabitants, the creatures, and the final battle. Whether you enjoyed the film or not, at least it was pretty! It was certainly a stark contrast seeing an Alien movie out in the open. After years of tight corridors and claustrophobia the change was pleasant. I still miss my H.R. Giger designs, but continue to hope the movies will get to that aesthtic eventually. The franchise deserves it.

The strengths of this movie are the first two acts. The creation of David and everything involving was fantastic. It was the most Alien a film has felt in some time. It felt like you were part of the crew. When the Neomorphs were born, it was tense and horrific. And they were terrified. Just great stuff all around. The characters were for the most, smarter than the Prometheus crew. Oram, Billy Crudup’s character being the prime exception. Dude,what were you thinking?

Despite enjoying the movie, it was not without parts that made me want to throw facehuggers at random people in the audience. The creatures grew WAY too fast. I know the incubation and growing period of the aliens seems to be whatever is relative to the plot. But what the hell? The Neomorphs grew from pups to adults in mere minutes. I tend to forgive this type of stuff, but it was quite glaring. But nothing made me more confused then the instant facehugger near the end. It barely had time to rest on his face before implanting. Terrible.

David took over the movie once he appeared.  The scenes with him and Walter were top-notch, some of the best dialogue were in those two exchanges. Except for one instance. There was a scene with him and Walter, David is trying to teach him to be more than a servant. It was a great scene ruined by a couple questionable lines, it elicited chuckles in both showings I went to. You’ll know it when you hear it. Another scene where David plays a few chords from Prometheus was jarring, it took you out of the movie completely.

I loved the idea of David having his own Dr. Frankenstein laboratory. The sketches and failed experiments were truly horrifying. I wish the movie spent some time on that. I would’ve preferred a flashback or two of that. Speaking of, David’s bombing of the inhabitants was really cool. But I don’t think it was an Engineer planet at all, they seemed different. There was no talk of the Engineers at all in this movie, which disappointed me a bit. And Shaw, poor Shaw. What happened between her and David was left as a mystery, which is a ashame. To actually SEE David experimenting and dissecting would’ve been unforgettable. I know there is a prequel book releasing in the fall, but I feel that was a missed oppurtunity to disturb the audience.

Now. The Big Controversy : David creating the xenomorphs. It didn’t bother me too much, but something like I felt deserved some more explaining. Where they around before this? Is David recreating them? Is this what the Engineers were trying to do too? I’ve always subscribed to the idea of the xenomorphs being weapons, as their biomechanical designs lends greatly to that idea. But this is a question I hope they answer down the road. As we are still owed the answer as to why the Engineers wanted to destroy Earth as well. The xenomorph is my personal reason for falling in love with this franchise, and hope to have more focus on it in the next movie. There was just too much thrown into the third act, and this is another example of why. I think focusing on just the Neomorph probably adds a bit more cohension to the end. The xenomorph is my personal obsession with the franchise, and I have an open as where to go with it. But Ridley should’ve saved it’s creation for a different movie.

If you thought this movie would be without any creationist talk you’re in for a surprise. But it is much more tolerable and less heavy handed than Prometheus. It’ll roll some eyes for some viewers, but I liked the way it was handled. While Alien is in the title, don’t be fooled. This is a sequel to Prometheus. There is still lots to cover which I didn’t touch, but there will be plenty of time for that.

Now that I’ve had some time to write about it and discuss it, the negatives stick out a bit more than I realized. But, for me it didn’t ruin it enough for me to give up the franchise. I think Ridley Scott has righted the ship a bit, the Titanic isn’t sinking yet. I do think in the next installment he needs a “Xenomorph Consultant”, someone to remind him of what made the beautiful horror so memorable. Ridley Scott learned most of the lessons from the errors of Prometheus, but lost focus at the end.

I think it’s time we finally get to a final assesment of the movie. As a fan of the much maligned Prometheus, this wiped the floor with it. I’ve had a running theory that this is a Prometheus 2.0, and it felt like that. It was better on the second viewing. I had a good time watching it, and never felt like it was a chore doing so.

 

Final score: 7.5 facehuggers!

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Alien: Covenant Review *Spoilers*

  1. Mike Gibson's says:

    I concur on many of your points. I hope the next film address is the lack of a chestburster and will we see one? Also if you look at the “xenomorph” in the movie it is lacking a full exoskeleton like in the other films. So like with the chestburster will David conduct experiments to create this? I think so.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan says:

    I agree with some of your points. I liked the movie but I think Prometheus was much better in its essence: presenting the mythology behind, delivering more questions around the Engineers, their relationship with humans and other species; leaving more territory to explore.

    Covenant felt more like an Alien – Aliens movie with some surrounding creationism and focusing on the Xeno, rather than the why, the who and where. If this franchise’s focus is on the Xeno only again, then I think it will be a lost opportunity to do something much bigger than what is.

    On the Xeno side, I doesn’t seem to me that David created it as they suggest in Covenant. Maybe he modified it to his taste. If we take the events in Prometheus when David experimented with Holloway using a drop of the black goo he found, Shaw got “pregnant” and gave birth to a very big Facehugger which impregnated the Engineer giving birth to the Deacon via chest bursting. The mural they’ve found showed what seems like a Xeno design in the middle and a Queen Xeno on the outer designs. The Weyland files show some hints about what the black goo original design did after infestation.
    While Ridley Scott said in one of his interviews for Covenant that the Engineers have not created the Creature.
    There’s more: the original Fox’s synopsis of “Prometheus” mentioned that two species were fighting for the domination of the Galaxy and the Prometheus found what looked like one of these species’ stations. So looks like the timeline of events and the hints left point to another question on who really created the Xeno and why.
    I think that Mr. Scott is delivering answers on the background shots whilst following a plot to entertain via the character, think of it as a multilayered history.
    I’m looking forward to see more creationism answers and questions in the following movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thenostromofilesblog says:

    I think you hit all the high points. I agree that the sequences in David’s laboratory are chilling, especially the contrasts between the ways he treats Walter’s and Daniels’ entries therein. (Don’t know why I can’t remember Waterston’s character’s name, but I was surprised to learn her father is Sam, a favorite actor of mine. The flashback to David’s arrival and subsequent attack on the ancient city had epic qualities. At the end of the day, I am glad to see the film and look forward to seeing it again as I soak in the nuances. Cheers! Darrell C

    Liked by 1 person

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