Movie Review: Alien: Covenant (2017)

A sequel to Prometheus, a prequel to Alien, and entirely ignoring the (guilty pleasure but objectively bad) Alien vs Predator crossover series, Alien: Covenant is a 2017 sci-fi space horror directed by Ridley Scott. In the year 2104 Daniels (Katherine Waterson), the chief terraforming officer of the Covenant, and wife of the ship’s captain, along with first-mate Christopher Oram (Billy Crudup), chief pilot Tennessee (Danny McBride) and the advanced android Walter (Michael Fassbender) are onboard the spaceship Covenant on a mission to terraform a remote planet with their thousands of cryo-frozen colonists. After receiving a distress call from the Prometheus, the crew decide to investigate, and because this is part of the Alien series, things go to hell really quickly.

+ the casting (note: not the characters) is great. Fassbender is once again incredible, pulling double duty as android Walter, and reprising his role as near-identical android David from Prometheus. Waterson as chief of terraforming Daniels is a fine successor to the original films’ Ripley, and Crudup as first-mate Christopher Oram is another joy to watch
+ some new twists on the concept of the Chestburster are introduced, and for the most part they are effective at raising some tension. Nothing manages to top the shock and awe of the original, however

– a handful of seemingly important details are overlooked, including something I was absolutely certain would play into the ending, but is instead brushed aside with no explanation
– the film is not scary. The various Xenomorphs’ forms are more cute than ever, especially now that they are all CGI. The blood and gore is there and in your face, but it never elicits that same fear as the dinner table scene from the original Alien did. All of the characters are so dumb it is hard to feel any sympathy for them
– much like the recent Power Rangers (in a comparison I never thought I’d make), the film has such an uneven tone, with horror scenes leading directly to some strange philosophical babble. It felt like director Scott had filmed two separate movies, but couldn’t decide which to use so he just slotted scenes from both cuts into this

> as a sequel to Prometheus, this still hasn’t led to the beginning of Alien (and we’ll just ignore the Alien vs Predator timeline here). I assume there is at least one more in the prequel series coming, which hopefully can explain how and why the Xenos actually get to LV-426

Should you see this film: No. No scares (Alien), no good Xeno hunting action (Aliens) and no interesting dialogue (Prometheus) meant this was a mess of a film from start to finish. I had to apologise to the people I made watch it because it was so bad, which is something I have not done since dragging some friends to see Clash of the Titans. Let that one sink in.

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