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Review: Alien: Covenant

Image from 20th Century Fox's ALIEN: COVENANT

My only hope beforehand was that Alien: Covenant was better than Prometheus. To a significant extent, they were able to make that happen as they made sure to correct some of the mistakes that were made. They also attempt to expand on some of what was already introduced. While this is definitely the kind of good start that I appreciate, there were also some things that they could have done to make it better depending on what you’re looking for in a movie like this.

The crew of the Covenant, a colony ship heading toward a remote planet uncover what they think could be another planet fit for human life. Once there, they inspect the new world only to find that their seemingly harmless and potentially fruitful discovery actually carries deadly forms of life that could harm anyone that comes into contact with it. Now with only a small window of time to escape, the crew have to band together under the most dire of circumstances to get refocused and fight for survival.

While the early parts of Alien: Covenant are meant to help the audience connect with the cast of characters, it actually runs the risk of boring at least some of the people who choose to check it out. There’s a bunch of stuff being laid out that a lot of people probably just aren’t all that interested in seeing. During this point, I could literally see this being turned into a movie about a crew simply being on a voyage through space. Based on the way it’s structured, you don’t even need aliens of any kind to be in the rest of the movie since it’s essentially a drama during this particular period.

It doesn’t need to be said, but people would have a problem with this specific movie finishing up without there being any signs of extraterrestrial lifeforms running around space trying to end the lives of humans. Luckily, these aliens that we came here to see do make their presence felt soon after they finally settle in and get all of the unnecessary features out-of-the-way. They could have done it sooner, but it better to get it at the stage we do rather than getting even later.

When focusing on the characters in Alien: Covenant, you’ll notice that there is nothing resembling what would be considered character development experienced in front of the camera. Very little in the way of character arcs would usually make for a worse picture in my eyes, but I found myself giving this one a pass more than usual. The reason why is because it’s simply a movie about humans being the potential prey of beings unlike themselves.

Multidimensional characters aren’t actually needed in this one. In fact, I can just about guarantee that you won’t ever care about anyone that makes their way on-screen. That’s partially due to them being one-dimensional, but I also just don’t think there was any desire to make us care. That’s probably why they have a number of characters whose names we never find out and a number of characters whose names we won’t remember soon after we find out what they are. In short, they’re all here because they have to be.

The only reason this Alien prequel/Prometheus sequel was made from the perspective of the viewer is to get us back to the start of this franchise that was first introduced to the public back in 1979. This continues that story in a way that allows it to be respectable improvement over Prometheus. And while it doesn’t give us much depth in terms of characters, it leads us down a path that appears to be intriguing. It’s because of this that I’m actually curious to find out how we’re going to get to where we’re eventually going to land.

I guess you can say that this is the sign of a good prequel. Of course, adding more insight and quality could have made it better, but based on its direct predecessor, not going too far with everything may have been a wise choice. With that being said, Alien: Covenant isn’t a great film, but it’s a solid one that serves its purpose by moving the franchise forward. For those of you who are interested to see what it’s using to accomplish that, heading out and seeing this is recommended. It won’t be better than the first two original films, but it has its place and provides some nice features even if some of it is predictable.

Rating: R

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast:
Michael Fassbender
Katherine Waterson
Billy Crudup
Demian Bichir
Danny McBride
Jussie Smollett
Carmen Ejogo
Callie Hernandez
Amy Seimetz
Guy Pearce

Film Length: 120 minutes

Release Date: May 19, 2017

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

  • Score - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
6.5/10
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