by Manuel Reynoso
2 Palm trees out of 4
Alien: Covenant is a 2017 American sci-fi horror film and sequel to Prometheus. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, with story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen.
I have to admit I came into Alien: Covenant with no idea that it was a sequel to Prometheus, which itself was a prequel to Alien. I’ve heard plenty of mixed reactions about Prometheus but truthfully I came into Alien: Covenant pretty blind. I’ve heard from plenty of self-proclaimed, die-hard Alien fans that this film isn’t for “real Alien fans” or it’s only good if you’re “not an Alien fan” and other such nonsense. But to be blunt, I found Alien: Covenant to be a mess, albeit a very pretty one.
From start to finish, Alien: Covenant did not feel very cohesive. Each act felt as if it was a separate genre all its own. Alien: Covenant starts of as a fairly entertaining space odyssey, becomes a bit of a slow horror in the second act, and decides to finish as a uninspired action flick in the last act. While this in itself was not a huge problem, it just left the film feeling off and without a strong sense of direction. Alien: Covenant’s art direction and effects were so strong, it was a shame that there was no cohesive theme to back them up.
And there is no way to exaggerate how strong the art direction of Alien: Covenant really is. Most of the set pieces were amazing and intricate; truly practical effects at its finest. It’s almost a shame that they had to use computer effects at all, but that’s just me being unreasonable. I would say that the movie would be worth seeing for this alone, but Alien: Covenant is mostly held back by poor writing.
Alien: Covenant’s writing wasn’t bad at a personal level between the characters, character interactions felt genuine and helped bond the characters to one another. The writing issue was mostly with the plot. At no point do these highly trained scientists and pilots ever feel like one. Decisions come off as nonsensical and it’s these decisions that propel the entire plot along. The writing of this film simply does not feel well thought out. Clearly a lot of care was put into creating a world and backstory for the events leading up to Alien, but quite frankly it feels unnecessary. At least 30 minutes of exposition and backstory could have been removed and Alien: Covenant would have felt more cohesive as a result. Instead I found myself getting bored during the slower parts of the film.
It’s a shame that Alien: Covenant was a bit of a letdown for me. It’s not really bad but more so painfully mediocre. Strong acting performances and great set design was enough to keep Alien: Covenant from falling flat, but I left wanting more. There will likely be better summer blockbuster movies on the horizon, so maybe just go on discount day. Rated R 2h 2m