Movie Review - Alien: Covenant

Movie Review - Alien: Covenant

ALIEN: COVENANT

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror

Rating: R

Running Time: 122 mins.

Premise: A crew of romantically entangled shipmates head to a remote planet to colonize it, only to discover something distinctly "alien" threatening their very existence.

Behind-the-Scenes: After debuting to $51M and a wave of pre-release hype surrounding director Ridley Scott's return to the franchise, 2013's Prometheus quickly developed a toxic reputation with fans. With a lower budget and diminished expectations this time around, Scott seeks to right the ship. Michael Fassbender returns to the series in dual roles as androids David (who was a main character in Prometheus) and Walter.

The Good: Rather than establish itself as a stand-alone entity, Covenant doubles down on the themes and ideas of Prometheus, and in the process, acquits itself as a pretty good sequel - one that deepens and enriches the Prometheus viewing experience (which you definitely need to have seen to enjoy this one). Fassbender gives a terrific performance playing two very different androids. He gives each character its own personality and tics, and the split-screen scenes between them are fascinating and fantastically filmed. Like most Scott films, Covenant is visually rich, even if it doesn't match the beautiful cinematography of Prometheus. Danny McBride is surprisingly good in a non-comedic role.

The Bad: It's not scary at all and lacks a dynamite action/thrill set piece. The human characters are all thinly sketched and behave stupidly. Scott is clearly more fascinated with the David android and themes of creationism. Covenant is basically just a middle chapter with very little in the way of resolution. There is no true ending. It mostly exists to set up the next chapter ("tune in next week..."), which in this day and age, only further blurs the line between TV and movies. Viewers will be able to spot the finale's twist a mile away, and the movie would have been better served by withholding that twist and leaving the viewer guessing.

Should You See It?: Only if you've seen Prometheus and enjoyed it enough to keep going.

Star Rating: *** out of 5 stars.

Better Than: Alien: Resurrection, Alien vs. Predator

Worse Than: Prometheus, Alien, Aliens, Alien3

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