Alien: Covenant Review


Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejog, Demián Bichir

“In space no one can hear you scream.” This simple, yet incredibly effective tagline of Ridley Scott’s Alien – which I consider to be a masterpiece – perfectly sums up the terror of the original film. It’s probably the movie I’ve watched the most, and I intend to keep on rewatching it until I finally become food for worms, or in this case, Xenomorphs. However, it’s been a case of diminishing returns with the franchise. People have a lot of love for James Cameron’s Aliens, yet personally, I found it to be incredibly irritating gun porn, with way too many aliens thrown into the mix.

The franchise had forgotten what Alien was originally all about, the fear of the unknown, man vs an unkillable killing machine. Since Ridley Scott’s returned to the franchise with Prometheus, there has been a noticeable move towards what made the first film so terrifying in the first place. However, the real problem with these prequel movies is that they are far too wrapped up in explaining what never really needed to be explained.

Ridley Scott Alien Covenant

That looks painful…

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.

Did we really want to know how the Xenomorphs were created? Not really. Did we really want to know what the whole deal was with that disk jokey thing? Perhaps, but in reality we didn’t need to know. The aspect of Alien that I loved so much was the mystery, yet Scott is hellbent on explaining every single detail, and there are far too many references to creationism, religion and what I now like to refer to as ‘Ridleyism’ for my liking.

As far as Alien: Covenant is concernetd, it’s better than Prometheus, and arguably superior to most of the films in the ‘Alien Anthology’, yet I can’t help but feel a little disappointed by it. I get the sense that Ridley Scott is only as good as his script. When he’s working from a good script, such as Alien, Blade Runner, or more recently, The Martian, he’s better than the vast majority of directors working today, yet when the script is bad, or even mediocre, Scott has delivered some real turkeys.

Ridley Scott Alien Covenant

There’s something wrong with this planet…

We don’t know what the fuck’s out there.

I’m not saying that Alien: Covenant is a turkey of a film. It has its merits, chief among which is that its the first film to really attempt to recapture the tone and ambiance of the original movie. There are certainly jump out of your seat moments, yet it’s nothing we haven’t seen before and I came to realise how tired this franchise has become. In my opinion, the best Alien film made since Alien was the video game (technically not a film, I know) that came out a few years back, Alien: Isolation. It embodied the terror of the original picture; that sense of impending doom, the claustrophobia, the solitude…

Scott seems desperate to concentrate of the Alien’s backstory, which is perfectly fine, but it would work so much better if all that was going on in the background, and not shoved down your throat, as if you yourself are being attacked by one of those disgusting facehuggers. That said, Michael Fassbender’s performance is captivating, yet we’ve come to expect nothing less from the Irish/German actor.

Ridley Scott Alien Covenant Danny McBride

Ridley Scott directing his new Alien: Covenant crew

Are you sure about this, Captain?

Alien: Covenant is perfectly enjoyable, and much better than Prometheus. Yet even as a devout admirer of the franchise, I can’t help but think it’s time for it to end, or have someone new step into the ring and create something genuinely fresh, all whilst keeping it in tune with what came before it.

You can listen to us discuss Alien: Covenant in more detail, as well as Mindhorn, on this week’s episode of Small Screen’s Film Club!

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