★★★ – “Ridley Scott’s second pre-Alien entry is visually satisfying but lacks in story.”
Alien: Covenant is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterson, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir and Carmen Ejogo.
The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.
After the lacklustre Prometheus in 2012, I had no good expectations going into Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. Apart from a few decently tense scenes and beautiful visuals, Prometheus was a mindless action/adventure flick set in the world of Alien. It’s worth noting that I’m not overly keen on the franchise as a whole, so I’m biased. However, I do appreciate what Ridley Scott did with the original 1979 film.
When I go to watch an Alien film, I want it to send shivers down my spine. There must be scenes filled with nothing but tension. Thankfully, Alien: Covenant handles this extremely well. There are some really awesome moments that keep you on the edge of your seat. The final action sequence in the film is stunning to watch. That said, these moments are few and far between, so we’re left with a story that doesn’t seem to be heading in any specific direction, apart from leading into the original film.
The characters, excluding Daniels (Katherine Waterson) and David/Walter (Michael Fassbender), are poorly written and act unintelligently. One scene in particular, without spoiling anything, was an eye-roller. Why would anyone in their right mind look directly into an egg that is quite clearly hatched? It’s understandable that this person has never seen one before, but the moment he lets his guard down, a Facehugger continues its life cycle by latching onto the host. The only two interesting characters are Daniels and David / Walter. Waterson is a fine actress and demonstrates this in all of her scenes. Fassbender works wonders in his double-performance, though maybe too much time was spent on his character(s), therefore detracting from the other crew members. Tennessee (Danny McBride) is present for a brief sense of comic relief and while McBride has his moments, it’s an act just as one-dimensional as the rest.
As aforementioned, this film is a visual treat. It’s dark, gritty and unearthly. The production and costume design is remarkably well-handled and looks impressive, captured skilfully by cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, who has worked with Ridley Scott on numerous occasions. There are some gruesome deaths, of course, and these are handled really nicely. I’m always ready for some gore in a film, and Covenant did it right.
Jed Kurzel’s score is exceptional. It pleases me to say that his music was something I enjoyed about this film. After his disappointing work on Assassin’s Creed, it’s truly great to see him explore the vast eeriness present in Covenant and succeed. Some of the string work heard in the score is incredibly well written, as well as the woodwind sections that open the main theme. Not only does it work as a score, but it’s musically twisted and an enjoyable listening experience overall.
Verdict; Whilst it strives in apprehension and its visual design, Ridley Scott’s second entry in the prequel trilogy feels as empty as its characters, culminating to an anticlimactic finale.
Alien: Covenant – ★★★ (5/10)