Alien and Aliens were two groundbreaking films in terms of Science Fiction cinema. Alien was a horrifying tale of extraterrestrial life and taught you that in space, no one can hear you scream. The 1979 Ridley Scott classic was followed by the James Cameron Sci-Fi action opera Aliens in 1986 that was nominated for seven Oscars (winning two) and became a box office hit. Then the franchise took a turn for the worse. Alien 3 didn’t connect with audiences and Alien Resurrection completely jumped the shark in the eyes of the fans. The franchise became even more ludicrous thanks to an Alien Skull Easter Egg in Predator 2 which led to the silly Alien vs Predator series that managed to tarnish both franchises. Hope for the series returned with news that Sir Ridley Scott would be returning to the franchise with a prequel to Alien titled Prometheus. Unfortunately, the prequel was an incomplete companion piece that took place in the Alien film universe, but gave fans nothing they were familiar with until the very end of the film.
Now Ridley Scott is back with Alien: Covenant attempting to right the wrongs of Prometheus and actually do what he said he was going to do, which was bring the xenomorphs back to the big screen. For better or worse, the movie is a follow-up to Prometheus taking place 10 years after the events of that film. Scott presents Alien: Covenant as a sequel, but also as an Alien reboot of sorts with the film almost being spilt into two parts. This new entry follows a colonization ship appropriately named Covenant that is traveling to a new home carrying over 2000 passengers resting comfortably in their sleep pods. Certain events cause the ship to change their plans and visit a planet where an unspeakable horror is waiting to be unleashed.
Alien: Covenant manages to bring some closure to Prometheus with a big chunk of this film dealing with the fallout from that film. For those looking for a straight up Alien film, you may be disappointed with Scott’s final product concerning this sequel. For those willing to give Alien: Covenant a chance, you will be treated to some of the familiar beasts from Prometheus in action letting the audience see how gruesome these life forms can be. Without spoiling too much, Michael Fassbender delivers a very dynamic performance in Alien: Covenant wearing many hats during the film. He gets to show off multiple personalities through his work in Covenant and gets to be everything from a savior to a total creep. Fassbender’s role really plays into the Alien mythology and could determine how the franchise moves forward from here. His work on-screen helps make up for when Alien: Covenant gets a little complicated when it’s trying to be a sequel and reboot at the same time.
When a franchise has lost its way, sometimes the best thing the creators can do is get back to basics and that is exactly what Ridley Scott does with this new installment. From the opening credits, the building tension and the music which takes its inspirations from the work of Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner; the most overwhelming positive aspect of Alien: Covenant is it feels like an Alien film again. Even the crew of the Covenant, which includes standouts Karen Waterston and Danny McBride have that blue-collar feel returning to the space trucker mentality from the original 1979 film. Waterston’s Daniels is a no-nonsense heroine that would make Ellen Ripley proud as she faces down insurmountable odds and still keeps fighting. As for the naysayers who thought McBride would just be a comedic distraction, that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. The comedic actor plays it straight as Tennessee and shows there is more to him than just Kenny Powers for studios willing to give him opportunities with more serious material in the future. Hopefully the public hasn’t given up on the Alien dynasty, because Ridley Scott is finally taking the series where it belongs with exciting things to come. Alien: Covenant isn’t exactly recreating the wheel in terms of subject matter, but the intense vibe and gore is finally giving fans something to cheer and scream for again in the deep of space.
Overall, I give Alien: Covenant 3 out of 4 stars.
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