Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.
/ New Zealand
Directed by: Ridley Scott
. Starring: Michael Fassbender
, Katherine Waterston
, Billy Crudup
, Danny McBride
, Demián Bichir
, Carmen Ejogo
, Jussie Smollett
, Callie Hernandez
, Amy Seimetz
, Nathaniel Dean
, Alexander England
, Benjamin Rigby
, Uli Latukefu
. Music by: Jed Kurzel
"Prometheus" was tough for me. I still liked it despite its numerous flaws, because of its premise, resonating themes and technical prowess. After seeing the trailer for "Alien Covenant", I expected to hate this film. I didn't. In a way, it's a perfect sequel for Prometheus - both are very flawed. What I found lacking in Prometheus, I partially got from this one and what I didn't want Prometheus to be in the first place, this was.
What I didn't want Prometheus to be was a straight-up Alien prequel where people I don't care about run away from (or fight) a celebrity monster. Sadly, that's the main attraction for this movie, and the least interesting thing about it. These monsters have become video game creatures. I couldn't care less about the old melon-head, not to mention its brutally slaughtered victims. Its amazing life cycle is also held hostage by plot convenience: things happen rapidly because you just have to cram it all in there, and most things just breeze by. At this point it's like gratuitous fan-service without real weight. This is what many people wanted Prometheus to be, and now they got it. Doesn't feel like a good idea now, does it? Remember the monster in the first Alien movie? They didn't show it much. It was clumsy, mysterious and horrifying...but the sequels turned these disturbing creatures into meaningless drones that run around fast, shriek all they can and swarm you. "Aliens" was still a good action movie, but the monster itself was demystified and it became something that would eventually leave me disengaged and bothered, which happened with this movie.
"Alien: Covenant" has another problem: shallow characters. Yes, they were shallow in all of them, but in the first movie they felt real, and in the second they were at least entertaining caricatures, but this? I just saw this film and I can't even remember most of their names. There were too many of them, and when someone died (which was gory and good in itself), I didn't care. The dialogue was mostly just movie talk without real depth (except for Fassbender's David and Walter, more about those two in a second). Most of the character development is forced and rarely leads to anything. The actors themselves were good; McBride and Waterston have screen presence, and Carmen Ejogo had good moments, but I wanted to care so much more. It's hard to get invested to people who are basically plot devices. I love Ridley Scott, I really do, but characters have always been his weakness.
Then again I must also question the script, and not just for the dialogue. One obvious plot twist in particular left a bitter taste in my mouth, because I hate waiting for the protagonists to catch up to speed with what I already know. It hindered the remainder of the movie, because it was only there to ensure a link to other installments of the franchise. There was no satisfying resolution. The beginning feels clunky too, because we weren't invested. Now to the good parts.
There are good things in this movie. Most of them revolve around Michael Fassbender. He plays his characters well, overcoming his material, making it far more powerful than it could have been with a lesser actor. The mythology and themes, which I liked in Prometheus, are explored a little further here (although not like many would prefer) and Fassbender is at the core of it. I loved that stuff. It's not too vague, in fact it's very simple and effective. We get some "mad scientist" - elements too. The themes of the creator and the created, the grotesque body horror - they all work in favor of the film. I gave the writers crap, but I must give them some credit too, because thematically the movie works and there are many nice individual touches.
The middle hour is excellent entertainment, and I'd recommend "Alien: Covenant" for that alone. It's still clumsy, but that's where the heart of the movie is. After 30 minutes of almost nothing (not counting the cool sequence at the very beginning), and before the final 30 minutes of weightless action and tired tropes we actually get a good movie in between. That's where this movie reaches really high. It can't get there, but it's so confident in itself that you almost believe it.
Technically, Alien: Covenant is top-notch, which was expected. Excellent cinematography and camera-work. The art directiondesigns are haunting and the creature effects are good, especially when they're practical. When they're CGI (as they sadly often are) they're still exceptional, but the impact is lost. The sets and props are great, and the sound department handled their job well too. Fantastic display of production and craft. .
Review by Tehmeh from the Internet Movie Database.