Review: Alien: Covenant (2017)

Fig.1 Alien: Covenant (2017) Movie Poster

Alien: Covenant (2017) was directed by Ridley Scott, and is both a sequel to Prometheus (2012) and a prequel to Alien (1979) - both of which were also directed by Ridley Scott. Prometheus was met with relatively mixed reactions, among both critics and fans alike. A lot of people, who were not too pleased with that film, believed that it left too many questions unanswered and, therefore, didn't live up to the promise of giving us more knowledge about the 1979 Sci-fi/Horror classic. So, how does it's sequel fair?

Fig.2 The Covenant crew exploring the Planet

Unlike it's 2012 predecessor, Alien: Covonant is based much more heavily in the Horror genre and because of this there are many occassions that will leave you overwhelmed by it's incredible use of gore and tension. The film does share some plot elements to the 1979 film, so the journey does seem a little similar, but Ridley Scott has still managed to make it feel fresh and new - it would have been appreciated to see more of an influence from H.R. Giger's designs, which were crucial to the lasting legacy of Alien (1979). There are moments in the film that are so well paced that they will have you on the edge of your seat, as you gaze at the screen in pure excitement, even if some of instances are so incredibly frightening. Alien: Covenant does follow on from Prometheus reasonably well as it does solve some mysteries and tell us what happened to the remaining characters. If you are someone who did enjoy Prometheus, then this film will make you happy, and if you aren't a fan of the 2012 film, then this is a definite step up in quality and feels much more like an Alien film.

Fig.3 Walter (Played by Michael Fassbender)

Unfortunately, the film doesn't solve all of the issues that Prometheus had left, as there a few things that still don't make much sense. In some cases, it forgets some of the key character motivations that existed in Prometheus, which was about exploration and finding knowledge about the Human race, where as this is more about survival - like Alien (1979). The first act seems a little slow also. Although, the characters are thrust into a radical change of events fairly quickly into the film, there isn't a massive reaction, so it doesn't leave much of an impact for the whole cast of characters, which leads onto another thing that this film doesn't quite get right. As you can see from fig.4 there are quite a lot of crew members and this, unfortunately, causes some characters to get less screen time, so we don't know much more about them, other than what we learned in that first act. As a result of this, there are a few moments where it isn't made too clear what characters are involved in that specific scene, so it is easy to lose track of certain members of the crew, and when we do, we don't feel anything or have any kind of reaction. 

That isn't to say that there aren't any good characters/performances. Katherine Waterston, who plays Daniels (far left side of Fig.4), continues the trend of having a leading female protagonist in the franchise brilliantly and does show a clear range in emotion. Her performance is believable and it makes it incredibly easy to relate to her. There is no doubt that she has the best arc in the film, and is perhaps the only character who was truly affected by the sudden event at the start of the film and it's impact on her is clear throughout, and is not quickly forgotten. Michael Fassbender plays two Android characters in the film, Walter, the new Model,  and David, who played a big part in Prometheus. It would be easy to become confused and hard to understand which character is on screen, but he manages to create two completely different people - through the way he speaks, moves and interracts with others. The choice of having Danny McBride in the film seemed an interesting one - due to the high majority of his roles being in Comedies, but he blends in perfectly, and is able to provide some much needed comic relief, while still showing how what is happening is affecting him.

Fig.4 The Covenant crew
Overall, Alien: Covenant does manage to push the franchise in the right direction - which is important, due to Ridley Scott being, reportedly, eager to continue making more films in this saga. Although, it doesn't solve all of Prometheus' problems/questions and some characters aren't fully explored, it is a very engaging film and will leave many Sci-fi and Horror fans optimistic for the future of this franchise.

Illustration List:
Fig.1 Alien: Covenant (2017) Movie Poster - - (Accessed 17/05/2017)

Fig.2 The Covenant crew exploring the Planet - - (Accessed 17/05/2017)

Fig.3 Walter (Played by Michael Fassbender) - - (Accessed 17/05/2017)

Fig.4 The Covenant crew - - (Accessed 17/05/2017)


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