Alien: Covenant isn’t groundbreaking, but it signals a strong return to the series’ horror roots [full review below]
4 out of 5 Chicken Wings: Chicken Shop – Better than average; a memorable experience. [about our Chicken Wings review score]
***This review is spoiler free***
Alien: Covenant isn’t groundbreaking, but it signals a strong return to the series’ horror roots. There’s a real feeling of mounting tension in this film, and whilst Covenant primarily aims to be a continuation of the Prometheus story, make no mistake – this is an old school Alien film through-and-through. Covenant is also rated 15 but is one of the goriest Alien films ever made.
However, as exciting and engrossing as Covenant gets, it’s unable to capture the moments that made Alien and Aliens truly great; both classic films are fearless in their creative vision, pushing the boundaries of sci-fi horror and action. Additionally, both films successfully introduced a crew of characters worth caring about, whereas Covenant boasts just two memorable crew members.
Alien: Covenant is a beautiful film. There are some jaw-dropping scenes scattered throughout and some spectacular special effects. The Alien itself has a daunting speed and height that’s very reminiscent of the original Alien film; creating a familiar feeling of dread that hasn’t been captured since the 1979 classic. I feel the alien on-screen time alone is worth the price of admission.
Not only does the film look great, but it benefits from masterful direction. Ridley Scott is an expert at building momentum in sci-fi, creating action scenes that feel unpredictable, gritty and adrenaline-fuelled. Whilst watching Alien: Covenant, I found myself with my jaw wide open and I was uncontrollably gasping and reacting to the intense events on screen. Noteworthy performances include Michael Fassbender as the clear star of this film, whilst surprisingly Danny McBride is additionally a great part of the crew.
My biggest issue with Alien: Covenant is that it’s way too safe. At times, Covenant feels like a highlights reel of previous Alien films. Many crew members felt like they were disposable, included in the script to die. Other than Walter (Michael Fassbender) Daniels (Katherine Waterston) and Tennessee (Danny McBride) I cannot recall one other crew member.
As Covenant doesn’t bother developing each crew member and their character, their deaths had little impact on me as the viewer. If anything, at times I was rooting for the Alien, hoping it would quickly cut through these dull characters so Covenant can get to the meaningful fights. Overall, it’s never a good sign when the character with the most depth is the android.
The amount of criticism Alien: Covenant is receiving isn’t justified. This is a really strong Alien film. It was an entertaining two hours, with plenty of twists in the story, great action scenes and great performances from Fassbender. However, I feel the impact of this new Ridley Scott Alien film is somewhat suppressed due to the dull introduction by Prometheus. Despite its flaws and the significant lack of Bill Paxton or Sigourney Weaver in this Alien film, I would still recommend seeing Alien: Covenant.
4 out of 5 Chicken Wings: Chicken Shop – Better than average; a memorable experience.