Alien: Covenant Review

I'm going to save everyone some time here. Alien: Covenant is a bad movie. There, you can save the 5 minutes it would take to read the rest of this review and the two hours the Covenant runs all in one fell swoop. It is a movie mired with bad writing, lame looking xenomorphs, as less scares then notable James Cameron action movie Aliens. I'll get into details below.


Alien Covenant drops us in with the creation of Adam (Michael Fassbender), the android from Prometheus. It offers a brief set up into the mind of a early production model Wayland bot who is capable of independent thought and creativity. This serves to give insight into his actions from Prometheus and foreshadow the themes of creation gone awry that act as the overtone of Covenant and Prometheus. The story then jumps forward 10 years after the events of Prometheus to the colonization ship Covenant which also has a Fassbender-bot of its own named Walter. The Covenant is beset with a cosmic event that causes the death of Captain James Franco, who really only seems to be in the movie because his friend Danny McBride has a starring role and has maybe 45 seconds of collective screen time. This of course creates a power vacuum that has to be filled by the second in command who is, of course, not prepared for the role and makes bad decisions because of it. 

During repairs of the ship, the crew discovers a faint message from another human in a nearby star system and they decide the best course of action is to risk the lives of not only the crew, but all 2,000 some colonists and 2,000 more human embryos, to check it out as a possible colony instead of the planet they have spent the last two years trying to get to. The only justification they give for abandoning their mission and taking this huge risk is one lady saying she doesn't want to go back into cryosleep and the rest of the crew agreeing. Only Lt. Daniels (Katherine Waterston) recognizes this as the stupidest plan ever conceived and objects. She is of course right, because the dissenting, play it safe, opinion is always right in horror movies, just as it is always ignored, because what fun would the movie be if nothing goes wrong? Unfortunately for Alien Covenant, the movie is neither fun, nor scary regardless of what path they would choose.

Things go bad, people die, aliens are about. You know the drill. This is about as by the numbers as you'll get. There is also a twist that is set up about 3/4 of the way through the movie that you will spot immediately that they 'reveal' in the last couple seconds of the movie. The whole thing feels pretty insulting. Probably the worst thing is how they handle woman characters. Alien is a franchise built around one of the strongest female characters in recent history. Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley was a bad ass who didn't let anything stop her. Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace both were very strong characters in Prometheus. Conversely, every woman character in Alien Covenant is hysterical at the drop of a hat. Even the lead character Daniels spends most of the movie in shambles over her husbands death. Rapace's character from Prometheus also gets the honor of one of the most unceremonious sendoffs to a character I have ever seen. It comes off as the writers of Alien Covenant knowing they have to make their movie a direst sequel to Prometheus, but not wanting to have to figure out a way to deal with the fact that Rapace made it out of the last film. 

Overall, the acting in this movie is all over the place. Fassbender, who has had some of my favorite performances in the last several years, is incredibly inconsistent moment to moment. Some of his dialog being laughably cringe-worthy. Danny McBride gave the best performance of the show as Tennessee, the hard nosed pilot of the Covenant.  Waterston does what she can, but is hamstrung by the poor script she was handed. This movie adds nothing of merit to the Alien franchise and actually only serves to make the timeline for the original Alien more confusing with a mid movie reveal about the origins of the facehuggers. The whole script comes across like a fan fiction written by people who don't understand subtly, but still really want to keep rape as the scary undertone. It is filled with nonsense, plot holes, and missed opportunities for much more interesting plot directions. Worst of all, it is just boring and goes nowhere. The whole thing resolves at what feels like the end of the second act of a better movie. Additionally, on a technical note, Alien Covenant is loud. It is probably the loudest movie I have watched since Interstellar. This doesn't really affect anything, but I figured I'd point it out since it caught me off guard. 

You're time is more valuable than this movie. If you are not a fan, this won't win you over. If you are a fan, it will only bring disappointment and muddle the timeline of the rest of the films. If you are deadset on watching a bad Alien movie, you have no less than 4 more entertaining options available to you.