Rogue Hippo’s Review Score: 7.5
It’s difficult for me to type that…
I wanted so much more…
OK, enough moping. It’s time to review Alien: Covenant…
(At this point, I feel it’s my duty to inform you that I am not coming to you as an unbiased critic. The Alien Universe is among my favorite media franchises of all time. In fact, it may be #1; so I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve been excitedly anticipating this movie like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Unfortunately, I was expecting to find a Nintendo Entertainment System under the tree; and, instead, got an Atari 2600.)
First, let me stress that Alien: Covenant is not bad. Did I enjoy the movie? Yes. Do I recommend that you see it? Yes. Do I think it’s a good movie? Yes. The thing is, I wanted it to be great… and it wasn’t. It was just good; and honestly, I’m probably being too critical because I’m a hardcore fan. I have a strong suspicion that casual Alien fans, or general sci-fi fans, will like this movie more than I did.
I know that most people like to avoid spoilers, so I’ll start with some spoiler-free comments before I discuss any specific details:
- Alien: Covenant continues building the bridge between Prometheus and Alien. If you haven’t seen Prometheus, parts of this film are going to confuse you; but it’s not essential to have seen any other Alien film. That should make this movie more accessible to anyone who has no prior Alien experience (I weep for those people).
- Quick Plot Summary– A colonist ship is headed for their new home when they decide to investigate a strange signal coming from a nearby planet (sound familiar?). Upon investigating the signal, they discover the fate of the Prometheus crew, a bit more about the Engineers… and something much more vicious.
- There are a lot of new characters, and not enough time for character development; so I was pretty indifferent about all of them. Be sure to watch this Youtube short film before you see the movie. It helps set the stage and you’ll get to know the characters a little better.
- The scenery and the music are both excellent. The scenery looks great on the big-screen and I felt like I was in the midst of a strange, foreign world. They also did a great job blending the scores from Prometheus and Alien/Aliens at appropriate moments. It’s amazing what a few musical notes can do when they’re associated with fear.
At this point, I find that I’m struggling to be as vague as possible, in order to avoid spoilers, when I really want to get down and dirty in the details; so If you’ve seen the movie (or don’t mind spoilers) feel free to proceed to the second half of this blog. Otherwise, go watch Alien: Covenant then come back and share your thoughts.
***Warning- Here there be spoilers!***
Let’s do it:
- First, I feel that the trailer is a bit deceptive. It seems to imply that there will be a nonstop Humans vs Aliens fight for survival. That’s only partially true. While there IS plenty of action, the classic Alien doesn’t even make an appearance until the second half of the movie. The first half of the film features the NuAlien (Pictured below. I don’t know if it has an official name so I’ll just go with NuAlien), similar to the one shown at the end of Prometheus. That’s probably not a big deal for the casual fans out there, but I want the classic Aliens, damnit! There are, in fact, only two classic Aliens in this movie; and I think the trailer leads you to believe otherwise.
- The origin of the Alien species is revealed… Nooooooo! In my humble opinion, that was a mistake. Their unknown origin was always part of the appeal, for me. Being soulless creatures from the void of space made them all the more fascinating and terrifying. I understand the need for Ridley Scott to explain things in a prequel, but I don’t think ANY origin story could be as intriguing as the unknown. Could DC Comics write a background story for The Joker that’s better than simply not knowing where he came from? I doubt it. The same is true for the Aliens.
- Speaking of their origin story… Ugh. It turns out that David, the android, became obsessed with creating life, so he created the Aliens. Really? That’s it? I can’t be the only one who was disappointed by that.
- In fact, the entire David-obsessed-with-creation sub-plot just slows the movie down. Call me a barbaric simpleton; but when I watch an Alien movie, I don’t need to ponder the meaning of creation. I need more faces hugged! I need more chests burst open! I need more acid blood! I need unwitting humans stepping in a puddle of ooze, seconds before an Alien’s inner jaw smashes through their skull! Save the droid-on-droid flute scene for the special edition DVD (which I will buy); and give me more xenomorphs!
- I can’t fathom where the next film will go. Alien: Covenant ends with David acquiring a ship full of cryogenically frozen humans to use as Alien breeding hosts; and then setting off for an uninhabited planet. Is he going to start an Alien farm? Based on the other films, he obviously doesn’t bring the Aliens to Earth, despite his disdain for humanity. I can’t imagine how this will eventually tie-in to Alien, or if it will even attempt to do so.
We’re starting to get into the realm of future hypotheticals so I should probably stop rambling. With all of my complaints, I will restate that I think Alien: Covenant is a good movie; it’s just not the Alien movie I wanted. Hopefully that’s my issue, and mine alone. I still recommend you go see it; and then share your thoughts with me. Did you like the movie? Are my nit-picky complaints valid; or are these the ravings of a hardcore fanboy? Do you want me to compare and contrast the lethality of the original Alien versus the NuAlien? (Because I will! I’ve thought about it extensively!) Feel free to comment below or hit me up on Twitter.
Until Next Time,