In what has proven to be the second installment in an Alien prequel trilogy, Ridley Scott directs the successor to Prometheus, the equally hated/loved venture down the road of the Engineers and the Xenomorphs. With Covenant, the story follows a colonization team that is diverted from their path to a nearby planet on their way to Oregei 6, the intended destination of their voyage.
Anything further mentioned would give away too many key details in the story both with previous and future installments, however, one thing can be said in terms of story; Alien: Covenant does a decent job as the middle film in the trilogy. But that is a blessing and a curse because as the viewer, you enter into the film with an understanding that the story will not be completed nor all of your questions answered and that is both exciting and frustrating if you are someone like me that enjoys closure. Covenant still is a solid story in its own rite and does a great job of continuing the quest that the Prometheus set out to answer while throwing in even more kinks to the initial plans of the Weyland-Yutani company.
Something I have noticed having rewatched Prometheus, Alien and Aliens recently is that they, along with Covenant, share a very almost eerily similar plotline. Sure, they are all connected, but it goes beyond that to a place where it appears as if the plot is repeating itself in some regard. This can be a dangerous practice and because I do not want to spoil it for others that is really all I can say on the topic, but it is something I’ve noted after seeing Covenant and hope they do not repeat with Scott’s next and final installment.
As far as the film itself, Covenant does a solid job of showcasing the different characters or at least the main ones and provides them with pivotal motivations for being on the voyage to begin with and then when the plans change, motivation for staying. However, the secondary characters are barely given enough time for the audience to see and understand who they are let alone their contributions to the story before they are dealt with swiftly by the xenomorphs. At several points, I found myself having to think, “Now who was that who just died? Was that the guy with the beard? The one with or without the funny accent?” These players were merely cannon fodder for the major actors, but they still mattered to the plot and it felt as if they were hardly given a name and a face (before it was ripped away).
The plot fell along a similar path by being just different enough than its predecessor that it felt fresh and new, incorporating some twists and reveals along the way that were exciting for what lies ahead. Some twists you could see coming for quite some time and I felt the need for the film to hurry up and move past them in order for more exciting things to occur. Sadly, in some cases this didn’t happen which lead to long stretches of nothing happening especially in the beginning hour of the film. This wasn’t a deterrent for the overall movie, but it did cause my mind to wander on several occasions until the stakes became raised and the story quickened.
Overall, Alien: Covenant was a solid effort as a standalone film and a yet to be determined effort as a piece in a larger franchise puzzle. I felt that Prometheus was more captivating and interesting but Covenant had some twists and reveals that were exciting to witness as a fan because you know it has direct implications on the stories to come afterwards. Covenant could still stand to benefit from a slightly quicker pace because while the downtime spent was meant to introduce and familiarize the viewer with the crew I felt as if it wasn’t the best use of the film’s time, but I could be wrong on that front. Alien: Covenant was a decent watch, one that I would not recommend to others to see in theaters on opening weekend because at full price it could be an entertaining film, but more than likely I feel as if people will walk out of it either hating it or loving it……a feeling similar to that of those people who walked out Prometheus years ago. Matinee price or waiting to stream seem to be the best options for seeing this unless you are a die-hard fan which means you have probably already seen it. It was a good movie to hold me over this weekend when nothing else really came out.
ALIEN: COVENANT – 3 Garys