The next chapter in the Alien saga continues with Alien: Covenant. The sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus which received a mixed reaction from fans upon release. This new instalment promised more aliens and a return to the horror suspense of the original films.
Welcome to my Alien: Covenant spoiler free review. Before I begin, please be aware this is my first movie review! I’ve also decided to make this review spoiler-free for anyone deciding to see the film when the dust has settled.
So this past Saturday, I was fortunate to see Alien: Covenant in glorious iMax 2D at Cineworld in the NEC. I’d been eagerly awaiting the release of this film being an avid fan of the original movies, and the more recent Prometheus.
This was also my second iMax experience after seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D. Was I fussed about seeing this in just 2D? Not really. In my opinion, although the 3D element does provide a bit of extra ‘wow’ with the overall experience, it’s not a deal breaker. 3D isn’t going to make a poor film any better, so I was fully content going into this one knowing the Director, Ridley Scott, usually always delivers. I’d be watching Alien on the best screen, with the best sound, produced by one of the best Directors.
Carrying an array of nibbles and popcorn, my friend and I walked across the cinema lobby and entered the theater through a glowing bright blue arch labelled ‘IMAX’. Quite a cool moment really.
Alien: Covenant is a very different kettle of fish compared to the original Alien movies. Like it’s predecessor Prometheus, set some 10 years before in the story timeline, Covenant really delves into a smaller part of a bigger story.
The first Alien outings embodied pure horror survival films that could easily have survived as standalone episodes. Rich with relatable and likable characters trying to survive a terrifying alien creature. A ‘perfect organism’. Vicious in nature, relentlessly jumping out of shadows with lethal consequence to give you nightmares for days. I remember I was 13 years old and watching Aliens. The part where, ‘they cut the power’… and the red emergency lighting floods the scene. I recall turning to my Mum and asking if we could ‘take a break’ and come back it later. A week past before I had the courage to continue the movie.
Covenant does come with its suspenseful moments however as in Prometheus, I felt you could see them coming. There were shock moments that made me cringe and the actors delivered stellar performances to convey the horror, but in my opinion, there was not enough of those moments. Moments where the terror and panic of the characters on or off the screen, would send your imagination into overdrive as you tried to conjure up what was happening.
One of my favourite scenes in the original Alien film happens towards the end when Ripley is setting the timers on the ship, and her two surviving shipmates gather fuel for the escape vessel. The Alien ambushes Lambert and Parker, but the brutality of Lambert’s death is only heard through the speaker system. As Ripley runs through the adjacent corridors, you can only hear what happens. The result is a very powerful and terrifying moment, only intensifying the horror of the creature now fixed on hunting down our last character.
I would have liked to seen less of the aliens in Covenant. Yes, in case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen one of the thousand of trailers, there are aliens in Alien: Covenant. I felt they had a little too much screen time which took away their mystique. Perhaps in a similar fashion to Alien 3 where we saw the creature being lured into the mould. At one point, I actually felt more annoyed than frightened for our characters as they were hunted or hindered by the creatures.
Prior to going into the movie my friend did have some concerns with the CGI of the aliens. In my opinion, the CGI isn’t too noticeable but you really can’t compare it to the tangible puppetry as used in Alien and Aliens. Again, less is more. Just because we can animate an alien, does it mean we have to?
The locations and set designs however are excellent. Ridley Scott always delivers when it comes to location and realism of surroundings.
So Covenant tells a good story following on from Prometheus. Filling in the blanks regarding the Engineers, David, Miss Shaw, and the alien itself. Does it answer too much? Possibly. I liked Prometheus because it left me with so much intrigue, so perhaps I wasn’t ready to have all those questions answered?
The story also veers in a direction I didn’t expect. It delves deeper into the motivations of our characters which in my opinion, almost pushes the aliens away from the spotlight. However, as in Prometheus, bigger questions are asked in this movie: Where did we come from? How did we get here? I left the theatre wondering what will happen next, especially relating to the big picture and how this will lead up to the events of the original Alien film.
How would I rank Alien: Covenant? I would place it after Alien, Aliens, and Prometheus. I really enjoyed this next chapter, and there’s certainly enough to make you want to go back for more. Maybe not so much as Prometheus, but you certainly won’t be disappointed watching this film. I managed to devour an entire box of popcorn and Galaxy Counters as I was swept along in the excitement. I also had a large drink which I ignored, just in case I needed a bathroom break and missed something!
If you’re an Alien fan, you will enjoy this film. Mainly because of the action, excitement, the questions it answers, and the stellar on-screen performances. I hope you’ve enjoyed this spoiler free review of Alien: Covenant.
Thanks for reading.
- Alien: Covenant on IMDB (Spoiler Warning)