KcMsterpce posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 6 months ago

Alien: Covenant


Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by:
Cast: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Genre: Horror, Science-Fiction
Official Site:
Plot: This ship - so aptly named "Covenant" - has a veritable ark of embryos ready for habitat migration to a new, surveyed planet. However, a disaster strikes and they stumble on a transmission... on a nearby planet that is maybe even BETTER than earth! So they just get to the damn planet without any concern for bacteria, or the unknown, and end up getting in some serious, alien-like shit.


Wow, so... near the beginning of this movie, someone is upset that a three-week trip to examine a habitable planet is "dangerous" and a bad idea vice doing a seven YEAR trip to the planet that was their initial planned mission. I would say that a three-week delay to determine the viability of a planet's habitat is better than the unknown variables and potentialities of the 7-year planned journey. Granted, there was some kind of intelligent signal sent, so... let's be cautious, but hopeful.
But then, I understand why this crew member was so upset: These idiots don't scan the planet from a distance, but just JUMP right in! At least they have hazmat suits, right? Fuck that shit! Nah, they be breathing the air like they're on earth.
Big surprise coming up, but... there are things that are very small - like specs of dust - that end up "infecting" some team members. This is but one of, well, basically everything that is wrong with this movie.
If the crew members ("specialists" of this field my ass) WEREN'T this fucking stupid, then we wouldn't have this ridiculous attempt at "heightening" the "mythos" of alien... but they have forgotten that ALIEN was just a straight up monster movie, and the sequel was a fun spin on the same concept. Those movies were great because of the ability to build tension while following a cast of characters that have fleshed out relationships and interactions.
There is no reason for PROMETHEUS and COVENANT to exist at all, and the heavy handed symbolism is only the beginning of a big mistake. These movies didn’t need to be made.
The ALIEN franchise as a whole should just be laid to rest. Additionally, the surprises that were in store from the 1979 film are no longer relevant. The face hugger, the huge “space jockey”, the chest-burster, and the alien itself were all fantastic creations shrouded in mystery amongst an ambitious set design that was just as organic as the pulsating mystery which lay beneath a translucent egg. Everything about ALIEN serviced the unsettling atmosphere, but at its core, it was just a by-the-numbers “killer on the loose” tale.
Let's hearken back to the original ALIEN, and the logic of NON-scientists. When a man has a scary alien spider-thing on his face, Ripley refuses to break protocol, and disregards Dallas' order to let Cane onto the ship. Because of, you know, the chance of the whole team being infected.
It was up to Ash to open the doors. The first-time viewer may think Ash is just concerned about the crew, and is a moron. I think most people watching that movie might understand the dilemma of abandoning half the ship's crew due to possible infection, but may also feel that Ash was just answering to his own sensibilities with concern for the fellow "man". Was it the right choice? No. But also, one might feel that Ash can't be fully chastised for doing what he thought was the right thing to do.
Of course, as the movie progresses, we come to understand Ash's true motivations behind letting Cane enter the Nostromo. He had a hidden agenda: To follow orders from Mother to bring the specimen back for the organization to study. Pardon the pun, but Ash was merely a corporate “tool”.
This scene is a multi-tiered nugget of effective storytelling. First, there is the immediate moral crisis, while also establishing what key crew members are capable of while under pressure. We know Dallas cares about his co-workers, maybe Ripley does too, but isn't willing to break the rules if it means possibly harming those that are not already in danger - she makes the hard, but logical decision. Ash seems at first to just be a concerned citizen, while this scene is also laying the groundwork for more insidious underpinnings behind Ash's actions that come to light later on. Very clever writing.
There is none of this intricacy behind the latest iterations of the ALIEN series. In fact, it is the exact opposite.
Instead of being a movie that provides tough choices and creative decision making, it is a lazily written story that has characters do DUMB shit as a means to have events occur the way the writers want it to happen. They don't approach the screenplay thinking about how to best serve the STORY, but to best serve the IDEAS for a pointless "origin of man" bullshit backstory.
In ALIEN (1979), Ridley Scott had a screenplay with firmly established characters whose histories are left untold. Instead, we see them in the "now", coming out of deep sleep, after they have been together long enough to get on each others’ nerves. Snippets of dialog are great at establishing their weariness, like when Parker and Brett have the steam vents blowing loudly so Ripley has to scream over the noise.
These newer Ridley Scott ventures don’t understand why the first movie was so highly regarded. Each character is interchangeable, and generic. They are merely a plot device. They are actors who talk, and they emote, but are actually props amongst a false backdrop.

I am sorry that devout followers and fans of the first two movies (and even ALIEN 3, and to a much lesser extent, ALIEN RESURRECTION) have little choice but to keep watching these movies in hopes of something grand coming to fruition. Instead, there has been Alien Vs. Predator, and… uh… these movies.
I give credit to the set design; it is pretty, with great lighting. However, gone is the feeling of foreboding claustrophobia of the Nostromo. The protruding pipes, the dingy and dank hallways, and well-worn and used equipment come together to provide a tangible reality which set ALIEN apart from so many other sci-fi movies before, or since.
The CGI in COVENANT can often times be distractingly shoddy. The aliens in COVENANT are too choppy, with a lack of weight in movement. In an attempt to make them seem quicker and more agile, they just use a computerized jump-cut in frame and make them magically move four feet forward in the blink of an eye. Basically, I’m saying that the aliens looked like shit.
Another glaring flaw is that I never once felt a shred of concern for these crew members. They are just stupid, ignorant, bleating cannon fodder. Add on top of that a series of bad one-liners, extensive action sequences that go on for way too long, and a sense of “been there, done that” with the third act, there is very little for me to like about ALIEN: COVENANT.
There is no sense of impending doom. I do not dread what might be hiding around the next corner. I just admire a lot of the perfectly-colored, sharp and flat dimensionality of the CGI creations, hoping that everyone will die quicker so the movie will end sooner.

There is no longer a mystery to the alien creatures. The initial shock which came from H.R. Giger’s creations is now 40 years old. It has been parodied, imitated, and referenced countless times. It is like most horror movies after we discover what the creature is, and its weakness: The frightening mystery of what the creature(s) is/are is gone, and it’s up to the thrill of the hunt to keep the viewer enthralled. How can there be a thrill if there is no one to root for, and an origin story that is convoluted and pointless?

I feel that the ALIEN franchise should just be left alone for all of eternity.

Grade: D-
Score: 3/10


Other reviews of this film: OldKingClancy (8/10) , MonsterZeroNJ (6/10) > Display all

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