Comparing Alien Covenant to the original Alien or Aliens is like comparing an apple to an orange… if that apple was really pretentious and pretending to be an orange.
Alien Covenant is the latest installment of the Alien Franchise, directed by Ridley Scott.
I’m a fan of the first two Alien movies (Alien and Aliens). Though I’m not one of the crazy Ridley Scott fans, I appreciate the classics as monuments of sci-fi horror and think that they both hold up very well today.
As a whole, Alien Covenant relies too heavily on tropes from the original Alien movies and takes weird detours that try to be thought-provoking and deep, but just come across as forced and pretentious.
Plot Summary of Alien Covenant
The movie follows a crew of husbands and wives who are piloting a ship carrying thousands of colonists in hyper-sleep. They are on their way to a new planet to start a new colony of human beings because… I’m assuming because something bad happened on Earth or to Earth, but they never explain it.
The crew is woken up because the ship ran into a solar flare and caused some major damage. It’s explained by the token-synthetic-robot-that’s-in-every-Alien-movie that solar flares are very hard to predict and by the time you see one, it’s too late.
So why not build a space ship that can handle solar flares? That’s like building a sea ship that leaks and takes on water every time it gets hit by a wave.
Since it will take 7 plus more years to reach New Earth (I can’t remember what they called the planet they were heading to, because it was just a bunch of letters and numbers), the captain decides that it’s best to check out this other planet they happen to be passing by to see if it would be better as a colony planet. There also seems to be a distress signal coming from it, so the captain and crew are curious to see who is sending the signal.
Daniels (the Ellen Ripley of the movie) is hesitant and disagrees with the captain about checking out the nearby planet and makes a very good point that New Earth has already been studied thoroughly and has been deemed safe for human capacity. This nearby Convenience Planet has not been studied and it would be stupid and dangerous to settle there or explore it.
The captain basically says “I say we’re going because faith and stuff and that’s final” and they go to the Convenience Planet anyway.
They land on the planet, all Hell breaks loose, and we have our plot.
The Good Points of Alien Covenant
Before I rip further into this movie, I will say I liked the effects (when they weren’t obvious CG) and the interactions between the crew. Most of the cast were obvious alien food/incubators, but they weren’t terrible characters.
It does pay homage to Alien and Aliens, but it did come across as cheap at times and not coming from a place that seemed genuine. I don’t mind homages, but only when they’re used correctly and minimally so that the film can carry itself. These reused tropes sometimes worked, and sometimes not.
The Bad Points of Alien Covenant
I don’t know what Ridley Scott is on lately, but this movie has the most pretentious dialogue I have ever heard in a long time. The movie actually begins with us seeing David from Prometheus turning on for the first time and meeting his creator.
They have a boring conversation about God, creators, creations, art, how stuff is meaningless if we humans don’t know our origins (which doesn’t make any sense), and all other time wasting crap.
We later see two robots conversing with each other and they talk about why they were built, their purpose, their relationships with humans, David is a prick, some weird flute playing, and other topics that have nothing to do with the movie because Scott loves wasting your time.
There is also very little horror in this sci-fi horror movie. Scenes that are supposed to be suspenseful are boring and the tone is all over the place. There’s a shower scene that involves an alien’s tail. I don’t know if it was supposed to be funny or freak us out.
There is one jump scare throughout the entire movie. The rest is suspense-less “suspense” scenes, pretentious dialogue, copy/paste Alien tropes, and nonsensical moments that throw off the intended tone (if there even was one).
I would not recommend this movie to any Alien or Aliens fan or any sci-fi fans in general. If you’re curious to see how bad it is, then I would recommend waiting until you can rent it. I didn’t care for the film at all and I’m not looking forward to the other installments of the franchise.