A crew with designs on colonizing a distant planet are waylaid when they believe they have come upon an undiscovered utopia. But, not everything is what it seems and the travelers soon learn that what they thought was a lost paradise is actually a terrifying nightmare.
Alien (1979) director Ridley Scott helmed this prequel to his seminal sci-fi/horror hybrid. The director worked from a script penned by Jack Paglen, Michael Green, John Logan, and Dante Harper. While Alien: Covenant certainly isn’t on a par with Alien (1979), but it isn’t all bad, either. There are some truly stunning visual effects throughout (particularly the chest-bursting sequences). And there are multiple instances of well-executed cinematography. Scott beautifully frames the shots of the landscape on the planet where the crew lands.
Also to Scott’s credit, the director manages to incite a genuine sense of dread in his audience, even though much of the film is a bit predictable. So, while you often know where things are headed, getting there is still mostly enjoyable.
The film stars Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Danny McBride (This is the End), Billy Crudup (Big Fish), Jussie Smollett (ABC’s Revenge), Amy Seimetz (You’re Next), Carmen Ejogo (The Purge: Anarchy), and Demián Bichir (Machete Kills).
Like the film at large, the performances are something of a mixed bag. I found Katherine Waterston to be almost unbearably obnoxious. Her character experiences a tragic loss during the first act. But her anguish was never believable. She’s also trying far to hard to be the likable, plucky heroine and her efforts fall completely flat.
Fortunately, the performances are not all bad. Michael Fassbender is pretty remarkable in a dual role as Walter and David. Danny McBride also surprised me in a rare serious performance. When he was announced as a cast member, I was taken aback and couldn’t imagine him fitting into the Alien cinematic universe as anything other than comic relief. But, I was pleasantly surprised at just how well the actor did in a dramatic role.
Fans of Prometheus will appreciate the fact that Covenant answers some of the unresolved questions from the previous film. If you’re looking for all the answers, you may come away disappointed, but if it’s greater clarity that you seek, we do learn a bit about what happened to Elizabeth Shaw between Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
Alien: Covenant is now available on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack. Special features include audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, and more.
WICKED RATING: 5/10
Director(s): Ridley Scott
Writer(s): Jack Paglen, Michael Green, John Logan, and Dante Harper
Stars: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, and Demián Bichir
Release: August 15, 2017
Studio/ Production Co: 20th Century Fox
Budget: $97 Million (estimated)
Length: 122 Minutes