The original Alien franchise for a long time had been an unknown series when it came to my movie knowledge. Although I had bought the beautiful DVD-set with the Xenomorph head in 2006, it would take four years before I started watching them for the first time. The first movie made a big impression because of it sublime buildup with constant tension and where you felt the fear the crew was going though. The sequel was completely different but also good, but it was the original which conquered a special place in my heart. Part 3 and 4 couldn’t manage to leave a lasting impression and it would take until 2012 (let’s forget Alien vs Predator) before a new Alien movie came out in the form of Prometheus. Although many didn’t like the film, I really liked it because of the search it started. Where did humanity come from? That was the question the crew of the Prometheus was trying to answer and although it never was fully answered I hoped that Alien: Covenant would.
The movie is set in 2104, in which the Covenant is on route to Origae-6. The 2000 colonists (in hypersleep) and the 1000 embryos on board have to make sure that the planet can be colonised. Walter (Michael Fassbender) is an android who makes sure all systems function correctly. Seven years before they reach their destination, the ship is hit by a wave of neutrinos forcing Walter to wake up the crew so the ship can be repaired. While they are fixing the ship they receive a radio signal from a nearby planet. The captain decides to investigate and decide if they might be able to colonise this planet. A part of the crew travels down to the service, where they make some scary discoveries.
From the moment the crew is awoken Covenant feels very chaotic. There are loads of characters who know each other well, but where the movie never takes its time to introduce them properly to the viewer. You’d expect the crew to have certain specialties and that they have been handpicked for there posts, but that never becomes clear. It also turns out that some are married to each other, which also isn’t immediately clear. This results that you are going along with a group of people you don’t know and who are completely interchangeable. And when some exposition does happen, like the fact that someone is religious or someone is dealing with the loss of someone they care for, nothing is done with those facts. It never comes back or plays a role in the rest of the movie.
The question Prometheus asked also seems to have been forgotten and Ridley Scott seems more interested in letting you know where the Xenomorphs come from. To me that is the least interesting question, just like you didn’t want to know the midi-chlorians story in the Star Wars franchise. The aliens are scary and deadly and that’s really all you need to know about them. The result is a film which shows what you can make with a B-movie script and loads of money. Because the decisions the crew makes almost makes you think that the average IQ in 2100 has reach Idiocracy like levels. Stupid decisions kept being made and that’s something you wouldn’t expect in a franchise like this.
Are there any positive things to say? Yes, Michael Fassbender is strong in his role, visually everything looks great and once the aliens appear that ends up in a couple of shocking and bloody moments. It never gets boring to watch, but the movie simply misses depth, tension and is very predictable. It means that the final doesn’t deliver any adrenaline. It makes this title a disappointment which doesn’t go into the direction I had hoped.