That's our Xenomorph origin? Really?
Alien: Covenant (2017): The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.
Yes! Finally! An Alien move with Xenomorphs actually in it! We've been waiting 20 years for the Alien franchise to finally bring back, you know, the alien, and that wait is over. (Shush.....not including the AVP franchise) I was a giddy little schoolboy while that Xenomorph was on screen. It was AWESOME. The problem with this film, however, is when you really start to think about it. Ridley Scott has been given complete creative control over his Alien franchise, and raised a lot of questions in his first installment, Prometheus. I still don't really know what was going on in that film. While this film does actually answer more questions than it poses, some of those answers are going to leave fans of the franchise (such as myself) wishing for more. The lore-building here SUCKS. But hey. There are freaking Xenomorphs this time around. And the film looks absolutely gorgeous. And the acting is awesome. Basically, your mileage will vary with this film. If you're coming in just wanting a monster movie, you will enjoy the crap out of this while you're not sitting around waiting patiently for everything to be explained to you. But if you're coming for the fact that this is a freaking Alien movie, and you want to know more about the origins of the Xenomorphs.....well you're gonna be disappointed.
So! Let's start out with the good. Let's talk cinematography. Dariusz Wolski is one of the best cinematographers in the business, and he does an absolutely marvelous job here. This film is absolutely gorgeous. I'd recommend seeing this film in the theater for the cinematography alone, as it's easily the best of 2017 so far. The set design is great as well. I don't know where they went to film this but Ridley Scott and company did a great job making this look like a foreign world and maintaining the overall grandeur of its predecessor Prometheus, which was definitely the strongest part of that film as well. The sound crew had a lot to do with this as well. This film overall has a strong showing from the technical departments, to the point that it may get a nomination or two from the Academy despite its early release. The acting here was outstanding as well. Katherine Waterston, man. Where has she come from? She is the hero this franchise needed, a worthy successor to Sigourney Weaver. While we may never get a resolution to Ripley's character because Ridley Scott doesn't feel like returning to that part of the lore, they definitely stumbled on a new actress to build the franchise around in Daniels. She has a great story arc and is just overall a total badass. You know who else is great in this film? Danny McBride. Ya. I'm just as surprised as you are. But he shows off his dramatic side in this film and was great! And, of course, there's Michael Fassbender. His duel portrayal as David/Walter is chilling. Though his characters do get to an absolutely TERRIBLE resolution. I guess that leads into the bad!
So, let's first hit that point. So for the first and second act Michael Fassbender's characters are awesome. They get some one on one interactions that are great. But then their characters get the worst resolution ever. Anyone who has ever watched a movie will see this coming from a mile away, and yet for some reason Ridley Scott builds it up and when he pulls back the curtain he seems to think that we're all gonna be like, "Whoa! Didn't see that coming!" Well, I did. As did everyone else in the theater. Then there's the contributions to the lore. I know only people that care about this franchise will be upset about this, but I'm one of those people, okay? The contributions to the lore here are so freaking lackluster man. I was so disappointed! I won't spoil, but it appears that I'm in the majority here thinking that these contributions and resolutions and the answer to "Where did the Xenomorph come from?" are weak, and bring down the overall franchise. Ridley Scott clearly wants nothing to do with the lore of Alien: Resurrection, but if you're going to give the legendary Xenomorph a backstory it's gotta be strong. Unfortunately this is anything but strong.
However outside those two things, there really isn't much to fault with this film. Which is why your mileage will vary. If those two faults don't bother you, you're gonna have a good time and I highly recommend this film. You can certainly watch it without watching Prometheus, and given what this film does to the Prometheus story line, I would actually recommend it. (Ya, this film basically made the entirety of Prometheus irrelevant. That happened) And there are freaking Xenomorphs, man! They get to wreak havoc like the perfect organisms that they are! If only they were given the backstory they deserved.
The Critique: Despite great execution from the technical and acting departments, Alien: Covenant delivers a hilariously lackluster backstory for the legendary Xenomorph, which will ultimately leave fans of the franchise disappointed.
The Recommendation: If you like monster movies but haven't watched an Alien film since James Cameron's Aliens, this might be the film to jump back in on.
Rewatchability: Moderately High
The Verdict: 6/10 Above Average
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