The Alien series is near and dear to me. I’m not sure if that’s going to make me more critical or less critical but this is my take on this film. Alien: Covenant is for all extensive purposes, a perfectly enjoyable letdown.
The predictability of the film is its most apparent weakness but also the most explainable one. This notion of predictability is delicate ground that often falls into a fallacy of prequels in general. Ridley Scott isn’t ignorant of the series fanbase, or our collective knowledge of the films universe. If I see a character clearly walking towards their impending doom, it can seem momentarily frustrating until I realize Ripley is toying with his audience purposely.
As far as how intelligent those creative decisions are is debatable. Prometheus opened up bold and broad questions about the origins of the Xenomorphs as well as humans themselves. Given the films varied critical reception, I’d understand if the next film wanted to take it in a completely different direction. However, it felt inevitable from the first moments of this film that he intended to expand or wrap up these ideas. I can say almost concretely that none of our big questions were answered. Plot points were covered but the bold mystery of Prometheus was quietly snuffed out for a more conventionally enjoyable narrative. I’m disappointed in that immensely but hey, the man doesn’t get a 100 millions production budget to please the minority.
While I think this film was a win in general for the series, seeing as it will inevitably jump start another sequel, I can’t help but feel as if Ripley just ran out the clock with this one. Listen, I love the original Alien and the climax of this film embodies that films horror element immensely but it doesn’t fucking match up to the rest of the films tone nor is it something original. This is a very safe sequel.
The note I want to end on is a positive one though, because I didn’t walk out of the theater pissed, I’m still thankful for this movie. Katherine Waterston is wonderful and her original pained acting becomes something enigmatic. I didn’t even realize her Ripley-like capabilities until she’d fully embodied them in a really impressive finale.
Second positive note and this man deserves his own paragraph, Michael Fassbender is a fucking god. Whether I’m laughing at him or hissing at him, he commands my full attention.
Imagine if I just left that hissing line without saying anything? Did anyone just picture me hissing in the theater at Michael Fassbender?