It hasn’t been in the cinemas for very long, but Alien: Covenant has had a series of very mixed reviews. Should science fiction fans see it before it escapes the cinema? Louis gives his point of view…
I took my time before I saw this film. Mainly because I had hoped that I could withstand the hype and wait for the bad reviews to calm down. I need not have bothered.
First of all, let me point out that this is not as bad a movie as many reviewers have reported. It’s just not a great Alien movie. Like Prometheus it suffers from a few simple things. It isn’t as frightening as the originals and it doesn’t answer enough questions about the future of the aliens franchise. Let me explain.
I am a mega fan of science fiction, but not such a big fan of the Alien franchise. The first two movies were good because they were original, the third was just bad. The fourth was a rehash of the second so it was okay, right up until the last few minutes. Prometheus started out with promise but in effect became too heavy handed with not enough shock factor. Yes, the different Alien types were interesting, but it left us with too many questions. Covenant answers a few of those questions but leaves us with many more. That could be the entire review, without any spoilers and it would tell you everything you need to know. Except whether you should watch it.
Whether this movie leaves you with more questions or not, this movie is worth viewing. Why? Well as a science fiction movie it is interesting in its own right. It deals with big themes: creation, annihilation and the fight for a strange twisted redemption. It has action, dumb ass characters and an interesting B plot, which I suspect will only become more visible to viewers after repeat viewing’s. It has an android, strange creatures, an interesting concept and shows humanity at both its best and its worst. All in one movie.
It is not perfect by any means. It has plot holes, it has many telegraphed plot points but you have to interpret too many clues in order to get what they mean. It also lacks the one thing that a movie in the Alien franchise needs – shocks. There is just not enough suspense. Maybe, because society is so shocking, we are becoming immune to the shocks that many writers and directors are showing us in movies nowadays, but it just isn’t scary enough. It is creepy though, very creepy at times. In fact one of the most disturbing scenes in the whole movie is one where David kisses another member of the cast.
Ridley Scott has tried very hard to widen the Alien universe by providing us with an epic sweeping story that spans several movies. He hasn’t failed yet, and this movie is definitely an improvement on Prometheus. However, although I felt that this movie was a good science fiction movie, it lacks the impact of the original Alien movies. In some ways this is because it try’s too hard to mimick the originals, and it misses the mark. However, if you give it a chance and watch it a few times, it works as a good science fiction B movie and as a decent prequel to the next chapter in the franchise.
As I said, see it. You may not enjoy all of it and it may leave you with more questions than answers, but isn’t that the point of decent science fiction?
Contact Louis via his email at firstname.lastname@example.org