In 1979 a horror classic was born and since its inception nearly every modern sci-fi or horror film has been influenced by ALIEN. After the stellar sequel ALIENS continued the mind blowing that ALIEN started, it’s been nothing less than disappointing in the world of ALIEN. Alien 3 was meddled with so much by the ridiculous studio heads that the final result was just downright insulting. And then there’s Resurrection… moving on. The next two don’t even deserve mention so as I said, moving on.
In 2012 the maestro of claustrophobic horror, Ridley Scott, made his much anticipated return to the genre that made him a household name with Prometheus. Met with mixed reactions ranging from masterpiece to downright garbage, needless to say it wasn’t quite the return we were hoping for. I love Prometheus but I’ll be the first to say it has its problems, I’m not disputing that fact. Beyond the film itself what I loved most was the possibility of what could come next. Well here we are, ALIEN: COVENANT.
As I was leaving the theater after the film I overheard some windbag talking about how this should have been called Prometheus 2 rather than Alien. Never mind the Xenomorphs in the movie, it should be called Prometheus 2. Okay, buddy. Understanding what he meant, that the Engineers are featured heavily in Covenant, what he failed to grasp apparently is the origin of the Xenomorph would not have been possible without the Engineers. I won’t go into anymore detail but I will say that when you see this film, if you miss this simple, salient fact then you miss the point of the film entirely and I can’t help you. Not having the Engineers would have left a piece of story left unfinished and Prometheus all but screamed that it was in the same universe as ALIEN. Covenant does reside in the space so to speak between the ALIEN films and Prometheus but it isn’t there without purpose and most importantly to the fans, it has answers. Covenant acts as a sort of passing of the baton from Engineer to Xenomorph. Now it’s the perfect organism’s time to shine once again and if what we see here is any indication for what’s to come, Hell is well on its way. Brace yourself.
Longtime Scott collaborator, Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski returns aside Scott for yet another breathtaking visual journey that manages both awe and horror sometimes simultaneously. Sweeping landscapes of mountainous terrain are captured dynamically. Blood soaked, murderous alien organisms terrorize and mutilate in unfathomable ways and is captured with the same zeal as the peaceful territory that once promised sanctuary and now brings death, plainly and simply.
Weaknesses… in several ways this is what we’ve seen many times before some in fantastic fashion, others in more laughable ways but it still remains, the fact that we’ve seen a lot of what Covenant has to offer. It never promised anything else so can we really fault it? It promised an origin story for a creature that is so heinous but met with complete love and adoration by us the fans. We love that acid spewing ball of mayhem and Covenant takes that fandom with as much care as possible and returns it, in my opinion, unharmed and enhanced with a new addition to the ALIEN universe. Xenomorphs are the baddest of the bad and Covenant wants to simply remind us of this very obvious fact. Does the film reach iconic territory? Usually that’s only answered with time but if I had to predict I would say no. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a wonderfully dark, gory, violent, chaotic venture into a hellish world that only Scott could properly provide. And if nothing else it did for me what Prometheus did, it made me all the more excited for what is to come. I fully welcome future ALIEN films considering talented people still reside both behind and in front of the camera.
Covenant is a grimy, beautifully shot horror epic that connects dots and propels the franchise confidently into the future with its legacy firmly intact despite the failed efforts of the past. Scott shines the horror light proudly on the world of ALIEN and Prometheus making one of the nastiest films of recent memory. Back bursters, that’s all I’ll say.
I found the good in Prometheus as did I with Covenant. I can see those that hated Prometheus (Jimmy, it’s a good movie dammit!) not exactly embracing this one either but I say it’s their loss. The characters are not the most fleshed out and the territory is heavily treaded but these things were not enough to ruin a fun horror film for me. Covenant doesn’t live up to the hype but I’ll be damned if it didn’t go for gold and achieve something at least worthwhile. ALIEN is back!
Rated R For: sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity
Runtime: 122 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror, Thriller
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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