Alien: Covenant is finally hitting the big screen, and fans of the Alien franchise can’t wait to see what Ridley Scott is offering them this time. Even though his last outing in the Alien universe with Prometheus wasn’t a hit with everyone, hopes were high that this time Scott would give us at least some of the Aliens that one expects in an Alien movie. For the most part, that’s what happened in this latest installment, Alien: Covenant.
Depending on your perspective, Alien: Covenant can be seen as a sequel to Prometheus or a prequel to the original Alien film with Sigourney Weaver. One of the differences between the previous film and this one is the shift from an all science crew to one that is entirely focused on colonization. Instead of a bunch of eggheads, these are people who want to build something.
Not surprisingly with a Ridley Scott movie, Alien: Covenant is a beautiful feast for the eyes. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, every single shot is impressive and draws the moviegoer into the scene. But beyond the visual aspects of the film – which totally meet expectations – just how good is this movie as compared with Prometheus? More importantly, does it provide the things that were so lacking in that previous Ridley Scott outing in the Alien universe?
The answer is: yes and no. One of the principal problems with Prometheus for most filmgoers is that, even though we knew it was supposed to be part of the Alien universe that saw Ripley running through core doors or fighting off aliens with a robotic armature, we never got to actually see any aliens in Prometheus. It was like going to an Elvis concert and getting a lecture on the history of rock ‘n roll.
Fortunately, in Alien: Covenant the aliens do finally make a reappearance. So it’s safe to say that those critical of the previous film will be at least partially satisfied with what Ridley Scott is offering them this time. I say partially, because this film is still not as fully in the Alien universe as many filmgoers would prefer it to be.
The simple fact is, it’s only in the last third of the film that we see any action by the actual aliens themselves. For most of the first two thirds of the film, there’s a whole lot of talking going on. This isn’t to say that it isn’t interesting talk, and that Ridley Scott hasn’t made this part of the film enjoyable as well. But it’s not enjoyable in the same way that the last third is.
What this means is that people who really loved Prometheus last time are probably going to love the first two thirds of Alien: Covenant. Whether they are as enthusiastic about the last third of the film will depend on whether they like the original Alien or not.
On the other hand, people who disliked Prometheus are probably going to be a bit impatient for the aliens to start doing their thing – as sci-fi gory as it is. But at least they’ll leave the theater partially satisfied, if not fully.
On the whole, this film – at least from this reviewer’s perspective – is clearly an improvement over Prometheus. It’s still not quite in the same ballpark as Alien or Aliens, but it’s getting there. What we can hope for now is that – moving forward into the next film in the Alien franchise – Ridley Scott will be able to leave Prometheus behind entirely and fully embrace the filmmaker he used to be when he turned out the fantastic first two Alien films that were universally applauded.
[Featured Image by 20th Century Fox]