Alien: Covenant | Review

Ridley Scott + Alien movies = Awesomeness! Alien: Covenant has finally arrived and it’s time to get scared…

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Before I ramble on, let me come right out and say that Ridley Scott has just delivered a really strong entry in to the Alien universe. Seriously, Covenant does not disappoint and watching it on the big screen is a real treat.

It’s probably worth first setting the scene of where this movie fits in the chronology of the Alien movie universe. ‘Alien’, the 1979 original (also directed by Ridley Scott) was followed by three sequels; ‘Aliens’ in 1986 (directed by James Cameron), ‘Alien3’ in 1992 (David Fincher) and ‘Alien: Resurrection’ in 1997 (Jean-Pierre Jeunet). 

From 1998-2008 there was constant speculation about an “Alien 5” movie which, despite two ‘Alien v Predator’ movies, never actually happened. 

Then in 2012 ‘Prometheus’, also directed by Ridley Scott, was released. This movie, which is set many years before the first movie ‘Alien’, represented the first of a planned prequel-trilogy to Alien (1979). ‘Alien: Covenant’ is the second of this prequel trilogy, with the final movie ‘Alien: Awakening’ due to go in to production early next year. 

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Anyway, back to Covenant. This is a movie I have been highly anticipating, ever since Prometheus came out five years ago. Added to which, the Alien movie series as a whole comes in at #2 on my top ten sci-fi list of all time. 

Happily, I am glad to say the wait was worth it. What Covenant does well is how it successfully manages to provide a satisfying sequel to Prometheus, whilst also capturing some of the things that made the first two movies so good. For me, the original movie has always been my favourite; I love the measured, slow, “quietness” of it. Covenant has a similar feel. In fact, about 20-25 minutes in to the movie, I heard someone behind me mutter “It’s a bit slow” to which I smiled and had to restrain myself from turning around to say “I know; isn’t it glorious?”.

Not too far in and that feeling of fear and dread starts to set in and it’s like watching Ripley & co all over again. Covenant is scary, it makes you jump and like with Alien you rarely feel at ease at any point. And there are moments reminiscent of Aliens too, but they feel new, fresh and the special effects are disturbingly superb/gross. 

As you’d expect with Ridley Scott at the helm, the cinematography is brilliant and there are some fantastic space scenes, some of which are wonderfully drawn out at times. And when the action moves to ground level, the scenery is simply magnificent. The backdrop of Milford Sound provided the perfect setting, truly showcasing the beauty of New Zealand. 

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Another big factor for me with Covenant is the music. Composer Jed Kurzel deserves a lot of credit for intricately weaving together Jerry Goldsmith’s classic, original theme from Alien with the majestic Mark Streitenfeld theme from Prometheus. For me, it really helps bridge the movies together and makes me want to watch all of these movies back-to-back.

Covenant is well written and strikes a great balance between action and moving us one step closer to the original Alien. Casting wise,  Billy Crudup really impressed me and Katherine Waterston is convincing too. Michael Fassbender is the stand-out actor of this movie though, and his portrayal as a synthetic is right up there with Ian Holm (Alien) and Lance Henriksen (Aliens & Alien3).

Trailer

I still remember walking out of the cinema after watching Prometheus in 2012 thinking “I can’t wait to see a sequel”. Fast forward five years and I feel exactly the same way about Covenant. How does this measure up against the other Alien movies?  For me the order would be:

  1. Alien
  2. Prometheus
  3. Aliens
  4. Covenant
  5. Alien3
  6. Resurrection

4th place out of 6 might make you think Covenant isn’t all that great, but the first two movies are simply superb and I love Prometheus. The fact that I even put Prometheus above Aliens (which prompted a “that’s a big ****ing call bro” reaction from @WhiteStarPrime) tells you how much I rate that movie.

My advice is to go and see Covenant for yourself; it’s the sort of movie worth seeing at the cinema.


[+] Ravens

  • Classic sci-fi thriller. 
  • Great special effects, editing, soundtrack and direction.
  • Danny McBride is surprisingly good in this movie. Not the comic relief role I was expecting.
  • It’s scary and it’s fun jumping out your seat every now and then.
  • IT’S FRICKIN ALIEN. Duh.

[-] Ravens  

  • The twists are a little transparent
  • This is not really a stand-alone movie; you really need to have at least seen Prometheus to fully appreciate/understand the significance of some things.
4_ravens

paul

Author: Paul Knauer - follow me on Twitter @ObiWanKnauer

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