Alien: Covenant—A Promising Prequel To A Sci-Fi Classic

Alien: Covenant is the newest film to join the famous franchises ranks.

Photo Courtesy of IMBD

“Alien: Covenant” is the newest film to join the famous franchise’s ranks.

Thirty-eight years ago, Ridley Scott quite literally grabbed the attention of audiences everywhere with the release of his sci-fi/horror classic, “Alien.” The film would go on to establish a hugely successful franchise, though in recent years it has struggled to achieve the critical success of its first two releases. With the release of 2012’s “Prometheus,” the first in a series of prequels to the original film, fans were left with little hope for the series’ future, but with “Alien: Covenant,” that hope may finally be restored.

The “Alien” franchise’s storylines have always been essentially indistinguishable—a space crew falls victim to a ferocious extraterrestrial species in need of human hosts to foster their offspring. Although the premise works for the series’ first two films, it quickly becomes a vicious and predictable cycle that leaves audiences asking, “How many times can this be done well?”

Despite “Covenant’s” inevitably unoriginal storyline, screenwriters did their best in creating something new and exciting from the weak material they were left with from “Prometheus,” the previous film. In their efforts to fix the many flaws of “Prometheus,” the filmmakers played it safe, filling “Covenant” with action sequences that boast intensity almost too reminiscent of the first two installments.

Although initially controversial, opting to eliminate the previously established protagonist of “Prometheus” in favor of Katherine Waterston’s (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”) character. This new character, Daniels, proved to be one of the filmmakers’ best decisions. Though Michael Fassbender received universal praise for his dual portrayal of androids David and Walter, which was indeed phenomenal, Waterston’s performance is equally impressive. “Covenant” does a subpar job in establishing her character, though the film’s final act briefly allows her to shine in a sequence evoking the strength and fearlessness of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, the iconic heroine of the original “Alien” films.

However, as Fassbender’s Walter notes in “Covenant’s” second act, “One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony.” Unfortunately, this is too accurate in describing the amount of time the film spends trying to resolve issues created by “Prometheus.” The film’s overbearing reliance on gore quickly becomes a weak effort to stay relevant in the horror genre it was distanced from by its predecessor. Thematically, “Covenant” is tainted by Scott’s unnecessary philosophical backstories, which feel out-of-place in a film series that came to prominence without needing this sort of intellectual depth—it leaves audiences feeling more confused than entertained.

It seems unlikely that any of the franchise’s future offerings will even come close to the quality of the original two; however, “Alien: Covenant” brings back the action, excitement and horror that its recent predecessors have lacked. Though far from perfect, “Alien: Covenant” is definitely a step in the right direction.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars